Healthy Changes Everything
It’s been nearly two months since Healthy Changes Everything Contest winners Marty Mazurkiewicz and Lori McDermott began their nine-month journey toward better living under the guidance of Hive Lifespan Center. We checked in with both of them to see how it’s going.
MARTIN MAZURKIEWICZ: “I’m sticking with it.”
"Things are going really well,” enthuses Marty Mazurkiewicz, a forty-seven-year-old purchasing agent/senior buyer at Konax Technologies. After seven weeks of interval circuit workouts, Mazurkiewicz reports that he has lost a pants size, noticed shirts getting larger and muscles getting tighter, and “I hate to say it, but my man boobs are going away.”
Mazurkiewicz gives the credit to Hive trainer Dave Mancuso, who meets him three days a week at six a.m. and coaches and cajoles him through an hour of core, balance, cardio, and weight training. (Mazurkiewicz arrives fifteen minutes early to warm up with stretching and six minutes on a cardio machine.) “I love what he does,” says Mazurkiewicz, who hasn’t had a regimented fitness program since his high school days as a shot-putter and discus thrower. “Everything is achievable. I didn’t think I was going to make it because I was so out of shape, but he pushed me; he knew what I needed to get to the next level. He motivates me very well. He even gave me a Christmas card that said I was taking a step in the right direction to be here and not miss a day.”
The early weeks of Mazurkiewicz’s program have been largely foundational—learning new exercises, becoming accustomed to weight lifting, and learning how to stretch. “Dave’s already corrected my squat technique. I was squatting on my toes, and now I’m on my heels,” he notes. “And when I first started doing planks, I was only able to do ten seconds; I thought that was tough, but last Friday, I did a minute! When I got it, he said ‘nice job’ and that made me feel good that he recognized how hard I’d worked to get there. It’s tough, and I’m struggling sometimes, and I get mad because I fail, but Dave’s there to say it’s okay—you want to fail so that you’ll come back and do it the right way.”
With the completion of certain goals, Mazurkiewicz graduated to what Mancuso calls Phase Two, which includes heavier weight training to increase muscle mass. Because men tend to add muscle weight more quickly than women and because muscle weighs more than fat, Mazurkiewicz has lost inches, but none of his 295 pounds. “That bothers me,” he admits. “It’s just a psychological thing. You want to be able to say ‘I lost thirty pounds.’” In the meantime, he’s focusing on other results.
“It’s amazing that such little time can do so much,” Mazurkiewicz says. “I have more energy; I’m not having that two o’clock crash at my desk anymore. I’m more mellow and not as quick to argue and yell. I didn’t sleep very well before I started and only got four to five hours sleep max; now I’m getting to sleep by ten at the latest and sleeping until five or six-thirty. And when I can put on a pair of pants and put a new belt on the second notch already, it’s a great feeling.”
What Mazurkiewicz thought would be the hardest aspect of the program—sticking to it—hasn’t been a problem. “I set the alarm for five and I’m up and out,” he says. “My motivation is I want to get healthier. I’m watching my brother who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and had surgery and I thought, ‘I can’t be like that; I need to be around for my kids.’”
LORI MCDERMOTT: “It’s like boot camp!”
“I worked out before—not always regularly—but I didn’t work as hard as this,” says Lori McDermott after seven weeks of training with Dave Mancuso at Hive Lifespan Center. “This is like boot camp; you don’t get a break in between. Even someone without a heart problem would have a difficult time doing this.”
For McDermott, “this” is an interval circuit program with a cardio emphasis to strengthen her heart (she had five stents put in a year ago). Her program also includes physical therapy for her hip and for plantar fasciitis, which causes pain on the soles of the feet. “It’s really, really hard work, but I look forward to going,” says the forty-seven-year-old Niagara National broker. “Sometimes, I wake up in the morning and I think, ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ but once I’m there, I feel good, and I can see a change in the way I feel and the way I move. I’m increasing my weights and doing more sets. I’m able to get out of bed and walk, where before it was killing me. My body is definitely getting stronger. It’s baby steps, but I’m getting there.”
Those results are important motivators for McDermott, who admits to some frustrations. For one, her heart condition sets limits for how hard she can work, so Mancuso has to experiment. “There are a lot of things I can’t do because my heart rate goes crazy,” McDermott says. “I can’t go backward on the elliptical because for some reason, my heart rate zooms up. It’s really hard for them to work with me because if my heart rate jumps to 180, they get nervous! I’m a difficult specimen.”
Having a trainer is critical for McDermott, because in addition to teaching her proper form, Mancuso monitors her heart rate, and reminds her to breathe. “When you’re a cardio patient, the breathing is the hardest, and he’ll tell me ‘Breathe!’” McDermott says. “I get mad at him because he pushes me to the point where I want to puke, but I like that he’s there to tell me what I’m doing wrong, because when you don’t breathe, the heart rate increases even more. “
McDermott admits to some discouragement over not having lost any weight or inches, despite her dedication to the program, but she hopes the upcoming nutrition counseling will set things in motion. “I can’t understand how this is going to happen, but I’m looking forward to seeing how I progress,” she says. “I’ve already seen some of it, but I’m looking forward to seeing where I will be in nine months, the change. I’m working really hard, so I can’t imagine it being harder, but Dave has pushed me a lot from where I started, and I’m eager to see how much more I can do.”
Mancuso has some ideas: In addition to losing pounds, McDermott’s long-term goals include reducing her medications and being able to work harder aerobically. “Right now, it’s really hard for me to do a workout when I watch somebody else really beating it up, but if I get really into it, my heart rate shoots way up,” she says. “I need to really own the machine instead of the machine owning me.” As for short-term goals? Mancuso doesn’t share; he just keeps pushing her along, increasing the intensity as she progresses. Tune in next time to see how far she’s gotten.
Donna Hoke is a fitness hobbyist and editor of Buffalo Spree Home.