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David Freeze: Brooke and Michelle take different routes in October

'We have a good mix between Brooke and Michelle.'

Brooke Taylor at work as circulation manager for the Rowan Public Library.
Submitted photo.

Brooke Taylor and Michelle Patterson set goals at the beginning of October. My outlook toward their October success was optimistic. They both said they would get back to the basics that had provided best results in the past.

Brooke, circulation manager for Rowan Public Library, has big goals and puts the work in day after day. She has been consistent and reliable in her workouts and nutritional approach and her year-to-date results have been fantastic.

On the other hand, Michelle finished as the star of our 2016 program after mostly a positive pattern played out. But her commitment to exercise and overall wellness had been not quite as consistent through the first eight months of 2017 and her weight had creeped back up. She was a good replacement for Vivian Koontz who couldn’t continue with regular exercise and weigh-ins. Michelle is Director of Fun at Patterson Farm Market and Tours.

So, here’s what happened in October. Brooke got after it with more diversity in her exercise that produced better results. She said, “I attribute that to mixing up my exercise. Last month I only ran and some days were not challenging enough. This month I added back in the biking and rowing and David made me increase my distance which have all been more challenging physically than last month. I also had been neglecting my water intake and ramped that back up in October.”

Brooke also ran the Gold Rush 5K in Gold Hill, a trail race that was fun but quite challenging. She added, “It was tough, especially coming back up hill through the woods on the trail, but the variety of the course made it enjoyable!” Her time was second fastest yet at 37 minutes and 5 seconds.

Michelle on the other hand, had mixed results throughout the month. She started the month with a shoulder injury suffered while doing some lifting on the farm. Early exercise in the month included favoring the arm and shoulder. As the month progressed, Michelle’s injury improved but her commitment to exercise lessened. Factors included a heavier workload in her job and some sickness. Her quote from the end of September article included “I need a little motivation to stay committed to an exercise routine during these hectic months on the farm.”

No doubt, Michelle is tough and a good athlete. Her biggest struggle, wellness-wise, for years has been how to balance work stress and her own health. When we started her official Salisbury Post program last year, she acknowledged weight and blood pressure issues and a severe overwhelming stress. How to lessen the effects of that stress and eventually overcome it have been the subject of many discussions between us.

Regular exercise cannot be the thing that gets pushed over the cliff when stress rears its ugly head. Research proves that regular exercise lessens the broad spectrum of what stress does to the body. Simply put, I learned the same lesson years ago when balancing long hours of work, nighttime masters classes, farming, family and much more. Exercise and the accompanying mental therapy make it all doable.

Brooke is down four more pounds for the month and now has lost 46 pounds for the year. She wants a total of 50 by the end of November. Michelle, after dropping almost two pounds, said, “My goals for November are to get back to regular exercise, improved nutrition, rest and balance. It helps me to have somebody to work out with to keep me accountable. I like setting goals. I am a list person, so I like being able to check exercise off a list each day.” Michelle wants to drop the seven pounds she gained earlier this year, plus two more for a total of nine by year’s end.

As November begins, I know we have a good mix between Brooke and Michelle. They clearly enjoy each other and almost every workout involves laughing and mutual support. Once addressed as mother and daughter by a YMCA member, they actually do share a certain resemblance.

For me, it is easy to genuinely look forward to every workout with Brooke and Michelle. We all have our challenges and it is unrealistic to expect the perfect wellness candidate who is consistent for every day. I am not that person myself, although my own experiences absolutely have resulted in a strong commitment toward making the most of every day. Regular exercise and proper wellness habits demand their own place.

See you at the end of November.

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