Billy's Story: Taking Control of My Own Health
There are plenty of reasons to commit to a workout routine, whether it's the desire to lose a few pounds or feel better about the clothes you wear. But for Billy Brennan, 54, jumping into fitness meant making a commitment to his personal health.
With a career in law enforcement - even after 12 years spent in a desk-bound supervisor role - Billy considered himself an athletic individual. But when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in retirement, he knew it was time to recommit to a healthy lifestyle. Through research, Billy learned about the importance of resistance training for overall health, and specifically, how it could help with managing diabetes. Billy bought his first BowFlex Home Gym a few years ago.
While maintaining a workout plan and connecting with his doctor to closely monitor numbers, Billy noticed something extraordinary. His A1C, a number that shows a person's average blood sugar level, dropped below the diabetes standard at 5.2. Billy had taken the first step toward beating his diabetes. After this, he cycled off his medications and has maintained his A1C number for the last six months.
How did Billy take control of his health through fitness? Read on to learn more about Billy's journey toward personal health and how a commitment to fitness helped him make a change for the better:
- What motivated you to make a change? Has that motivation changed over time?
"It was the diabetes. I've always believed in natural health and don't like taking medications. A lot of the books that I read [mentioned] resistance exercise … it made perfect sense. The diabetes steered me in that direction … Now it's changed slightly. Diabetes is still key, but I want to throw around the baseball 10 years from now with my grandchildren."
- Have you struggled with exercise in the past?
"It was a constant struggle. I was working 24/7, with different shifts each time - exercise was hard to schedule. Sometimes my schedule would be the same for nine months and … then would change. There were also family needs, owning a house, trying to fit in gardening … Time was the biggest battle in staying steady for my workouts. I used to play a lot of sports too, but it should be the other way around. Now I make the workout my priority. Do it in the morning and get it done."
- How did your experience with a BowFlex® Home Gym change your approach to fitness?
"I'm 54, but I know people older than me working out, going to the gyms and getting hurt. BowFlex is so much safer to use. I attribute the weight loss more to cardio, but when I measure myself, I went from a tight 36 to a 32 [in pants]. Benefits of the BowFlex? The toning - my arms are better and more well-defined."
- You lost the weight, but what did you gain?
"I gained confidence in knowing that I can take control of my own health. Confidence in knowing that I have no right to come up with an excuse for my disease or feel sorry for myself - that's No. 1. When I talk to people about it, they may be going through the same thing. I speak with authority. Where I've come in the last year has given me the opportunity to get out and experience things"
- What does fitness mean to you?
"Fitness to me is life. Not being stuck in a chair. It's knowing that I can get up and get out and do things actively. Where I live, we have the best hiking areas in the country, and we go hiking quite often. Some of the hikes we've done are incredible - hikes I could never do before. The attachment that I have with nature is enhanced by my own fitness. Where I've come in the last year has given me the opportunity to get out and experience things."