The Fittest at 44

I’m 44 years old and in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life.

As a child and teenager I never cared for team sports, physical education classes, or any other type of individual athletic competition but I was quite active and maintained a healthy weight. Growing up in a small town in eastern North Carolina that was surrounded by active farming communities I spent a substantial amount of time outdoors, walking to school, riding my bike around town, playing outside with my brother and neighborhood kids, and going jogging with my dad. When school was out for summer breaks I practically lived in the community swimming pool, at least until I was old enough to get a job working on a local tobacco farm. Reflecting back on the days of my childhood it seems like I never stopped moving, at least until it was time in the evenings to sit down for supper.  My mom and grandmothers were the beneficiaries of a rich heritage of southern cuisine and were excellent country cooks. I loved to eat, especially the food they prepared, and I always cleaned my plate.  My rural upbringing taught me how to play, work, and eat with passion.


After graduating from college I became more and more sedentary and within four or five years I found myself 30 pounds overweight with biometric screening results approaching the high end of acceptable. I knew I had to reverse this trend so I went on a diet and started running.  I achieved quick success but within 18 months I had lost focus, stopped exercising, and fell back into some pretty bad eating habits.  Let’s move ahead several years, I’m in my mid 30’s and now I’m 40 pounds overweight with high blood pressure and biometrics slightly over acceptable ranges. I went through the same cycle all over again.  Diet, running, lost the weight, kept it off for a while, lost focus and gained it all back.  Now I found myself turning 40, 40 pounds overweight, my doctor discussing a pharmacological solution to control my high blood pressure, total cholesterol off the charts, and I just felt lousy.  I didn’t want to be overweight and I was determined that I wasn’t going to go down the path of taking maintenance medications to manage health issues that I could manage with behavioral changes.

I went back to the gym but this time it was different. 


First of all I started working out in the mornings. Before I had worked out in the evenings and many times, after working all day, it was so easy for me to come up with an excuse not to go.  When my exercise routine was to work out in the evenings I would only manage make it to the gym two or three times a week. When I switched to mornings I was able to go every day.  It’s what I do now, getting up early and going to the gym is simply a fundamental a part of my life.  The second thing that happened that changed my life was meeting Chan Little when I started participating in a boot camp she was leading. Her classes were always challenging and I came away from each one with a sense of accomplishment. When I decided that I wanted to take my fitness and strength goals to the next level I knew I wanted Chan to be my coach. She accepts no less than my full potential and holds me accountable for the activities I’m responsible for in order to meet the goals we set, both diet and exercise, and I am stronger and fitter because of that. I would not be where I am today without Chan’s direction. I also thoroughly enjoy the group fitness classes I participate in at The 360 Approach. In addition to the incredible coaching, the 360 community inspires and challenges me to work at my peak performance level.  I want to continue to get stronger, faster, and eat healthier (yes, this foodie still needs to work on healthy eating).  With Chan and The 360 Approach I know I can continue to set new goals and achieve them. It really is different this time,

I’ve worked too hard, come too far, and I will never go back.


author: Coach Chan


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