Spectrum Healthcare Partners


Let’s face it. None of us is getting any younger. I’m certainly not. And most days I’m acutely aware of changes that have occurred over the years. Not being as strong as I once was and not feeling as stable are two concerns I’ve decided to tackle head on. It’s taken me right inside my discomfort zone. Here’s how it started.

I met Andy Wight, who is a strength coach, at a 5k event for Earl Cutter in November 2016. I found out that he and his business partner Andy Kinslow had recently opened AW Strength and Conditioning in Westbrook, Maine.

Andy W. graduated with a Sports Medicine Degree with a concentration in Exercise Science from Merrimack College. Andy K. graduated with an Applied Exercise Science degree with a concentration in sports medicine from the University of Southern Maine.

I told Andy W. that I had been thinking about working with a personal trainer primarily to regain some upper and lower body strength and to feel more stable/balanced. I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my computer and I know it can be deadly no matter what your age. I try to take breaks and do the treadmill nearly every day for 30 minutes. Still, I knew it wasn’t enough. Especially if I want to have an active life in my 70s (which are not far away,) 80s, 90s … as long as possible. And I knew that I needed some guidance.

In full disclosure, Andy and I worked out a trade. I see him for about 45 minutes twice a week and I’m going to blog about my experience every other week. We’re going to try to help each other succeed.

Diane working her triceps

So, that’s the background. Now on to the hard stuff. The workout.

I’ve seen Andy three times and he’s had me do a variety of things from floor exercises to stepping up on a box over and over again to pulling a big rubber band. That’s what I’m doing the picture above. They’re called banded rows.

Andy says banded rows are a great back exercise for the back and to help with posture. Good for people who sit in front of their computers or spend a lot of time leaning over their phones or laptops. By the way, they also gave me a burn in my triceps.

He’s going easy on me right now. And seeing what I’m capable of doing. “I’m assessing for certain limitations, any areas of weakness,” he explained. “Then I’m figuring out a better hands-on approach for each session going forward.”

Andy Wight/Discomfort Zone

Andy Wight

In the last two sessions, he had me throw a small medicine ball at him. Another muscle builder with some added benefits. “A little bit of explosive power in the upper body without putting a lot of strain on the joints,” he said. “Medicine ball work is full body and low impact.”

Both Andys work with people of all ages, from 8-year-olds to 80-year-olds. Every person is different so personal training sessions are individualized. They also offer group classes. Nothing they do is about turning us into athletes. It’s a more well-rounded approach. “We like to do a little bit of athletic performance, weight loss, general health coaching,” Andy told me. “To help people who are looking for that change or that little in addition to what they’re doing now.”

Is it possible to get stronger at my age? “Yes,” said Andy. “Absolutely. There is no age limit on getting stronger. You can always get stronger and you can always improve.”

Exactly what I need to hear.

My other issue is balance. Good balance is critical as you age. Don’t want any broken hips or other bones in my future.

One of Andy’s favorite exercises — because it works on coordination and balance — is the ladder. You use different foot patterns which force you to adjust to changes in your center of gravity. You get used to one pattern and then do another. Over time, I’ll be expected to go faster and faster. What do you think? Nimble on my feet?!

Am I sore after my three sessions?  Oh, yeah, especially after the last one which was yesterday. Mostly the back of my upper arms, my sides, and my thighs. It’s a good sore! And it’s surprising how great a good workout can make you feel. It releases endorphins, improves your mood, gives you more energy — endless benefits.

I’ve never been to a personal trainer before and was pretty anxious when I showed up for the first session. It’s totally outside my comfort zone or as I’ve decided to call it — inside my discomfort zone. Now I look forward to each session and to feeling even better and stronger. I’ll keep you posted.