By Sharon Friedman
After taking a hiatus from exercising for a number of years, Houstonian, Lynn Miller found herself overweight and overdue for a fitness program. A physical education teacher, Miller had enjoyed a lifetime of active pursuits, from gymnastics and horseback riding, to sailing, aerobics and hiking.
“I was very active in aerobics when it became the craze in the 80s, and gradually developed back and Knee problems that continually worsened.” says Miller. She suffered from overuse and slight arthritis.
“My orthopedist prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, which helped to an extent, but I knew that the drugs weren’t the solution,” she said. When arthritis curtailed her workouts, she watched her weight slowly creep up and her stamina diminish. For the first – time in her life, Miller recalled that she no longer took enjoyment from the sports that she formerly relished.
Miller, who admits that she is very skeptical by nature, researched a number of local gyms and trainers, and selected The Train Station; Houston’s only personal training facility exclusively for women.
“I didn’t start out with weight loss as my main goal I just wanted to get back to my former level of fitness and be able to exercise without limitations,” she continued.
Miller met with Liz Zamadics, owner of The Train Station, for an initial consultation. Considering Miller’s back and knee arthritis, Zamadics addressed these problem areas and treated them in a rehabilitative fashion.
They started their training sessions conservatively; focusing on exercises that would help strengthen the muscles supporting Miller’s arthritic areas.
“We bad a very open line of communication from the start,” Miller recalls, “Liz talked to me throughout the exercises, making sure I wasn’t experiencing pain, that felt good, and that I wasn’t too fatigued.”
The initial sessions involved floor work and strength-training exercises with limited ranges of motion. When Zamadics felt Miller was ready, they added free weights and weight machines to her repertoire.
According to Zamadics, who is certified as a personal trainer by both P-Fit and A.C.E. “We work to personalize all of our client’s sessions, but special attention is given to those with injuries or problem areas. When a client comes to us with a knee problem, for example, exercises such as leg presses should be performed with a limited range of motion.
Miller admits that when she first started exercising again, she thought she would focus her exercise on the treadmill, believing it was her path of least resistance. Miller’s overall level of strength was low, limiting her to three-pound dumbbells for upper bodywork and 20 pounds on leg presses. With increased strength and vigor, Miller steadily raised her fitness level, allowing her to cross-train aerobically using the bike, stair-stepping machine and her newest accomplishment, running.
Soon into her newfound fitness program, Miller watched her weight begin to drop. Within 18 months she lost 43 lbs.; her body fat went from 34.4% to 17%.
Lynn is the classic example of a “Trainer’s Dream” says Zamadics. “She came for her workouts regularly, and did things on her own, like watching her nutrition and adding a regular schedule of aerobic activity. I just helped her attain the goals she set for herself.”
Miller knew what every woman approaching her late 40’s knows: “I was at the stage in life where my hormones were changing. All the medical books warn women to expect to gain weight, to lose bone density and lean body mass. I feel lucky that I found the right trainer to give me the motivation that I need at this time in my life.”
According to Miller, her remarkable achievement wasn’t difficult. “It really was a natural progression,” she says. “I was ready for the changes that I had to make in my life, fitness wise. The application of these changes was the hardest part, and this is where Liz was instrumental. The advantage of having a personal trainer is that you have someone who knows where you are both mentally and physically. They can see things in you that you might not. They are one step ahead of you, always challenging and motivating you.”
Now that Miller has attained her fitness goals, she maintains her program with a regular workout schedule. She still works out with Zamadics twice a week. One day a week, Zamadics guides her through circuit training. In this program, Miller combines both aerobic conditioning with weight training. She starts out with ten minutes on an aerobic machine to get her heart rate up to its fat burning level, then works out with weights, returning for short intervals to the aerobic equipment to maintain her training heart rate.
On her other workout day at the Train Station, Miller concentrates on weight training to maintain and build muscle, “I know that keeping up my muscle mass is the best way to control my weight.” Says Miller “Since it takes more calories to maintain muscle, the body burns more calories when it is leaner.
Like the proverbial snowball, Miller’s enthusiasm for weight training got greater and greater. Recently, she completed the P-FIT classes at the Baylor Sports Medicine Institute for certification as a personal trainer and is studying g for advanced training certification. With her newly regained health and energy, Miller plans to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for fitness with friends. She wants to work with others one-on-one to help them get more out of their lives with a healthier level of fitness.
I love enjoying the outdoors again,” exclaims Miller. To celebrate her 50th birthday, she and her husband visited the Grand Canyon, where they were able to complete a ten-mile trek through the imposing national park.