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Conquer an Up-Hill Battle


Striving for a goal can bring out the best in people, and can be the best motivation for getting in shape. Kathy Hankins, 55, of Reno, Nev., had one goal in mind — to climb the base of Mount Everest.

“It has just always been a goal of mine in the back of my head,” said Hankins. “My dad gave me a book on Mt. Everest when I was like 10 years old and ever since then I wanted to climb it. It was my bucket list.”

Hankins joined Fitness Connection, then a Gold’s Gym, in August of 2010. Having never been a gym-goer, she was shopping around at a few clubs and chose Fitness Connection because it was so clean. “My first overall impression here was it was clean. You can just tell a clean gym when you walk in.”

She realized she wasn’t getting any younger and decided to get in shape to climb Everest. “My son looked at me like I was nuts, but we started looking into the trips to see what the physical trip was like,” she explained. In order to prepare, one needs at least a year with a trainer emphasizing strength training.

“[The gym] saved my life. They got me to Everest. It’s changed my life. I look good; I feel good. And I made it to Everest. I left Oct. 13 and I got back Nov. 11. We were hiking the whole time. It was an epic adventure.” Hankins, together with her son, completed the 14-day hike to Everest. They traveled with a guided group from REI Adventures.

Hankins lost 20 pounds before she signed up for her membership and then proceeded to lose 60 pounds with the help of two trainers. Finding a trainer that would jive with Hankins’ early morning schedule — she works out at 4:30 a.m. — was a must. She began working out with a trainer twice a week.

She now works out seven days a week and wakes up every morning excited to go to the gym and workout. “I love to exercise. Who knew I would love to exercise? I look so forward to going every morning. I get excited just talking about it!”

Her second trainer, Marlene, was pivotal in getting her prepared for her trip. Hankins said Marlene researched what types of workouts she would need and made sure to think of everything to get her body prepared for the trip. They worked on altitude training and made sure Hankins’ body was strong enough for the trip.

On her trip, Hankins definitely felt prepared. She said she was surprised at how strong her legs felt and how she was able to just keep going. “It feels so good to feel this good. If I hadn’t had this goal I don’t know where I would be now.”

When matching personal trainers with members, make sure the personal training department has a good understanding of the member themselves. Knowing their specific goals and special interests will help set up the best possible fit the first time. Spending more time on the forefront could pay off huge for both the member and the training department. Hankins would have liked to find Marlene sooner. Trainers should be able to inspire members who may not have a goal set — perhaps they can come up with one together. Motivated members will garner the best results. -CS

By Ali Cicerchi

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