Like so many mothers, Joi kept putting herself last. Her time and energy was all directed toward her four young children and family life. When her youngest children (twins) started school, it finally opened up the opportunity for Joi to prioritize her health and fitness. While her kids had always played sports through the YMCA, she had never used the facilities for herself. Unsure of where to begin, she decided to work with one of the YMCA’s personal trainers, Pam Rouse. Joi started a four-day a week workout routine that included two sessions with her trainer and two days working out on her own. Joi explains, “Fast forward one year later and 60 pounds lighter, I now actually look forward to working out 5 days a week!”
Joi’s weekly fitness routine includes one 30-minute session with her trainer, a kickboxing class, a Triple Threat class and working out on her own. She uses the treadmill, free weights, ropes, medicine balls and bosu ball. She learned that the only way to have time to work out, is to make the time to work out. As soon as her family is off to work and school, Joi leaves for the gym. Afterward, she is ready to take on the rest of her day.
Joi feels great and is pleased to have accomplished so much. Her family motivates her to stay fit. She and her daughter ran a 5K–without stopping! Joi’s advice for anyone who has put their fitness on the back burner, “Talk to a Personal Trainer to see what is right for you. Start out slow.”
Alex Lyttle, 43 | Banker, Treasury Management Officer
After getting out of the Army in 2005, Alex stopped focusing on his fitness. In 2012 his doctor informed him that he had high blood pressure, acid reflux and a high cholesterol level. She said that he was facing a life of dependency on medication if he didn’t take immediate action.
Alex decided to fight for his health. This husband and father of three now enjoys a leaner diet and structured exercise regimen. He has lost 70 pounds, lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol and totally eliminated his acid reflux. “The focus I put into my fitness now will hopefully pay off as time goes by, decreasing the chances of severe medical issues down the road,” he said. “The short term gain has been better mobility and a more confident outlook on life.”
Alex schedules two individual workouts a week early in the morning before his son goes to school. He and his wife work out together a couple times a week in the evening while their youngest son is in Tae-Kwon-Do. They enjoy talking during a long walk together or while working out side-by-side at the gym.
For Alex, staying fit is a social activity. He uses apps and pedometers that allow him to share and discuss his progress via social media. He and his network encourage one another and try to lead by example. He is very proud to have completed his first Mini-Marathon in 2013!
Bill Crank, 45 | Owner, Crankworks Bicycles
Bill believes that it’s important for fitness to be part of a lifestyle. He explains, “For me, if I looked at it as something I had to do, it would be much harder. I’ve made a sport my hobby!”
Bill loves adventure, travel and competition. These factors make cycling a natural fit for him. He and his brother got into BMX as children and his love of the sport has stayed with him ever since. He is a member of the Bluegrass Cycling Club and 859 Cycling. Since joining the groups and opening his own bicycle shop, Bill has seen amazing physical transformations from people who became avid cyclists.
Juggling life as a husband, small business owner and father of two busy teenagers, one would find it tough to find time for fitness. But Bill says that riding before work or commuting maximizes his time.
Bill has some nutrition goals. He always tries to avoid processed foods, while enjoying more natural ingredients, fruits and vegetables. He drinks lots of water and always eats breakfast, snacking on apples or Epic bars.
One of Bill’s biggest accomplishments was completing the Cape Epic 8-day mountain bike race in South Africa. He loves being outdoors, so he enjoys a mountain bike rides on local trails and only rides indoor bikes as a last resort.
For anyone interested in getting fit or discovering cycling, Bill advises connecting with someone with knowledge about biking. “Seek out someone who has experience–who has gone through the process and can mentor you,” he suggests.
Jennifer Hendren, 45 | Marketing/Event Coordinator, Ageless Center Medical Weight Loss & MedSpa
Between work and her three children, Jennifer’s schedule is busy. For that reason, she knows she has to consciously make time for fitness. She gets up at 5:30 am, four days a week to exercise. She also fits in exercise as time allows, especially on weekends. “I’ve never been a morning person—still not!” She explained, “But I always feel fabulous after my workouts and it gets my day started right.”
This past spring, Jennifer began to run. Her “trainer” is the Runkeeper app, which allows her to adjust her program and goals. Jennifer says she’s made tremendous progress so far, in spite of never thinking she’d be a runner. Her goal is to pick up her pace and perhaps even enter some races! She also enjoys boot camps, stretching and working out with free weights. Her splurge food is a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato once a week.
While she has always been active, staying fit isn’t an easy task for Jennifer in the winter. She suffers from Raynaud’s Phenomenon, a condition that causes areas of her body to lose circulation in response to cold temperatures. This makes her hands incredibly painful outdoors in the winter, so she has to take her training indoors when the temperatures drop.
One of Jennifer’s proudest accomplishments is earning her brown belt in Shaolin Martial Arts. For anyone who wants to get fit this year, Jennifer suggests walking. “My husband and I walk together a lot in the summer. It’s excellent ‘together’ time,” she explained. “No equipment or gym membership necessary!”
Bobby Cummins, 46 | Kentucky Farm Bureau Agency Manager
As a kid, Bobby carried a little extra weight and not much muscle tone. He now works to ensure he stays fit. “It makes me feel better, and better about my appearance,” he explained. “I wasn’t in the best shape as a child, and I don’t want to relive that.”
Typically, Bobby stays fit by doing work around the house, exercising, doing cardio on the elliptical, walking his dog and lifting weights at home. He prefers to get up early to work out, and then catch some cardio in the evening after work while watching the news. Working out a home, he says, means no excuses—he knows he would commit less time to it if he had to go somewhere else to work out. Other people who are fit, or making the effort to be healthier, motivate him to be in his best shape.
Bobby says he loves to eat, so he has to focus on avoiding fast food and sweets. He considers staying in control of his weight a huge accomplishment! He loves to snack on fruit, especially bananas. When he’s not working, Bobby is active with his church.
For anyone who wants to get fit, Bobby recommends starting small. He suggests replacing some beverages with water throughout the day and paying attention to your diet. He said, “Start by walking and work your way up to more, if you’re able.”
Mary Stebbins, 46 | Director of Operations Mark’s Feed Store BBQ Restaurants
While Mary has always been physically active, her fitness focus really shifted when her father passed away from Leukemia. “In order to keep his spirit alive in me, I joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program, which is a charity sports training program,” she explained. “So my running journey began.” She raised money for LLS and, in turn, they trained her for endurance running events. She has since raised over $25,000. She has also mentored other runners for eight seasons.
Mary gets up at 4:30am every morning to complete her workout routine before she starts her workday. She runs 5 days a week and attends boot camp 3 days a week at Coliseum Gym. She says that getting her workout in early means no excuses will get in the way. Mary is involved with Amachi, West End School in Louisville, and her church’s bookstore. She also sponsors two children in Bolivia.
Mary, who has been married for twenty years, is motivated to have a well-lived, quality life that’s not limited by an unhealthy lifestyle. Her diet consists of Zija, protein and fruit shakes, fruits, salads and pastas. She wants to be a good example, using her gifts to inspire others and make a difference. She does this by offering support, understanding their goals and celebrating the victories!
For someone who doesn’t know how to start their fitness journey, Mary recommends committing to a goal, starting with small steps and never, ever giving up.
Pat Madden, 50 | Real Estate Developer, Attorney-at-law
Pat was always involved in sports and physical activity growing up, but when he started a family and his work schedule became more demanding, staying fit became much more difficult. To make matters worse, he experienced several injuries that limited his workout options, including back surgery. Pat’s doctor advised him against running, which was his main source of cardio. He began to work with a trainer at Promatx, Brad Covington, to develop a program that would strengthen his core while providing cardio training. “Brad literally was the only way I was able to balance my other time demands, compensate for injuries, and remain fit,” Pat explains.
Now, Pat trains four days a week at Promatx, often during his lunchtime. He also swims, uses the Stairmaster at home and throws football with his son. His favorite way to work out, however, is planning fitness vacations with his wife and children that integrate outdoor fitness with quality time.
This husband and father of two children has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the Grand Teton and Mount Whitney. He also competed as a contestant on “American Gladiators” when they came to Rupp Arena in the early 1990s. “I just don’t feel good if I do not workout regularly. I have always been fit and physical fitness was always a high priority of mine,” Pat says. He hopes to pass his passion for fitness on to his children.
Hoping to get fit in 2015? Pat recommends, “Talk to a trainer and have them review your activity level and nutrition, and set goals.”
Karen Hill, 56 | COO, Chief Nursing Officer Baptist Health Lexington
This wife and grandmother has plenty on her plate with work and community involvement, which includes providing day-to-day leadership for Baptist Health Lexington, serving on the advisory board of Women Leading Kentucky, the executive committee of Commerce Lexington, the board of March of Dimes and serving as usher at Rosemont Baptist Church and editor of The Journal of Nursing Administration. Even with all of this demanding her time, Karen always remembers that her fitness is an important commitment. In several years, she has only gone a handful of days without walking somewhere.
Karen gets up 30 minutes early to make time for her workout, which includes walking for 2 miles on a treadmill at a fast pace. “I try to keep my workouts to the morning to not interfere with work or family,” she explains. “I also think this is good for me because I can have some long days with evening meetings and may be too tired to walk if I wait.” She also lifts light hand weights and does push-ups several times a week in the family’s basement, which has a TV to make it fun.
Heart disease runs in Karen’s family and she wants to reverse that trend. She advises anyone who wants to get fit, “I think everyone can do some physical activity, but should check with his or her physician first to get the green light,” Karen suggests. “I think it is helpful to consult with an expert such as a fitness trainer to get a plan to meet their needs and goals.”
Dell Kelly, 58 | Owner, Dana Kelly Oriental Rugs
Dell began riding horses at just three years of age and was showing hunters and jumpers by five. She was also a competitive swimmer and became the youngest person at that time to swim in the Junior Olympics. When she was eight years old, however, Dell’s life changed drastically when her father, a businessman, philanthropist and athlete, passed away due to a massive heart attack caused by a genetic defect. Since then, this defect has resulted in the loss of several of her male family members.
While her heart appears to be healthy, Dell is motivated to stay fit through playing tennis, attending personal training sessions at Body Structure, running and walking, in addition to eating a balanced diet. “I want to make sure that I give myself the best chance possible of living a happy and healthy life,” Dell explains. “I constantly remind myself that the heart is a muscle and needs exercise.” Dell supports the “Farm to Table” movement and tries to buy food from as many local sources as possible.
Dell, a wife and mother who enjoys gardening, reading and doing community volunteer work, is currently a member of the United States Tennis Association Southern Committee. “Tennis is a wonderful sport that combines exercise and fun social interaction,” she says. Her most recent fitness success was making it to the USTA Adult League Tennis Championships, where her team placed second in the nation. “I think the biggest success of fitness is the sense of well being–both physical and mental–that it brings to my life,” Dell explains.
Peggy Trafton, 58 | Executive Director, Rotary Club of Lexington
When Peggy moved to Central Kentucky 9 years ago, a lot of things changed for her. She went from living in a sleepy New York suburb to moving into the heart of Downtown Lexington. Peggy quickly became involved in the running community and the High Street YMCA (where she now serves as a board member). Working out on a regular basis became a part of her routine and helped build her confidence, circle of friends and overall happiness.
Peggy says she loves to mix up her fitness routine, and a perfect summer Saturday includes all the fitness activities she loves. “You might think I’m crazy, but I start with an early morning run with friends and then a tennis game. I follow that up with a bike ride out to Spindletop and a dive in the pool for some lap swimming,” she explains. “The hardest part is the bike ride back downtown!” She enjoys a healthy diet and loves snacking on nuts.
Peggy says that Rotary inspires her to be the best she can be–in mind, body and spirit. She is excited about Rotary’s commitment to Rotary International’s End Polio Now, a program aimed at helping to eradicate polio by 2018. Peggy is also involved with the Bluegrass Auburn Alumni Association and serves as Eucharistic Minister at Christ Church Cathedral. She has two grown children.
When encouraging others to get fit, Peggy says, “It’s never too late to change! I started over with a new town, job, friends and lifestyle at middle age!”
When Debbie started college, she didn’t gain the dreaded Freshman 15–it was more like the Freshman 30! She felt sluggish and her skin began to break out. She has always been interested in fashion, so she was very upset that her clothing no longer fit. She took up cycling, tennis, ballet and aerobics with some girlfriends and in just a few months, her weight quickly returned to normal and her energy level bounced back. Those changes stuck with her, and she has maintained good health since.
This wife and mother of two daughters began teaching fitness classes at 25. She teaches a minimum of 7 classes per week at the Beaumont YMCA, admitting that it keeps her accountable and has been a great example for her daughters. “Knowing that my class participants look to me to guide them to a healthier life is such an honor,” Debbie says. At 59, she feels stronger and more fit as each year goes by and she continues to challenge herself to do even more!
In addition to being a parent and fitness instructor, Debbie is a freelance photographer, sales associate and fashion stylist for Macy’s. She is actively involved with the American Heart Association and is currently in the busy process of building a new home.
Fitness relaxes and empowers Debbie. “When I am having a tough day, I find that five minutes into class, I immediately feel my mind start to relax and enjoy the movement of what I’m doing,” she explains. “I’m able to get things in perspective again!”
Ron Tritschler, 62 | CEO/Senior Legal Counsel: The Webb Companies, VP/General Counsel: Thoroughbred Energy/Traxx Companies
This husband and grandfather has plenty to occupy his time. In addition to his work, he is the chairman of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, on the board of First State Financial Bank and is an independent director for Huntington Bank UST Mutual Funds. Between it all, he still makes time for fitness. “Trying to balance all of this has been quite a challenge; however, I am an advocate of living a longer and more fulfilling life through exercise,” he says.
Ron has always loved to run, but after breaking his foot during the Lexington Catholic 5K race last summer, he has been recuperating. He still jogs, but adds walking into the mix as he continues to heal. He also performs calisthenics every morning before work and goes to the gym to lift weights and use the cardio machines.
“My biggest motivation has been derived from observing my wife’s attitude towards exercising and working out on a regular basis. She has survived breast cancer, a brain tumor, and other serious maladies, yet maintains a positive outlook on life,” Ron explains, saying she even broke her hip one winter by slipping on the ice. “Regardless of these issues, she walks every morning in all kinds of weather conditions, and due to exercise and diet, she has lost a considerable amount of weight recently.”
Ron says his wife is an excellent cook, and together they enjoy fish, chicken and vegetables in their meals. He likes to snack on fruit.
Hiang Thé, 66 | Martial Arts Instructor
In order to lead a long, healthy and productive life, Hiang has made wellness a top priority in his life. He and his wife Jeannie have put healthy living and fitness at the core of their marriage and family for over 32 years. All four of their children are black belts and academically successful, which Hiang believes is a result of their martial arts lessons of focus, dedication and patience.
Hiang stays active and focused through working on the family’s farm, as well as through practicing Tai Chi, Qi Gong, martial arts and traditional Eastern-style calisthenics. He teaches 20 classes a week, as well as lifting weights and doing cardio at the High Street YMCA.
Hiang believes that martial arts provide a total spirit, mind and body workout. He teaches martial arts to students between four and over 80 years of age. “I enjoy seeing all my students grow in mental maturity, physical strength and confidence, at every age level,” Hiang explains. “When you work on your spirit, mind and body, you build character.”
Hiang will be releasing a Tai Chi book and DVD in 2015. For anyone seeking to become more fit with the New Year, Hiang recommends making it a family affair with one of his martial arts classes. “Get in shape as a family,” Hiang suggests. “An activity like martial arts allows you to reach goals as a family; whether that is just getting healthy and starting a workout routine, or advancing through the ranks.”
Tom Padgett, 70 | President, Padgett Construction, Inc.
A heart bypass surgery at 54 was the beginning of a major change in Tom’s lifestyle. Now, his primary physical activities include walking four 15-minute miles a day, along with various core exercises and weight training three times a week. He also plays tennis weekly and goes biking and lap swimming when possible. “I work out because I actually like it; you might say crave it like some do sweets,” he explained. “It’s the best stress reducer and it feeds a desire to eat properly so as not to screw up the benefits.”
Besides his heart health, Tom is motivated to stay fit because he says he is “undertall” and that his wife “looks like a super model”. To stay fit, he maintains a regular fitness schedule. “I have an appointment with myself every day to work out for at least an hour and increase it on weekends,” he explains.
“Aside from discipline and consistency, my fitness tip is to start walking and listening to audio books. The more you enjoy the book the longer you’ll walk and learn to enjoy that as well,” Tom suggested. He also suggests adding a fitness app or monitor so you can automatically track and compete with yourself.
Tom serves on the board of God’s Pantry. He and his wife have four children and eight grandchildren. He is the president of his own company and has built numerous beautiful homes around Kentucky. His diet includes lean proteins; he says he eats almost no red meat or sweets and doesn’t miss either one. Instead, he snacks on fruits and vegetables.
Profiles by Amanda Harper Photos by Phillips Mitchell