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John competed in his first Triathlon this August – the Dan Adaire, MD Memorial Triathlon. He placed 2nd in his age group.

John is 56.

He also completed his first century bike ride this September.

No, this is not another story about a member losing weight, or going from weak to fit. John has been active since college. A few years ago, he amped up his workouts so he could challenge himself with running and biking, but generally, he’s been in good shape his whole life. He’s just extra focused right now.

Instead, this is a story about finding long term motivation.

John originally caught our eye because of his recent racing achievements and strong commitment to a more intense exercise routine at age 56. We wondered what his story was. When we found out, we found out what motivated him, not just for the past three years, but his entire life.

He’s been a member of the YMCA for a total of seven years. His office is downtown, so it is convenient for him to drop in at lunch time. He took a “Fitness Over 40” program that Memorial SportsCare hosted because he wanted to compete in running and biking events. Dr. Dan Adaire recommended that he increase the intensity of his workouts – that it would be good for him. John had heard about Ultimate Workout downtown, an hour long intense circuit class that uses cardio, body weight exercises, weights, endurance, core and more, and decided to give it a try. He’s been showing up regularly for the past three years.

Ultimate Workout, along with his triathlon training has prepped him for higher intensity workouts, events, and races. He says he loves the personal challenge. He doesn’t need to win. He only wants to do better than he did last time.

His goals for 2017? Compete in four triathlons and complete two century rides!

As we look towards 2017, we realize it’s easy to get started. What’s hard is to continue. So, we asked what advice John would give someone who needs help committing to exercise for the long haul.

“Just start,” he said. “It’s important, especially as you age. Make time to do it. The difference between people who work out and people who don’t is a lack of motivation. Find what you like to do and establish a routine. Don’t worry about other people and what they are doing. Go at your own pace. You will be surprised how quickly you can gain strength and endurance if you simply stick with it. Before you know it, you will be in Ultimate Workout.”

Besides finding something you genuinely enjoy doing, making time for it, and creating a habit, John also suggests, “Make goals.” Making shorter term, attainable goals can encourage you to keep going. Making long term goals can give you something bigger to work towards!

Finally we asked, “What motivates YOU?”

It was simple: 1. He feels better, and 2. He looks better. He says, “Who doesn’t want to feel better and look better? If you don’t, you’re silly!”


His wife Deborah also comes to the Y. She enjoys yoga, Strive Fit, and circuit classes. His children also grew up playing Y sports!


Today, John rarely misses class. If he does, he misses the people and his whole world is upside down. He believes there is something for everyone – every age and every fitness level – at the Y. He encourages people to try the Y and discover a program they can get into.


Not only will you look better and feel better, you will make great friends that make you want to show up.


By, Jennifer