Charles didn’t grow up playing sports or going to the gym. He hadn’t participated in many athletic activities. But 6 years ago, after his mother-in-law with Parkinson’s passed away in a nursing home, he decided to change that. While looking after his mother-in-law, he had observed the other residents there at the nursing home – weak and unable to move by themselves, requiring 24-hour care. He also witnessed his father pass away at 85 years old. His father had given up golf and an active lifestyle to be sedentary, sitting on a couch for most of the day watching TV. “When you lose the ability to move…it’s too easy to go that way,” Charles muses. Fear of this disability propelled him to action.
Charles had just turned 50 and altered his career path, and with these milestones, he knew it wasn’t too late to become active and strong as well. Charles joined SoulCycle. He loved it. He went at least 3 days a week, participating in workouts even more consistently than his wife. He was looking forward to being in the best shape of his life…then COVID-19 spread over the world. SoulCycle closed and re-opened outdoors, but it wasn’t the same for Charles. He tried staying fit with a Peloton bike at home, but this also didn’t accommodate the crucial community aspect of fitness for him. He started realizing that while cycling had been a good start to his fitness, he needed something more well-rounded.
In early 2021, Charles’ research on Google and Yelp turned up a promising place – Reason Fitness. He participated in a consult with Drew, met and connected with Eric, and found that Reason aligned well with all his values; not just for functional fitness but also even his business ideals. Charles signed up for a Hybrid membership with Luke and eventually even was able to involve Auge, his track-and-field athlete son, in the process.
Seven months later, Charles is still meeting with Luke every Tuesday morning with Auge. He sees Reason as his fitness family, his community, where he’s not alone in his journey towards longevity. He has a support system of coaches like Luke and Miguel (whom he describes as “10 feet of people in a 5-foot body”), and friends who are “goals” (Jerry and Vince). No one, not even Luke, has to tell him twice what to do with his diet or water intake; Charles is already motivated to do it. He’s working all aspects of his fitness, not just cycling on a bike with hand weights. He looks forward to that one hour of the day that is encompassed by pain and effort, always striving to finish the workout, even if he’s the last one out there. It’s not easy. It hurts. But to Charles, the discomfort of pushing himself through an AMRAP is worth it.
These days when he has a doctor’s appointment, there’s nothing much to talk about – except that his doctor tells him that he’s on a great path and wishes that other patients were, too. Charles reflects: “If I sat in a La-Z-Boy watching sports for the next 10 years, this wouldn’t be the case.”
Charles has some advice to those who make excuses to avoid working out. “Most of my friends don’t work out because they’re ‘busy’. I hate that word; everyone uses it for everything. You can spend 1 hour at CrossFit and it will take 8 hours of nursing home care off your life. Reason is a beautiful place for that. When I see Luke working with new members, they’re not bodybuilders that walk into our gym. They’re people off the streets like everyone else, busy people, and they’re putting that hour in. And you get your time back in spades. You’re not too busy to give yourself the ability to hang out with grandkids and not be weak, confined to a bed in a nursing home.”
Charles doesn’t use the excuse “I’m busy”. He’s no longer afraid of disability, and it’s clear why. Whenever he hits a workout at Reason, there’s one line that comes to his mind that echoes his sentiment about that uncomfortable workout – pain is weakness leaving the body.