Category Archives: Motivation

An Amazing Success Story

It’s incredible what a powerful tool exercise can be when we have the proper motivation.  When I bumped into Viola one evening I hardly recognized her.  The transformation she had made in a few short months was stunning!    I asked her to share her story…I hope you find it as inspirational as I did:


My name is Viola DeHaro and I have been a member of the gym on and off for the past 20 years.  I can still remember Julie working at the desk and your sons were there at times.  I loved the different classes you offered; back then our favorite was the Step with Beth.  My kids are all grown now and I retired in November 2010.  I was already overweight and gained another 40 pounds after retirement.

I have high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease and an old knee injury that has a way of creeping up every once in a while.  This past September my blood work, which is checked every 3 months, came back positive for diabetes.  The doctor informed me I would have to start taking another pill which would only cause more kidney damage.  I was already taking 3 pills daily to control my BP and 1 pill for cholesterol.  I asked him to let me try to get a handle on my weight problem and I was going to start going to the gym on a regular basis.  So in October I started my journey.

At first I could only do 2-3 minutes on any machine and I was DYING.  I went almost every day for the first 2 months.  I did only cardio and most of it on machines you can sit down on and exercise.  My knee didn’t hurt like on the treadmill.  I now could last 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Hurrah!  I would not leave until I had burned 300 calories working out.  After 6 weeks of exercise and a daily intake of 1200 calories I was no longer a diabetic…I had lost 15 pounds and was back in the pre-diabetic zone. 

After four months of 4-6 workouts a week at your wonderful gym I was having trouble getting my heart rate up.  So after a visit to my Doctor he decided to take me off one of my blood pressure pills.  Hurrah, it worked–I was now able to get my heart rate up.  After six months of this program I had lost 40 pounds and was no longer pre-diabetic and my cholesterol reading had also dropped.  So the doctor took me off another BP pill and the cholesterol pill.

So to make a long story short, since October I have lost 52 pounds and have eliminated 2 BP pills and 1 cholesterol pill.  I was able to accomplish this with really just eating less and exercising.  After losing 40 pounds I started taking classes again.  I really enjoy the Cardio Dance class with Lana and the Baila Beats.  I love how you offer so many options for us older members.

Thank you HealthQuest and Tony for your vision.




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Filed under Fitness & Health, Motivation, Weight Loss


IT’S HERE!  HealthQuest’s High Intensity Training Boot Camp

Our dynamic team of fitness instructors is taking the training outside this summer.  Classes will meet just a few short blocks away from the Club, at St. John’s Lutheran School.  There participants will be led through a fun and challenging exercise class that’s been designed to get you the quickest results possible.

This new program is an exclusive offering available only to HQ members.  All fitness levels are welcome, but  space is limited.  Class sizes will be kept small so that each participant gets plenty of counseling and direction.  If you’re looking to add something fresh and exciting to your workout routine, this may be just what you need.

We will be offering 2 four-week sessions: June 13th-July 10th and then July 11-August 7th.  Available class times are M,W,F 5:45-6:45am, T,TH 6:15-7:15pm, and Saturday 7:00-8:00am.  You can register to take either two or three classes per week.  Class fees and registration information is available at the front desk at the Club.

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Filed under Cardio Training, Extreme Fitness, Fitness & Health, Motivation

A Lifetime of Exercise

Below is a short profile of HealthQuest member Else Ross that was written by our GM Gail Conrads.  Else is 93 years old and has a wonderful attitude and a great sense of humor.  When asked her thoughts on aging, she replied “I’m not fond of it”.  That may be true, but she’s certainly doing it well. 

Else became a HealthQuest member in 1997, when she was 80 years old and can still be seen almost daily working out right along with the rest of us.   I had the pleasure of interviewing Else and I can tell you she has had an incredibly interesting life. 

Else was born in Germany to very active parents.  Her Mother was so fitness conscious that one of Else’s first memories is having her mother teach calisthenic type exercise classes to groups of children.  This early life experience has led the way for Else to stay active her entire life.  

While attending Medical School, this vivacious soul remembers getting up early in the morning and doing floor exercises before going to school.  Else was a Family Practitioner for 25 years in Oakland and then returned to school to obtain a doctorate in Psychiatry.  This second career spear-headed the move to Napa.   While living in Oakland, her favorite activity was an Afro Haitian Dance class.   Dancing really has always been her most loved form of exercise.  In fact, she still attends a ballroom dance class in Sonoma with about 16 other people and has done so for the past 14 years. 

 She has always used a bicycle as a means of transportation.   When Else and her husband would go to San Francisco for theatre events they would pack their bicycles in the car and use them to get around the city.  Later in her life they lived up on Mt. Veeder and again they would take their bicycles up on the Mt. Veeder ridge for pleasure and exercise.    Else actually rode her bike to HealthQuest from south Napa until about 2 years ago.  She says “I did not stop because of balance or because I could not ride the bike.  I just couldn’t lift it up to put it away anymore!”

HealthQuest receives Else’s praise for  helping her keep her balance, strength, and endurance.   Lana’s Aerobic Dance and Margaret’s ball class were in her repertoire until the recent past.   Else says “Now I come in 5-6 days a week.   I still work with the ball, I ride a bike, I do the machines I like, and  then I get down on the floor and do Dambala, an African dance snake movement that works the spine.   I love to move and I attribute my balance and overall health to the fact that I just never stopped”. 

I believe that Else possesses one of the keys to longevity—the lifelong love of exercise and awareness of one’s physical and mental health.    Cheers to you Else!   You are an inspiration to all HealthQuest members!


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Filed under Motivation


Tired of that big jiggly gut?

It’s time to get out of that rut

Here are some tips

To slim down your hips

And help you get off of your butt

We know nothing about motivation. All we can do is write books about it.     Peter F. Drucker

And a lot gets written about motivation, especially this time of year.  Goals, resolutions, changing habits, there’s no shortage of ideas and opinions out there.  Rather than rehashing what’s already been published , I decided to compile some of my favorites.  I sincerely hope that you find something here that inspires you to make 2010 your best year ever!

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.        Theodore Roosevelt

Lots of people, whether they’ll admit it or not, make New Years Resolutions.  This link lists the top ten  2010 New Years Goals and Resolutions.  No surprise that losing weight and getting fit are both high on the list.  There are also video clips with instructions on how to succeed for each item.

For a different take on succeeding with your fitness goals, we turn to Nerd Fitness.  He has some strong opinions, but generally the advice is sound and the perspective is refreshing.  Here’s a post titled Become A Jedi: How the Force Can Help You Get in Shape that I think you might enjoy.

Delving back into the mainstream, here’s some good advice from Dr. Oz.  His List of Realistic Resolutions gives us simple, practical and fairly easy changes we can make to enhance our lives.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.    Zig Ziglar

It is often said that resolutions that are made without measurable goals are doomed to failure.  So “getting in shape” just doesn’t cut it.  You need something more specific, and with fitness training, that’s easy.

How about focusing on a race of some type?  Cool Running has race training plans for any distance between 5k (a little over 3 miles) and a marathon.  Why not split the difference and train for the Napa/Sonoma half marathon this summer?

If you’re looking for something that challenges your overall fitness level, how about trying to pass one of these military fitness tests.  Army, Coast Guard, Navy Seals, they’re all there.  Most have standards for men and women, and different age classes as well.  Pick one that looks like a reasonable goal and go for it!

Here’s one that’s a little odd.  Five fitness benchmarks a man must master comes from a book published in 1926 by Earle Liederman.  He was a strong man and physical culture enthusiast.  In his book  Endurance Liederman makes the case that every man should be physically fit enough to save his own life in an emergency.   He sets out five fitness benchmarks that indicate whether a man is up to this task.  I am actually 4/5ths of the way through this one myself.  Now I just have to see if I can swim a half mile without drowning!

If none of those interest you, let’s cast a broader net.  Here’s a site with over 120 fitness tests.  If you can’t find something there, you’re just not trying hard enough.

The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.      Og Mandino

Once you have selected your goal, it’s time to devise a game plan that will lay out exactly how you’re going to get there.  Here is a  Goal Setting Worksheet  that takes you through a 12 step plan to help you do this.

Now comes the hard part… you must do the daily tasks that lead you to your goal.  Here is a comprehensive site that lists 29 Ways to Successfully Ingrain a Behavior.

For a simpler method of turning a new activity into a habit, you can read the article I wrote yesterday about comedian Jerry Seinfeld.  The Seinfeldian Chain is a powerful way to help reinforce any type of behavior change you’re trying to make.

I’ll leave you with a short video clip…hopefully it will give you some inspiration and get your new year headed in the right direction.

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Filed under Motivation