JD Morris, Georgetown ON

  • Bao Institute

Having starved myself for three weeks, in September of 2013 I summoned the courage to enter BAO Institute for Healthy Living. Stupidly, I didn’t think I was fit enough to enter a gym, a place I needed to go to get fit. I lacked more than endurance, strength, or fitness: I lacked confidence. I jokingly described myself as an “amorphous sack of goo” or “gelatinous cube.” My body fat was greater than the square root of 5, I smoked a pack of Winston’s a day, had divorced that summer, and was convinced I was to remain forever alone, an aging bowling pin in a joke about middle age.
I used to be athletic and had frequented gyms decades ago, so I thought I’d quietly join one and work on a tricep or a deltoid or two, whatever they were. Making sure nobody was looking, I darted into BAO and nervously expressed interest in joining. I was ready to go with my 1970s-style basketball shorts and a wet wipe. I was interviewed (what was this?) and immediately scheduled for a workout and analysis; my gluteus maximus would have to wait for 24 hrs. Staff texted me to confirm my time the next day and since I was out of excuses and ideas, I showed up. Good thing I did.

Twice I was trained, analyzed, and given feedback on body fat, shape, strength, and endurance. I was quizzed on my diet, general activities, previous experiences, and injuries: everything was recorded in my log, and kept on file. Most importantly, they were interested in my goals, which, it turned out, were not what I thought they were. Helping me to define and then realize my goals changed my life, and that of my son, Jack, who trains at BAO regularly now, with our trainer and friend, Matt.

I had intended to merely join a gym, lose a bit of weight, work out alone, not with my son, and not hire a trainer, having no idea what that might entail. But after my first workout with Elaina, I decided to give personal training a try, for a short period. It is the best decision I’ve made in years. It changed my life.

Nine months later and I can see my muscles. Lots of them. My gut is gone; my face looks like, a face; I run upstairs; I don’t hesitate to go for a walk or play pick-up ball. When I walk into a room I know that people can tell that I am fit. My diet has entirely transformed due to the encouraging and knowledgeable counseling from staff, the menus and food choices posted on the whiteboard, and the ideas shared in the gym between members. Further, I have made many new friends who share many of my interests, and insecurities. And even when I’m not training with Matt, on-site staff never hesitate to assist me, make suggestions, and give corrections as necessary. And who knew I liked Yoga?

The personal training I receive at BAO has given me the confidence to do so much more with my life, as is the case with my son. He has gone from a shy, slim 14-year-old to a buff, confident, captain of his AAA baseball team. His training allowed him to overcome two nagging injuries, as BAO staff designed a baseball-specific program for him this winter. His coaches cannot believe the transformation. Previously he was too shy to work out: now I drop him off at BAO with the “boys.”

My highest praises are reserved for our trainer, Matt. We now know what we’re doing because Matt didn’t just train us, he taught us, tested us, and changed us: permanently.

Last, and most surprising, I am happier. Not just with the way I look, but deep down emotionally. My moods are steady, I am energized, confident, and upbeat. I credit the exceptional service, knowledge, and expertise of BAO staff for this. A friend of mine joined another gym in town at the same time as I did, and nothing of the sort has occurred in her life. She often tells me she’s left to fend for herself in a cavernous impersonal “fitness center” that happily took her money and dropped her off at the rowing machine.

Finally, I suspect I’ll live longer. But even if I don’t, what time I have now is infinitely more pleasurable than it ever was. None of my pants fit me anymore, but my new girlfriend, who is considerably younger than I am, says that’s a good thing. Thank you to everyone at Bao for all your help.