Vanguard fitness at work

I found my way to wellness — at work!

In early 2015, I was suffering. Years of working a desk job and a sedentary lifestyle had taken their toll and my health was worsening. My blood pressure was way too high, and gout attacks frequently made it agonizing to walk. Sleep apnea and acid reflux meant I rarely got a decent night’s rest. At 41, I wasn’t too young to be at risk of a heart attack (or worse). It was time to do something. Lucky for me, Vanguard has an amazing wellness staff here to help – at Vanguard’s fitness center called ShipShape.

Small steps and big changes

I started with baby steps, like joining ShipShape’s six-week group weight-loss challenge and hitting the gym regularly. Encouraged by our specialist, I kept a food diary and changed my eating habits. I walked on the treadmill for a half-hour. I used the stairs instead of the elevator to get to my desk on the third floor. At the gym, the ShipShape team greeted me by name almost immediately, which built up my sense of belonging, as well as the accountability that I needed to make this a habit. They have been with me every step of the way.

Vanguard fitness at work

Jumping to the next level

As time went on, I gravitated to group exercise classes, where I did things I never thought possible. I lifted a barbell for the first time in my life – then did 800 reps in 45 minutes. I punched and kicked through a cardio workout. I swung a kettlebell. I jumped on a BIG box. And then I did it all again. (At home, I annoyed my kids by threatening living-room burpees. Hey, I’m still a dad.)

The results came almost immediately. I lost a tremendous amount of weight that first year, but just as important, was developing the routine and the commitment to make this a lifestyle change. My family tracked my weekly weigh-ins. I had to buy new clothes! My team at work noticed. People who hadn’t seen me in a while were surprised by my transformation. “You did all this at Vanguard?” more than one person asked me.

Vanguard fitness at work

It takes a (supportive) village

Make no mistake, this can be hard work, but the ShipShape staff are there to guide you through it. Austin has us pedaling for our lives in Group Cycling (but you don’t notice it, with such a fun soundtrack). Shannon doesn’t skip any of the toughest kickboxing choreography. Brandon and Chelsea sweat it out with us in every class they lead.  I can’t argue with the results! There’s nothing more energizing and motivating than pushing yourself to the limit while surrounded by dedicated crew focused on a common goal. I have strengthened my Vanguard network, made new friends, and even found my current job through a workout buddy. And if I haven’t been around in a while, someone notices.

For me, fitness just fits

I have a favorite shirt that I wear to the gym – it has the words MAKE HISTORY emblazoned in big red letters on a gray background. It was a Father’s Day gift from my wife and three children a few years back. This shirt is the symbol of a miracle. I wear it to celebrate how far I’ve traveled on my wellness journey and to remind myself why I so often visit ShipShape. The center is always there for me – I can go before breakfast or at lunchtime, which suits my family’s busy schedule. I know the specialists will greet me with a smile and that I’ll see friends and might try something new. Three years later, my ShipShape family is a significant part of who I am as a Vanguard crew member. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Today, I’m more present and available for my Vanguard team, my peers, and most importantly, my wife and kids. I stay active, and my health has dramatically improved. I find that I contribute more at work and at home. So, what’s next for me? I plan to keep making history.

-Jeff B.

Vanguard fitness at work

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