Husband, wife find fitness, accountability
BY COSHANDRA DILLARDcdillard@tylerpaper.com
For Ryan and Andrea Younger, fitness is a family affair. Even before they opened their new gym, RX Fitness, in May, they worked out together and became each other's biggest cheerleader.
"Having somebody with me to do this only makes it better and he holds me accountable," Mrs. Younger said. "I hold him accountable."
Mrs. Younger, 29, started working with a personal trainer a few years ago, and it wasn't long before her husband joined her at the gym. They were both introduced to the CrossFit program -- a workout that includes a few minutes of high-intense functional movements. It took a few months for Younger, 30, to catch onto the workout, but he eventually fell in love with it.
"There's something in you that makes you go back," Mrs. Younger said. "I never really thought I would like this style of workout as much as I do. ... We both started seeing improvement in the way our bodies looked and also how we did during the workouts. We could both work out much better. We didn't tire as easily."
The workouts also unleashed a chain effect, leading to other healthy choices.
"Doing these types of workouts makes you want to eat better because you know you're going to perform better if you're putting the right things in your body," Younger said.
Younger, a former nurse, is now a CrossFit level 1 trainer and utilizes that program at his small gym near Old Jacksonville Highway. The name of Younger's gym is a concept that indicates exercise is a natural prescription for the body.
"If you do that workout exactly as it's written, that's called doing it as it's prescribed," Younger said. "So I liked that whole term because I had been in the health care field."
During a session last week, he had a small group of dedicated members performing five pullups, nine kettlebell swings and 14 overhead lunges.
Owning a gym was not part of Younger's vision until he and his wife changed their lifestyle. He had been nurse for nine years, then transitioned into an administrative role while pursuing a bachelor's degree in business.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Younger has lost about 40 pounds in the past year and his wife shed 60 over three years. Weighing more than 220 pounds and living a sedentary lifestyle, it was only a matter of time before Younger would experience health woes.
"There is a history of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney problems, liver problems, all running in my family," he said. "I was not put on any medication for any of it but they told me to do something. I was told I had a fatty liver. A lot of people don't realize that your organs can hold onto fat, too."
Younger's body fat dropped from 29 percent to 19 percent within a year. His cholesterol also dropped at least 60 points.
Mrs. Younger suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that makes it difficult to conceive and to lose weight. Her fitness journey has been a constant struggle, but she perseveres. She has noticed changes to her shape and she's down three sizes.
"It's a slow process for me," she said. "I take my gains and my losses all at the same time."
The couple has dabbled with the Paleo and Zone diets, eating little processed foods. Because the couple has worked hard to improve their quality of life, they want to enable others to achieve their health goals as well. Helping others help themselves has always been an aspiration for Younger.
"I realized how much it helped me and how much it made me change," Younger said. "I wanted to give that to other people. I always told Andrea, 'I wish I could help everybody.' I always thought of it as a monetary thing. I realized that I could do that with this instead of just doing it with money. Really, this is more important because if you don't have your health, it doesn't matter how much money you've got."
The fitness industry as a whole is relatively new, Younger pointed out, so there are many misperceptions about weight loss and wellness.
"I always preach that weight doesn't matter," he said. "It's the amount of fat that you lose. Losing weight isn't the object. That's the term that everybody uses, but what they're wanting is to lose fat, not weight. It actually takes muscle to burn fat. Whenever you gain muscle, you're setting yourself up to burn fat."
He also believes it is better to use all of the body's muscles during a workout versus target training.
"Very few people realize that the body works as a whole and so whenever you go into a gym and get into a machine that makes you do arm curls, that's isolating your biceps," he said. "That's not how your body works. ... You use your whole body to move naturally. You don't have to work certain parts of the body to make them better. You can just work them as a whole and you'll get better."
The key to the Youngers' success, they say, has been their focus and dedication.
"You get to a point where you realize you can do more," Younger said. "It's just mental. You can do so much more than you think you can do."
For more information about RX fitness, visit www.facebook.com/RxFitnessTraining