I keep writing and deleting... here goes.
Fred, one of my best friends and a remarkable part of Pure Transformation has passed after complications following a car accident. It is of great importance that I share with anyone interested in wellness exactly what Fred taught me, during my time teaching him.
First of all, he is THE emblem of "if you don't use it, you lose it." He was extremely adamant, and of course he and I agreed on this, that when you stop using your body / investing in your body's independence, it will begin to fail you. At the age of 86-89, things work against you harder. If you don't push back and swim, that which is pushing against you (time and degeneration) will win. Even when we're young - some are luckier than others - but if you don't put some time, care and training into your body it will start to create imbalances and insufficiencies. Simply put, our bodies run themselves to a degree but they will begin to run the wrong way or even sputter if we don't work with them and push through obstacles. Always move forward. Fred exercised in the pool, trained twice a week and golfed every chance he got. In the winter he would drive himself to places he could go for walks to make sure he was moving as best he could.
He was not a man who liked to settle. He was willing to do what it took to be at his best. And frankly, he was living in a house, playing golf, going to movies and shows, lunches and dinners, laughing and joking about fat loss until the day of that accident. A few days before the accident we had one of our very regular chats:
"How's your nutrition going these days, Fred?"
Fred would give a crooked smile, shake and hang his head, and eventually confess that he either drove up to the ice cream shop and slammed a two scoop cup plus two chocolate bars before getting back home, or bought Haagen Daz bars because they were on sale, giving himself a daily limit, only to consume the whole box in a sitting. He just wanted to lose 5 pounds!
Despite the obstacle of sugar (!), he pushed through and bounced back from almost every other difficulty he faced. From a fitness perspective, this is the number one thing worth noting about him. His attitude. He simply never gave up. He was always a story of inspiration for any of my other participants (and myself) and he always will be.
Apart from the direct connection to fitness, Fred inspired me in many other ways. One of which, without an outpouring of personal detail, is how earnestly he expressed the lessons he learned in his own life. It's hard to simplify this concept, but his perspective on what matters most in life became so fine-tuned during the years that I knew him. This was my favourite thing about him, as my friend. This changed the way I think and will think throughout my own life. He played hardball throughout a lot of his life. But he internalized every single thing he learned. He was an incredibly thoughtful and compassionate human being. His connection to children and animals became so exemplified, his curiosity for the experience of others - my favourite days were when he would just suddenly turn to me and say the most groundbreaking philosophical statement, summing up his absolute bubbling appreciation for life. As broad as that sounds, you have to understand that it really was composed of one thousand or more parts.
Through our constructive work together on his fitness and physical independence, we also really listened and talked and listened and talked. We understood each other greatly. He gave me an incredible outlet for my own grand thoughts and ideas and I so valued hearing his.
Wellness, and family. No matter who your family is composed of. It doesn't have to be blood - at the end of the day and even at the end of wellness, it's family that matters. Watching lives change, watching mistakes and the resolve from mistakes. Humour! Apart from his persistence and accountability when it came to his health management, these are the important parts Fred leaves me with.
Saying I'll miss him during our twice weekly sessions (and the time in between) is an understatement. Things won't be the same. But if I can continue to highlight these valuable insights and memories I've gained, that will be okay and I'll always be lucky for it.
So, let's all keep pushing forward and thriving to be better until the very end of our days.