Sept. 13, 2012
-- Although Rikki Schwartz of Waterford, Michigan has carved out a successful career as a chemical engineer, her health was not always as prosperous. “I was exhausted all the time; I rarely had any surplus energy, and thereby resisted most varieties of social activities,”
Schwartz explains. “I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without being winded.” Schwartz was growing increasingly exasperated with her inability to keep up with friends and family—even attending a simple art fair was exhausting.
With her upcoming 46th birthday, Schwartz knew she had to make lifestyle changes. “I realized that the distance to 50 was shorter than the distance from 40,” she says. “I concurrently realized that I likely would not make it past 60 if I didn’t do something as soon as possible, or if I did make it past 60, my quality of life would be dismal.” Admitting her diminished well-being was just the first step. The exercise component, which she knew had to be a part of her journey to better health, was a different obstacle entirely. Schwartz not only associated exercise with discontentment, but fear. The thought of working out was daunting. As Schwartz explains: “Exercise had always meant two things to me: pain and humiliation.”
Much of her insecurity stemmed from grade school, where she had struggled to keep up with her peers. Avoiding fitness altogether just seemed easier, though it led to a multitude of issues for Schwartz as she approached middle age.
Although she knew that she had to overcome her trepidation, the thought of joining a health club wasn’t even remotely appealing. Beyond the challenge of finding motivation to leave her home to exercise, Schwartz just couldn’t face the deep-rooted public humiliation that she associated with gyms. Contacting Perfect Personal Training, whose wellness professionals would come right to her home, seemed like a much better fit, especially with her busy career. She loved the thought of a “gym” knocking on her door and asking her for just an hour of time, which for Schwartz was far more motivating than packing a duffle bag full of spandex and leaving her house.
Working with Perfect Personal Trainers Val Fiott and Jordan Gruppen in the comfort of her own home, Schwartz never imagined that she would trade shame for a decreased body fat percentage and new-found confidence. But that wasn’t before Fiott helped Schwartz realize something even more important: she was asthmatic. “I did not even suspect the condition until Val Fiott encouraged me to seek medical attention about three months after I began working out with him, once he believed that I was experiencing what he believed to be asthmatic symptoms during my workouts,” Schwartz says. The discovery explained some unanswered questions for her, including why she had avoided most physical activities for much of her life. “That may have been addressed medically when I was younger, had I known that asthma was, in fact, largely responsible for my lack of aerobic capacity,” she says.
Asthmatic or not, Schwartz wasn’t about to let anything inhibit her at this point in her life. Her continued work with Perfect Personal Training produced incredible results. Schwartz never realized until her initial work with Fiott how truly at risk her health was. Although she had always considered herself to be of “average” weight, she learned through Perfect Personal Training’s in-home consultation and fitness assessment that her body fat percentage was nearly 45 percent. “I was thereby morbidly obese,” she explains. “That was obviously disturbing.”
But these numbers didn’t perturb her for too long. Schwartz still holds on to an email she received from a coworker about a year after working with PPT. In the email, her coworker remarked how fabulous Schwartz looked. “I do not know what you are doing but it looks good on you,” the uplifting email read. Schwartz was ecstatic. “It was the first time I had ever felt empowered to take credit for a physical transformation of any kind because it was the first time I’d ever put any real effort into it,” she exclaims. “As such, it wasn’t just a matter of being proud of my appearance, but moreover proud of the effort that I had invested into it.”
Since beginning with Perfect Personal Training, the now 50-year-old Schwartz has decreased her body fat percentage by nearly 10 percent, dropped her BMI to a much healthier level, and completely changed her eating habits. “Considering I was, prior to PPT, a dyed-in-the-
wool carb addict, and ate very, VERY little lean protein, the nutritional transformation has been miraculous,”
she emphasizes. “Val’s encouragement of my food journaling, along with educating me regarding the recommended limits, really helped to set me on the right nutritional path.” Her dialogue with food has completely changed, particularly her former infatuation with fast food, which Schwartz said she used as a “quick high” in her old life. “Now, I think of food as a tool: ‘How will this improve my life, today and in the days to come?’ [There’s] no comparison.”
Aside from her dramatically-
improved physical appearance and overall health, Schwartz is clearly in love with the way she now feels. “I am prouder of my appearance, my ability to keep up with my peers, and in general, my ability to honestly say that working out is a routine, prioritized, conscious, and dedicated focus of my life,” she says. “Nobody who knew me before 2008 would ever have believed that those words could/would come out of my mouth.” Schwartz attributes her success to Perfect Personal Training’s accessibility and commitment to her success. Schwartz stresses that had she even considered a gym, the added commute would double her daily exercise commitment, making a steadfast fitness routine nearly impossible for her. Convenience, attention, and encouragement were just a few of the adjectives she used to describe the reason for her nearly five-year investment with Perfect Personal Training. “My experience with PPT has been one of structure, security and safety,” she says. “I have stuck with PPT because they deliver exactly what they promise – personalized workouts that are paced for success, in the privacy of my own home.”