By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
The Professor has donned his reporter’s cap for this story, promising to share occasional stories about what our fellow Quad-Citians do to stay in shape. You just might find something that helps you, too!
Joe Ambrose kept himself in shape playing sports throughout high school and college. After he graduated from St. Ambrose in 1982, he has continued to stay in shape.
At the very least, he tries to break a sweat every day.
“It’s a lifestyle,” Joe says.
He doesn’t let social obligations get in the way of his workout, and he tries to keep his job from interfering as well.
Joe has been a teacher and a football coach at Pleasant Valley High School for more than 30 years. These days he works with the freshmen team. With all the meetings and practices this time of year, Joe says it can be a challenge to get his workouts in.
But he manages.
Joe’s tried a lot of different workouts over the years.
He used to hit the weight room, work the elliptical and ride his bike, all the while being conscious of his diet (oatmeal for breakfast, usually a salad for lunch).
Then a colleague suggested Joe change up his routine with group fitness classes at the Downtown Davenport and the North Family Ys.
“I found doing 2 or 3 classes a week took care of everything I needed,” Joe says.
“Yeah, I did my bike rides in between (Joe tackles QC-area hills with his 7-speed Raleigh), but I’d show up at the Y several nights a week and get everything I needed. Cardio. Core. Flexibility. Balance.”
Joe says even though he’s a bit of an introvert, he enjoyed working out with a group of like-minded people. They held each other accountable.
Eventually, though, the instructors left and Joe stopped attending the actual group classes.
Today he continues the “group” workout by himself using YouTube as his guide.
“Same concept and same goals, but I’m doing it by myself again,” Joe says. “I’m still being led by an instructor, but now it’s just me.”
He follows the routines of HIIT and Tabata videos on his iPad. (Google them!)
It’s convenient to be able to work out in his basement, Joe says, but having a real teacher to begin with was very helpful.
“I never would have understood exactly what to do without taking the group classes first,” he says.
For someone just starting out? Joe says he would never tell anyone to follow his lead.
“Fitness is doing what’s best for you,” he says. “That takes time and effort to discover. It takes experimentation. Find what you like and buy into that.”
It’s not going to happen overnight.
“I can’t stand it when people say they are going on a 6 week diet or they’re going to do this 8 week program,” Joe says.
“You can’t eat this was way for 6 weeks so you can fit into something for a week vacation and then be done.”
As Joe says, it’s a lifestyle.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|