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Fit for a rejuvenation

Fitness: How to make the impossible possible in 2012

Posted: December 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Results Fitness client Carol Morton holds up the gold medal she won at her first power-lifting competition.

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Your son has end-stage cancer.” Those words rocked Carol Morton harder than anything ever had before.

She was already dealing with more than a few curveballs.

In 2007, Morton’s daughter-in-law died. Then, in 2008, her dad died.

Those times were very hard for her, but the news of her son being diagnosed with terminal cancer six weeks later was more than she could take.

In August 2010, Morton’s son died of cancer. That was the hardest year.

Before this tumultuous time, at one point, Morton was morbidly obese at 300 pounds. Right before life started to take her on these twists and turns, she had lost 165 pounds.

But with the stress of loss, Morton started to gain the weight back.

She had joined Results Fitness and started working out, but with the news of her son’s cancer, Morton quit the gym, thinking that she needed to be there for her son.

After his death, Morton sank into a deep depression. She “went to bed” and didn’t get out.

By January 2011, her depression was so deep, Morton realized she had to do something or she would die. “My turning point was getting an email from Results Fitness, inviting me to rejoin to the gym. I always felt comfortable there, and knew I needed to go back,” Morton said.

Shortly thereafter, Morton was working out three times a week.

“The only days I got out of bed were to come to the gym. I started to realize that the days I went, I, surprisingly, had more energy. I would leave the gym and have enough energy to get laundry done, wash dishes and run errands,” she said. “The days between I would stay in bed. I decided to go to the gym more often so that I would have more days feeling good.”

As “a woman of a certain age closing in on Medicare,” Morton became interested in anti-aging strategies. She had read more than once, in her AARP magazines and newspaper articles, the same three recommendations to combat aging and the diseases that come along with it, including Alzheimer’s:

1. Lift weights, stretch and do something for your balance.

2.Do something active with your mind.

3.Do something different.

She was already doing the first two recommendations by going to the gym and working on crossword puzzles, but she needed to think about the third one.

At the gym one day, Morton overheard two of the trainers discussing an upcoming power-lifting competition.

“Their excitement and passion for it was contagious, and I was really interested in learning more. I wanted to do something different, and I knew, with Results Fitness in my corner, I could do it responsibly and not get hurt,” she said.

The team designed a program so that Morton could compete in the next meet while working around some of her limitations.

“My knees don’t bend well because I really need them replaced, but I am not into elective pain, so I am putting it off as long as I can,” Morton said. “There has been improvement from my workouts. In fact, my left knee no longer hurts after a workout, but I knew I would need a carefully designed program.”

The trainers were very cautious designing her program, making certain that Morton wouldn’t get hurt, and progressed very slowly. However, she moved quickly from dead lifting 65 pounds to 85 pounds.

A dead lift is one of the three exercises in a power-lifting meet.

A dead lift consists of bending down and lifting a weight off the floor, standing all the way up until your legs are straight holding the weight.

For Carol’s first meet, she would only do the dead lift.

In her training, she hit a plateau and was stuck at being able to lift 85 pounds.

 “My goal was to lift 90 pounds in the gym and shoot for 100 pounds in the competition,” she said. 

Arriving at the competition, Morton walked in to a room full of large, intimidating men and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were all friendly and supportive.

The worst part was the outfit. Contestants are required to wear a singlet for the competition, which, according to Morton, is “the single most disgusting article of clothing ever created, especially with my fan-folded thighs flapping.”

There she was, in her singlet, ready to do her first power-lifting competition.

Who would have thought, just one year after Morton was having trouble getting out of bed, she would be here?

It was her turn.

Morton approached the bar and lifted 87 pounds.

“I couldn’t believe it when everyone clapped,” she said with a smile.

On the second attempt, she lifted her goal of 100 pounds.

At Morton’s third attempt, the judge smiled and said, “Now don’t make it look so easy!”

She lifted 120 pounds, 30 pounds more than she had ever lifted, and felt like she could have done more. Carol broke a state record and won a gold medal.

She was so excited that she slept with her medal that night and carries it with her in her purse.

When asked if she’ll do another competition, Morton exclaimed, “Heck yeah! I can’t wait to do another one. But, next time, I want to do bench press, too!”

Morton has accomplished goals this year that she hadn’t ever considered for herself before.

Her next goal is to win the New Year, New You contest with her team, The Spice Girls.

The New Year, New You contest is a contest put on by Results Fitness, challenging residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to lose fat. You don’t have to be a member to participate; in fact, every team of five must have two nonmembers.

Morton is gearing up for some of the changes she will have to make to win the contest.

“Part of my strategy is to give up my affair with Ben & Jerry and break my friendship with Little Debbie, which won’t be easy,” she said.

Morton’s story is one of overcoming life’s hurdles and accomplishing more than she ever thought possible after a series of devastating losses.

Of course, Morton would rather have her son alive, and she still misses him terribly, but having an outlet and challenging herself in different ways helps Morton to keep going every single day.

As the new year is fast approaching, think about something different to accomplish a goal beyond your wildest dreams in 2012.

If Morton can do it, so can you.

To learn more about the New Year, New You contest visit www.results-fitness.com/newyou or call today (661) 799-7900. Results Fitness is located at 24420 Walnut St., Newhall.

Rachel Cosgrove is the author of “The Female Body Breakthrough” and co-owner of Results Fitness. The views and opinions expressed are those of Cosgrove and do not necessarily represent the views of The Signal.

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