Sometimes the best stories provide the most practical and straightforward advice – To get the results you want, you don't have to be extreme, just consistent! Rory Alpaugh shares his fitness journey that began as a college student.
Initially, when I joined the Wellness Center, my goal was to stay in shape and prepare for my college lacrosse season. Strength and conditioning were a majority of what I was looking to improve. My fitness goals changed after college. After I finished college, I was less concerned with what weight I was lifting and focused more on feeling good and being healthy. I continued to spend time at the gym and found a ton of value and enjoyment in bettering myself through exercise.
BE CONSISTENT -- RESULTS COME FROM WHAT YOU DO CONSISTENTLY
My goals are not necessarily “measurable” but are to be healthy and feel good. The goal that I have achieved is the discipline and consistency of coming to the gym to help better myself physically and mentally. I think that this has been great because it has become part of my routine to take care of myself. During a typical week, I try my best to come in 3 to 4 times per week. Each day starts with a few minutes of stretching to warm up. When I was younger, stretching was never a priority for me, but I found that this was a great way to prepare, recover from exercise and feel good. My workouts include strength training which changes depending on the day and how I am feeling which is another important part of any fitness program – change it up and listen to your body.
FIND WHAT MOTIVATES YOU
I think the biggest factor in staying motivated and on track is working out with my good friend. We have very similar goals which helps to make our workouts efficient, but more importantly, we push each other to come when the other may not be motivated. For me, working out with someone makes my workout much more enjoyable and I personally feed off other people’s energy. It also helps to provide some social interaction with a friend and someone you know from the gym! As added motivation, one thing that I always am sure to do when I come is to spend time in the sauna as it is a nice form of relaxation after my workout.
EASE YOURSELF IN AND KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
I think the biggest thing to consider for any member who is struggling to understand where to begin or where to go from here is knowing what you are setting out to achieve. I don’t think fitness goals always need to be measurable but rather provide motivational support to get to the gym which is really the hardest part. It is also important to ease in and be consistent over time rather than overdo it and squash all your motivation and best efforts.
Maggie Baumann has been a member of the Hunterdon Health and Wellness Centers for over 15 years. She is a bright light always filled with energy and ready to take on any challenge!
Maggie is an accomplished business owner, volunteer, wife, mother, and much more! She enjoys attending group fitness classes, running, and living an active lifestyle. She developed a passion for exercise and wellness as a young woman to cope with life’s challenges. Running became her outlet and to this day exercise is what keeps her going. Maggie believes that having been engaged in fitness at the Wellness Centers has kept her physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
As physical fitness is important in every state of life, Maggie states that she and her husband, Peter, became members of the Wellness Centers because of the many opportunities it provides to support lifelong wellness from youth to senior fitness. Maggie and her husband set out some time ago for the “ideal” fitness center that would present options that would them “fitness for life.” They choose the Hunterdon Health and Wellness Centers because it stands apart from other offerings in that it provides individuals a true lifelong fitness community.
Due to their interest in taking fitness to the next level by supporting “Mental Fitness,” Maggie and Peter have become lead donors to Hunterdon Health’s new Mental Wellness Partnership Program. Supporting this program is a labor of love for them rising out of personal tragedy. It’s their way of remembering the beautiful life of their beloved niece, whom they lost just a year ago. Maggie and Peter are excited about the potential of this program that integrates care for both physical and mental wellness through a combined fitness and nutrition offering. “We see this as a chance to be part of something that might set people on the path to mental wellness” Maggie stated.
Steve spent his childhood in Bergen County. As a young boy, he was inspired by his 6th grade teacher and never lost sight of his dream to become one himself. He attended Trenton State College where he received his teaching degree and spent 35 years teaching in Tewksbury as a middle school math and science teacher. He and his wife Nancy have lived in High Bridge for 45 years.
Steve has been a member of the Hunterdon Health and Wellness Center for 17 years, utilizing both the Clinton and Whitehouse Station facilities. He is a genuine and warm person, quick with a joke and always eager to welcome fellow members with a smile and kind words.
Steve enjoys attending the water aerobics classes, playing water volleyball, using the treadmill and elliptical and just simply walking around the track. He is part of the Rock Steady Boxing program, which is geared toward individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Steve was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019 and has been enjoying and benefiting from the Rock Steady Boxing program for over a year. He loves the cognitive exercises and support he receives, not to mention the physical benefits the program provides him. Steve greatly appreciates the efforts, encouragement, challenging activities and fun attitude which the staff brings to class each week. He enjoys the laughter shared, storytelling, upbeat music and camaraderie. He comments, “I love being with my group of Parkinson’s fighters as we compare notes on the treatments we have received. It’s a blast trying to predict what the four instructors (Carolyn, Mona, Beth and Jen) are going to bring to our table on any given day! You walk out with a smile just about every day!”
When asked about his favorite aspect of the Wellness Center, Steve says it is how everyone seems to care about one another, both the staff and members. He remarks, “Time at the Wellness Center is time well spent.”
Larry began his journey with the Hunterdon Health and Wellness Center at Whitehouse Station in 1998 as a charter member. At the time, he was a young father starting his career and raising a family of four daughters with his wife, Susan. His initial goals were to increase his cardiovascular endurance and gain strength. Over the years, he modified his routine to achieve new goals along the way. To help achieve his goals, Larry has taken advantage of the many opportunities and classes the Wellness Center offers, including personal training, massage therapy, Fit for Life, the pool, swim lessons, Martial Arts, Boot Camp, and Body Pump classes.
In 2020, a serious medical challenge triggered Larry to concentrate on his fitness goals to an even greater degree. This motivation to do something he had never done before, nor expected to do in his lifetime, led him to participate in his first triathlon. The New Jersey State Triathlon involves swimming, biking and running. Mind you, at the time, Larry didn’t know how to swim. After six months of lessons at the Wellness Center in Clinton and a rigorous training routine both inside and outside the Center, Larry successfully completed his first triathlon.
To ensure he wasn’t dreaming, he decided to compete again in July of 2022. Being a two-time triathlete has given him the confidence to continue striving to achieve new goals and successes. Larry credits his health and fitness achievements with utilizing the Wellness Center for all it has to offer. He states, “The Centers have everything I need - workout equipment, classes, special programs, sauna, steam room and pool. It’s like being able to do one-stop shopping for all one's fitness needs!” Larry goes on to say, “Over the years, the staff at the Wellness Center have been like a family to me.”
Having a fitness plan and committing to it led Larry to be healthy and successful. He is currently a brown belt in karate, attending classes at Whitehouse Station, with the goal of achieving his black belt. His days are full and lifestyle busy but maintaining a regular exercise routine provides him with greater energy, a positive outlook on life and additional confidence in how he feels and looks. When asked what advice he would give to help others succeed in their fitness journey, Larry states, “We all have ups and downs on our journey. It’s important to be kind to ourselves when our journey leads us away from our fitness goals. There will be obstacles to be faced along the way, which sometimes make it difficult to move forward. Life is rarely a straight line from point A to B, and detours are to be expected. Never give up, take time for yourself, and when you schedule time at the Wellness Center, realize you are making an appointment to better yourself.”
Shu grew up in China and moved to the United States to work in hospitals as an Emergency Room Technician. She completed courses to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and has been working in the role for over 15 years. She met John in 2001 and they were married in 2014.
John suffered a stroke and lost a lot of his motor function and balance, along with his speech. Because of Shu’s background in nursing, and her passion for exercise, she was able to assist John in his recovery. He attended sessions for Physical and Occupational Therapy, but she felt he needed more. Shu took six months off from work to support her husband. She assembled devices and equipment around their house to allow him to exercise at home and to engage in his activities of daily living with more ease. John’s fitness journey started with him just trying to stand up, using assistance from a walker or a rope/band tied across from him. Then he performed squats against the wall and utilized the steps for cardio and balance. He also rode a stationary bike at home with support from a band to keep his balance sturdy. Shu documented his progress since day one, writing down his improvements in strength and taking videos to demonstrate his enhanced abilities in activities, like biking and walking.
When interviewing the couple, Shu was ecstatic to announce that John was recently able to go down a step with no added support! Eventually, Shu and John decided to join the Wellness Center to utilize more of the weights, cardio machines and pool and to continue with their fitness journey. Shu was grateful for the PT and OT sessions to get John started with his fitness journey, but she knew he needed more than just a few sessions a week to really see improvement. They firmly believe that repetition and practice are necessary to become a stronger and healthier version of oneself. Shu was also very interested in the machines offered at the Wellness Center, as they are manageable for her and John to add variety to their exercise routine. Now he is able to work out on the NuStep, abduction and adduction machines, the low back extension machine, leg extension machine (up to 15 lbs!), and the rear deltoid/row machine.
Shu has seen a noticeable improvement in John’s strength, balance, and overall health and mood since joining the gym in December 2021. Their biggest challenge in this journey has been finding the time to prioritize their fitness. Shu and John try to come a few times a week after she gets out of work. They are dedicated members and you can always count on them to show up with a smile on their face or thumbs up from John!
Shu is very proud of the achievements John is making on his own, and she sees every independent action as its own victory. When asked what advice they would give others to help them succeed in their fitness journey, they shared, “Take everything day by day. Break it down and appreciate each moment. Every step counts because it is gradually getting you closer to your overall goal, no matter how big or small." Shu emphasized, "Don’t give up!”
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Hunterdon Health & Wellness Centers are medically-based facilities focused on disease management and health enhancement.