Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aaron's Story

My name is Aaron Morgenstern, and I’m a 30-year-old music teacher in Billings Montana.  I’m married to a wonderful wife and we have a two-year-old son.  I play in two bands, one as a saxophonist in a ten-piece classic rock band, and as a guitarist in a Celtic/Bluegrass/Whatever-We-Want-To-Play band.  I also sing in a semi-professional vocal ensemble.  These three activities, being a father and husband, and my day job take up most of my time, much to the chagrin of my wife.

I have made very little time over the last eight years to take care of myself.  I wasn’t in great shape in college, but I was young enough to be able to rock climb on a regular basis and play ultimate frisbee with my friends twice a week, eat pizza, and still keep my weight reasonably low.

That all changed when I started my career.  Being a band director is a great job.  I love working with high school students, crazy, I know.  Unfortunately, music at the H.S. level is a HUGE time commitment.  It’s not uncommon for me to be to school by 7:30 in the morning and not get home until 10:30 or so in the evening.  Between concerts, pep band, and other music trips, the hours can be quite long.  I still love it, but it has caused me to pay very little attention to my health.

I weighed somewhere around 200 pounds when I started teaching.  This year, at the end of the school year, I tipped the scale at 230 pounds.  YIKES!  I didn’t feel all that well anymore, and when I would play ultimate frisbee or rock climb I could hardly move the next day.  There was also my my wife and son to consider.  Being a parent has completely changed my perspective on life.  I love being a father and I love my son.  I realized that if I didn’t do something now about my health, my son could potentially lose me to some horrible disease long before he should.  There is a strong history of type 2 diabetes on both sides of my family.

My wife has gently be prodding me to do something about my weight and health for several years.  (Ahem.  The Editor, I mean, wife, wasn't exactly gentle.)  My biggest excuse was not having the time to do it.  Sounds familiar, right?  My doctor has a great quote in his office:  “People who don’t make time for diet and exercise now will have to make time for illness later.”  That was me.  So, I finally decided to do something about it.

My sister in-law had a copy of Tony Horton’s Power 90 fitness program.  She lent it to me and I’ve been using it for about a month and a half now.  I was going to buy his P90X program, but it’s hard to say no to free.  I’ve actually been able to stick to it.  It was hard at first, I was a lot more out of shape than I thought I was.  I was pretty much constantly sore the first week.  I felt just like I did after I would go out a play a game of frisbee or some other physical activity.  But it kept getting better, each week I wouldn’t be quite as sore and I started to notice that I felt better.  I had more energy, which is good for keeping up with a two-year-old, and the workouts have gotten easier.

I’m not quite halfway through the program of 90 days, but, as of today, I weigh 215 pounds.  I’ve lost 15 pounds since June 8th.  I think that’s pretty good for 6 weeks of working out.  I still have a long way to go.  Figuring out how to keep healthy habits during the school year will be tricky between eating fast food on every pep band trip and trying to make time for workouts in an insane schedule.

But, I finally feel up to the challenge.  Getting in shape has become a bit of an obsession.  ("A bit?" the Editor asks, thick with sarcasm.)  My younger sister just ran a half-marathon.  I’m starting to think it might be possible for me to do that at some point in the future.  As of right now I’m very motivated and excited about how I’m feeling and starting to look.  Good luck to all of you on your own journeys.  Let me know how you are doing.

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