The first ever H.A.F. badge goes to (drum roll please) Elizabeth Domb
A Little History
Elizabeth was not brand new when she started training with me and I wasn’t her first trainer. In fact, her fitness journey started 20 years before I met her and she had 3 trainers previous. She had some minor successes during that time but kept falling off due to a combination of work, social, and family pressures in addition to not having proper guidance. I asked Elizabeth what brought her back into the gym for one last try:
I really think that stress was the major reason I got back to the gym. My husband has had cancer for many years. He has had numerous operations which have taken a severe toll on his lifestyle, and therefore, the lives of my children and me. The past two years have been impossible; heavy doses of chemo and steroids have altered his intellect and personality. The cancer and treatments have led to other health problems. It is very lonely to live with someone whose main focus in life is his own survival. It is tiring to be the only capable parent in a household. It is depressing to watch someone slowly, slowly die. Even worse was finding out that my spouse’s cancer was caused by a gene which he may have passed on to my children. Adding all of this to everyday stress was almost unbearable.
In my description of the H.A.F. badge I wrote about the courage and strength of my clients and Elizabeth and is a perfect example. She has 3 kids and works full time as a high school music teacher. In addition she manages to still play an active role in their crazy lives. Between travelling around with her son for triathlons (he is on the Canadian team and just got back from the World’s in China) and going to Boston to visit her daughter at Harvard, Liz never slows down. Somehow she still manages to attend the opera and various concerts on a weekly basis.
I have been training Elizabeth for well over a year and she has achieved fantastic success including meeting her weight loss goal, having people mistake her for being 20 years younger, and deadlifting a TON of weight (OK, maybe I snuck my goal for her in there). We meet 3 times in one week and she works out on her own for 4 weeks with a program I lay out. But it wasn’t always rosy:
I find this so hard to imagine now, that the first time back on the treadmill last December, I was actually shaking. I was under so much stress at the time that I can still remember that moment. There is certainly something therapeutic about hiding behind the headphones and just pounding away on a treadmill for 45 minutes. I think that is why it was easy to get the gym regularly in those first weeks.
Also, being at the gym is all about me. No one asks me to do anything for them at the gym. This is partially why I now go to the gym every day – it is my moment for myself, which rarely happens at home or at work. Also, by going every single day, I never think about which days I should go and which ones to take off. I just always go, like always brushing my teeth. That way I never worry about missing a day here or there.
Since all the other trainers tried giving Liz ‘metabolic’ workouts I decided to go a different route and train her like a power lifter. She was skeptical but, at this point, was willing to try anything. I was also very very tough on her. In fact, I famously withheld any compliments for the first two months. Nothing but greatness would satisfy me.
The first year of training consisted of full-body training decreasing volume and increasing intensity eventually reaching a 5*5 workout. Elizabeth now completes 12-16week cycles ranging from hypertrophy to power to metabolic-focused workouts. She is game for anything.
For nutrition Elizabeth filled out my nutrition log templates for 6 months! (I asked her to do it for 3 days.) Talk about an ideal client. I just needed to buy bigger files.
Oct 2011 – H.A.F.
Since this is the inaugural H.A.F. badge I wanted to highlight Elizabeth’s past in addition to her present. This past month she has been in the gym every single day. If she had something doing after work she would be in at 9pm.
Last month Elizabeth was supposed to accompany her son to China for the World Championships in triathlon. She had to cancel her trip (most of it non-refundable) last minute to look after her husband. Still, every day there she was with a smile on her face. Tack on the beginning of the school year, getting 2 kids geared up to go away again and moving the last to a new school and I’m surprised she had time to sleep.
Elizabeth continues to surprise me with her strength and dedication. She is an amazing role model and example for anybody wanting to start training. Elizabeth embodies the saying “Never Give Up” and for that, she is HAF.
Happy Quotes from Elizabeth to Leave you with
One day when my son was at The Running Room, talking about all the stuff he was up to, he was asked if anyone else in his family was athletic. He told them, “My mom is.” That made me happy!
This summer I went hiking with 2 teenage athletes and a triathlete and it was ME who led the pace….and I wasn’t even pushing all that hard!
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