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Surf’s Up at 69

Personal training keeps 69-year-old retiree fit to live the life he loves.

Group-fitness classes are fun, and they’ll definitely make you fitter. But the best way to make fast and safe progress is to work one-on-one with a personal trainer.

“Particularly when you get to my age, it is really nice to find somebody that can focus on you,” said Dan Benckart, a 69-year-old retired heart surgeon.

Personal-training clients at Arsenal receive customized programs and individual instruction designed to meet their unique needs.

Maybe you’re a working parent who needs a flexible training schedule. Maybe you have a very specific fitness goal in mind, like improving your endurance so you can run that race in the spring. Or maybe you’re new to exercise and could benefit from some one-on-one attention as you learn the ropes. 

Dan’s goals were simple: He wanted to be stronger and more mobile. Though he’d been active for most of his life, most of that activity centered on cycling. He wanted a strong upper body to go with his strong legs, and as an avid surfer, he also wanted to improve his skills on the waves.

“I love to surf,” he said. “But it’s gotten harder and harder because I’ve lost mobility and I really never worked on my upper-body strength.” 

Dan started working with Arsenal personal trainer Vince in October 2019.

Though Dan enjoyed the community and camaraderie of group fitness classes—which he also attends—he wanted more personalized attention to help him reach his fitness goals.

“The personal training really allows the person to just work on what you need and what you can do,” he said. “I mean, at 69, I can’t do everything that the 24-year-olds in the CrossFit classes do.” 

He meets with Vince three times per week (during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vince sent him customized workouts to do at home every day). 

Having the accountability of a trainer, Dan said, has helped him stay on track. Instead of just going for an easy run on his own, Dan knows his trainer will push him to try new exercises and expand his comfort zone.

“He expects a lot of me,” Dan said. “He wants me to do it the right way. And he wants me to try hard; as hard as I possibly can. Having to answer to him every session is why I keep doing it.” 

Working with a personal trainer has also helped Dan feel safe in the gym. 

Though some people Dan’s age might shy away from strength training—or hurt themselves doing it improperly—Dan has learned how to lift safely under the supervision of an expert.

“I’ve really learned a lot about good technique,” he said. “(Vince) has really worked on that with me to make sure that not only I get strong, but I’m getting strong smart.”

The effort has paid off. After a year of injury-free personal training, Dan “can do stuff I literally would never have believed I could do,” he said.

He can safely back-squat 95 lb. to full depth. He can bench press 145 lb. He can jump rope—and he can even do bar-facing burpees in workouts. 

“If I did that before, they would have had to call the ambulance for me,” he joked. 

Dan’s added strength—plus his fat loss of about 16 lb.—also means he’s better able to enjoy the outdoor hobbies he loves, like surfing and cycling. 

“It’s made me better athletically, and it’s made me better at the things I like to do in the summertime,” he said. 

He paused, adding: 

“I would say I’m better at everything.”

Your goals might look different from Dan’s, and that’s OK.

Whether you’re training for competition, to lose weight or just to live life better, personal training will get you to your goals safely and efficiently. 

Plus, as Dan says, it’s just plain fun.

“It’s the best part of my day,” he said. “I love doing it.” 

Click here to learn more about Arsenal’s personal-training program, and book a free one-on-one consultation here.

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