Julia Richards ALBANY, NY
I have always taken pride in my athleticism since I was very young, being part of many sports. Being surrounded by healthy and strong people is important to my inner self as I age. However, all throughout the most vibrant time of my life, I never had the time to strengthen my core and muscles as much as I should, thus sometimes leading to injuries and back strain. As a singles tennis player, I knew my physical fitness was suspect and could not sustain the level of tennis that I wanted to achieve as I aged into my 50s. With the increasing stresses of raising a family I sadly decided to quit tennis and found other ways to maintain my health. For convenience, I started running and walking more, but life just got in the way and slowly I started to gain weight as the stresses of life and job responsibilities increased. My back started to bother me and I was starting to go to bed early to relieve my pain. After 6 months of spending my time visiting doctors, PT appointments, and diagnostic images, it occurred to me that I just needed to lose 15 pounds and strengthen my back and entire body. Very few doctors encouraged strengthening. As a health professional who worked in public health service, this infuriated me! When my office relocated from Troy to Albany, I decided to take the opportunity to join Best Fitness, a 5-minute walk from work. My life changed when I met my personal trainer, Paul Funaro. He pushes me well beyond my typical level of workout. My goal was to get back into doing the sports I loved. Paul made sure of it. What I like most about Paul is his precise and technical explanation of my workout, making sure my posture and position of weights is accurate throughout my entire workout so I don’t injure myself. With two sessions per week, I am now approaching almost two years with Paul at Best Fitness. I can’t thank him enough for helping me to get to the strength and health I exhibit. I wished I started training much earlier in my life, but I’m not looking back. With retirement around the corner, I feel like I have another life ahead of me. Thanks to Paul and the cheerful and supportive staff at Best Fitness, my plan is to live well into my 90s and never give up my love of sport and healthy living and with more strength than I ever thought I could have.