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May 27, 201402:58 PMOpen Mic

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Data architect has designs on healthier lifestyle

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Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Sally Greenwood, a data architect with TDS Telecom, who is competing in the individual challenge.

I wouldn’t be getting up every morning to be at the gym by 5:15 if it weren’t for the wellness assessment TDS Telecom offered at work this year.

It was a sweet deal — take the (anonymous) online assessment and get a $130 credit toward my insurance premiums for the year. I invested the 20 minutes, answered a bunch of questions, and my detailed report came back. I was expecting a lot of flattering stuff, to be honest. I left my 30s in the dust a long time ago, but I still have low cholesterol, low blood pressure, and not a hint of type 2 diabetes. I’ve never smoked, wear my seat belt religiously, and just generally behave myself.

But I’m also overweight, and I haven’t done any serious exercise in several years. My wellness assessment report was eye-opening. It did praise me for my good numbers at the moment, but it also painted a stark picture of what I could expect in the not-too-distant future if I didn’t clean up my act. Now.

I thought about it a lot. I had a window of opportunity that might not come around again. So when the In Business Get Fit Challenge application appeared in my email, it seemed like a sign. I was thrilled to be accepted as a competitor!

I was assigned to Hybrid Fitness and enrolled in a five-day-a-week small group class with trainer Grant Brooks. I was to buy a specific heart rate monitor and show up wearing it on a Monday morning at 5:15 a.m.

The first day I felt like a freshman starting high school. The gym was a beehive of activity, with multiple classes in session. Incredibly fit people were doing quick-steps through rope ladders laid out on the floor, carrying medicine balls over their heads. Squats seemed to be a big favorite of the trainers. Somebody was always squatting, no matter where I looked. Kettle bells were popular, too. They were being swung, pressed, lifted, and carried all over the gym by more impressively fit people. And what was up with the tractor tires? They were placed all over the gym, most with a giant punching bag mounted on the top.

Week one was tough. Grant was a master at pushing us hard but giving us encouragement. On day three he came up behind me while I was pedaling a stationary bike and said, “Would you be pedaling that slowly if a bear was chasing you?” I got the hint and picked up the pace.


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