Avid Race Car Driver Accelerates his Fitness Level with Fitness Together® Dos Vientos Ranch*
Paul Wittrock, 58, leads an active lifestyle that includes weekly mountain biking treks, weekend race car driving competitions and winter ski trips. By looking at his regular routine, you’d think that there wouldn’t be room in his schedule for any additional exercise or training. But, in actuality, adding one day per week of strength and condition training at Fitness Together® Dos Vientos Ranch is what really has made a difference for Paul to not only maintain his active lifestyle while he ages, but to continue competing at a high level as well.
“A lot of guys my age bike, play tennis or golf,” explains Paul. “But, the trainers at Fitness Together® tailor a program to your specific activity level and work on what you aren’t getting done in the other areas of your life and the other activities you do. You’d be surprised at how much FT can help you and what their trainers can bring to the table. The people at Fitness Together® know their profession, they enjoy what they’re doing and you see results in your health and fitness because of the level of commitment of the trainers at FT.”
Paul has had gym memberships almost continuously for the past 25 years. He stumbled upon the Fitness Together® Dos Vientos Ranch studio shortly after he and his wife moved to the area about six years ago. At first, he thought he would just try out the studio as an experiment since he hadn’t worked with a fitness trainer before. His main goals in the beginning were to stay active, build muscle and strength, feel good and reduce stress. What Paul ended up finding is that his trainer at Fitness Together, Bryce Klenck, has helped him to not only meet his initial fitness goals, but to exceed his expectations in other areas of his life.
“Paul was starting to get frustrated because his skiing performance was falling and he was getting fatigued with his race car driving,” shares Bryce. “He was looking to take the next step. People who do take the next step like Paul end up loving it. They actually start accomplishing their goals, rather than just staying in the same rut.”
“When Paul first came into our Fitness Together® studio he was in pretty decent shape,” continues Bryce. “He was able to do 26 pushup reps when he started training with us. Now, he’s doing over 60 pushup reps, he’s increased his muscle mass by 2 percent while maintaining his weight, and he’s increased his range of motion and flexibility by adding at least 4 inches to his hamstring stretch. I just tell Paul now that as long as he can continue doing more pushups than his age, then we’re doing well.”
By just coming into Fitness Together® once a week for personal training with Bryce over the past few years, Paul has seen significant progress in his mountain bike rides, race car driving competitions and skiing abilities. He realized the impact that Fitness Together® made on his ability to compete when he participated in four car races during a weekend racing event that required him to drive 1 ½ hours per day. Race car driving is a physical sport that requires cardio, strength and endurance as drivers’ heart rates remain around 150 beats per minute during each race and they’re layered in flame retardant protective clothing, suits, helmets and gloves. On this particular weekend, Paul’s endurance and fitness levels were really challenged as the temperatures during the event reached 108 degrees outside. When Paul finished his first race, he got out of his car, found some shade, re-hydrated with water and started looking around at the much younger guys that he’d just beat.
“The other guys from the race were absolutely finished,” remembers Paul. “They’re red-faced, their heart rates are through the roof, they can barely stand up and they’re dripping in sweat. I looked at myself and realized that I wasn’t doing too badly. FT had really helped to get my cardio and fitness levels up to a point where the heat didn’t bother me and the activity didn’t bother me as much as before. It allowed me to concentrate at a higher level for the 1 ½ hour race. I had a really successful weekend and a lot of it had to do with FT.”
What really works about Fitness Together® for Paul is that the trainers are knowledgeable about different approaches to working the same muscle groups and they’re always switching up the strength-focused workouts to complement Paul’s other weekly activities. Most of Paul’s personal training sessions include full body exercises, but Bryce says he stays away from focusing a lot on his legs since Paul rides 20+ miles each week on his mountain bike. The other thing that makes Fitness Together® work for Paul is that having appointments with Bryce each week encourages him to stay committed to strength training year round.
“Obviously, I don’t need someone to tell me to do pushups because I can do that myself,” says Paul. “But, if I make a commitment — both financially and by having weekly appointments — then I’m more likely to keep doing it. It’s really easy to say you’re going to do exercise, but the reality for most of us is that if we don’t have friends waiting for us to go on a bike ride or we don’t have an appointment at FT and we don’t enjoy what we’re doing, then we aren’t going to do it. Clearly, having these appointments and getting a good quality workout from people who know what they’re doing has been critical for me.”