Congratulations to our very own John Bagwell on his corporate highlight for his dedication to fitness! So proud of you and happy to play a part!! Here is his Team Member Highlight from Transwestern:

“Find a modality of exercise that you love. With so many great choices, there is a right fit for everyone. Learn about your body and what fuels it. It’s our one and only and a miraculous gift. Take care of it!”

“For me, fitness starts with the three-legged stool: mind, body and spirit. The idea being, if any of these three are weak, we are not in balance. Like most of us, in my early life, I could eat and drink whatever I wanted, and I did. As I moved into my 30s and 40s, I found I could still eat as I wanted as long as I exercised. I had not yet realized the importance of eating healthy. I ran marathons, running 60 to 70 miles weekly during training, and I did high impact aerobics to the very loud music popular in those years. Again, this allowed me to eat anything I wanted. Unfortunately, this was taking a toll on my body, especially my joints. I had not yet made the connection that what I ate mattered tremendously.

In my 50s I did absolutely nothing because it was now uncomfortable to exercise, and I gained a lot of weight, hitting my all-time high of 218 pounds. Meanwhile, my job, which had been always been a very physically active one, became more sedentary behind a desk.

Three years ago I was transferred to Memorial Hermann Campus. My new position, blessedly, required walking between buildings on the campus, which covers several acres. I now walk an average of 10,000 steps daily on the job – or, more than 5 miles. I also joined the Memorial Hermann Boot Camp, pushing myself to get in shape. I showed up every day, no matter the temperature, in the parking garage where we met. We did core, as well as cardio, which was accomplished via 900 stairs a day and garage ramps.

When Transwestern started TransForm, I joined and took advantage of everything offered: CrossFit, hula hoop classes, yoga, stress relief, and finally, the Define Body and Mind classes. As my wife had observed, bootcamp and CrossFit seemed a bit too punishing for a 60-something with an old, but ever present, college football knee injury. This fell on deaf ears of course, until I did injure myself. Twice.

In Define, I found a great fit. It’s a program designed to strengthen and lengthen the muscles by using Pilates, yoga, light weights and core work. A great cardio workout is available in the Rev classes — a fun, rhythm-based cycling class. There are numerous classes and schedules that work for me. I like that it is not hard on the joints, and I’m able to work out five to seven times weekly, with no detrimental effect. All good. I’ve met many wonderful instructors and people — a supportive community, really. We keep each other honest, too.

After doing this program for about a year, I’ve lost 37 pounds and dropped my percentage body fat (or BMI, body mass index) from 25.2 to a very healthy 10.5.

I’ve always enjoyed a challenge. My new goals are to take more advanced classes, to be able to hold the positions longer, and to continue to build my core strength. I’m planning on running a half or full marathon the year of my 65th birthday.

I’m currently a 63-years-young man who is taking no medication whatsoever. Medical professionals are often surprised by this (which is a sad statement for the health of a nation). Still, my biggest and remaining challenge is to continue to lower my cholesterol by controlling the things I can and improving my diet even more. While I have lowered it somewhat by natural means, I now have to become more serious about the importance of that aspect of a healthy lifestyle, which means continuing to eat less meat, replacing it with more vegetables and healthy fish. My wife of four years has been doing this her entire adult life — long before we met — and excels at finding ways to cook healthy foods that taste good. I love a good hamburger! So when we do make hamburgers, we now only buy grass fed beef (thanks, honey).
My wife has one of, if not the, healthiest diets of anyone I know. This along with her drive, discipline and success has been an inspiration. Despite the challenge of a chronic illness, she has been a lifelong yogini, bicyclist and walker. She is part of my inspiration, as well as my joy. She is very happy for us to be reaching and meeting a healthy lifestyle together. We joyfully plan on many active happy years.

Now, fitness of mind, body and spirit is my life’s goal. How fit can I be into my 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond? I want to be able to easily pick up my wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren off the floor. I want to be as healthy and fit for as long as I can.

My advice to anyone? Just start! Find a modality of exercise that you love. With so many great choices, there is a right fit for everyone. Learn to eat healthy, attend the seminars Transwestern brings to us, as well as others, and you will gain much knowledge. Learn about your body and what fuels it. It’s our one and only and a miraculous gift. Take care of it!

John Bagwell│Chief Engineer