Six months ago, Trish Riffle — a Davis mom who played basketball in high school and college — wasn’t happy with herself.
She weighed a lethargic 185 pounds, and was getting schooled in her own driveway by her kids in her favorite game. A lap in the swimming pool was an ordeal.
“I couldn’t run more than a few steps without getting exhausted,” she admits.
Meanwhile, her husband Rich — an ex-prep football player and still-solid golfer — had gained more than 100 pounds since his teen years.
The Riffles said enough is enough. The week after the Super Bowl, the pair teamed up with the folks at GetFitDavis and did something about their flagging physical conditions.
Now, after a well-publicized and advertised program with personal trainers Nick Walejeski and David Butterworth, the Riffles have transformed themselves.
In an unveiling earlier this week, Rich, the El Macero Country Club general manager, lost 75 pounds and 33 total inches. Trish, who is a Montgomery Elementary School paraeducator, dropped 34 pounds and 25 inches from her physique.
Their commitment to weight loss and better health is already paying mental and physical dividends — and the ripple effect has impacted Rich’s workplace and the couple’s mental health.
GetFitDavis owner Walejeski, who encourages and works with people to get in shape as his livelihood, advises people to get up off the sofa and pick a local gym or trainer. He just wants to see people — especially middle-aged folks like the Riffles (who are in their 40s) — pay closer attention to a healthy lifestyle.
“There’s no half-hearted approach to complete fitness and wellness,” the six-year Davis resident told me. “If you want to see change, it requires guidance, exercise, eating adjustments and support … all of which the Riffles possess.
“If a person wants the change more than their (morning coffee drinks), wine, beer, fried food, etc., they will make the change with no excuses. Accountability.”
Walejeski, working with Riffles through online blogs, postings in his workout facility and an advertising campaign in local print media, certainly wanted to draw attention to his business, but the Riffles know physical fitness is a community commitment by Walejeski and his fiancé Katie Ehsan. (They’ll be married Aug. 10 in Hawaii.)
“I could write pages about Nick and Katie,” Riffle says. “I have been blogging for the entire six months, and anyone who has followed will know what I think of personal trainers.
“Nick has pushed me harder than I ever thought possible.”
Trish agrees with her husband that having a personal trainer in this high-profile weight-loss event was a terrific advantage, but the Riffles and Walejeski note there are a myriad ways to get in shape, lose weight and change one’s outlook on life.
“The most important decision is to make a change,” Walejeski explains. “After that, it can be as simple as beginning to move more; take controlled walks; progress to power walks; power walks to jogs; jogs to runs. It should be progression that is measurable and accountable.”
Find yourself a workout facility, set up an independent workout program with whomever you choose as your pro contact and get going. Diet change also becomes a major plus in re-establishing health.
Clearly, experts like Walejeski advise, if a person is older or has physical challenges, consulting a doctor before buying in hook, line and sinker is advisable. But once you’re on the path to weight loss and better health, those doctor visits will be few and far between.
Rich, who recently attended a conference for TroonGolf, said, coincidentally, one point of emphasis there was staff well-being through a healthier workplace lifestyle.
“I’m really happy with myself,” adds Trish, who said that people she hasn’t seen for a while do a double-take when they meet. “I think (that happiness) comes across in everything I do. I like to spend time outside being active, and Davis is a perfect place to do so.
“I can now play ball with (kids Ted, Noah and Shelby), can swim my laps and have had a blast shopping for my new sized clothes. I’m very happy with the new me.”
And Walejeski is very happy with his prized students:
“The Riffles did an amazing job,” the trainer adds. “Their results are proof that they took this challenge as an opportunity for positive change.”
And Nick promises all of us that if we want to change, we can…
So, go find a gym, get some direction and get in shape. There’s no time like the present.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.