Having hit the ripe YOUNG age of 75 last March, I started to feel my energy and strength levels slipping a little, despite the fact that I spent 5 hours a week with Pilates and outdoor biking. However, I had no intention of getting myself embroiled in another exercise program

Or so I thought until my wonderful wife, who constantly looks out for me, began pushing me into considering Koko. She had joined after finding out that they could develop a program tailored to her specific needs… and she was loving it.

“C’mon… give it a try,” she said as I rolled my eyes, “Maybe it’ll make you feel more energized.”
“OK, I’ll check it out,” I answered reluctantly, figuring I’ll come up with an excuse later on.

Well, I ended up keeping the appointment, mainly to appease her. Even though I’d been an active singles tennis player up until I injured my back 10 years ago, I was never a lover of pure exercise workouts! Nor was I ever one of those gym rats who worked out at a manly-man, sweat-factory where the smell alone could kill ya.

My Koko appointment day finally arrived and I went to the club with my ho-hum attitude perfectly intact, figuring Koko was going to be another “same old, same old” fitness club. Well it was anything BUT “same old, same old.” In fact even seemed a bit too complex for my simple mind. Digital keys, routines and this unique Koko machine/monitor that can put you through a zillion different weight-training exercises. It was mind-boggling; so mind-boggling that I almost tuned out while listening to one of the trainers, JD, a 6’1” 30-something guy with a perfect-body and more abs than I could count on two hands. Here I am… 75, slightly overweight, no abs…watching this perfect male machine show me around. When he finally asked me what my goal was I said… “to start getting in shape so I could come back in the next life with a body like yours.”

Even though the program seemed beyond the needs of someone who hates pure exercise, I kept hearing my wife’s voice in my ear and continued smiling as JD showed me the ropes.

There was no pressure to join; none of the usual heavy-handed tactics. Plus I liked JD’s easy, non-threatening manner. I figured it was either now or never for me so I plunged in. The program is actually easy to do on your own once you get the hang of it. But for me, I knew that I needed the discipline of a dedicated appointment and one-on-one supervised training in order to achieve success.

THAT was the best decision I ever made.

Not only did I have a an appointment , I had the benefit of working with very caring trainers who understood ME, my muscle groups, my needs, etc. JD and Sue became my lifelines; standing at my side each day and making sure my form , pace and weights were correct….and that my seat and back were in the proper position. They also taught me the benefits of each exercise and each gave me different tips about staying healthy.

One of the unique things about Koko’s exercises programs is that they constantly change so you don’t get into a rut. I also liked the fact that I was able to choose a program that met MY specific needs as a pre-diabetic. Koko is not a one-size-fits-all program. Now here comes part two. In addition to the 30-40 minute weight training session there’s a 15 minute intense cardio session on either a treadmill or elliptical.

My first reaction was: “Are you kidding me? You may have to CARRY me outta here when I’m done.”

It was exhausting at first; even using the most moderate treadmill and elliptical programs. But slowly and surely I found that the weight training gave me MORE energy for accomplishing my cardio goals . It didn’t take me long before I was “off to the races.”

I gave myself small goals at first….listening to my body rather than trying to keep up with audio program. But as time went on I began to keep up with the levels and pace. Last week I actually completed a Tabata program for the full workout. WOW! I felt like “king of the world” when I left the club..

As I look back…
Was Koko a challenge for me in the beginning? Absolutely!
Did I have to drag my a—in there on days when I preferred doing something else? YES!
Did I ever feel like a total idiot trying to remember where to position my hands and feet, how to adjust the seat height and the back pad, and staying focused on my pace? Yup!

But JD and Sue’s encouraging comments made all my self-doubts disappear. I felt accomplished. Am now in my 4th month and I can’t believe that I actually look forward to my KoKo sessions. My energy is back. Am feeling like Superman. The endorphins are exhilarating.

And I’m here to tell the world that 75 IS the new 55. WOO-HOO!

Written By
Ron Kaufman
Certified KokoNut

Fighting Back Against Cancer with Fitness: Koko FitClub Member Spotlight

We are getting closer to May 4th and the kickoff to the Koko 5 Million Point Challenge to benefit Relay For Life®.  If you have ever “Relayed” you know that the whole inspiring experience is about honoring and celebrating those who have fought, and continue to fight  cancer.

So, this blog post is one great big celebration of a Florida KokoNut named Terry Best who, in the face of a tough cancer diagnosis, is empowered to fight back with Koko FitClub Coral Springs as his battleground.

Research has shown that for people fighting cancer, exercise can mean a longer life free from cancer.

Besides enhancing overall health, mood and outlook, evidence suggests that exercise actually improves your immune system’s “cancer surveillance,” protecting you against future cancer recurrence. Terry’s story is bound to get you moving, and inspire you to sign up for The Koko 5 Milllion Point Challenge on May 4th benefiting Relay For Life®. (Which just happens to be the day after Terry’s birthday…) Read on!

A Fighter’s Story by Special Guest Blogger, Terry Best

May 3rd, the day before the Koko 5 Million Point Challenge, will be my 65th birthday.  My wife and I have signed up for 12 and 10 cardio sessions, respectively, for this Relay For Life® event.  Before I retired, I always encouraged my employees to participate in the various Relay For Life® activities that were being held in the area.  I never thought it would mean as much to me as it does now.  I never thought I’d be the one fighting cancer.

Sixteen weeks ago I went to my primary doctor to see why I was so tired all of the time.  I joked with my wife that I probably needed my oil changed maybe had to have some of my fluids topped off.  After all, I am someone who takes good care of himself. (I’m 64 years old; 5’9”; 165 lbs; athletic; never smoked or experimented with drugs; having a drink means a glass of wine; and did I mention handsome? OK, OK, maybe I’m getting a little carried away.)  How could there be anything really wrong with me?  My blood tests were always fine, including my cholesterol that, for years, has been “in range” due to the pill that I take each night.  No cancer (EVER) on either side of my family, so that wasn’t even a consideration.  However, I was tired most of the time – unusually tired.  Well, that was sixteen weeks ago.

One look at my doctor’s face after he performed the always popular DRE exam to check my prostate said it all. I was in a state of shock.  There was no cancer in my family and absolutely no (none, nada, zilch) symptoms. During the next few weeks, it seems that all I did was schedule tests, spend endless hours in waiting rooms, take tests, wait for test results, schedule appointments to discuss test results with the appropriate doctors and then, start all over again. Life certainly had changed.

So, after ultrasounds,MRIs, PET Scans, bone scans and, my favorite, a prostate gland biopsy, the verdict was in:  I have a very aggressive case of prostate cancer.  It has spread from my prostate and is also now in my bones. That is labeled as “Stage 4” cancer. Lucky me – my cancer had no patience for Stage 2 or Stage 3 – it decided that Stage 4 is a much better place to be.  After all, with Stage 4 prostate cancer, it’s too late to operate. So, those smart, insidious cancer cells knew that they would be safe from the surgeon’s knife.

The protocol for my situation is hormone therapy, which deprives the cancer cells of testosterone. Without that fuel source, they die.  Unfortunately, at some time in the future, they will figure another way to thrive and we’ll have to go to Plan B.  Fortunately, with prostate cancer, (words that I never thought I’d use together) there are many other arrows in the quiver to use against it. The key for me, and all other prostate cancer patients, is to stay ahead of the curve and be in the right place at the right time when these new medications are available.

So, what does all of this have to do with Koko FitClub?  As it turns out, more than you’d expect.  When my oncologist told me that the depletion of testosterone will deprive the cancer cells of fuel, he also told me that it will cause me to lose muscle tone, gain weight and make me lethargic.  None of these side effects appealed to me, so I decided to do something about it.  While I’ve always been in decent shape, I’ve never liked the gym scene.  My wife and I used to belong to a health club, but I would head directly to the treadmills and spend all my time sweating and staring at a TV that was tuned to some channel that I would have never, ever chosen myself. (The treadmill must have worked at least a little, as I can proudly say that I was able to complete the Disney Marathon a few years ago.) I had no idea how to use any of the strength equipment and, even if I did, I had no idea what the correct weights, repetitions, sequences, etc. made sense for me.  But, as unappealing as going back into this situation was, when you find out that you have cancer, you tend to put things in perspective. I was going to work out.

As many of us do, I went to the internet to find a solution.  The amount of gyms and health clubs in my area is overwhelming, but they are all basically the same.  Pay your dues and figure out the rest.  They had pools and saunas and juice bars and basketball courts and racquet ball courts and spinning and twirling and preening and flirting and . . . well, you get the idea.  What they didn’t have was something for me.  They didn’t have something for a guy who didn’t need to lose weight, didn’t want to have bulging muscles and didn’t have a clue how to use the machines.  I needed a place that would provide both the roadmap to achieve my goals as well as the equipment/atmosphere that would make me feel comfortable doing so.  Then, I found Koko FitClub.

I met with the owner, Rob, and explained my situation to him.  Having cancer was still new to me and he was one of very few people who I had told about it.  I guess I wasn’t expecting his heartfelt compassion and, more importantly, his sincere desire to help me.  Rob showed me how Koko had various customized programs for a wide range of people with different goals, including (amazingly) mine.  Being able to do my entire strength workout  on one machine with a computer screen actually showing me how to do the exercises and adjust to my range of motion and strength variations was a revelation.  Could it be that there actually was a place that met every one of my needs?  And, to top it off, the owner, his staff and the other members of the club had the same mind set as me?  Sign me up!

So, what’s happened in the last sixteen weeks since that “you have a cancer” conversation in the doctor’s office?  Well, my testosterone level is now 0.00.  My PSA level went from more than 22 (2.5 to 4.0 is the target range) to 0.2.  And, my doctors are now using the word “remission.” As I’ve been told my cancer is “treatable but not curable,” “remission” is a wonderful word to hear.

What about the loss of muscle tone and “turning into a dumpling?” When my doctor asked me if I was experiencing any of the side effects that he warned me about – loss of muscle, lethargy, weight gain, etc. – rather than tell him about it, I handed him results I printed from my Koko webpage.  While I had to explain “Q Score” to him, the numbers and graphs of the other results spoke for themselves.

My first Koko workout was on February 4th.  My lean muscle was measured at 137 lbs. (I weighed approximately 167 lbs.) and my eBMI was approximately 17.  My “Q Score” was 58, which was very good for my age group. My lean muscle has INCREASED (remember, I had hoped to just maintain what I had) to 144 lbs. My eBMI remains in the ideal target range at 18.  My strength has INCREASED by 48 percent.  My Q Score is now 88, which is better than the average of any male age group, including those cool young guys in their 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve walked almost 100 miles and have lifted 500,000 lbs. I’ve accomplished all of this without any testosterone and, remarkably, actually enjoyed myself.

My doctor’s reaction was priceless.  Sixteen weeks ago, in this same room, he told me that I had aggressive prostate cancer and, obviously, it was a very serious conversation.  Now, he used the word “remission” and he was smiling from ear to ear (me too!) Having the ability to print out my progress and hand it to my doctor(s) is something that I never thought about when I joined Koko FitClub.  It has turned out to be a terrific way to show them how I’m fighting back.

Fighting back. My treatment – receiving monthly shots in my hip and stomach and taking some pills each day – is relatively passive on my part. It’s up to my body chemistry to react to them.  However, by working out, I feel that I am actually attacking the cancer cells.  Each step, each completed rep, each scoreboard result on the Koko Smartrainer screen is evidence that I’m fighting back.  Koko uses the phrase “Stay Strong.”  That was the perfect reason for me to join.  I would have settled for “Stay Strong.” However, to my surprise, “Get Stronger” is much more applicable to what I’ve been able to achieve.

Terry Best
Certified KokoNut

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Office

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

How Omar overcame a case of asthma in order to get healthy

After been diagnosed with mild case of asthma at age 40 without having history of smoking, my focus was to stay active and overcome it. My excuse beforehand was time. 

I was full-time during the days, kids activities after work, and my only option was a 24hr gym. I tried a couple except the challenge was to get the most out of each workout. After a friend encouraged me to try Koko for 30 days I did and have been a member since!

The great thing about Koko is that it takes the guess work out of the equation and I get the most of each workout in every session. It fits into my schedule and overall the staff is a great group of people. They treat everyone like a family, and a very positive environment around.

I will definitely recommend Koko to any family or friends.

Certified KokoNut

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Increase your productivity, sleep better, eat better, and lead a healthier lifestyle with this one system

Regular exercise can do more than just help you lose weight or increase strength. It can alleviate lethargy and boredom, and can be a wonderful, natural remedy to stress to and anxiety.

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Mud Run season is here and more people than ever are using this coaching system to get ready

Here is a truly remarkable KokoNut! Meet Charles, a 3 time Spartan Race vet who loves to train at Koko!

chris-bruek-whats-your-whySo last year I decided to cross out a bucket list objective of running a Mud Run before I turned 50 and lost the ability to make it happen.  I trained hard and completed not one but THREE Spartan Races in 2015, earning the coveted Spartan Trifecta!  It was a difficult achievement and a dream come true, but no matter how hard I trained each one seemed to kick my butt a little harder, but I did finished it!

So how do you follow that up when you turn 50?  Well you do it TWICE that’s how!  Here is a pic from the Dallas Beast on Sunday, which completes my first of two 2016 Trifectas.  27 combined miles and 75 combined obstacles later I accomplished half my goal.  What did Koko do to get me there?  It made me FASTER.  I cut considerable time off each of the previous years time’s.  In addition to being faster, Koko made me STRONGER.  Out of 75 obstacles, I only failed 6 in 2016.  Again, that was half the failures of 2015.  Not to mention, I blew through the penalty burpees that almost crippled me in 2015. The CONDITIONING Koko has provided as given me the strength to preserver.  For example after the 2015 Beast, I spent over 24 hours in the bed and did not make it back to the gym for over a week.  This year I got up at 7 a.m. on Sunday and helped a friend move for 11 hours AND I was back in the gym after 2 days!

Will I stop there?  No way!  I have another Spartan race in Alabama on November 19th and two more in Florida on December 10th and 11th for a total of six races in 2016!  That’s KoKo STRONG.  Thank you for ALL you do to keep us all moving forward and achieving our dreams.  When I started KoKo, my doctor told me he wasn’t sure which one, Diabetes or a Heart Attack would take me out first but if I didn’t change my lifestyle I wouldn’t live to see my kids graduate from High School.  Now he pumps me for fitness tips when I have a check up because he “hasn’t seen anything like this before.”  I could not have done it without Koko.  Barbara’s non-stop inspiration and the Monthly Challenges keep me coming back everyday when all I want to do it get a little extra sleep.  I tell everyone 50 is the new 30 🙂

Attached is a picture of me proudly flying my Koko flag at the finish line with my Trifecta Medals.  You are more than welcome to use it or any part of this to help or motivate others.

Thanks for ALL you guys do!

Certified KokoNut

There you have it.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.