Friends. Friends brought me to Castle Hill. I made friends at Castle Hill. Friends fill a need. A friend introduced me to the Castle and it was a perfect fit. Friendly, competent staff. Colorful, small rooms. Clean and environmentally conscious. I began to attend regularly but wasn’t ready to commit. The Castle allows you to buy visits. A great way to start a relationship. Then I had the inevitable knee issues and could no longer run. What a relief! If someone wanted to run, I just said “My doctor told me no more running.” I never did enjoy running so I wasn’t really sad until….the weight gain started to make an appearance. Never a problem before so I denied it was happening. The only thing I missed about running was the heart beat and the glow from perspiration. That feeling of “Dude, I’m getting a workout.” I rowed regularly but not happening. Then a friend told me about Zach’s spin class. One visit and I fell in love with spin. Zach challenged me, taught me, inspired me and I improved. One day, Zach said I should ride “outside’. Thus began such a love of road cycling that I recently created a new company, Texas Bike Tours, offering relaxed, casual cycling with luxe support. And the Castle kept giving. Zach knew I was having back pain and recommended Michelle for sports massage therapy. Years have passed and I’m a dedicated client. No more pain. Seriously. And the Castle kept giving. Michelle knew that I was becoming concerned about power and strength as I moved closer to old age. Muscle mass was diminishing. She recommended Tara as a trainer as she would take the time to understand my underlying issues and address those with passion. That totally happened. Years have passed and I’m a dedicated client. No more pain and greater ability to “lift that barge” and “tote that bale.” And the Castle kept giving. Tara knew that I was still concerned about the weight gain and we began conversations around how to manage that. I’ve come to know that you don’t exercise your way to weight loss, it is a partner with …I hate this word…diet. We are what we eat. So after reading “Better” by Atul Gawande, I began what I would come to love – counting calories. Now…don’t stop reading here. I turned this awful thing to do into a reward system. Calories were cash to buy what I wanted. Did I want wine.. Oh yes… I learned how many calories I needed to “buy” a glass of wine”. And… every two weeks, I weighed in. If I lost even a tiny fraction of a pound, I got a reward. No denial in my system. All about rewards. I even began to look at an item and evaluate whether it was worth the calories I would need to earn. Sometimes yes..sometimes no. Tara was with me all the way..Encouraging me and advising me. And the Castle kept giving. People began to say things like “Are you an athlete?” I almost fainted the first time I heard that. I’m so not an athlete. “I don’t know what you are doing to look like that but keep it up.” And my favorite… “Who is your trainer? I want to work with him/her.” More of my old and new friends are now at the Castle. And the Castle kept giving. Happily, the Castle is still what it is regardless of the inevitable changes in staff. At the core, this gym’s staff cares about you even if you are not directly their client. Words of encouragement come from staff who are less known to you just when you need it. Dido was one of those staff and because of her interest, she knew Yin Yoga would improve the quality of my sleep when I expressed that problem to her. So, so true. And I’m now learning a lifelong routine to help with sleep as I age. You are a person at the Castle and they care enough to fully participate in helping you reach your goals. I’m very close. There is no pain and I am learning how to stay slim. The Castle staff and I worked hard to lose 35 pounds and we are working together to keep off the weight and stay “powerful.” Hope to see you at the Castle. About Deaton Bednar: Over 24 years of senior management experience in corporate, university, and government organizations in creative, education and technology-based industries. Talent and skills focus on local, state and national leadership and coalition building; operations and financial management ($2M to $42M); relationship building, business systems and program development. Community service experience includes supporting and working with organizations in education, art, neighborhood, church, animal welfare, cycling and rowing. Present passion is the founding and growth of Texas Bike Tours. TXBT is dedicated to increasing the number of people who cycle by providing luxe bike tours reminding guests of the childhood joy of riding a bike while providing a new perspective on our experiences today.