Castle Hill Fitness (CHF) Member Spotlight Interview with Ann Ward (AW) CHF: How long have you been a member at Castle Hill? AW: I have been a member since Castle Hill opened. In fact, I was going to the gym when it was Timberline Fitness. CHF: What does your regular routine at Castle Hill look like? AW: I do weight training one day a week and I do Pilates once a week. I like to do cardio at least one or two other days per week. CHF: What changes have you made in your Health & Fitness Lifestyle since becoming a member of Castle Hill? AW: I am much more active. I used to be a couch potato who hated to exercise. Now, I really enjoy exercising and I’m in much better shape. I also am more aware of what I eat; I’ve increased the veggies and fruit and am trying to reduce red meat. CHF: Do you take any of our classes? AW: No, but perhaps I will in the future. CHF: Do currently work with a personal trainer? AW: Yes. I do weight training with Cassie, and Pilates with Stephanie. CHF: What motivates you to stay on track? AW: Several things keep me motivated. My father is still going strong at 97, and many of my relatives have lived into their 90s. I’ve got longevity in my genes, and I want to be as healthy as possible for as long as I can. Exercise and diet are the keys, although my Dad has happy hour every day and that might help, too! I also love to travel, and there is still so much of the world I want to see. Being healthy, fit and energetic are essential to the type of adventure travel I enjoy. It’s hard to have fun if you are fat and flabby, so I’m fighting them both! CHF: What have been the biggest obstacles with fitness? AW: Time is the biggest obstacle. It actually was a little easier when I worked full-time and my office was downtown. I went to the gym almost every morning before work, showered and then went to work. Now, I have to make a special effort to come downtown, and I don’t do that every morning due to traffic. Being self-employed now, you’d think it would be easy to make time, but once I get on the computer in the morning, it’s hard to break away. I also got out of my routine this year when I had surgery on both to fix my bunions. I was off my feet all but two hours a day for about two months. I loss muscle mass, and my toes became weak and stiff. I started back to the gym in May, and it’s been great. I’m still in physical therapy and it’s helping with flexibility, mobility and strength in my toes. At six months post-surgery, my feet have healed but I’m still not 100 percent. It’s easy for me to overdo because I look “normal” although things are continuing to heal on the inside. CHF: What aspect are you most proud of? AW: I’m very proud that exercise has become an important part of my life and I miss it when I don’t do it. I feel so much better when I exercise, and it’s a good way for me to start the day. CHF: What’s your greatest health & fitness achievement? AW: I think my greatest accomplishment was climbing Huayna Picchu in Peru. I first went to Machu Picchu in 1995, and I did not even attempt the hike up to the peak where you look back on the compound. An 80-year-old woman in the group did it, but she still worked on her farm daily and was in better shape than anyone in the group. I did walk up to the Sun Gate from the Machu Picchu lodge, and that almost did me in. The Sun Gate is where the Inca Trail enters the compound. (My Pilates partner Penny Hobbs hiked the Inca Trail this summer, and she thought it was difficult, mainly due to altitude.) I went back to Machu Picchu 10 years later, and despite being 10 years older, I climbed Huayna Picchu. Cassie had helped me train for months….30-45 minutes on the Stairmaster several times a week paid off! I think another achievement is surviving seven days in the Drake Passage. In 2010, I was on the ship that got hit in the Drake Passage by what was described in the national news as the “killer” wave. It was two of the roughest crossings ever…even crew members were getting sick on the 2.5 days down to the Antarctica Peninsula. After the ship was hit by the wave and we lost communication, we basically treaded water for a day since the seas were so rough. People were injured, some seriously it turned out, but I never felt like we were going to die during the 4.5 day journey back to Ushuaia, Argentina. The four days in Antarctica were unbelievably beautiful, but the trip turned out to be more of an adventure than I expected. CHF: Are there areas that you are still working on? AW: Yes. Right now, I’m trying to get back in shape after my surgery. And, I’m struggling with the changes in my body as we age. CHF: When you are not working out at Castle Hill what do you do? AW: I work part-time as a communications consultant. I oversee my Dad’s care, and manage his affairs. I volunteer at Wyoming Springs Assisted Living, and I’m on my homeowners’ association board, serving as secretary. I just joined the Austin Downtown Founders Lions Club and plan to become involved in its community service projects related to vision and supporting the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville. My passion is travel, and I want to continue to explore the world. I have plans to ride a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon this year, and have a trip planned to Fairhope, Alabama, in November. I just booked a three-week trip to Morocco for April. CHF: Any thoughts you can leave us with? AW: Life is short, so enjoy every day you have. I enjoy being in nature, seeing wild animals, and learning about different cultures. The world is a marvelous place to explore, and being healthy and fit enable you to get the most out of your journey.