If This Busy Law Firm Partner and Husband Learned to Make His Health a Priority, You Can Too!

I started training Tom Gaynor about two years ago. And looking back at how far he’s come I can barely remember some of the challenges we used to face. If I squint my eyes and think back really hard I can vaguely remember a heavier guy with an inhaler in one hand and a Blackberry in another frequently complaining about how his back hurt. Now when I see Tom, I see a man with a body that moves pain free (and 25# lighter), lungs with great capacity and a champ who genuinely loves to exercise and even knows how to reasonably manage his diet while traveling. And he still gets to enjoy the occasional steak frites and martini.

Tom is the kind of client that inspires me with his genuine commitment to his health while still successfully managing a thriving law practice, clamoring clients and a family (husband - who I now also train - and dog, Louis) in Marin. If you don’t think small changes over time can really add up, then you have to read his story below.

When and why did you start training (in the past and currently)?

I actually signed up at Equinox with a colleague from work and used my membership about 4 times in 2 years.  After contributing to the Pine Street lease for that long, I finally hit a wall looking at the Amex bill and thought, ok, either I quit and give up on myself and my goals, or I sign up to train with someone who will embarrass/encourage me to actually do something positive toward taking the 30 pounds off which I’d earned from buckets of martinis since moving to SF four years ago.  So, I doubled down, was introduced to the world’s most patient and persistent trainer 2 years ago (thanks JJ!) and started changing my life and my health one versa climber punishment at a time!

What has been your experience been working a trainer and what results have you seen?

Wow, it has been truly life changing…and I’m not prone to exaggeration (too much!!).  When I started working with JJ, I was getting into a routine slowly…….like snail pace slowly.  After a year, I was kind of doing it sort of regularly, and ignoring all of the nutrition advice and thinking I was making great progress….and I was, though incrementally.  The nutrition side of the equation was still garbage in (OMG – the stuff I used to eat out of boxes and take out containers!).  Finally, after about a year, and maybe 10 lost pounds, I was over it and again doubled down.  I actually started taking more of the good advice available to me (LOL!) and saw crazy good results.  I’ve taken 15 pounds off in 5 months and have felt way better and have become way more of an enthusiastic convert to the point where I now am annoyed at hotel gyms for limiting my workout options!  The travel for my job used to be an easy excuse for me to skip workouts, now I have to double down in Pine Street to make up for inadequate workouts on the road!  UGH!!

What has been the greatest surprise you've experience through the process?

The greatest surprise for me has been how great it’s felt committing to get into better shape for myself, and converting that commitment into real practice through better habits which are now adopted into my overall life and even at home.  My husband has now started training and is enjoying it (maybe that’s the greatest surprise!!!  LOL!) and we’ve put in place much better nutrition habits at home.  (No take out boxes in 6 months!  Woohoo!)  That’s not to say that I’m not having martinis and great food at home (he’s a great cook!) but we are owning the consumption and know how to make it work for us now, rather than just being unconscious about it.  It sounds so basic, but it was much harder to do than I thought.  When it happened though, it was a real eye-opener for how much control you can have and still build in real enjoyment of food, while not sabotaging your health and training goals in the meantime.  Being conscious about my fitness and my intake has made me really enjoy my mid-40’s as much (if not more!) than my mid-20’s.  Looking better isn’t a bad downside either!

What advice would you have for busy professionals like yourself when it comes to fitness and nutrition?

Simply, just start changing your habits today.  Commit to a benefit for your own life.  As a corporate law partner, time is not my own.  It actually took some months before my blackberry stayed in the lockers downstairs during training!  LOL!  But honestly, I so look forward to that hour or 90 minutes to just tune out the world, focus on some positive progress for myself and not be distracted by the chaos of my average day.  It’s a window of time to own for yourself, and ironically, that’s made me more focused and productive during the rest of my day.  I have noticed so many derivative benefits from adopting these training and nutritional changes into my routine that I cannot imagine going back to the me I was just 2 years ago.  My advice to anyone in a similar high stress, sedentary, and crazy busy profession is to own your day, and don’t let it own you, starting now.  I was really letting my schedule own me to my detriment on many fronts. Now I feel better, am a more productive lawyer, am eating way more healthy food, have more energy, and have become an annoying poster child for my partners who are starting to adopt some of the food intake habits slowly at work.  It’s funny now at our monthly partner meetings how many people pull out Myfitnesspal which I credit to JJ!

What are the next hurdles you plan to overcome in your health and fitness journey?

Wow, that’s difficult.  I should come to love the versa climber, but I doubt that.  I am looking to shave another 5 pounds (having killed 25 of the 30 martini pounds!) and keep up the nutrition changes.  As for pushing myself, I’d really like to be able to run 5 miles at a single stretch without feeling like death would be welcome!  For the time being, I’m happy with the journey, the habit changes, and the physical results, but it’s probably going to be time to push to a new plateau soon!