“I am going to miss my connection because you are too fat”

The plane was delayed because the flight attendant could not find a seatbelt extension for Eric. The person sitting next to Eric turned to him and said with complete disgust, “I am going to miss my connection because you are too fat”. That was the turning point for Eric. Eric, overweight with a number of health issues, had been told by his doctor to buy a funeral plot because he would need one in the next five years. He was 51 years old. On the advice of a doctor, he went to the animal shelter and saved a dog, an overweight middle-aged dog he named Peety. They made changes, and in a year they were transformed. People need the right motivation to change their lives. Eric credits Peety with saving his life. Eric’s story is inspiring. The video, Eric and Peety, is poignant and well worth watching; it certainly made my day. It has been more than five years since the change. Eric is still here, and he runs marathons. While Eric is not one of our clients, it’s positive changes like his that motivate us at Austin Personal Trainers andNew Orleans Personal Trainers. We love the work we do and the clients we work with. We are fortunate and grateful to have the opportunity to help clients make changes in their lives.

Lasting Impressions: I will never get another dog

Lasting Impressions, number two in a series. In all my years working at various health clubs, several thousand people have walked through the doors. Some become members, some not. Some become casual acquaintances, while others become life-long friends. A few make a brief appearance and are gone. One such person, I think about to this day. He came into our health club to look around; he was in his mid-fifties. He gave my dog Stella a rueful look, and after a long pause, he said he would never get another dog. I asked him why. He told me he had had a wonderful dog that died for no explainable reason when the dog was five years old. He said it was such a painful experience that he could not bear to go through it again. Stella was two at the time. The guy’s words haunted me. I thought about what he said with the passing of each of Stella’s birthdays, especially on her fifth birthday. Stella turns 12 in a couple of days. For the first five years New Orleans Personal Trainers was located directly across the street from a vet’s office. Austin Personal Trainers is presently located in a northwest Austin strip mall along with a vet’s office. I have known clients and friends to go into both locations to have their pets put down. Fortunately Stella (red fur) along with her step-sister Bella have so far avoided that fate and still come to work. I am thankful for each day and all the joy the dogs have provided, and occasionally I still think about that guy. I think he made a mistake; he should have got another dog.

The therapeutic effect of the mutual dog gaze

From this Scientific American article, Is the Gaze from Those Big Puppy Eyes the Look of Your Doggie's Love?  come this quote:

 “Many studies find that positive interactions between people and dogs can be beneficial for both species. Increases in β-endorphin (beta-endorphin), oxytocin and dopamine—neurochemicals associated with positive feelings and bonding—have been observed in both dogs and people after enjoyable interactions like petting, play and talking. “

They found that oxytocin increased measurably for both dog and human when they spent time looking into each other’s eyes – a mutual gaze.  Mydogs spend a good part of their day sleeping and another part of their day with their eyes glued to me. I often return the gaze and for me the novelty never wears off.  They are also a relentless force for inducing smiles. Every day, several times a day, they make me and others smile. They make frequent visits to  Austin Personal Training and the  occasional guest appearance at New Orleans Personal Training. Feel free to stop by and be mesmerized by their gaze.


Stella and Bella

Written by Personal trainer Amy Hard

Meet Stella and Bella, Our Furry Gym Friends

Kelly Personal Training is a fun place to be for a lot of reasons. Two of them are Stella and Bella who are often found hanging around the gym. Like many in Austin, most of us who work at Kelly Personal Training are dog lovers, so we enjoy having these two Cocker Spaniels within petting distance while we train our clients - they add a nice cozy feel to our little Northwest Austin neighborhood gym. Some of our clients have called our gym their “Cheers Bar”, because many are neighbors or have gotten to know each other over their years at the gym, and they like seeing each other during their workouts.

We have seen Stella and Bella diffuse some new clients’ nervous energy before their first workout more than a few times. People usually don’t know what to expect during their first workout with us because our program is unique and new to them, so the first time they come in to try out the free workout some are a little bit apprehensive. But Stella and Bella make people smile and feel more at ease. Most of the time they stay out of the way, lazily warming themselves on the comfy yellow couch, hoping to catch a ray of sunshine or some cuddles. If you bring a treat, they will be forever wiggling their little rear ends in your direction whenever you come in. Clients that are regular treat givers have been known to have a little company with them when they go to the changing room. The dogs seem to have good memories and rarely forget anyone who gives them a treat. Stella has even been known to do a few tricks for her treats.

Bella is the youngest and came from Austin Cocker Spaniel rescue. She has acclimated well to being around lots of different people. She and Stella get along like loving sisters and are a very cute sight to see curled up close together on the couch.

Feel free to stop by and check out the gym any time at all, even if just to say hi to Stella and Bella!