Last week I sat down (virtually) with long-time member Dawn Wheeler, and I discussed how not only regular exercise but using a monitoring device to keep you accountable could have a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
Sometimes illness and disease are within our control, but in the times they aren’t, your odds of a fast recovery or even your very survival are vastly improved.
If you are already a regular exerciser, good for you, if you aren’t taking the first steps from sickness to wellness, starts with a decision.
Please take 14 minutes of your time, as this is probably one of the most important videos or announcements I’ve ever made.
Scroll down to read the complete transcript of the interview.
Here’s the complete transcript
Scott: Hey everybody this is Scott and I’m here with Dawn Wheeler who has been at CrossFit I35 I wrote the date down here on December 29th, 2012. So she’s coming up on eight years with us and I brought her here today because I wanted to share a story because there’s a kind of remarkable story.
If you see my shirt says “My Zone” on it. “My zone” is doing a worldwide challenge this month for work-out, it’s called work-out to help out. And so that’s all about helping our health, helping our immune systems, and helping the fitness industry which is kind of taking a hit during COVID.
But, I brought Dawn here because Dawn was, I’m gonna say you’re the first person at the gym that attained something called a platinum status with “My Zone”. Now here’s where that’s impressive. There’s something called my zone effort points if you don’t know what the system is and there’s a certain number that you have to hit every month so like in three months you’re Iron, six months you’re Silver, twelve months you’re Gold, and twenty-four you’re Platinum and I’m telling Dawn earlier if we were having this conversation a year from now she and I will be Diamonds and this is not envoy by the way so, it’d be okay if it was, right.
But, so here’s what I think was remarkable about it is that those 24 months need to be unbroken, so like there wasn’t a month that you took off, there wasn’t a month that you got lazy you said the heck with it or whatever, but Dawn you haven’t missed a heartbeat since we put that system in place so I’m just going to turn this over and I may have a few more questions, but it’s remarkable because you’ve had some challenges some big ones that in the last 24 months so I’m just gonna ask that you share that and let us know.
Dawn: All right well, in the last twenty-four months, I think starting twenty-four months ago I was still recovering from double mastectomy and radiation and various other surgeries and still trying to make my way back when we started the my zone challenge and started the competition, well it’s not really a competition, but started using the belt to track more for myself, my heart rate because I had to be careful because I’m on chemo every three weeks, so I had to be careful not to get too overheated or too maxed out just to try to stay in a safe parameters while still pushing me so while I was at the gym having the large screen with the my zone was a amazing tool for me, not only to track my fitness but to just to stay safe within the parameters and then once i started using the belt, you know we had several competitions and, kind of gets you charged up and excited about wearing the belts, and you know who’s winning and getting the points, but more than anything I was using it for my own personal health and well-being.
Because during this cancer journey, I hate that cancer adventure whatever, I would have some setbacks you know, I would find out you know that cancer had come back in the liver or had spread to my sacrum and just kind of take a gut punch, but then one of the things that helped me not just physically but mentally and emotionally was having the gym knowing that I could… it was the stable thing in my life. Besides my husband and my faith the gym and working out was the stable force in my life and then the benefit of that was being and staying healthy because throughout all this journey I found out with a lot of other women in my situation that they had developed osteoporosis, they developed all kinds of heart complications, chemo had damaged other parts and other organs of their body and on top of it they were 30 to 40 pounds overweight, over the weight that they were before their cancer diagnosis and I was just determined that was not going to be me because I had worked so hard in all the previous years to get fit, get in shape, get my diet under control, get strong and, so that was that and the milestone really kind of kept me parched up kept it a part of my daily life and like I said it’s one of the three constants in my life that helped me stay grounded.
Scott: So, how big an impact because that was really interesting I haven’t heard the story about the other health issues that some people in the same situation experience that you didn’t experience at all.
So, how important would you say, especially in your situation as a breast cancer patient how important is staying fit as possible through that process?
Dawn: It’s absolutely, extremely important.
One of the first appointments I had after meeting with a surgeon and an oncologist was with a health and nutrition or a fitness and nutrition person at my oncology suite and she reiterated thankfully at from the very beginning that one of the most important things I could do would be to work out almost every day and just to continue doing that. She did give me guidance that I needed to watch my heart rate which thankfully the “My Zone” was right there for me so that was huge. But my immune system has been able to…
Well let me just say this if your immune system goes to a certain level, goes down a certain level you can’t get treatment if you can’t get treatment the disease progresses, so it’s extremely important to keep my immune system up and with the chemo, it shoots you down it shoots your red blood cell count down, your white blood cell count, it just affects you know everything and so your immune system you know I would have dips, but I’ve… except for one time and they couldn’t tell me why my immune system has never dipped below where I couldn’t get treatment except for one time. And I think I had just been fighting off a cold or something like that.
So it’s extremely important to keep my immune system up, and also so I don’t get other things you know colds or something like that, you know knock me down fitness is a huge protector against just the various things that are floating everywhere.
Scott: Right, and I’m glad you brought I haven’t used that term that number 80 percent in a while, but it is so important there are so many people think well if I need to watch my diet, if I need to exercise they’re thinking if they get a 99 they’re a failure and as far as I know 80 percent is a solid “B” in any institution I’ve ever been at and 90-92 is like exemplary like the top of your class “A” right?
So, just that it doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be damn good.
Dawn: Right. Consistency.
And you know there are days that nothing, absolutely nothing sounded good but getting some ice cream and getting some french fries and you know what? I’ll let myself do that from time to time but I don’t slack off on the workout whatever that looks like. So sometimes when I have, when I’m in my really good cycle where the chemo is kind of worn off, I’m starting to have energy and feel strong again I will blow it out every single day until the next chemo and then I just kind of have to watch it, I listen to my body but I still do something.
I get out there, I move, I get my heart rate up, I do what… you know that’s all that any of us can do, you do what you can do each day.
Scott: That’s so perfect, and I think I want to maybe just for anyone listening to this, this really doesn’t just apply to somebody who has a medical condition or cancer or…
It’s all of us. We still need to do the same thing, all of us need to be remarkably consistent, we need to get eight out of ten things right and we do that we’re just you know we’re going to be where we need to be.
Dawn: Right, and if people will start that now when you know nothing has happened physically to them.
I was able to start out the journey with the chemo and the surgeries already being in really good shape, strong, high immune system, lots of muscle, and was able to withstand the shock of just getting started with all that stuff. Whereas like I was saying before some of the people I had met didn’t do anything, weren’t in shape when they got the diagnosis, so of course, they’re not going to start working out when something you know hits like that because you don’t feel good and then after they’re recovered and healed it’s like oh crap, I’m 30 to 40 pounds heavier, now I have osteoporosis, I’ve got some heart issues and oh I guess I could start walking and it’s very daunting and it’s depressing on top of everything else you’ve been through.
Scott: It is yeah. If you said that, it is monotonous but you’re going through it I had this conversation with you maybe a couple of years ago and we had it again today. You kind of got two choices:
You’re going to roll, you’re going to roam into a ball in a corner suck your thumb and wait to die, or you’re going to stand strong and do the right stuff. And that’s like I said the other one isn’t really an option and I know it’s not.
Dawn: No! It’s not an option and I know it is for some people and I understand that but that’s another benefit of working out consistently is all the good positive endorphins and serotonin that it sends to your brain and when I get that way, I get that way sometimes I’ll just cry or think poor pitiful me, but it’s something about you go out and work out, you throw some weights around and you get your heart rate going and all of a sudden something lifts and you feel good so it’s yeah you get tons of physical benefits, but also mentally and emotionally there’s just nothing like it. Well, there might be, but I don’t think it’s legal. So, this is a better option.
Yeah, I would say just start and just start today, start where you’re at with what you can do you know it’s those little changes consistently over time that produce results. So this is one of those things that you just have to make part of your lifestyle, it’s a good habit and we know it takes what 20 to 30 days to establish a habit and then your brain’s going to get hooked on it you’re going to hate it probably for a good I don’t even want to say because maybe not but I remember just you know you asked me one time we were doing burpees and it was wide with a ton of burpees it was my first squad with a bunch of burpees and I was dying and you came over and said are you done with your burpees and I lied through my teeth I said: “Yes, I am done with my burpees”. I was done but I had not completed the number but you just and see and as for me, I had to get mad that I was in such poor shape when I thought I was in good shape and that kept me going, and then I got hooked. So just start where you’re at and just stay consistent and I promise you over time it’s just going to become part of your lifestyle.
Scott: That’s brilliant. So I guess I’ll leave with that uh thank you so much for sharing gone it’s amazing does everybody out there go exercise, please. And be part of the solution to help out. Help out the world today, you know exercise, get out of your defunct, get out of your depression, get out of the corner sucking your thumb and just move. And that’s what we want so, God bless you and thanks a bunch, so that was amazing.