In 1968, the New York Times ran an amused, maybe even bemused piece on a new trend, jogging. Also during that time, joggers were regularly stopped and questioned by police and even ticketed! But the cardiovascular and weight loss benefits of the strange new hobby were soon touted and jogging, or running, for sport and health started gaining traction in the US.
In the 80’s there were still fewer adults who ran for fun than didn’t. And most of them, especially the long-distance runners, were all skinny, emaciated-looking folk. That’s when Patty Tally Cooper was in high school and started running cross country for Tampa Catholic.
She went on to study at University of South Florida. And she worked full-time while going to school full-time. And she still found time to run.
But then, her sister’s daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. Patty’s sister said she was going to walk in a marathon to help raise money to combat the disease and Patty decided that she was going to run. So, they participated. And they raised money to help fund research. And the niece was cured!
But the running bug stayed. Patty has run 5 full marathons so far – three of them to continue raising funds for the Leukemia Society. She even participated in the first Gasparilla Classic. But last year, she was looking for more. In Patty’s own words:
“My son went to Christ the King and a lot of us moms have stayed friends through the years. He is a junior at Jesuit and quite a few of the boys are at the same school, so I kept seeing these Facebook posts by one of your members, Elaine. Running is great; I still have good knees, thank goodness, and my heart is good. But the body adjusts. I needed something more to help combat the aging process and the loss of muscle.”
“What really did it for me was that it was getting harder to get up off the ground or to pick things up when I dropped them. And my metabolism was slowing, even with running. So I decided to give Fox Fitness a try.”
“It’s been one year in September and I love it! First, there are so many different exercises. I mean, we do burpees, but we don’t do them every day. The format is changed, it feels like every day is a little bit different so you just can’t get bored.”
“Also, the women there are so inviting. Not everyone is a size 2,” Patty laughed. “Sure, there are some, but it’s so welcoming to women of all shapes and sizes and if you need to modify an exercise because of bad knees or a wrist injury, no one looks down on you. If you can’t do regular Jumping Jacks that is ok you just do the low impact version. They support everyone for trying and cheer for your successes.”
“And it’s nice that the trainers are trying to hurt you. They push you but not too hard. We go to Mass, so you genuflect before you enter the pew. My son made fun of me because I used to never fully get on my knees. Now, I am so much stronger, I kneel properly and can do so much more.”
“And there is so much support in other areas. They post recipes, ideas, tips on how to make changes… their whole philosophy of “only pick one thing per month” to work on is great. I don’t drink liquor so my vice had been Diet Coke. With her advice I was able to give it up. Now I realize that it actually set off sugar-cravings for me, so not having it actually helps me eat healthier. If you change one thing for the better it can set off a whole chain reaction and make other things better.”
Patty has lost over 40 pounds in a year and over 5% body fat. She has also lost over 13 inches over her body!
“If there were a woman reading this and she was on the fence about trying it, I would say, ‘Do it and commit to it- go all in!’ When I spoke to Becky about trying it out, she had me just come in to see if I liked it. And I did. So, I figured I would give it 6 months. I would commit to myself and her for that time and at the end, it was a no-brainer for me to keep on.”
“My son plays for the Jesuit basketball team and is 6’6” as a junior. My husband works in HVAC, so he is constantly moving all day. It feels good to be able to keep up with them and to be strong, too.”
“It’s things like that, really, more than the weight. I love that – the trainers aren’t focused on weight loss, we know that diets never work long term. Dieters will lose the weight and then gain it all back, and more, but here, it’s about getting and being healthy. You get all the benefits, like weight loss and strength, when you focus on the health.”