Fitness Coaching

Meet Hope MacRae

Hope MacRae knows if you don't use it, you'll lose it. That's why, at age 87, she is a regular at NorthBay HealthSpring Fitness in Vacaville. You might see her tiny frame tossing a 4-pound medicine ball against the wall, performing squats on the TRX or lifting free weights.

Hope has made an impression with other members at the facility and many of them make it a point to say hello when they pass by. "I've had members tell me that I am their inspiration," said Hope. "They say, 'I want to be in that good of shape when I am your age!'"

The Leisure Town resident starts out every workout with 15 minutes on the treadmill. She is then met by her fitness coach, Julie Cassara, who accompanies her on the track to help guide her while completing her five laps around the track. "Hope's goal isn't just to reach for that half mile," Julie shares, "She also has me get my stopwatch and time each lap." Hope wants to get the most out of her workouts and what's better than having lots of challenges to meet her goals?

"Her goals were to get stronger and have more endurance," Julie explains. "She had this goal for herself but there was another reason for these goals - her labradoodle Autumn. It was very important for her to be able to enjoy and care for her canine companion."

The necessary guidance and assistance that Julie gives Hope during her workouts isn't because of her age. Hope deals with macular degeneration, a condition that limits her ability to be able to see. As the condition progresses, her vision will become more compromised, making daily tasks harder to perform. Julie knew Hope's visual challenges would mean having to start off slow and progress at her pace.

Hope knew she needed to stay active and would need help. She was eager and ready to train. Julie learned that Hope was not new to healthclubs but her workouts always consisted of sitting on machines to work out. Julie had something different in mind for Hope's workouts and it meant taking her out of her comfort zone. "I needed to base her program on functional exercises that would help her move better in life," Julie said. Hope was leery at first. "At the start she needed assistance from me, but not long after she was performing exercises on her own and with confidence," Julie said proudly.

Hope currently trains twice a week with Julie and also exercises at home. "HealthSpring is a wonderful place to exercise. The fitness coaches are well educated, very experienced and are experts in designing programs for people like me. I look forward to my workouts with Julie," Hope said happily.

"My goal," said Julie, "is to help my clients maintain their independence and to improve their quality of life. The reward is to see it happen."

That is just what Hope wanted and needed. "Julie's given me the confidence I needed to push myself and thanks to her I am enjoying my life. I know some people might feel they cannot accomplish their goals. I say take a chance...what have you got to lose? Well, actually? A lot!"