Paula & Jeff Coome



At age 62, Jeff and Paula Coome started a bold new adventure.  Not an African safari; they’ve been on several of those already.  Not retirement, an exciting new development in their lives, but that’s not it either.  They’ve begun the ultimate adventure:  fitness and wellness as a lifestyle, a day-to-day commitment to health and happiness through exercise, diet, stress reduction and wellness.

This January, Jeff knew he could opt to begin retirement as he turned age 62. Both he and Paula knew friends and family who had worked like crazy, looking forward to retirement, only to get sick not long after stopping work, or worse, dying without having had the chance to make all their long-cherished dreams come true.  Both of them had become sedentary over the years, carrying extra weight and dealing with multiple health issues.  Paula was diagnosed with diabetes II in 2005 and Jeff had been dealing with gout and high blood pressure in addition to knee and shoulder pain.

They took the plunge into membership at Avera McKennan Fitness Center in February and there’s been no turning back. Starting with a fitness assessment, Brandon Pietrzyk, Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer, helped each of them launch onto a new path with sound advice for approaches to weight training and cardio.They came back to Brandon with questions as they got rolling with consistent workouts and he helped them learn how to avoid problems and how to safely push themselves to accomplish more than they would have expected of themselves.

Paula says that when she started here, she had trouble catching her breath after only a little exertion.  Now, she typically covers 10 miles in 40 minutes per day on the upright bike.  She and Jeff set up a contest between themselves to keep each other accountable.  I’m the “maybe tomorrow” one of the two of us”, she explains,so Jeff pushes me to stay committed. All that commitment has paid off. Paula is delighted by the new level of energy and stamina she feels.  And now when she shops for clothes, she’s looking for items up to 4 sizes smaller than she used to wear since she’s 30 pounds lighter.

They are both thrilled to have much more strength and endurance so that they can keep up with their grandkids. Jeff laughs and says that when it comes to babysitting, without their new healthier, stronger fitness conditioning, “We’d be dead!”  They both chuckle explaining that the 9 and 10 year old grandchildren are cheering them on but when they come to visit they do complain, “Grandma, there’s no treats in your house anymore!” If the kids would just get excited about salads, they’d find plenty to snack on.

Jeff has lost 33lbs in 3 months and his blood sugar has lowered to a new, healthier level.  He now works out 6 days a week and loves his newfound wellness.  It’s fun to talk with Jeff and Paula about their health and fitness routine. Their genuine enthusiasm is contagious – about the Avera McKennan Fitness Center as a whole, about their workouts, and about our great Fitness Specialists like Brandon.  They wish the same discovery of positive, healthy lifestyle to everyone else too.