Roxanne Baumann's Story

Roxanne is not the type of person to complain. She is the first to admit that she had – and has – a great life, which included 37 years with a wonderful man, Bob Baumann. They were married for 28 of those years until his death in April 2013 at age 69.

“We were very active,” she says. “We loved riding Harleys and were very social. He was such a good man. We were best friends.”

Bob had his first heart attack at age 49 – and seven bypasses.

“ProHealth Care put him back together,” she says.  “But he later developed back issues caused by arthritis that required surgery. He was in a lot of pain. He also had diabetes. Between 2007 and 2013, infections caused him to be hospitalized 14 times.”

His eventual cause of death was liver cancer.

“It was so hard to see him suffer,” she says. “I think I ate my way through his illness.”

She deserved some time to learn to live without Bob, and when she regrouped she realized she was 50 pounds heavier than she wanted to be.

“I wasn’t just heavy, I felt awful,” she says. “Lethargic. Numb.”

The trade mission came along at just the right time. She was ready for a change so that her own future would be active and happy, not focused on hospitals and doctor appointments of her own.

“When I returned I changed my diet,” she says. “I chose a lot of grilled foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. I didn’t go nuts counting calories and I still allowed myself a glass of chardonnay each night. I call it the ‘Stop Eating Crap’ diet.”

When the scale told her she had lost 25 pounds, it was time for another big step. Some of her friends had urged her to reach out for support and fitness counseling from a personal trainer. So she returned to West Wood in March 2014.

“Bob and I had joined West Wood in 2007 when his arthritis was causing so many back issues,” she says.

“He had retired by that time and I would meet him there after my day at work because the therapy pool provided real relief for him.”

Eager to get started toward a healthier lifestyle, she scheduled a fitness evaluation for herself with a female personal trainer. As it turns out, the original trainer couldn’t make it that night, so trainer Craig Nagy stepped in.

“I was so scared,” Roxanne says. “In all of my years, no man who has walked the earth has ever been allowed to put a tape measure around my hips or, God forbid, fat calipers. But I was determined to surrender my fears to this young man who obviously knew so much more about fitness than anyone in my generation.”

Both she and Craig remember that night clearly.

“As part of the fitness evaluation I had to do as many sit-ups as I could,” she says, laughing. “I made it to three.”

“Well,” Craig says. “I gave you credit for three.”

It is that kind of humor and good-natured give-and-take that made working out under Craig’s direction fun for Roxanne.

“He never laughed at me, though, but always offered guidance and encouragement,” she says. “I remember him telling me one night when my muscles were sore that I shouldn’t worry about where I was, but to think about where I was heading. He said, ‘you can’t imagine how much better you will feel when you get fit.’

“And he was so right.”

Craig has been at West Wood for about 2 ½ years. He is a graduate of Carroll University, having majored in exercise science with an emphasis on pre-physical therapy. His minor is in sports nutrition. After the initial evaluation he set up an individualized program for Roxanne and has seen progress every step of the way.

“Roxanne started with basic core training, and some lower- and upper-body workouts. After her body got used to things, she was ready to move forward,” he says. “We added more machines, more exercises. You don’t want to do the same thing over and over, so we changed it up to keep it interesting. And she just keeps making progress.”

Roxanne loves the challenge.

“I’m just really determined,” she says. “I wasn’t going to give up. And I knew I wouldn’t feel better unless I kept at it.”

Now 52 pounds lighter, her most recent evaluation puts her in the “fit” to “excellent” range, a far cry from the novice who struggled to do three sit-ups.  Her blood pressure is lower, her cholesterol is down, and her resting heart rate is 48.

“My doctor told me that if I hadn’t been exercising he would have to look for a reason it’s that low,” she says.

She still enjoys working out.

“I saw my husband go through so much and some of his problems were made worse by bad eating choices,” she says. “My own family has a history of heart problems, diabetes and stroke. I’ve decided to do what I can to avoid that. And Craig has encouraged me every step of the way.”

Craig says Roxanne is always willing to try new things.

“As a personal trainer, that makes my day,” he says. “We know that what we suggest will work. And it’s nice to see such great results.”