Meet Dwayne Dubois
Dwayne has been a personal training client of mine for over 3 years. His sense of humour makes our sessions seem more like hanging out than working out (but he still gets his butt kicked!). Dwayne exemplifies what I firmly believe – that there is always something we can do. His commitment to exercise and moderate eating allows him to enjoy life to the fullest. He is consistent and accountable. Dwayne is a great guy who works out to do the things he loves.
BYCfitness: Tell us about yourself
My name is Dwayne. And, in no particular order, I would say I am an accountant, a partner/husband, a father, and a SCUBA diver – all of which bring me great joy and fulfillment. In my spare time, I volunteer and serve on three not for profit Boards – dealing with a variety of missions including: children and families impacted by autism, enabling women and their families to be self-sufficient, and post-secondary education. I would not consider myself to be an athlete despite having completed 3 marathons (in the same year), one of which one was part of an IronMan – more of a sucker for punishment.
I have struggled with my weight and body image for as long as I can remember. Although there are family photos of me as a young child – around 8 or 9 years old – when I was quite thin. I don’t know what happened to trigger the change, and while I wish there was a traumatic life event or something juicy or scandalous that I could share, there isn’t. So whatever the reason, in my school years I excelled at scholastics and other non-physical things. I vividly remember how much I disliked Phys Ed in school – I was thankful when in Grade 11 Phys Ed became optional. I remember the teacher would divide the class into two teams – shirts and skins – how I dreaded, no feared, ending up on the skins team. To this day, I am not comfortable being shirtless.
Despite these struggles, I have never really been a diet person. I like food, no wait, I should say I love food. And, while I keep hearing that abs are made in the kitchen, I have yet to find this magical kitchen. I also enjoy a glass or two of wine. All of which can work against me in my fitness journey at times.
Throughout all this, I try to maintain a degree of balance and keep my stress levels in check. The gym helps with most of that, and is more of a stress reliever than a commitment.
BYCfitness: When and why did you start working out with Lynne?
Lynne and I started working out in July 2016. I was about to turn 50 and was hoping that 50 would be the new 40. It wasn’t. However, that didn’t mean it was too late to do something about my health and well-being.
In that short time, she has become more than a trainer – I consider her a confidant, a motivator (often pronounced very differently during our workouts), and a friend. My workouts are not just physical – although that’s a large part of it – they also include some emotional benefits. We often find ourselves talking about life – be it about family, relationships, work, or just life in general. These “talks” allow me to vent and destress in ways I often didn’t realize I was stressing over.
We also laugh…a lot. That’s probably the icing on the proverbial cake of my workouts with Lynne. I say proverbial because we never have actual cake. Ever.
Note from Lynne: We don’t have cake at the gym BUT Dwayne is an amazing cook and baker.
Thankfully he never brought this incredible cake he made to the gym!
BYCfitness: Did your “why” change over time?
I think my “why” changes continuously; however, I have come to realize that my true underlying “why” has remained fairly consistent. I want to be healthier – it’s that simple. I also want other short term goals, like bigger or more defined arms, a better chest, etc. but underlying all that, it’s to be healthier so I can live longer and maintain my vitality as I get older.
BYCfitness: We have often talked about “This is why we workout. To do the things we love”. How has training impacted your ability to do those things you love to do?
Many of us have heard the expression ‘you only live once’. I prefer to think of it differently, and have now preferred to say “You only die once. You live every day.” I want to take full advantage of it every day.
As a cancer survivor and a Type II diabetic, I have lots of reasons why I no longer take my health for granted and choose to live life to the fullest. Monday to Friday, you can find me in the office, doing accounting stuff. A somewhat sedentary profession. And while I love accounting, it’s not my true passion. For me that lies underwater. So when I am not at work, I am often somewhere SCUBA diving (usually capturing pictures of what I see underwater). With diving comes the opportunity to travel to some great places, as the local diving in Calgary – while great – is relatively limited to Banff, Waterton, and some local community lakes. My current SCUBA diving and travel goal is to have a stamp from a country in all seven continents in a single passport. Thankfully, they now have 10 year passports.
SCUBA diving and travel can both be quite tiring. The days are long and the gear is heavy. As a result, most of my workouts with Lynne focus on a combination of strength training and cardio. The cardio not only helps maintain a healthy heart, which is even more important as a diabetic, it also helps to improve my air consumption – allowing me to stay underwater longer (other things also come into play there). However, it’s the strength training that’s really key because when I am fully suited up in my SCUBA gear, it can add as much as 80 pounds to my already heavy (I prefer stocky) frame. And to move around, enter and exit the water – whether via boat or on shore – requires both endurance and strength. The strength workouts also allow me to go hiking in various places that I’ve traveled, such as Machu Picchu and Diamond Head Hawaii.
So while most of the workouts are tough, it definitely pays off when I am able to fully enjoy the things I wouldn’t thought possible before, be it diving somewhere exotic or hiking up a mountain taking in those incredible views.
BYCfitness: When I think of you, the words “consistency” and “accountability” always come to mind. Would you agree? Do you find that consistency plays a role in your well-being? What choices have you made to be more consistent in your health/nutrition/training in the past few years?
I have come to learn that I am the “master of justification” and I am able to justify why I didn’t make it to the gym. And when I say “Master”, I mean I wrote the book on excuses. So when I hear the words consistent and accountable used to describe me, I am both surprised and flattered. Surprised because I never considered myself a consistent gym goer. And flattered because I never thought anyone would think this about me. Maybe this whole gym thing isn’t as hard to fit into my routine as I thought it was.
Working out with Lynne has allowed me to disrupt that pattern for several reasons. First, the sessions cost money. So if I don’t go, I am wasting that money and as an accountant you can probably imagine how that sits with me. Second, my partner is eight years younger than me and I need to do everything I can to ensure I can keep up to him. Maybe not now, but in the future, so this is a foundation for me to build upon. Lastly, our daughter is 25 and despite my not telling her I am not ready for grandchildren, she has assured me I probably won’t get to decide when that happens. I want to be able to keep up with them and enjoy them, regardless of what age I am. So for all these reasons, I need to be consistent.
BYCfitness: In regard to accountability, can you give us some examples of what you do to keep on track?
It probably sounds silly, but I find the best way to keep myself accountable it to text Lynne whenever I do a workout of any kind. I find this achieves a couple of goals: it lets her track my progress on some of the exercises we have been doing (so she knows I am not just sitting around drinking wine and eating chips – which I also do from time to time) and it’s my way of letting someone know that I did something physical that day. By letting Lynne know what I have done, she can adjust our workouts accordingly to either add new exercises, increase weight, or continue to challenge me on the exercises I don’t do as frequently on my own.
A text from Dwayne to Lynne when he was travelling
The other tip (or trick) that I have learned is to schedule my workouts in my calendar. I actually book time during my day to work out, put it in the calendar, and then minimize the number of interruptions that prevent me from getting there. Now I am fortunate, in that we have a gym right in our office at work, so I can usually work out at various times during the day. However, I use this scheduling tip when I book work out sessions at the gym with friends both after work and on the weekends. I also use this when I book spin or do other exercise classes. That way both my work colleagues and my family know that I have a commitment and can plan accordingly.
BYCfitness: What is the most important thing you learned in the past few years that has allowed you to be stronger and healthier?
It is important to set goals…both small and achievable ones and also the big lofty ones that make you uncomfortable. I try to set one goal a year with Lynne in my training. For example, I wanted to be able to do a pull up…not ten pull ups, just one. And while that may not seem like a large or difficult goal for some, to me it seemed insurmountable. And we worked at it for about eight months, and I achieved it. So then we set another goal. And so on and so on. And while some goals have been achieved, some still have not. Failure is a reality in life and I appreciate when things don’t work out. They provide me with learning opportunities and a chance to re-assess and tackle things differently. Failures also allow me to temporarily set a goal aside and focus on something else for a while, often coming back to it at a later time. Most importantly, failure has taught me that I don’t have to give up. I can change direction and come back to something when I am ready or able to spend more time on the objective.
BYCfitness: What keeps you motivated to train regularly?
Variety. I’ve heard people say “it’s the spice of life” and for me, it’s what keep me working out. As much as I enjoy my sessions with Lynne, I also look forward to my workouts with friends, spin class, as well as Lagree (you may have to google this if you haven’t heard of it already). If I only did one thing, or one type of workout, I see myself getting bored and then just stopping. So variety allows me to try new workouts or exercises, work muscles in different ways, and even different muscles, and it keeps me motivated. That and seeing myself naked in the mirror. Now that’s motivation.
Dwayne getting his sweat on – fully clothed, phew 🙂