March Member Spotlight: Chip Bryant

If you haven’t met Chip, then you must be new to Forward Fitness. Chip is one of the original Forward Fitness members and he is definitely one of our most beloved members. He brings a great energy to the gym and is very good natured about the kidding that he gets.  He is also one of the hardest working members that we have when it comes to putting all his effort into his workouts. I was surprised when I realized that he had never been featured as our member of the month spotlight and we are excited to share a little more information about Chip with all of you.

When asked to share some information about his life before joining Forward Fitness Chip had this to share. “I think that most of the people at the gym who know me, know how ” worldly ” I am.  I was born in Brentwood, MO.  I grew up and went to school in Brentwood.  I went to UMSL, while still living at home, in Brentwood.  I was going for a business degree while at UMSL when I discovered that their idea of business was very different from mine.  It was during this time (the 70’s) that there was a great, new technology which was going to revolutionize business …… the computer.  That sounded a lot more interesting than business.  CDC (Control Data Institute) opened a learning center next to SLU and I signed up.  After completing the courses in computer operations and programming, I had several job offers.  I went to the Auto Club of MO and started my DP (back then Data Processing – now called IS for Information Systems) journey.  I then moved out and rented a house that I eventually purchased, about four blocks away which was in Rock Hill.  Finally, away from Brentwood.  Over the years, I worked my way up from computer operator to programmer and then systems programming which I did until I retired.  When my mother got Alzheimer’s, I sold my home and moved back home to take care of her … back to Brentwood.  It was a crazy time for the next 12 to 14 years between taking care of my mother, keeping my aunts and neighbor where I used to live in their own homes, and working full time. I’m just really fortunate that I found someone who I could trust and took excellent care of my mother while I worked all day.  Several years after she passed away, I found my old man dream house.  A ranch house with a double size lot, perfect for the dogs and NO stairs to deal with.  And wow; it’s only two blocks away from where I was living .. in Brentwood, of course.  I’m really happy in this house so like I tell everyone, I’m not coming out of this house until the sheet is over my head!  This just makes me all the more determined to do whatever I have to do in order to stay fit and on my feet so I can stay in it.  The addition of the mobility class to my fitness plan helps me to achieve my goals all the better.  Except for the traveling I had to do with work, I haven’t really gone anywhere.  I always had animals and would never put them in a kennel.  I’m happy to stay home and don’t really care to travel.  So you can see how ” worldly ” I am.”

Chip stated that he didn’t really think much about fitness when he was younger.  However, the older he gets, the more vital it becomes.  “The key to being able to remain independent as you grow older is movement and exercise.  Being fit also improves your health and helps you recover from sickness and injury regardless of your age.  When I had my two back surgeries a few years ago, the surgeon was amazed at how well and fast I recovered.  He knew I was faithful to my fitness routine and told me that I would have had a much longer recovery if I had not been doing that.” When asked how he has kept fitness an important part of his life, Chip has this to say. “I was kind of a late bloomer to the world of fitness.  I spent most of my career sitting in front of a terminal, going home, and watching TV.  It was about twelve years ago when I realized that I was the last of the family, and the youngest.  I became the one responsible for getting my mother, aunts, and neighbor (where I used to live) to doctors, stores, hospitals, etc. as none of them could drive anymore.  With them came all the “equipment” they needed like canes, wheelchairs, grabbers, crutches, walkers, etc.  I realized that I better get into some kind of a fitness routine to keep me on my feet as there isn’t any family left to chauffeur me around when I get old and feeble.  That was my motivation for starting and what will keep me going for as long as I can.”

Chip was one of the first members to sign up when Mike and Suzanne opened Forward Fitness.  He had been working with Mike and Suzanne at the previous gym where they were working before opening Forward Fitness and when they did, Chip came with them. “After all, before meeting Mike, the previous place I was going tried for three years to teach me how to do the Turkish Getup before they gave up.  After a couple of months, and a lot of patience, Mike had me doing what the previous place couldn’t do in three years.  I couldn’t imagine not being with Mike and Suzanne to continue my training journey.” Chip had this to say about the biggest challenge that he has faced so far, “I think that one of the biggest challenges I ever faced was my return to Forward Fitness after the six months I had to take off due to my back surgeries.  At first, I was pretty much afraid to do anything for fear my back was going to snap.  Even though the surgeon fully released me to do everything I had done before, I was still nervous that I was going to do something to screw it up.  Fortunately, Mike had written a program for me that had me feeling safe that I was not going to hurt anything.  After a week or so, I was feeling good that I was not going to hurt my back.  After that, I realized that I was not performing at the same level I was before my surgery.  I was aggravated and disgusted with where I was now compared to six months ago.  Mike told me that if I worked at it, I would be able to get back to where I was before.  It was hard in the beginning, but I just kept thinking to myself that I want to be able to stay on my feet and remain independent and this is what I needed to do.  It took a while, but I did make it back to where I was before the surgery, and everything now goes into the plus column.”

Chip has this advice for anyone thinking about starting a fitness routine, “I would tell anyone considering starting a fitness routine to go for it.  You are never too old or too out of shape to start.  They will put together a plan for you that you will be able to do.  If you stick with it, before you know it, you will notice a difference.” 

1 Comment

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Nick Kongreply
March 9, 2022 at 3:14 am

What a great read! Go Chip!!

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