Fit Feature: Karen Oswald

Karen Oswald, 63, of Mason, has found her fitness passion: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is a form of exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue. Wanting to become healthier, she tried out her local Snap Fitness and met her trainer, Michael Frazier, who helped her get into shape. In the last year, she’s lost 18 pounds and can’t wait for her next workout.

“Walking had always been my exercise of choice, but now that I am in my 60s, it just wasn’t happening anymore. I noticed my body changing – muscle loss, more fat, less flexibility, and energy,” she said. “But that cycle has dramatically changed since friends invited me to join them at a HIIT class. I have gained muscle, strength, and flexibility. I have more energy and a better mood and outlook on aging. My clothes fit better. I flex my muscles and tease my husband that I am going to beat him up!”

Oswald, who is the library clerk at the Mason Public Library, also read books on nutrition and exercise to help her diet. Along with past experiences with Weight Watchers, she dialed her plan to eat healthier.

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“I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and I read lots of books about nutrition and diet, health and fitness, and cookbooks, too,” she said. “My current diet is a culmination of all I have learned over the years. I concentrate on basic whole foods throughout the week, some dairy, a fiber supplement, coffee and lots of water throughout the day. Now that winter is here, homemade soup will be in my refrigerator. Believe me, it’s not always a perfect diet.”

She said she makes sure to keep junk food out of her house, and healthy snacks handy, when the urge to eat poorly arises. She then imagines what would happen if she eats poorly. “In my mind, I imagine eating the sugary, fatty highly processed junk food and then how I will probably feel physically and emotionally bad. Then I think about something else to eat or do instead of giving in to the urge.” Her advice to others? Invest in yourself.

“Be aware of what it is you want as far as health and fitness,” she said. “Narrow down what needs to change and imagine a healthier body and mind and what that looks like. Be determined, make a plan and implement that plan one step at a time.”

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