»Briefly describe his daily/weekly workout routine.
He often will do 20 minutes of running on the treadmill (and also running outdoors during the week, plus a monthly 5K race). And then he also does strength training — some with weights and some with swinging weight bag (for his lower body training).
»What inspired him to begin a regular fitness routine?
The Unified Track program he began last year at school. He developed an interest in it and seems to really enjoy it.
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»Why is it something he has stuck with?
It seems to help him feel better. And even while he’s doing it, I think it helps him clear his head.
»How does he make time to work out?
He doesn’t have a lot of homework, and has time to do most of it at school.
»Has he lost weight or gained muscle mass through working out?
I know he’s definitely stronger. And he’s gotten faster. He ran his first 5K in 42 minutes. His last one, the Glow in the Park Midnight event last month at Mill Race Park, he finished in 30 minutes.
»What’s his favorite part of all this?
It’s hard to tell, exactly. But it probably has become just being around other people.
»Does he listen to music during his workout?
He likes classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Queen. And he listens a lot to (Columbus) 106.1 The River.
»Does he follow any special diet or eating plan?
He’s a little picky — and he’s gluten free. He eats a lot of grilled chicken and other things like vegetarian chili or turkey chili. Really, I should be eating more like him.
»Does he have a favorite fitness moment?
Well, he doesn’t care about winning or about competition. But he’s happy. At his last track meet (at North), he actually skipped across the finish line.
»What does he do to motivate himself when he just don’t want to work out?
We haven’t encountered that yet. He’s always ready to go — just as long as he knows in advance what we’re going to do.
»What advice would you give someone else — a parent or other family member — who wants to help a special-needs person exercise?
If you find something that works, do your best to stick with it. And try to just have fun with it. Remember that you don’t have to turn it into a competition.
— Compiled by staff writer Brian Blair
Role: Sophomore at Columbus North High School.
Family: Parents Tom and Celia Watts of Columbus. Stepbrother Lee Watts of Columbus.
Where he works out: Columbus’ Studio Fit By Nancy, besides running outdoors and participating in the Unified Track program at North helping special needs students.
Hours per week: Six or seven.