Once a classic example of a yo-yo dieter, 63-year-old Adrian Kurre is now a model of fitness and health.
A wake-up call that coincided with the birth of his twin boys seven years ago as well as coming to terms with a self-described excessive-compulsive personality played key roles in helping Adrian Kurre shed the 50 extra pounds that had plagued him for years. But it was his decision to try to understand the science behind good fitness, which led him to ISSA, which in turn, allowed him to make the dramatic breakthrough.
How dramatic? The 6-foot Kurre has maintained a weight of 180-185 pounds for the past six years after topping out at 230 after the twins were born. His commitment to working out six days a week – strength training and cardio – included a plank challenge he made to himself in 2016. He decided he would hold a plank for as long as he could, then try to top it by at least one second the next day.
He clocked in at two minutes, one second the first day. On December 31 of that year he was scheduled to do an eight minute, seven second plank but decided to go as long as he could. He made it to 11 minutes, seven seconds.
Fit, trim, and never tiring of answering the question of “How did you do it?”, Kurre has positioned himself as a role model for everyone interested in maximizing their fitness level while living an everyday life.
An Unhealthy Pattern
Kurre’s weight problem began in his freshman year of college, when, among other things, he discovered beer. The typical “freshman 15” pounds of weight gain turned into the freshman 40 for him. From that point on, he said, he would go on to lose – and regain – the same 50 pounds eight times in his adult life.
“I’d go on a diet and it was all about calorie restriction and exercise,” Kurre recalls. “When I would reach my goal weight I’d have a pizza and stop going to the gym.”
The pattern continued through to the age of 58, when his wife from his second marriage gave birth to twins. After a quick calculation, Kurre was hit with the reality that he would be 74 years old by the time the twins graduated high school. He decided he needed to do all he could to increase the odds of not only still being alive well into his 80s, but active and healthy as well.
“I thought back to the other seven times I had gone through the process of losing and regaining the weight and determined that I wasn’t doing something right,” Kurre says. “That was my impetus to study the science behind fitness.”
Getting Educated in Fitness and Health
Online research led him to the ISSA website, and before long he knew it was the route he wanted to go down. He signed up for the course to become certified as a personal trainer for the sole purpose of educating himself on fitness and good health.
“I have run four marathons,” Kurre explains, “but through ISSA I learned that I needed to do resistance training. I took everything I learned in the course and incorporated it into my daily routine.
“I have a running routine, a strength training routine, a weekend routine. And I have been able to maintain my weight at 180-185 pounds for the past six years.”
Kurre had dabbled with lifting weights in the past but never got to the point where he was enjoying it, so he didn’t stick with it. When he was able to put together the right routine he was amazed at the results.
“I’ve never been in this good shape,” he reflects “I have great core strength; I have reduced my chances of falling and hurting myself later in life. I have a strong lower body. But it’s the upper body I really notice when I look in the mirror.”
Reaching “the Level of Play”
Kurre is the global head of Homes2 Suites by Hilton and is based in Memphis. He found that a book he read entitled Primed to Perform, written by Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor, that focuses on developing strong workplace cultures also related to fitness. Among the topics discussed are the three levels of motivation — potential, purpose, and play.
Using his own situation, Kurre explained the meaning of potential with the thought that, “If I work out regularly, I can get into good shape.” Purpose is motivating in that, “If I get into shape, I will be around to see my kids reach adulthood.”
But the goal everyone should strive for is to reach the level of play, which simply means getting enjoyment out of what you are doing. “While performing a specific task, if we feel that task is play, we will be the most motivated to do the best possible job,” Kurre argues. “After learning the science of fitness through ISSA I was able to reach the level of play. So now I look forward to going to the gym.
“When I talk with people who are fit, 100 percent of the time fitness is play for them.”
The focus, of course, is on prevention rather than treatment, when it comes to such things as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and the problems that creep in as we age that are due to inactivity.
When it comes to his diet, Kurre keeps track of everything he eats and drinks on a daily basis. He subscribes to the “80-20” rule, which means eating right 80 percent of the time while making exception for the occasional bacon cheeseburger, pizza, or chili cheese fries 20 percent of the time.
Kurre made one other significant change. He decided to give up alcohol in 2002 and hasn’t had a drink since.
“I discovered that if I had the first drink, I always had the eighth drink,” Kurre explains. “If I didn’t have the first drink, I didn’t have a problem with having the eighth drink. If I had that first drink, I would end up making some bad decisions.
“Because I have an excessive-compulsive personality it is important that I don’t have that first drink.”
Education for the Future
Kurre is currently taking the ISSA course for senior fitness. His next plan is to take the course for youth fitness, with the idea of becoming a volunteer strength and conditioning coach at the twins’ school when he retires.
In the meantime, he plans to continue to share with family and friends and anyone else who takes notice of his fitness level, the importance of taking care of one’s body through exercise and staying active.
He’s a strong proponent of getting kids hooked on fitness at an early age, with the idea of developing good habits that can be carried on for a lifetime. If he had his way, gym class would be mandatory for every student – right through to the end of college.
Whether you want to be your own personal trainer or become a trainer with clients, check out ISSA’s Personal Trainer Certification course online to get the fitness knowledge you need.