Michael Hawks

January 2014

Michael is 55 years old and started his membership at CWC nearly 2 years ago. In February 2011, he underwent a liver transplant, so he didn’t look at his time at the gym as exercise but as rehabilitation. He wasn’t looking to lose weight or gain muscle; he just wanted to be normal. He comes to the center five or six days a week and always starts with the elliptical. He says his first trips on the elliptical were like being caught up in an eggbeater, so he added weight training to stabilize his core. He still finishes each aerobic session with some type of weight training. About 6 months ago, he maxed out on the elliptical and started taking spin class with Mandy Nester. Spin class is a hard workout, but it’s not complicated and incorporates both resistance and interval training, things he had not done before. It also ramped up his aerobic potential. He decided about 4 months ago to try yoga classes with Tran Shipman and Yvette Ladd. Yoga looked and felt foreign, but it’s actually the most accessible of exercises. You can do it sitting down, looking at television, or standing in a checkout line. It also promotes balance and flexibility, two invaluable attributes as you age. He recommends yoga to anyone who wants to do ordinary things well. He says the primary benefit he’s received from CWC is the ability to do ordinary things well—things you don’t miss until you can’t do them. He quotes Henry David Thoreau: “The only consolation of being sick is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.” He says CWC has helped him recover to a better state.


Michael Hawks

January 2017

December 9, 2015, I woke up in the cardiac critical care unit of Roanoke’s Carilion Memorial Hospital. I was naked except for a hospital gown draped over me like a bib.  I had suffered a cardiac arrest in my Cross Training class doing burpees and was airlifted to Roanoke. I had to explain what burpees were to the examining physician. Apparently they don’t get many burpee-induced cardiac arrests there.

Around the third day, the novelty of the situation wore off, and depression took hold. I started ticking off all the things that I would never be able to do now, and I could not see anything other than a diminished life in front of me.

A little over a year later, I am back to full strength, and I credit Carroll Wellness Center for helping me with that recovery.

My father, a high school principal of 38 years, once told me that every person is responsible for his or her own education. The same thing can be said of fitness. You have to go to the gym often and bring a willing spirit, but after that, there’s no limit to what you can do.

Carroll Wellness Center offered something for me to do at every stage of my recuperation. I used the kettlebells to build strength. I went to spin class for stamina. I took yoga to help with balance and coordination. Yoga is like the underhanded free throw in basketball. You look funny doing it, but you can’t argue with the results.

Mandy Nester, the spin instructor, is the kindest and most welcoming spirit you will ever meet, and Yvette Ladd, who leads the yoga class, is the best teacher that I have had in any discipline.

I am doing better now, but I am by no means finished. I have lost 15 pound, and want to lose another 15 in 2017. Moreover, I have never been able to do a pull-up, and this is the year my chin goes over that bar.

As I struggle and strive in 2017, I remember a quote by  Henry David Thoreau:

“The only consolation of being sick is the possibility that you can recover to a better state than you were ever in before.”

Carroll Wellness Center offers you that possibility



Jake Nunn

I have been a member at the Carroll Wellness Center since March of 2007. But I didn’t start really working out hard and consistently with CrossFit until November 2014 and that’s when I started seeing changes in my body the most and it started to become a hobby to me. My typical workout plan is working out three times a day. A heavy lifting workout, an endurance workout and a skills workout (handstands walks gymnastics and etc.) My best experience so far at CWC is   hitting the 405 lb squat to get on the Top 10 of the lb for lb Board in the Weight Room. I work out every morning at 5:30 AM before school, then another workout right after school and I normally try to squeeze in the third workout in with one of the others. The advice I like to give to anyone is: “You can’t buy fitness. You can’t get it in the five minutes. There is no secret, you have to want it and to earn it.” My original goal was to be better and now that I’m better than I was my new goal is showing God’s strength in what I do. My physical fitness is only as important as my spiritual. So I need to show God’s glory through my life.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

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Patricia Draughan

I have been a Member at CWC since April 2014. My favorite part about CWC is the people, staff and members alike, everyone is great! The amount of classes, there’s a lot of choose from!

My normal workout routine: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and sometimes Wednesday. I don’t do anything on Sunday unless absolutely necessary.

My goal is to be in the gym 4 days a week. If I only get 3 days, I’m okay; but I strive for four. I normally take Zumba, do Cardio, & Strength Training. When I want to switch it up I’ll do Body Attack and/or Body Pump.

How do I fit health/fitness into my routine: It is a part who I am & one of my most important priorities. I try to eat only God’s foods(fresh/frozen fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, etc).  I have not eaten fast food or drank anything but water, coffee, & tea in two years. I also find activities that involve some form of fitness (5ks, Zumbathons, hikes, etc) My family & friends are amazing & are VERY supportive.

What is my motivation: My health, one of the most valuable gifts we have. I have had Type 2 Diabetes for 17 years & many years of that were uncontrolled. I have minor complications from the uncontrolled Diabetes such as Minor Diabetic Retinopathy in my eyes. That is my motivation. I am FINALLY healthy and living the life I always prayed for. When I think about where I WAS and where I COULD HAVE BEEN, it makes me incredibly humble and thankful.

Have I reached my goal: I don’t know if you should ever reach a goal; but my weight goal was 199 & I did reach it; however, I’m just like everyone else & fluctuate. I have lost approximately 90lbs since May 2013. I started at a size 24/26 & I am down to around a 10. I weigh less than I did when I was 14. However, my main goal is my health. In May 2013 my A1C was 12.7 & I was placed on 3,000mg of medicine (Metformin &   Januvia) to keep my blood sugars just around 250. I have been off all medicine since July 2013 & my A1C has remained stable. In November 2014 it was a 5.8 & in March it was a 6. My Cholesterol was close to 300 & now it is 104. I had slight Fibrosis of the Liver; which has healed itself. These are just some examples of how thankful and blessed I am. My health is ALWAYS my focus.

First & foremost, what works for me is not going to work for everyone. Set realistic goals that work for you and your lifestyle, find your motivation, stay focused, realize that set backs are okay & you have to rest, find accountability that works for you (a class, workout partner, etc), realize that it has to be a TRUE lifestyle change – mind, body, & soul MUST all work together, find a team of medical professionals that work for you (if necessary) & enjoy & celebrate every little thing!

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Holly Ann Beckstrand

Since I started coming to CWC, beginning December 12, 2011, I and my parents have felt much improved in vigor and health, and I’ve taken inches off my waist. I really look forward to this time in the pool with my father while my mother works out in the fitness room. I feel really good when I’m in the pool. When I was a baby, my foster mother, Auntie Emma, took me into the pool in her back yard where I just loved to swim whenever I had the chance. While I was still a small child, each year my family took me back packing for several days in the High Sierras. One of my sisters carried me in a backpack. When we would stop at the side of a creek, I would lay on my stomach to play in the water—and I really fussed when I was taken away from the stream. When we lived in New York, while dad was at work, Mother would take me swimming at the Jewish community center or the high school. At the community center, a therapist worked with me to exercise my arms and legs. I have three sisters and four brothers, scattered around the country and which we travel to visit about once a year. I don’t like traveling so much, but Dad says I have to go so he can visit his children. We usually find something to do which ameliorates the pain, such as buying bags of salt water taffy in Salt Lake City to give to my therapists, staff at CWC, and home health aides. After my father retired as an IBM attorney and we moved here, for several years he had the growing impression that I needed to get back in the pool. He visited a few centers and found the ideal situation here at CWC with its therapy pool and lift. Laura Bunyan showed my dad some exercises to do with me in the pool and he, my Mother, and I have been coming several times a week to exercise. As important to me as is the exercise, even more so are the friends I’m making here. I really love them and appreciate their encouragement and kindness. Every Sunday my family attends church services at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fort Chiswell where I have the assignment to greet people as they come to church and give them a program. I enjoy scrap booking, hanging out with friends, giving away copies of the Book of Mormon, sending out Christmas letters and photos each year, birthday cards each month, and going out to eat about once a week with my Dad or both parents. My sister, Louise Hiatt, takes me each month to visit one or more of my sisters of the Relief Society (which is an organization for women at my church). About once a month we travel to Raleigh or Washington DC to attend the temple. I hope to see you all in the next life, when I’ll be able to walk, dance, swim, and do all of the things that I enjoy watching my friends at CWC do now.