• Train for Competition
  • Tone Up
  • Gain Muscle
  • Lose Weight


  • Got fit enough to climb some of the highest mountain peaks in the world
  • Strengthened my legs
  • Increased my lung capacity
  • Lost 20 pounds and dropped two sizes

how bally helped:

how i did it:

  • Set a big goal—it could be something you’ve always wanted to do!
  • Find the best equipment for achieving your goal
  • When you’re training, try to simulate the conditions you’ll encounter outside the gym
  • Don’t give up if you fall short or have a hard time at first—just step up your training to the next level!

Name: Robert P

Age: 60

Home: Lake Grove, New York

Occupation: Financial Officer

When I turned 56 years old, I started thinking about my life and some of the things I’ve always wanted to do. You get to a point in your life where you start to reevaluate things, priorities and what you want to do going forward, so I guess that is where I was at.

I worked as a financial officer—pretty much a desk jockey and not very active. Nevertheless, I didn’t really think of myself as that out of shape. Sure, I was a few pounds overweight, but I had a strong military background, so I knew I had the self-discipline to make things happen and get fit.

I know this sounds crazy, but I always wanted to climb the highest mountain on each continent. So at the tender age of 56, I started doing something I always wanted to do but never made time for before. I begin training to do some serious mountain climbing!

One Step at a Time
I knew I’d have to do some heavy-duty training to get in good enough shape to tackle my climbing goal, so I looked at all my health club choices and saw Bally had all the cardio and strength-training equipment I needed to get fit. I joined my local Bally Total Fitness in Lake Grove and began my journey.

In order to truly prepare myself for climbing, I would have to make some training “modifications.” The staff at Bally was very accommodating. For example, I would often bring extra gear with me when I got on the StairMaster, like a heavy backpack, to simulate the real conditions during a mountain climbing expedition. Although I know it must have looked odd to my fellow members, the Bally employees were very supportive of my antics.

After training for a while, I felt I was ready to take on Mt. Rainier in Washington State, which has an elevation of 14,410 feet. I barely made it to the top. It was a real reality check. I knew that, in order to achieve my goal of climbing the highest peak on each continent, I would have to step it up to a whole new level.

Serious Lifestyle Changes
It wasn’t just my training that would have to change; I realized after my first climb that I needed to take a good look at my lifestyle, especially my diet. I intensified and lengthened my workouts, and changed my eating habits, making much healthier diet choices. It worked—I lost weight and felt better than ever!

I then went on to climb Mount Cotopaxi and Mount Cayambe in Ecuador, both just over 19,000 feet. Then my next stop was Russia and I successfully climbed Mount Elbrus at 18,400 feet.

Although I was successful in each of these climbs, I realized I needed to increase my aerobic capacity while also strengthening my back and legs if I was going to attempt to climb even higher with less oxygen. I hit the Stairmaster and elliptical machines at Bally even harder—they were the absolute best machines for simulating the kind of rigorous climbing I would have to do.

I continued my quest and went on to Argentina to climb Mount Aconcagua at 22,800 feet. Then off to Tibet to climb Mount Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. Finally, in May of 2008, at age 60, I climbed the mother of all climbs, Mount Everest at 29,035 feet. I was there for two months and lived at 17,600 feet with a group of fellow climbers. Only the top athletes are able to accomplish this, so it was a very gratifying experience after four years of hard training at Bally.

My most recent climb was Mount Vinson Massif, the highest point in Antarctica. Our team ran into a 12-day storm, which depleted our food rations, but, thanks to GPS technology, we were able to locate nearby supplies and ride it through. This thrilling trip has given me more motivation to finish all seven peaks on each of the seven continents, which will make me the oldest American to do so, and the second oldest person in the world.

Best of all, I’ve become as fit as I’ve ever been during my four-year climbing journey. I lost 20 pounds, went down two inches on my waist, toned my upper body, greatly increased my leg strength and boosted my lung capacity. Not bad for 60 years old!

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