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At 56, Tonal Helps Me Feel Younger and Have More Energy

Tonal member Mary-Elise Smith helps fight osteoporosis and joint pain with regular strength training.

Tonal member Mary-Elise Smith

By Mary-Elise Smith as told to Karen Iorio Adelson

A few years ago, when I was in my early 50s, I told my best friend that I felt so much older than I thought I would at that age. I just felt old. I would wake up in the morning feeling stiff and had to cling to the railing as I walked downstairs. I was tired and rundown all the time. 

That’s all changed thanks to Tonal. I’m 56 now, and my joints don’t hurt as much; my posture is better; and I have so much more energy.

For the past 10 years, my primary care doctor has been telling me I need to do something to build muscle to prevent osteoporosis. She told me walking alone is not enough as I get older. I’ve always been active—running, walking, and hiking—but I never stuck with a strength training program. I would play around with kettlebells and various fitness fads, but nothing stuck. After a few months, I’d inevitably get bored.

Then my husband and I started looking at Tonal. At first, we talked ourselves out of it. We’re both outdoorsy people, and we moved to Florida from the Northeast five years ago to be able to spend more time outside. Why would we invest in an exercise machine that we had to use inside? But last year, my husband needed hip replacement surgery and that made us both admit that we’re getting older and need to focus more on strength training. This January, we finally ordered our Tonal.

Initially, I was a little intimidated by all the programs and workouts Tonal had to offer, but then I decided to do the Four Week Fast Track: Upper-Body Shred challenge along with the Official Tonal Community. That’s what got me hooked. Compared to doing kettlebell workouts on my own, I felt much more motivated to keep going with Tonal because I had a coach guiding me every step of the way. The Tonal coaches are so knowledgeable and always explain why we’re doing what we’re doing. I love that with a program there’s a goal spelled out for you, and you know that if you put in the effort, you can accomplish that goal.

Being part of the community on Facebook also helped me stick with the challenge. The other members are awesome—sharing their stories and pictures and encouraging each other to succeed. It felt so rewarding to learn from others as well as the coaches. 

 “I love that with a program there’s a goal spelled out for you, and you know that if you put in the effort, you can accomplish that goal.”

– Mary-Elise Smith, Tonal member

I’m a huge data person, so I love all the workout stats I get from Tonal. My legs were stronger to begin with, but it was awesome to see my upper-body strength increase in that first program. With my old workouts, I might have felt a little stronger, but on Tonal I can actually say that my Strength Score has gone up 54 percent. Having that number keeps me motivated.  

Plus, as I worked through the Four-Week Fast Track, random people started walking up to me on the street and complimenting my arm muscles. My husband even started doing the same program after seeing my results. It’s very rewarding to know that we’re in it together—we’re both progressing and achieving our goals. 

Along with strength training, I also do stretching and mobility sessions on Tonal at least twice a week, and that’s played a big role in relieving my joint pain and helping me move better. I know that’s one of the reasons I feel younger now than I did a few years back.

Everyday tasks like gardening and carrying the groceries also feel so much easier. We have a water dispenser and get five-gallon jugs of water delivered to our house. The last time they came, I picked one up and literally had to look at it to see if it was the right size because it felt so much lighter. Now I can bring the water in by myself without breaking a sweat. I can walk faster and longer, even in the intense Florida heat. It’s my dog who shortens our walks, now, and not me. 

I used to think strength training was about building muscle and “bulking up,” but I’m really doing it to keep my bones healthy and do the activities I love. I never would have thought I’d feel such a dramatic difference in just months. I only wish we’d have gotten our Tonal sooner. 

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, injuries, or concerns should consult with their healthcare provider before trying a new exercise or nutrition regimen.