Local man proves that, with fitness, it’s never too late to start

Finding an excuse not to work out or hit the gym is often much easier than mustering up the strength and self-discipline to actually get there. But what many people fail to realize is that personal fitness is much more than shedding pounds to get into that summertime swimsuit. The health implications that accompany an active lifestyle are second-to-none. Just ask 55-year-old Ocean View resident Bob Mitten, who in late 2011 made an unabashed decision that likely saved his life.

Coastal Point • Submitted: Ocean View resident Bob Mitten (left) kicked diabetes and dropped over 120 pounds since last fall, after setting up a regimen at World Gym with Certified Master Personal Trainer Casey Vosburg.Coastal Point • Submitted
Ocean View resident Bob Mitten (left) kicked diabetes and dropped over 120 pounds since last fall, after setting up a regimen at World Gym with Certified Master Personal Trainer Casey Vosburg.

Stricken with diabetes, an arthritic knee and a less-than-desirable weight, Mitten was not particularly concerned with his exercise and eating habits. After his father passed away in 2005, his priorities centered less around his own physical appearance and more around his career as a manager at Dune Manor Hotel in Ocean City, Md., and caring for his aging mother, Rhita. Near the end of last summer, Rhita voiced her concern about Bob’s health, and he vowed to make a change. One month later, in September of 2011, she passed away.

Determined to keep his promise to his mother, Bob changed his eating habits, cutting out fast food, sweets and desserts, carbonated drinks and junk foods. He extended walks with his dog, adding more distance when he could. He joined World Gym in Ocean View last December, and met certified master personal trainer Casey Vosburg, who helped him develop a workout routine and high-protein diet customized specifically to his weight, age and lifestyle. And, from there, he started noticing immediate changes.

“I dedicated myself to go every day, as she prescribed,” he noted, “five days of cardio and three days of weight training [with free weights and machines].” Some days, the cardio work and weight training would overlap, with Sundays being a reprieve from the workouts and his protein-focused diet, “within reason.”

During a visit to the doctor in February, Mitten learned he had shed more than 50 pounds, 36 of which were attributed to his workout regimen with Vosburg. And the training continued. He began setting goals for himself: losing a set amount of weight by a particular date, trying on some of his old clothes that he hadn’t been able to wear recently, and his ultimate goal — getting rid of his diabetes.

His workout schedule and diet became more than a task — it was a routine, and it was saving his life. Even Vosburg took note of his perseverance.

“In my eight years working at World Gym,” she said, “I have trained hundreds of clients, ranging from college athletes, those recovering from surgeries, individuals seeking weight loss to the usual gym-goers who want an improved workout routine. Yet I have never seen such an amount of dedication and determination as I have in Bob.”

In his most recent measurements taken at the gym, Mitten totaled a loss of 55 inches and has shed more than 120 pounds. But, more importantly, he defied the odds.

“Diabetes is the one [goal] I thought would take the longest,” said Mitten. “Yet this is the one I already accomplished. My doctor told me during my last visit that I could throw away my [diabetes] medication and test kit, since my level is as good as anyone without diabetes. I was so excited to kick diabetes already. It was amazing to hear that.”

While he is very pleased with the progress he has made, Vosburg said she knows Bob’s not stopping there.

“He continually sets new goals for himself,” she said, “and I have no doubt that he will keep making incredible strides toward a better physique and an overall wellbeing.”

One of the key elements to taking that first step toward a healthier lifestyle was education, a necessity, Vosburg said, for anyone looking to make a change in their life.

“I want Bob’s story to motivate and inspire people to help themselves achieve optimal health,” Vosburg said, “either with help from a personal trainer or on their own. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and anyone can succeed and fulfill their goals with dedication, persistence and a positive mindset.”

Bob noted that, since joining the gym, he has made friends with other members and the staff and is enjoying a healthier life that will likely have been cut short had these steps not been taken.

“At 55,” he said, “I’m enjoying this success I’m having now, and I’m loving working out. I’m eating better than ever and following a program that will enhance the quality of my life. I feel so lucky today. Like anything else, it just takes hard work, dedication and commitment.”