7 lessons learned from an incredible man

Me: How do you feel Daryl? 

Daryl: Like I’ve had a good workout.

That was the scenario that played out every Tuesday/Thursday for the past year as we would work with Daryl, one of our 77-year old clients. Yesterday we experienced a first at 1RM Performance. One of our toughest clients, Daryl Olsen, died yesterday morning at 4am. We started working with Daryl last year as part of the “Biggest Loser” competition at the church we attend. He successfully dropped 10 lbs during the 6-week competition, and then continued to work out with us twice a week. We liked to think of Daryl as my San Diego grandpa. He would bring me newspaper articles in the morning, he took us golfing, he shared stories from his 77 years of living with us, and most of all, he taught us about living. We wanted to share our list of things that we learned from Daryl. 

1.)   It’s going to be painful, but just keep going.

Daryl suffered from severe osteoarthritis. His joints, especially his hands and shoulders, hurt him every day. Working out and lifting is a little difficult if you can’t use your hands, so he would just work through it. Did it hurt him? Yes, every time. But every time we asked if he wanted to do something else he would say, “nope, I will just work through it”. Daryl suffered physical pain every day, yet worked out with us 2x a week and worked out on his own as well.

2.)   It’s never too late to start.

Daryl didn’t start working out until he met us. He played lots of sports growing up and was an active guy, but never really worked out. The improvements he made were incredible. He could plank for minutes at a time, he could squat and RDL with 25 lb dumbbells, he would row with 35 lb dumbbells, and he could jog. He made noticeable improvements in his posture because he took the time to do the exercises we showed him. And he made the commitment to eat healthier. If a 77-year-old man can drastically improve his fitness, so can you.

3.)   Family always comes first.

This may be the hardest one for me type because I know how much Daryl loved his family and how many family members he left behind. Every workout Daryl would update us about his family – how his wife Joan was recovering, how his grand daughter was thriving as she was studying abroad, how his sons landscaping business was doing. What we loved so much about Daryl is that he never complained about his life during his workouts – he simply shared about the joys in his life. He was in pain every workout, but yet he CHOSE to share the joys in his life with us instead of his complaints.

4.)   Always ask why.

At the age of 77 Daryl still had a desire to learn. Every time we introduced a new exercise to Daryl he would want to know why he was doing it and how it was helping him. He not only asked why, but also asked how. How should I exercise at home? How should I eat healthier? What equipment should I buy? Why, is one of the questions people forget to ask as they move through life. Daryl not only asked why, but also took the next step to figure out how to lead a better life. The more why’s you ask the more you learn.

5.)   There’s no such thing as an easy way out.

There are plenty of times through our year of working with Daryl where he could have thrown in the towel. Instead, he was continually looking for new studies to volunteer in to help with his osteoarthritis. He always asked us to help find information on his condition and then used us to help distract him from the pain he was feeling in his shoulders, hands and hips during his workouts.

6.)   You’re never too old to dance.

Daryl fell in love with the salsa when he was in Argentina. It was one of his favorite things to do with Joan. For those of you who know, Bobby is smooth as can be if he’s sprinting or moving heavy weights, but when it comes to dancing, the first word that comes to mind is definitely not smooth. While attending Daryl and Joan’s 50th wedding anniversary we got to see his moves in motion. Bobby can only hope to move as well as Daryl did during their first dance at the age of 77!

7.)   Live life to the fullest!

Daryl lived a full life. He worked hard, traveled the world, loved a lot, kept a curious mind, and enjoyed every day. Rain or shine, severe pain or moderate/severe pain, Daryl always showed up with a smile and was ready to work. Although, towards the end of our time with Daryl, the smiles seemed a little more forced but he always did his best to show us that he wanted to be with us, knew he needed to be with us, and loved us.

Daryl was an incredible man. He was a role model for everyone and impacted the lives of more people then he knew. We know Daryl is dancing in Heaven, waiting for the time he can once again dance with his true love, Joan. This time, though, he will be dancing pain-free.