Thomas Coffman (age 66): “I train for better metabolic health”
Name: Thomas Coffman
Occupation: Dean of Duke-NUS Medical School and Founding Director of its Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Signature Research Programme
Personal Trainer: Bronwen Appel
As the Dean of Duke-NUS Medical School, Thomas Coffman understands the long term benefits of being metabolically healthy, especially at 66 years of age.
However, with his busy schedule and intense travel itinerary (pre-COVID), Tom has had to find ways to incorporate exercise into his life, regardless of his schedule or location. That came in the form of running.
Tom loved running outdoors. “For me running is very much a mental thing, I feel a zen when running. However, it got to a point where I was getting injured a lot – and my ankles and knees suffered.”
Six years ago, a colleague was training at Level and recommended that he start training here. Since then, Thomas has been attending both classes at Level as well as working with his personal trainer, Bron, twice a week.
“I have a job that is semi-stressful, and there’s a lot of sitting around. Having a regular exercise regime as a counter balance is really good.”
When he started training with Bron, his goals involved building upper and lower body strength, as well as improving his overall cardiovascular health.
Bron developed a training programme focused around building foundational strength and staying aerobic, which was important to keep Tom’s quality of life high. She designed exercises to strengthen his hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, feet for his running, as well as plenty of core and midline endurance movements to balance out the fact that he had to sit in a chair for many hours in a day.
“At 66, I’m at an age where it is important to stay functional. As you get older, being fit, flexible and mobile has a big impact on your ability to function well and lead a high quality life.“
As a leading international researcher into the field of nephrology (the study of kidneys), Tom’s research programmes are focused around diabetes and related complications to health.
“Exercise is very important for metabolism. I do a lot of eating out, so I need a counter balance. In short, my exercise allows me to have a crappy diet.”
During the circuit breaker (and his subsequent SHN quarantines), Tom had virtual personal training sessions with Level three times a week. As he did not have any equipment at home, he borrowed weights and dumbbells from Level, and thoroughly enjoyed his virtual workouts.
“Virtual training was one of those things that helped me get through the period of isolation.”
Over the last six years, Tom has seen the impact that a regular strength and fitness programme can bring. “It’s not easy to get started, but if you have a competent trainer and start doing the right exercises, it’s amazing how quickly you can see an impact.”
“I don’t have the aches and pains that people my age complain about, and I get up each morning, ready to go.”
When asked about his experience training at Level, Tom said:
“Making Level and fitness a central part of my lifestyle has really changed my whole state of mind and well-being. I just feel better. It has become an essential part of my life.
Most of all, I do it because I really enjoy it. ”
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