Success Stories

Adrian Kurre - Getting Certified to Extend Life

Adrian Kurre

Once a classic example of a yo-yo dieter, 63-year-old Adrian Kurre is now a model of fitness and health.

A wake-up call that coincided with the birth of his twin boys seven years ago and coming to grips with a self-described excessive-compulsive personality played key roles in helping him shed the 50 extra pounds that had plagued him for years. But it was his decision to try to understand the science behind good fitness, which led him to ISSA, that he said allowed him to make the dramatic breakthrough.

How dramatic? The 6-foot Kurre has maintained a weight of 180-185 pounds for the past six years after topping out at 230 after the twins were born. His commitment to working out six days a week — strength training and cardio — included a plank challenge he made to himself in 2016. He decided he would hold a plank for as long as he could, then try to top it by at least one second the next day.

He clocked in at two minutes, one second the first day. On Dec. 31 of that year he was scheduled to do an eight minute, seven second plank but decided to go as long as he could. He made it to 11 minutes, seven seconds.

Fit, trim, and never tiring of answering the question of “How did you do it?”, Kurre has positioned himself as a role model for everyone interested in maximizing their fitness level while living an everyday life.

An Unhealthy Pattern

His weight problem began in his freshman year of college, when, among other things, he said, he discovered beer. The typical “freshman 15” pounds of weight gain turned into the freshman 40 for him. From that point on, he said, he would go on to lose — and gain back — the same 50 pounds eight times in his adult life.

“I’d go on a diet and it was all about calorie restriction and exercise,” Kurre said. “When I would reach my goal weight I’d have a pizza and stop going to the gym.”

The pattern continued through the age of 58, when his wife from his second marriage gave birth to twins. After a quick calculation, Kurre was hit with the reality that he would be 74 years old by the time the twins graduated high school. He decided he needed to do all he could to increase the odds of not only still being alive well into his 80s, but active and healthy as well.

“I thought back to the other seven times I had gone through the process of losing and gaining back the weight and determined that I wasn’t doing something right,” Kurre said. “That was my impetus to study the science behind fitness.”

Getting Educated in Fitness and Health

Online research led him to the ISSA website, and before long he knew it was the route he wanted to go. He signed up for the course to become certified as a personal trainer for the sole purpose of educating himself on fitness and good health.

“I have run four marathons,” Kurre said, “but through ISSA I learned that I needed to do resistance training. I took everything I learned in the course and incorporated it into my daily routine.

“I have a running routine, a strength training routine, a weekend routine. And I have been able to maintain my weight at 180-185 pounds for the past six years.”

Kurre said he had dabbled with lifting weights in the past but never got to the point where he was enjoying it, so he didn’t stick with it. When he was able to put together the right routine he was amazed at the results.

“I’ve never been in this good of shape,” Kurre said. “I have great core strength; I have reduced my chances of falling and hurting myself later in life. I have a strong lower body. But it’s the upper body I really notice when I look in the mirror.”

Reaching the Level of Play

Kurre is the global head of Homes2 Suites by Hilton and is based in Memphis. He found that a book he read entitled “Primed to Perform,” written by Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor, that focuses on developing strong workplace cultures also related to fitness. Among the topics discussed are the three levels of motivation — potential, purpose, and play.

Using his own situation, Kurre explained the meaning of potential with the thought that, “If I work out regularly, I can get into good shape.” Purpose is motivating in that, “If I get into shape, I will be around to see my kids reach adulthood.”

But the goal everyone should strive for is to reach the level of play, which simply means getting enjoyment out of what you are doing.

“While performing a specific task, if we feel that task is play, we will be the most motivated to do the best possible job,” Kurre said. “After learning the science of fitness through ISSA I was able to reach the level of play. So now I look forward to going to the gym.

“When I talk with people who are fit, 100 percent of the time fitness is play for them.”

The focus, of course, is on prevention rather than treatment, when it comes to such things as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and the problems that creep in as we age that are due to inactivity.

When it comes to his diet, Kurre keeps track of everything he eats and drinks on a daily basis. He prescribes to the “80-20” rule, which means eating right 80 percent of the time while making exception for the occasional bacon cheeseburger, pizza, or chili cheese fries 20 percent of the time.

Kurre made one other significant change: He decided to give up alcohol in 2002 and hasn’t had a drink since.

“I discovered that if I had the first drink, I always had the eighth drink,” Kurre said. “If I didn’t have the first drink, I didn’t have a problem with having the eighth drink. If I had that first drink, I would end up making some bad decisions.

“Because I have an excessive-compulsive personality it is important that I don’t have that first drink.”

Education for the Future

Kurre is currently taking the ISSA course for senior fitness. His plan is to next take the course for youth fitness, with the idea of becoming a volunteer strength and conditioning coach at the twins’ school when he retires.

In the meantime, he plans to continue to share with family and friends and anyone else who takes notice of his fitness level the importance of taking care of one’s body through exercise and staying active.

He’s a strong proponent of getting kids hooked on fitness at an early age, with the idea of developing good habits that can be carried on for a lifetime. If he had his way, gym class would be mandatory for every student — right through to the end of college.

In a related matter, Kurre said he believes anyone who is elected to Congress should be required to take the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer class.

“If everyone in Congress understood the science behind fitness and put a system in place that encourages people to find their potential, purpose and play through cardio and strength training,” he said, “we could have enough money to pay for the non-self-inflicted things that occur — 10 times over.”

Sounds like a platform to run on — and lift weights on.

Whether you want to be your own personal trainer or become a trainer with clients, check out the ISSA’s Personal Trainer Certification course online to get the fitness knowledge you need.

ISSA • March 12, 2019

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