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My name is Emad Hamrah and I work in the Safety Systems group at SLAC. I’ve been participating in the BeWell program yearly since its introduction and I’ve taken advantage of its benefits as much as possible.
I have written the following story with a few goals in mind:
- Convince my colleagues to go to the gym and use BeWell programs
- Thank Mr. Arrillaga for his gift of donating the gym to SLAC
- Thank BeWell, SLAC and Enzo Carrone for encouraging our team to use BeWell and the sports facility
- Thank Dr. Clyde Wilson for adding to our exercise and nutrition smarts
Every year at the BeWell consultation period, the question would come up: “What do you do for exercise?” My reply used to be, “I take my daily walks, do my honey-do chores around the house, run after the kids, etc.” But somehow despite my healthy eating habits, my BeWell numbers were not as satisfactory as I expected — until this year, when something extraordinary happened. Mr. John Arrillaga donated the funds for a 7.5-acre recreation center on the SLAC campus.
Since its opening in July, many SLAC employees have used this beautiful center to exercise, play and get fit. That was when I told myself I don’t have any more excuses; with all that is offered to us here at SLAC, if I can’t manage the exercise portion of my life, how can I take control of the other aspects of my life? Now, many of my colleagues and I take advantage of our lunch time by going to Arrillaga; after all, time is precious.
I cannot explain how beneficial this center has been in changing my lifestyle. Before, I would get up in the morning and complain about body aches, but I would blame that on old age catching up to me. Since going to the gym, not only have my physical problems disappeared, I also have more energy all day long, I don’t feel guilty when eating, and I’m a much happier person. My BeWell numbers have improved as well.
The gym has an awesome team of knowledgeable and friendly staff. If you are in doubt about any exercise moves, or have questions about the equipment, the staff is always easy to talk to. And the best thing is that all of these services are offered to us free of charge! Who could ask for anything more! At the gym you see familiar faces; everyone comes there regularly. They don’t care how long you can endure or how much weight you can lift. But they all have one thing in common: they all are positive people with a friendly attitude. They all work hard to be healthier and that is something which gives you energy and makes you move the minute you step into that atmosphere.
I have also benefited from an educational class presented by Dr. Clyde Wilson as part of the BeWell nutrition workshop. Not only did Dr. Wilson teach us what to eat and when to eat, but also he taught us an exercise phenomenon. When exercising, we can maximize the benefit by sprinting and pushing our heartbeat to its 90% capacity up to six times during thirty or forty minutes of exercise. In this way, our bodies keep burning energy even after we have stopped exercising!
I’ll close my story with a little anecdote. In the early opening days of the gym, while walking out of the center, I had a conversation with a gentleman who asked me if I come to exercise regularly. After introducing ourselves, I learned that he was Mr. John Arrillaga. I told him I wanted to write him a personal thank you letter for building such an incredible facility and he replied, “No need to thank me, just keep coming to the gym regularly.” I made that commitment then and there, and I will keep my promise. Thank you, Mr. Arrillaga!