Member Profile: Lou Muscarella
By: Elise Chretien
Here at VIDA there’s nothing we love more than success stories from our members. Even better when our members have a chance to share their stories with the community – which is what U Street member Lou Muscarella had the opportunity to do this month.
Lou, a diabetic, local realtor and avid gym-goer recently caught the attention of NBC 4 – who highlighted his story in their segment on ‘Rebooting your Resolution’ with exercise and healthy eating. I sat down with Lou to discover more about the role VIDA has played in getting him into the best shape of his life.
Lou was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 19. After years of living with the disease he discovered that a regular exercise program was an effective way to manage the unpleasant symptoms of diabetes including lethargy, irritability and feeling fatigued all the time. He started working out with a trainer in 2001 and joined VIDA after moving to the area last year. Being active as a diabetic does involve caution; however, including always monitoring his blood sugar levels and having an abundance of juice close by in case his blood sugar starts to drop.
Lou works out three times a week with VIDA Personal Trainer Isiah Munoz and does cardio on his own throughout the week. He wears a glucose monitor that constantly tracks his blood sugar and will beep if it drops to a dangerous level. A vigorous workout can cause a sharp drop in blood sugar which he says has caused him to pass out in the gym before. However, Lou says in all his years working out with trainers nothing has helped him in quite the way Isiah has.
“Isiah is constantly asking me what my blood sugar numbers are and keeping me in check. He helped me figure out how much water I need to be drinking every day since another side effect of diabetes is getting dehydrated easily, and helps me out with stretching when my muscles get stiff,” he says.
His workouts with Isiah consist of a lot of bodyweight exercises and stretching, and he says no two workouts are ever the same. He does some spin classes and TRX here and there and says that his experience at VIDA has been life changing.
“I’ve belonged to a lot of gyms and worked out with trainers all over but here they are really top-notch. When I joined the staff was so friendly and it wasn’t intimidating at all. Isiah keeps me motivated and inspired – I can’t say enough good things about him,” he says.
Lou checks in with his doctor every 3-4 months to evaluate his blood sugar levels and overall health condition. At his last check-in he received the wonderful news that he was in the top quarter of 1% for overall heart health for his age group – something that he feels working out at VIDA has played a huge part in.
“I’m constantly setting goals for myself and being in good health is necessary to reach those goals. You’ve got to make good health a priority,” he says. “And the older you get, the more that priority is forced on you,” he laughs.
We couldn’t agree more, and can’t wait to watch Lou continue to meet his goals here at VIDA!