Hugh Tranum of Sinclairville is definitely no stranger to the Jamestown YMCA, where he has been a member since the young age of 9.
Now age 61, Tranum is in better shape than he was at age 45.
''I was 100 pounds heavier more than 10 years ago and a dead man walking,'' Tranum said. ''I have always been active but had a weight problem my entire adult life. It became clear that if I did not use all the tools available to me that I wasn't going to have a good future life.''
Hugh Tranum enjoys lifting weights at the Jamestown YMCA, where he has lost weight and inspires others.
Tranum, the director of marketing of Flexcare, a Health Insurance Brokering and Consulting company and past executive director of the Jamestown Area Labor Management Committee for 20 years, believes in the YMCA because of everything it has to offer.
''The Y is such a value because there is something for everyone including the pool, weights, sports, fitness classes, and so much more,'' he said. ''The availability of the Y is such a gift to our community and I have definitely taken advantage of it.''
As part of his job at Flexcare working with organizations on risk reduction programs focused on addressing the issue of rising health insurance costs , Tranum knows that even a little as a 7 percent weight loss can lower one's risk for Type II Diabetes by 40 percent. This and other small changes in a person's life can significantly improve their health and reduce their risk of serious medical problems.
The desire to be an active part of his grandchildren's' lives has been an inspiration to make healthy changes in his life.
''I want to be able to play with them and be an active part of their lives, and not just set in a chair and watch them grow up,'' said Tranum.
The death of a good friend was also another reason he made healthy changes in his life focusing on exercise and nutrition.
''When he died, it made me realize that he did everything he could to be the person he was to his family and community,'' said Tranum. ''Life is a precious gift and you can have a quality life or let it be a burden to you.''
Tranum was not taking care of himself and knows now that his weekly training keeps him healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.
His workouts at the Jamestown YMCA include coming four times a week using the free weights, elliptical, nautilus machines, stability ball and occasional racquet courts.
In the past, he played noon-time pick up basketball and was a rugby player for 12 years.
He also does long distance mountain bike rides with friends.
They have completed 165 miles on the Great Allegheny Passage and are planning to ride the entire 335 miles in 2012.
They also completed the 50-mile ride in Pine Grove Gap Pennsylvania and this year Tranum competed in his first mountain bike race at the Raccoon Rally in Allegheny State Park.
After two hip replacements in 1994 and 2005, Tranum also used the pool for therapy and strength.
As far as advice to others, he recommends taking one step at a time and get started now.
''It can be overwhelming at first, but ask someone for help and advice because this is where I started,'' said Tranum. ''The Y is a place where you feel comfortable, see friends, and know that it has what you need to make you succeed.''
He also urges health seekers not to use ''not enough time'' as an excuse.
''Anyone can find 30 to 60 minutes a day to for fitness,'' said Tranum. ''You have to make the time because what's more important than your health.''
Tranum had the opportunity to turn his life around and continues to stay active everyday with the help of the YMCA, his family, and friends.
He attends St. Timothy's Lutheran Church and is a member of the Lou Eibal Riding Club, where he and his wife, Donna, trail-ride their Tennessee walking horses. He is a past board member of the Jamestown Area YMCAs, where he was chairman of the building committee.
Tranum and his wife have two children, Todd Tranum of Jamestown and Sarah Tranum of Toronto, and four grandchildren: Kelsea, Lawton, Maddie and Anna.