A Spotlight on Bob McMillan and the Come Alive ProjectFor many who hit their mid-70s, their first thought is to relax, sit on the porch and enjoy a glass of lemonade. That would not be the correct assumption about Virginia-local, Bob McMillan. As he approached retirement in his late 60s, he realized that a new career in fitness and health, working specifically with other seniors, was to be the next step on his journey. In 2010, McMillan launched his new business, the Come Alive Project and has been working with those who thought they may be too old to regain their health.
Throughout his career in the seminar business, McMillan, like many people, was focused on other aspects of life, like career and family, and not his own creeping weight-gain and personal fitness. He notes, “As I got older, I did not like seeing what was happening to me and to others my age. Most of us are overweight and out of shape and getting worse. I was an athlete in high school and college, on the crew team. I took it up again in my 60s and began to get back in shape, but the friend I rowed with moved, and then I stopped.”
After retiring, McMillan thought it might be a good time to explore a nudge he felt to create a program for those, like him, who were looking for a renewed path to wellness. After an initial false start with a prominent national, boot-camp promoter, McMillan read an article about a program called MovNat and “the fittest man in the world.” Synchronicity struck as the first U.S. training for the program, using natural movement, was to be held nearby in West Virginia. After speaking with Erwan LeCorre, creator of the program, he learned that it was appropriate for everyone, including seniors. “I attended the program, and developed an entirely new viewpoint about what seniors were capable of doing. It was a turning point for me.”
After the training, McMillan decided to make some significant lifestyle changes. To start, he changed his diet, stopped drinking alcohol and lost thirty pounds. With his focus on fitness for seniors, he got his personal trainer certification and designation as a Senior Fitness Specialist from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). To share this knowledge, he put together talks and workshops and started a blog, Energy Bites, with thoughts, tips, ideas and commentary, about health, fitness and personal energy for seniors.
McMillan notes, “Since I’ve been a public speaker for over thirty years, I decided to use that talent where it can be useful to seniors and am planning to do more speaking and expand the workshops on a national level this year.” He also maintains his website and is writing a fitness manual for seniors. As he expands his workshops, he is adding new topics such as: how to make friends with the floor (since getting up and down is one of the most difficult things for seniors to do), how to recover from a loss of balance or a fall, and how to use natural movement to build strength and improve the range of motion in aging joints. In addition, he is adding a segment on Rescue Fitness, to teach seniors how to help themselves and others escape emergency situations such as fires, fallen trees or other natural emergencies.
McMillan’s passion is to teach and watch people successfully put what they have learned from him into practice—and succeed. As a former military flight instructor for a short time, he recalls the joy after a student’s first solo flight. Equipping and influencing seniors now generates that same enthusiasm, for both him and the seniors with whom he works.