Though Vince Perry, 50, would pass for a lifelong fitness enthusiast, he never gave a thought to his health until he turned 40. At that point, he became conscious of the several extra pounds and inches that had crept up. He also started thinking more seriously about the years ahead.
This Memphis native says: “We don’t live in the healthiest region of the country. There’s a long tradition of fried and fatty foods. By age 40, I had seen a lot of close relatives die at an early age. I decided I needed to go in a different direction.”
For many years, youth and a fast metabolism enabled Vince to coast. “I gave no regard to what that doughnut would do to me. I used to enjoy things with no thought to the consequences.”
His journey toward health began with his diet, accompanied by gradually more activity. He now carries a trim yet solid 170 pounds on his 5-foot-10 frame.
“I started to read about the effects of different beverages and foods on the body. I also started studying the effects of exercise.” The more he learned, the more he wanted to learn.
Vince was always more interested in academics than athletics and never played organized or intramural sports at Central High or the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, where majored in Business. Now he works out a minimum of five days a week.
“I had to re-educate myself to develop a sustainable fitness mindset,” he says. “For me, that meant avoiding extremes.”
Vince owns Ameriprise Financial located in Clark Tower, and he joined the Forever Fit Health Club in the same building. He also bought a membership for his wife Vanessa of 17 years. Though he and his wife don’t usually hit the gym as a couple, they enjoy trail walks together on weekends.
“I would like to think that I influenced her through my lifestyle changes. She may be a little more of a free spirit than me when it comes to eating, but she has definitely grown more conscious of her health over the years.”
Monday through Friday, Vince’s gym routine includes cardio and weight training. Sometimes work limits his gym time to 30 minutes instead of the hour he prefers. To make up the difference, he has learned to build in activity throughout the day.
“I do some basic exercise at home—running in place, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks. I also meditate. If I’m on a conference call in my office, I may stand up and do a few deep knee bends.”
Whenever possible, Vince walks to lunch, often at Whole Foods, after which he climbs four flights of stairs back up to his office.
“I don’t climb the whole way,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m on the 31st floor and I’m wearing formal clothing.”
The hardest part of getting healthy has been reducing his portions to age-appropriate sizes. Vince admits, “I always used to love to eat, eat, eat.”
He enjoys three main meals and two mini meals every day, starting with breakfast. At every meal, he tries to incorporate protein and a fruit and/or vegetable. “A small meal for me might be a piece of fruit, a protein bar, and a handful of nuts.”
He sips water throughout the day and rarely indulges in black coffee or red wine. He doesn’t take any nutritional supplements. Though he admits to relaxing his diet on weekends, he never goes too far overboard. “If I’m going to be bad, then it’s got to be good. I won’t waste calories on processed packaged pastries with ingredients I can’t pronounce.”
Vince believes that fitness is 70% diet and 30% exercise. “You can’t overcome an unhealthy diet by working out,” he says.
Just as it’s rewarding to help clients reach their financial goals, he also enjoys helping them get inspired about nutrition and exercise. He holds a couple health and wellness events with guest lecturers every year.
He believes motivation and self-discipline are always best approached in a steady, methodical manner. “Instead of saying, ‘I want to lose 50 pounds,’ I believe in saying, ‘I’m going to walk X number of steps tomorrow,’ and then follow through and walk those steps.”
Maintaining good health has helped improve Vince’s work life too. “I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my memory and concentration. Being in the finance world, with lots of facts, figures, and exams, that’s a major plus.”
By Caroline Sposto
Photo by Tindall Stephens