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Bob Horn - 2013 Spirit of Wellness Honoree

Center for Health & Fitness (CHF) member Bob Horn is a legend in the pool.

A collegiate and high school All-American, Bob competed as a water polo player in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne and again four years later in Rome.  When his playing days ended, he coached water polo successfully for nearly three decades at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – leading the school to three NCAA titles and 13 conference championships. 

In ’68 and ’72, Bob helped coach the U.S.  Olympic water polo teams through the Mexico City and Munich Games.  And as an encore, Bob was inducted into the United States Water Polo Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1976.

But today at 82 years of age, Bob is making a splash for what he’s accomplishing in the gym despite health challenges.

Two years ago, open heart surgery to repair damaged valves left Bob battling multiple complications and completely unable to exercise.  To make matters more difficult, he also suffers from peripheral neuropathy – a damaging disease that causes nerves to deteriorate and weaken – in both of his feet.  This chronic condition causes numbness and acute pain in the extremities, and it is extremely hard to treat.

 “After the surgery, I lost a lot of my muscle tone and retained body fluid to the point I couldn’t sleep horizontally,” said Bob.  “I was in a tough situation.”

But, like any Olympic-level athlete, Bob wasn’t about to take this setback lying down.

“I began rehabbing, but I felt I needed to do more,” said Bob.  “That’s when my competitive attitude kicked in, and I decided I was going to do as much as I could to get back to a normal life.”

To accomplish this, his wife, a long-time CHF member, suggested he start working with a trainer at her gym.  Like any good husband would, he listened and began working with CHF trainer Julie Lumbao.  The two have been workout partners since.

“From day one, Julie’s been helping me regain muscle tone, my balance and gait,” said Bob. “And I’m making progress.”

According to Julie, when Bob first began working out at CHF in 2010, he could only use the NuStep machine and recumbent bike for a minute or two before the pain from his neuropathy would force him to stop.  Today, he uses the machines for more than 15 minutes … each.

Julie is quick to credit Bob’s determination and work ethic for his physical improvement and praises his dedication.   He’s currently rehabbing twice a week and training two days a week, which he says is his favorite part of the day.

“I just love the atmosphere and personal touch of CHF. I’ve made great friends that I also spend time with outside of the gym,” said Bob.  “Plus, CHF is helping me get stronger.

“I’m making gains and seeing results, but I still have a long way to go,” said Bob. “But I’ll get there.”