In December 2010, I joined GoodLife with a friend after finding out that my blood pressure had reached hypertensive levels. As a healthcare provider, this frightened but motivated me to finally take control of my general health. I could not believe how out of control my health had truly become. Almost daily I would find myself out of breath doing simple tasks, sweating whenever I exerted myself in the least.
At the time I was only 23 years old weighing in at 287 pounds (37 percent body fat). My day to day activities included nothing more than work and computer games. It was nothing for me to eat fast food 3 times a day and eat a large bag of chips with a 2L bottle of pop as a nightly snack. I had become a cliché overweight North American.
I knew that if change did not occur soon I would have serious health problems, such as diabetes, before reaching the age of 30. At times I felt depressed and ashamed of my personal appearance. My health scared me and weighed heavy on my heart and emotions.
I knew I had to make a change.
The journey begins
Joining GoodLife in 2010 was not my first attempt at losing weight, but it was the first time I felt like I was going to actually do it.
The gym staff was more than welcoming from day one. I took it upon myself to exercise for the first couple months. My progress was slow, but I had started to chip away at my metaphorical iceberg. However, I still felt like this was not enough. I needed help to make sure I did not slip up and revert back to old bad habits.
I spoke to the manager at GoodLife and they recommended a personal fitness assessment to help me get on track. I met with a personal trainer the very next day and was surprised to find how out of shape I really was after seeing it on paper. I felt the trainer could see my determination as they talked me through the session and put me through test after test.
I remember collapsing during a 30 second plank. Barely being able to do a proper push up and falling down during a wall sit. Nevertheless, I felt they truly believed in my ability to push myself towards success. This made me believe in my own abilities.
They sat me down and explained to me how to set goals and said that in one year I could healthily lose upwards of 75 lbs. (my original goal). This made me want to succeed more than ever before.
Training for success!
I can still remember the complete exhaustion I felt while leaving the gym the first time over a year ago after surviving my first training session. I had been pushed to levels my body had never experienced. I found myself becoming more determined to do better with each training session.
Twice a week I was exposed to exercise I never would have tried had I not been with a GoodLife Personal Trainer. Going to the gym was becoming something I looked forward to daily. My knowledge of fitness was constantly growing. I had no idea what high intensity interval training was, what a Tabata interval was, what a TRX suspension trainer was used for and much more before joining GoodLife.
This made me desire to look up new techniques for my workouts, and start conversation about fitness with my peers, friends and family. In addition, my trainer did not just teach me how to work out, but they also gave me the initiative and tools to learn more about nutrition. I now know how to balance my diet, measure nutrients, and incorporate tools into my diet for better decision making like I never have before.
My advice to anyone looking to make a change would be to become accountable to you first and foremost.
Joining GoodLife and taking the initiative to get a personal trainer is a sure fire recipe for success no matter how small or large your goals. Set goals that are realistic for yourself and do not be afraid to ask questions. I started with small goals that were not always based off the scale. I wanted to accomplish things such as being able to leg press twice my body weight, or to run a 12 minute mile. This was more important than losing 10 pounds a week.
Also, to be accountable you have to carry your goals with you outside the gym. This means watching what you eat. Buy a 10 dollar kitchen scale and find tools online that tell you how much calories you should eat a day. These two simple things kept me from eating too much better than any method I had used before.
Finally, do not be too hard on yourself. Progress does not happen overnight: you know what ‘they’ say, Rome was not built in a day.
Stay motivated and surround yourself with support. Document your progress at the gym and record what you eat. Remind yourself how well you are doing if you begin to question your progress. Many times I felt I would lose 5lbs in a matter of days and then get hung up for the next week not losing a gram. Yet the inches still decreased even if the weight was not.
Progress was always there, I just had to know where to look.
I still cannot believe that I have lost so much weight. More than that, I cannot believe how much extra weight I had to lose.
As of today, I have lost 85lbs and a difference of 15% body fat since day one. I can leg press over three times my body weight, jog for 45 minutes, and work out a different muscle group every day, all while feeling confident that I’m making good decisions.
I work out at least 5 times a week, twice with my trainer, and find myself becoming stronger and leaner every time I hit the gym.
Thank you GoodLife! You have helped me become a new man who is sure of his abilities and no longer ashamed or embarrassed of his physical appearance. I have overcome barriers I never thought possible before joining the gym and now I hold my head high with confidence and possess new positive emotional state.
I can only hope now that my story will motivate others towards reaching out for help and achieving new goals.