Before – April 2017
After – November 2017
By the time I turned 50 years old, I had worked hard, raised 3 great kids and enjoyed 28 years with my wife. My family always came first. My focus was on them and on trying to be the best dad I could be in order to provide for my family. That meant I came last. I didn’t take care of myself; I ate fast food between meetings and didn’t exercise. My stress increased. I gained weight and had some bad habits that affected my health and well-being. I knew I could exercise and eat better, but it was not a high-enough priority…until that day in August of 2016. It was the day I had to take off my wedding ring for the first time in 23 years because my ring finger turned blue. I got it off, but could not put it back on – no matter how much I tried.
I had grown to a weight of 261 lbs., with the belly to match. I couldn’t run without exhausting myself. My clothes were too tight, and I couldn’t see my feet without leaning over. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, blurred vision and headaches. I felt embarrassed, guilty, depressed and angry at myself for letting myself go. Not wearing my wedding ring felt like I was cheating. I continued to think about it for several months, and it never got better. It still affected me. I knew I had to get that ring back on no matter what.
On May 11, 2017, I was driving by an LA Fitness and decided to stop in to ask some questions. I knew I wanted to change and had to do something about it. I was introduced to my personal trainer*, Jose O., for the first time. He listened to me, understood my situation, and started training me while working around some preexisting injuries to increase my strength, endurance and flexibility. We talked about nutrition and ensured I was eating correctly. I cut out sodas, alcohol and fast food. He encouraged me with challenging workouts and pushed my limits, while ensuring I remained injury free. He reminded me why I was here. When I thought I was exhausted and had reached my limit I would hear him say over my shoulder, “For the ring.” And that was all the extra motivation I needed.
I used a free mobile application to keep track of my nutrition and calories and ensure I was getting all of my nutrition. Through the app, Jose and my friends who also used the app were able to see my diary and progress and give me encouragement and tips. They also made sure I was accountable to them and myself. They became my online fitness family. In 6 months, I lost 67 lbs. I feel absolutely powerful and fantastic. My wedding ring is back on, and it’s going to stay on forever. My stamina is up 500%. I decided to compete in my first triathlon in June of 2018, and I remain committed to that goal. My old clothes went to Goodwill. My headaches, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and blurred vision are 100% gone. I saved tons of money cooking for myself rather than eating out all the time, which more than paid for the LA Fitness membership and training. (I really don’t even like fast food anymore.) My great friend Jose is always there encouraging me, challenging me to excel to get better and ensuring I remain injury free. My wife sees the difference and loves her new and improved husband (and occasionally walks by and touches me for no good reason whatsoever. And that’s just nice.).
Tom G. and his trainer Jose O.
If I have one piece of advice for success, it’s this:
We all know what we need to do to get healthy and stay healthy, or know how to find out how to do it. It all starts with the “X-Factor”. Your X-Factor is that primal gut feeling and emotion that affects you so deeply it can permanently change your priorities. For some it’s waking up in the hospital realizing you had emergency bypass surgery; for others, it’s not being able to play ball with your children and seeing them go and play with someone else, or being told in front of your friends and family that you cannot go on the rollercoaster because you exceed the weight limit. For me, it was not being able to put my wedding ring on no matter how hard I tried. It is that primal emotion that can trigger a response so deep that it makes it an easy decision to rearrange your priorities and do something about it and to keep doing it no matter the obstacles you may encounter.
My advice? Find your X-Factor. If it causes an overwhelming emotional response every time you think about it, then you found it. Use that to motivate you to work, learn, and improve. Set your long-term goals and focus on meeting your goals each day. Tomorrow is a different day. In the end, if you stay honest to yourself, use your X-Factor, eat right and work hard with the great staff at LA Fitness, you will always succeed.
*Personal training services require an additional fee and a separate agreement.
Some slight adjustments have been made to the member’s story for grammatical reasons, length, and/or clarity.
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.