Change is hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Transforming yourself takes a strong mindset, unwavering dedication and a consistent support team. Wes—member and personal training client at our Daniel Island club, South Carolina—had the first two and then enlisted O2 Fitness for expertise, guidance and support to help him achieve his weight loss goals.
We want to share Wes’ transformation to give him a high five for all of his hard work. In the process, we hope it inspires others to create their own transformation story.
Here's his story:
What was 'rock bottom' or your 'aha' moment that made you decide to make a change?
'I had been over 200 lbs for 5 years. At my medical exam each year, my weight continued to increase and my lab work would always come back less than perfect. For 2 years in a row, my doctor talked to me about pre-diabetes, stress and anxiety, and the possibility of going on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The summer of 2016, I was at my highest weight—219. Due to a job change, we had the opportunity to move to Charleston. It was our first summer living on the coast, so I spent more time than ever in a bathing suit and was disgusted with the way I looked. I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, both personally and professionally, and the heat combined with being overweight was never a comfortable combination. Quite frankly, I was miserable most days.
I also have 3 young children that are very active. I would come home from work exhausted and without any energy to play and have fun with them. My 13-year-old son, Cooper, is very athletic and I wanted to be able to keep up with and play with him, as well.
With all of this combined, I decided that I had to make a lifestyle change with my diet and exercise.'
How did you make a change? What worked for you?
'In September of 2016, my wife and I visited O2 Fitness on Daniel Island and took advantage of the 3 free Program Design training sessions. During those sessions with a personal trainer, we not only learned about the types of machines and how the gym was set up, but we had personal discussions about my objectives and goals. In order to achieve my goals, I had to start exercising regularly and change my diet.
To help with the diet piece, Trevor, personal trainer at Daniel Island, introduced me to an app on my phone that I could enter and track what I ate on a daily basis. He would spend time at the beginning of each session reviewing my diet in the previous days and providing feedback regarding better choices and different ways of preparation.'
What is your maintenance plan?
'Like most things in life, it's all about creating habits and making the right choices. It wasn't long before my daily snack of Diet Mountain Dew and Doritos was replaced with an apple, almonds and water. I continue to track what I eat every day in order to stay within the right calorie range. There were times that Trevor advises me that I "didn't eat enough," which would explain why I didn't have the energy needed for our session. It also slowed my metabolism, so my weight loss progress would stall and my ultimate goal of less than 180 pounds would be in even further reach (I am currently at 185—34 pounds lost). The plan is that when I reach 180, we'll shift our focus to building more muscle.
I currently work out with Trevor 2 times a week and then do cardio on my own another 2 days. I also make sure to drink a protein shake after our workouts and replace 1 meal a day with a meal replacement protein shake.'
What was O2's role in your weight loss journey?
'O2 Fitness has not only changed my life, but the dynamics of my family. We have a family membership and there are conversations daily about 'making better choices' with our food. Going to the gym is now something that my children know is a priority in my life—they see me scheduling gym time early in the morning if something is happening that night that will prevent me from going. My wife works out at O2 and even though she does not have scheduled sessions with Trevor, he has helped her develop a routine that is right for her. My 13-year-old son, Cooper, plays lacrosse with the Loggerheads, a local travel team, and Trevor trains him for that sport. Since starting with Trevor, his speed and foot skills have increased. Trevor knows how to train him for his age—he has helped his muscle development, but does not put him on machines or free weights that his body is not ready for. Trevor has also spent time stretching Cooper, teaching him the proper way to stretch and the importance of it for an athlete.
It is also accountability. O2 has many locations throughout town and I'm out and about on the road most days for my job. When I'm constantly driving past an O2 it reminds me that I need to make sure I make time for the gym after work.
They also have quality, well-priced protein, meal replacements and other supplements in stock, so that makes it convenient to just put on your account when you run low.
My wife and I have also gone to a few of their workout/exercise classes and had a great time together.'
What have you learned through the process?
'I have learned that the old cliche 'it's a lifestyle change' really rings true. Many of your health concerns can be controlled by a combination of diet and exercise. I tried many different fad diets over the years and would always gain the weight right back. This is the best I've ever felt about the food I eat and the choices I make on a daily basis.
I don't feel like I'm restricting myself from anything, I feel like I'm rewarding myself with better health.
I have traded instant gratification of eating junk food in exchange for long-term satisfaction of better health and a longer life.'
What would you tell someone who wants to make a change? How would you inspire them to finally go for it?
'I would tell them to not put it off 1 day longer, your enjoyment and ultimately your life depends on it. Unhealthy foods and unhealthy weight can have effects on your body that can take years to correct. It does get easier with time and you can eventually change your habits where making healthy choices is your habit. Find the O2 nearest you, take them up on the free sessions with a trainer and develop a plan to fit your goals and desires. Also find someone that will hold you accountable - my family is that for me. Cooper and I will talk about our workouts and will actually spend time doing some of the stretches Trevor has taught us. Working out can and will become fun over time and knowing you have to hit the gym tomorrow will help you make better food choices.'
Favorite inspirational quote:
'The Best is Yet to Come'—this is one of the core values of my church, NewSpring. I believe this about every aspect of my life, which now includes my health and fitness.
In 2014 NewSpring gave out a bracelet with this saying on it and I haven't taken it off since. It reminds me every day that there is a better me possible and I need to go and get it. I might not be exactly where I want to be but I thank God I'm not where I used to be, and I know that the 'Best is Yet to Come' with results from my continued diet and exercise.'
The coolest thing that has happened:
'I can now wear my original wedding band from 20 years ago. It has been over 5 years since I was able to fit it on my finger. I have gone from a 36 in pants to a 32.
These are my 'non-scale' victories!'