Great things start with small changes. Justin began his fitness journey three years ago by making slight changes in his day-to-day habits that soon began to snowball into a significant transformation. After seeing his initial progress, he kept at his goals with a laser focus while celebrating each of the small wins along the way. Now, Justin is 40 lbs down and feeling more confident than ever. You can find him lifting weights at O2 Fitness Brier Creek in the morning to start his workday off right. Congratulations to Justin from all of us at O2 Fitness!
What was your ‘rock bottom’ or your ‘aha’ moment that made you decide to make a change?
I was at a work conference and had been wearing a compression shirt so I could fit into a suit. Afterward I was struggling to get it off and I literally broke down and sat on the edge of the bed and cried. I was out of breath and miserable and ashamed for letting myself go. That was definitely rock bottom for me, but even then I knew it would take more than that moment to motivate me.
How did you begin to make the change? What worked for you?
I started to make the change early in 2016. I knew it would have to be incremental as I built confidence back, and undid years of bad decisions. I had to start small, and I had to eliminate excuses. I thought that if I used the principle of "compounding", my little changes here and there would add up and get me going in the right direction. Everything from parking farther away at the store, to push mowing the lawn instead of using a riding tractor. I focused on the easy/small changes, and as I made progress I added more and more. The idea of going to the gym petrified me, so that change didn't happen until I had already lost 20+ lbs and had built some confidence.
What was the most significant or surprising change you felt?
It had to be the energy I had after cutting my carb intake way down. I would wake up with more energy than I had ever had. I didn't realize the impact of sugar and how it was holding me back. I made the change to push-mowing after about a year. Figuring out that I was faster at push-mowing than riding, and that I could do without being out of breath was huge. I made sure to make the most of small victories like that, those simple things propelled me.
What is your maintenance plan?
I'm definitely not in maintenance mode yet, but I'm looking ahead to what I know I'll need to do to keep moving forward. I get bored easily so I need to keep things fresh, and I plan to try different workouts and set new milestone goals.
What was O2’s role in your transformation journey?
This was a big one, but one that I had to work up to. I was terrified of gyms, and to an extent I'm still intimidated. I actually built a small home gym and worked my way up to maxing it out. Once I did that I knew I was going to have to find a "home" and someplace I felt comfortable enough to start my next phase. Looking long-term I was really happy with the huge amount of options O2 offered, and I knew that would be key. I also needed a gym that helped me eliminate excuses, and O2 perfectly fit that bill. Even getting this chance from O2 to share my story has been big for my psyche. O2 has helped me continue to build momentum in multiple ways.
What have you learned through the process?
That my mind is both my greatest strength and biggest weakness. I have had to constantly war with myself and make sure to push myself even when I'm not pumped and ready to go. Progress and success is addicting, and it only takes a few tastes to realize that you want as much of it as you can get. A lot of little changes can lead to big payoffs.
What would you tell someone who wants to make a change? How would you inspire them to finally go for it?
That it is absolutely possible to do it. We are own worst enemy. We defeat ourselves usually without any outside help. You have to find a motivation, keep it in front of you until it no longer is effective, and then you find a new one. Start small, and build through little victories. Those tiny self-esteem wins pay off big time and get you used to that feeling. Also, the first 4 weeks is key. They are extremely tough and most people don't make out out of them. I must have started 5-6 times and quit after a month. It wasn't until I decided this had to be a total life change, including diet & exercise, committed totally, that I saw success. It took me believing I was worth it, and realizing that it would take time to train my mind. I had to move from "I can't" to "Maybe I can" to "I can" to "I will."
The bottom line is I'm not special, and no one is completely gifted. Even those with "good genes" have struggles and challenges. You ABSOLUTELY can do it. Don't defeat yourself before you even start by comparing yourself to others. Look for progress and growth from where you were, and be proud of every victory, no matter how small. And for every idiot who makes you feel small, there are countless other people who will support you without judgement, and help you reach your goals. I'll happily talk to anyone who needs help.