Don't overthink it. Zak jumped headfirst into his fitness journey and never looked back. Even with an extreme weight loss transformation over the years, Zak proves that fitness is not about the weight you lose, but it's about the life you gain!
Keep reading to hear how finding fitness has helped our member Zak transform physically and mentally!
What was your 'a-ha' moment that made you decide to make a change?
My 'a-ha' moment came to me one night during the summer going into my junior year of college. I had always been overweight for as long as I can remember, and I spent countless nights thinking about what my life would be like if I put my health first. While laying in bed one night, with negative thoughts coursing through my mind, I decided to wake up the next day and go to the gym first thing the next morning. After a few weeks of waking up early, dragging to the gym, and eating a healthier diet, I got hooked.
How did you first start to make a change? What did you find worked best for you?
I started by finding a workout plan that I thought I could handle. I landed on a fitness influencer's page, and decided to sign up for a '90 Day Challenge.' The first week that I began exercising 3 times a week was brutal. My body was sore. I was hungry. But, I started to feel the small changes my body began to have that motivated me to keep going. I pushed myself not to stop, and after a few weeks, I began increasing to 5 days a week, to 6, to getting some form of exercise every single day. Strictly following a plan was what worked great, along with spending time researching healthy lifestyle changes and other ways to stay motivated!
What has been the most significant or surprising change you've felt?
The most significant change I have felt is my confidence. For a long time, I was extremely introverted, and every thought I had was in some way related to my weight. After losing 120 pounds, I was shocked at how my confidence grew and how I felt so much more comfortable in my own body. I was able to have conversations without thinking about how that person was looking at my weight and could carry myself a little higher knowing I worked hard to be where I am. Not only is my mind healthier, but I wake up every day feeling better among countless other physical benefits I have felt the past few years!
What was O2's role in your fitness journey?
The environment in which I exercise is important to me. Spending my time at the gym, I always look for a place that wants me there as much as I want to be there. When I first moved to Raleigh after college in 2019, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to find the same type of fitness environment that I had surrounded myself with at school. However, when I joined O2, I immediately established a close relationship with many of the team members. They were genuinely curious about my story and how they could help me achieve my fitness goals. The Park Place club allows me to discover a variety of different exercises and equipment to use, so I'm never getting bored of my workouts at O2!
What have you learned from the process of finding fitness?
Through my fitness journey, I have learned a few things. The first is that nothing comes quick, and nothing comes easy. When you're focusing on a fitness-related goal, it's important to understand that slow and steady really does win the race. Understanding the full scope of all the obstacles in the way of achieving your goal is a good way to map out the process you will take to get there. Most changes are not immediate, so understanding ways to track your body's progress other than weight can help you stay motivated. Probably the biggest two other things that I have learned are: 1.) it's 80% diet and 20% exercise, what you do in the kitchen will directly impact your fitness goals. You can't outrun or out-exercise a bad diet! And 2.) REST DAYS MATTER!
What would you tell someone that wants to make a change to inspire them to take the first step and go for it?
To those who want to make a change, start small! Start with a walk, with a healthy meal, with something that will put your foot in the door. Everyone is different, and finding a way that you can maintain some type of fitness regimen in the long term can have a huge benefit on your life and even those around you. Take it from someone who would laugh in your face 5 years ago if you said I'd be waking up at 5:00 AM every day to workout!
Don't second guess it. It's time for you to get started! If you're ready to take a small step towards a healthier tomorrow, O2 Fitness is here to help. Take the first step when you claim a 21-day free trial or book a free session with a trainer to set up a plan that will work best for you.