The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We're All Role Models

I've been going to the Wednesday morning circuit training class at my new gym for the past 3 weeks. Last week, a very large, morbidly obese guy was sort of wandering around the gym, but appeared to know the trainer. Chris, the trainer, was telling him hey, great to see you finally back, and asked if he would make it to the class sometime. He said yes, and I didn't think too much of it.

I didn't think much of it, that is, until this morning, when said guy was in the class, ready to go! I shook his hand and introduced myself, he said his name was Chris (hard to forget his name), and that he was worried about the class. I told him there was nothing to worry about, and how happy I was to see him there because up until now I was the only male member of the class!

Of the three circuit training classes, this was the most intense I've been to. I'd thought that perhaps Chris, the trainer, was targeting me in particular because I was a guy, since I was the only guy there. That actually couldn't be farther from the truth, and this morning I slowly came to realize that the trainer was actually assessing peoples' strengths and weaknesses, and adjusting his reactions to them accordingly.

With the guy who came to the class, he was EXTREMELY helpful. When he saw him struggling with burpees, he told him to rest. The guy kept saying that he was fine, and Chris the trainer said no, rest. Get some water, grab a towel. Rest for 60 seconds, you're just starting out.

After the burpees, he got onto the chest press machine next to me, and uttered words I never thought anyone would ever say to me: "Greg, you're an animal!" What? I may be a lot of things, but no way on earth am I an animal in the gym. I struggle and see everyone else, wishing I could be as fit, look as good in gym clothes as they do.

Then it dawned on me that I was one of THOSE people to Chris, the guy coming to circuit training for the first time, and while I was glad he was there as another guy, HE was glad I was there as someone to look up to! It was a strange position to be in, but I switched my mode of thinking to what we always say here.

We're examples. We may not think so, and we may not feel that we are, but for every person we look towards who's more fit than we are, there are people looking to US in the same way. Call it an epiphany, but this was major for me.

Early on in the class, Chris the workout partner went off to the bathroom, and I found out later that he was actually throwing up in there. This guy may have been struggling, but he certainly was giving his all. In the time I've been working out, I've come close, but never thrown up mid-workout.

When the class was over, I told him a little bit about my history and journey towards weight loss & fitness. I asked him how tall he was, and he said 5'8", I told him I was 5'6.5" and was once over 250, and that while it's been a long journey from 2005 until where I am now, it's been well worth the journey.

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