First off, thanks so much to Kerry and the rest of the 212 family for extending the tremendous honor of being the subject of the Member Spotlight this month. I feel honored to share my story. I've read many of the other spotlights and always find them inspiring. I'm amazed at the stories of how people become part of the 212 family.
My story starts with a very simple statement, I was a fat kid. For almost all my early life, I remember being overweight and I suffered from very poor eating habits. By the time I was a senior in high school, I weighed close to 270 pounds and I was in very poor physical shape. For me, being a fat kid was really hard, as I think it is for most kids.
I finally got tired of being fat and feeling weak. So one night a little before my 18th birthday, for some inexplicable reason, I got up off the couch, put on a pair of shorts (I don't even think I had athletic clothes at the time) and I ran one block to the end of my street. When I got to the stop sign at the end of that block I thought I was going to keel over. Despite my exhaustion, I kept walking to the next block and when I could catch my breath I would run some more. By the end of the week, I was running around the block, and by the end of the month I was close to running the first mile of my life.
Over that year, I lose over 100 pounds and started the process of learning how to eat a healthy diet, work out and take care of myself. This was probably the single more important year of my life, because I learned that I can be strong, I do have the ability to effect change in my own life and I deserve to be happy.
I learned a lot in that year, but I've struggled with my weight every day since and my success in that struggle has certainly varied from time-to-time. When I joined 212 over 3 years ago, I was in a challenging phase of that fight and I was looking to make a change. My wife Megan and I had spent the last 5 years focused on our family, bringing our two amazing little girls into the world and all the work and sacrifice that goes with being a parent to small children.
From my first meeting with Colin in the gym, I could tell how different 212 was from every other gym I'd ever been to both in terms of the philosophy of how to get fit (and what it really means to be "in shape"), as well as the support system offered by the trainers and the members.
For me, 212 has been transformative to my life and every day I show up at the gym I know I get stronger. The key for me is not only the physical strength 212 has given me, but also the mental strength. For many of us, and for me in particular, I think there is a need to push your limits, to go further than you thought you could, to survive physical discomfort (and sometimes even pain) and to come out on the other side of that process changed for the better. The benefits of 212 extend to other athletic endeavors, as I've run the fastest 5K of my life and finished my first half marathon. I know that if I show up and give it my all, at the end of that hour I'm going to be better than when I walked in the door (one of Kerry's many mantras I've taken to heart).
Beyond the positive impact 212 has had in my life, the benefits have extended to my entire family. My wife Megan is a dedicated 212er and both our girls have participated in the After School Program. 212 is one of the cornerstones of our family's life. It ensures that I'm a good role model for my daughters and that they don't start their lives off the way I started mine. I can't imagine my life without 212 and I'm so thankful I walked in the door and gave it a try.