This week, we’re profiling a teacher who made a tremendous change in his body and lifestyle. He’s inspired others so much, one of his students sent us this nomination. If you’d like to nominate someone for the Weekly Member Spotlight, contact users lexyloowho or xJenYxvx. Of course, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
How did you get started in fitness and training Do you have any pics to share?:
I got started January 2011. I weighed almost 300 pounds, but had been thinking about getting healthier for a while so I could be more active with my kids. One day I woke up and just decided “Today is the day”. I did some DVD workouts to start, then started running in June. By the time I went back to work teaching in September I had lost about 120 pounds!
How did you find the site? How has it changed your work outs?
I was reading an article online about new fitness websites and the section about Fitocracy sounded really interesting. I requested an invite, and got an email in January with my invitation. It is awesome to be part of a community of like-minded people. Also, the desire to “level up” really turns it into a game and makes it a lot more fun. I always loved playing RPGs like Final Fantasy, and the concept of me as a character is awesome!
Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
Personally, I’d like to run an official half-marathon this summer. I’ve done the distance a couple of times during my long run with a friend, but I’d like it to be “for real” so I can get the sticker for my car. But, it’s more important to me as a parent, teacher and coach to be a positive force for others. I hope that what I did can inspire others to get more healthy, and I make sure my friends, family and students know that I’m always willing to talk fitness.
What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
Figuring out how to run has been a process for me. Until I started running last year, I had always played and coached sports based on short, fast movements. When I started running distance, I had no idea how to pace myself at all. Once I figured that out, I tried to add mileage too fast and ended up hurting myself. I still probably push it too much, but I try and do a better job listening to my body. Now that I’m actually in shape in 2012, I really want to learn more about training to be a runner and improve my times.
Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
My biggest weakness is incorporating variety into my workouts, especially strength training. Fitocracy has been awesome for fixing that. I’ve incorporated a lot of new exercises that I learned just because they were part of a quest. My biggest strength is probably consistency. I rarely miss workouts, and when I do, I make it up ASAP.
What motivates you?
I want to be healthy enough to enjoy being with my kids while they are young and I want to live long enough to harass and embarrass them when I get old.
Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
I tracked calories religiously while I was losing weight and throughout the first few months of maintenance. Now I still weigh and measure myself regularly, and only track calories if I notice a problem trend. The only supplements I’ve ever taken are fish oil and multivitamins.
If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
Keep at it. Ask for advice. Know that you are not alone. There are going to be days where you hurt so bad, or are so tired you want to/will cry. Keep going. It gets better! Fitocracy makes it awesome because on those rough days you can talk to other people about it!
What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
I keep a picture of myself at my biggest, unhealthiest point. On those days where I don’t feel like doing anything, or feel like cutting back, I pull that picture out. That’s all it takes.
What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
It has been great to be part of a fitness community. That’s really what this is. I have met people all over the US and the world that I can talk to, receive encouragement from, and share knowledge and experiences with. That’s an awesome resource to have! I’ve used other social networks, I’ve used other fitness websites, but putting the two experiences together is a great way to learn new things and continuously find new sources of motivation.
One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
You CAN do it! I was nearly 300 pounds, smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day, who would get winded just going up a flight of stairs in my house and was ALWAYS tired. A year later I’m 165 pounds, able to run 10 miles or more at a time, in the best shape of my life at age 33. There are lots of others like me out there. We did it, you can too!