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Three Months of Fitness: A Member’s Experience

Posted by Bobby West on November 15, 2017

Follow Bobby West, age 28, as he focuses on losing 100 lbs. A Coldwell Banker real estate agent and 6th generation Pittsburgher who lives in Squirrel Hill, Bobby says, “I’ve always been a fat kid. I just love food.” Now he’s focused on getting his weight to 235 lbs., and he already lost 15 lbs. in his first month. Bobby will be blogging about his workouts with Personal Trainer Jamie Stoey, consults with Nutritionist Brittany Reese, and the Group Exercise classes that he’s now regularly participating in.

Thanks for following me! See you at the JCC. Blog Post 6 – February 20, 2018

My initial approach of focusing on working out rather than trying to eat less has definitely paid off.  I’ve been going to the gym since October with unheard of consistency in comparison to my previous attempts at getting in shape.  That being said, I wish my progress were quicker, and my dedication stronger.  I had weeks where I went to 2-3 classes, other weeks where I did 2-3 classes in a single day. I’m going to keep at it and push through the mental resistance and excuses.

My goal of losing 100 pounds in a year is definitely still in my sights and I know I can do it- ESPECIALLY because I’ve made strong connections with my peers at the JCC.  It’s a real first for me – I have “gym friends” and I love that.  Seems like it’s besides the point, but for me it’s not.  I have a hard time keeping myself accountable when no one is watching.  Plain and simple.  It’s a blessing to have others around me on the same journey to check in with. I don’t think I would have made it this far without them.

I just got back from a week in the Florida Keys and I didn’t blink an eye at going shirtless, and I really felt good in my body.  I feel aware of the space I take up – that sounds weird and existential, but that’s the only way I can describe it.

Thanks for following along!  I’ll see you all at the JCC!

Blog Post 5 – January 30, 2018

The crud took me out of the game for 10 days and it’s a little bit daunting to be back at the gym today. It is made a lot easier by gym friends who messaged me on Facebook and checked in on me, asking when I would be back. I know that it’s going to take me a few days to get back into the swing of the routine and feeling good about all the workouts.

I sat through 10 days of passing thoughts that I was making excuses and that this respiratory infection might be the thing that throws me off my gym kick. I’ve used illness and injury to my excuse my absence from the healthy lifestyle for a long time.

All in all I’m thrilled to be back.  Lots of familiar faces and someone to high give me at the power lifting class just for showing up. It’s great to have gym friends.

Blog Post 4 – January 8, 2018

My original reason for starting at the JCC has come and gone with total success.  My ski trip to Colorado was fantastic and multiple times on the slopes I noticed that I wasn’t winded, that my legs felt good, and that I was proud of myself for being prepared.  I was really proud of myself actually.  It felt great to feel “in-shape” cardio wise. I came home feeling reinvigorated in the idea that 2018 will be my year to get in really great shape.

The biggest thing I’ve learned since starting to work out in October:  I can’t listen to my internal dialogue in the lead up to and during the first fifteen minutes of working out at the gym.

In the lead up:  “I don’t want to.” “I have other things going on.” “Later.”

In the first fifteen minutes:  “This is hard, I’ll slow down.”  “Why am I even doing this.”  “(Insert real-world/work-related/schedule-pressing anxieties).”  “Maybe I’ll stop and catch my breath and get some water”.  “This is too hard.”

I’m still unraveling why this kind of thinking is a default for me; it’s an uncomfortable rut.  I want to say I’m ignoring myself, but in reality it’s kind of a small surrender.  I’ve decided to just resign from debating with myself about my routine.  I go to the gym and do what the instructor in my classes tells me to do. That’s the end of it. For me, “later” means never.

Blog Post 3 – December 13, 2017

It’s been about three months since I started attempting to go to the JCC everyday and I’ve admittedly missed days.  Even one span last week where I missed four days in a row.  Getting back into the swing of things when I came back was like starting over again for the first spinning class.  I was intimidated at first but after talking with some of the staff and teachers, I decided to push through and keep showing up.  Two days later – I felt right back where I left off which was an awesome feeling.  My legs feel stronger than they ever have (Spinning), my shoulders and arms feel solid (Group Active/Group Power and personal training).  I have moments of guilt where I think, “What have I been doing for all this time?” Immediately followed by the desire to keep going.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.  I feel nimble and strong.  I’m down about 30 pounds from where I started and I’m still eating Babka (I may be eating chocolate babka as I write this post) and having some days where I don’t really watch what I’m eating.  I’m certainly not eating like I used to but I’m enjoying that the focus is on continuing a workout routine and not on stopping other habits.  Yes I could be making more progress without the babka …. But it’s the holidays!

Blog Post 2 – November 26, 2017

The last two weeks have been a trial- I had a small injury that kept me out of the gym for two days and then Thanksgiving rolled around. I had two Thanksgiving dinners, one with my family and one with my partner Patrick’s family. I wasn’t great at limiting my food portions BUT I did do some exercise every day, even when I couldn’t make it to the JCC.

I seriously pushed my comfort zone and did 60 minutes of Vinyasa Flow hot yoga at a yoga studio in Sewickley- the amount of sweat was actually cathartic. I also took two big hikes with my golden retriever. I have started to notice that days without some kind of sweaty cardio make me feel like I’m missing out.

In general, I feel really good. My legs feel strong, I’m not getting winded like I used to, I feel my body changing.

The ultimate challenge this last week: the “Turkey Burner” on Thanksgiving Day: 2 hours of spinning at the JCC. I made it the full 2 hours and kept up the entire time. I left feeling totally awesome.

Blog Post 1 – November 13, 2017

At 6’5” my starting weight on 10/1/2017 was 350 lbs.
My weight on 11/13/2017: 332 lbs

Internal resistance is something I’ve always struggled with when it comes to weight loss and lifestyle change – I find something that might work and promptly stop doing it. I think it’s a disguised fear of change.

My previous attempts at losing weight and getting in shape looked like this:
1. Elliptical Machine for 30 mins 1-3 times a week
2. Weight lifting circuits that I found online and made my own.

I wanted instant results and I didn’t want to do the work to get them.I didn’t know it, but I was setting myself up for failure. When the inevitable mental resistance came along, any excuse sufficed and I would lose traction and stop showing up. I was accountable only to myself and it was discouraging to keep letting myself down. The uncomfortability of change outweighed any goals I set for myself and with no real support, I caved and fell into old habits. The inevitable and often immediate next step was to back away from the whole “project” and back-burner the plans to lose weight and get in shape for later.  I’ve found that for me, “later” means never.

This time around, I’ve ended up doing things differently.

Spinning was a suggestion from my sister; she said I would love the music and that the JCC had good instructors.  I went into the membership office at the JCC, took a tour with Maria, and worked out the options.

All the classes are free for with the premium membership and I thought it seemed like a good idea.  Maybe the group classes, spinning included, would keep me accountable. I signed up for membership and marched back to the concierge desk and Evan signed me up for a Spinning class (my first group exercise experience since running laps and suicides in college tennis practice). I showed up early to the class. Patti helped me get my bike set-up and it was a blast. Not easy, but I kept it at a comfortable pace and really had a good time. I was hooked.

Sherree talked me into doing some of the other classes and maybe getting a trainer to add to the mix, so I did both. The variety of the classes offered is awesome – each very different, all to really good music with motivating instructors. I catch myself in the middle of the classes doing workouts that I could never come up with on my own, at an intensity that shows me exactly where I am on my journey. Most of the time I’m lost in the music, hyper focused, and having fun, but occasionally I catch myself in a mirror and I’m proud to be where I am. I think there is something contagious about continuing to show up even when I’m resistant to do so. I know that there is something contagious about group exercise.

My training with Jaime is rewarding in its own way. She had my number from day one and really pushes me – less talking, more working.

The classes, the training, and the facility are all factors – but what has really drawn me into my own journey are the people supporting me. Total strangers a few weeks ago have become friends, classmates and teachers and all of the sudden, I feel really good about showing up (yes, every day!) to the gym!  It’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows every day, but I have help beyond my own will-power motivating me to disregard the excuses and resistance. One repetition, one song, one class, and one day at a time: All I have to do is keep showing up and the people around me guide the way once I’m there.

Over the next three months I’m going to be tracking my progress. I hope my struggles and successes help someone else show up for themselves and find what I’m finding, which is so much more than pounds off of my frame.

Want to learn more about Fitness and Wellness at the JCC? Fill out the Contact Form below and we’ll get right back to you!

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