My name is Samuel. I was a cross country, track and soccer athlete in high school – although never a top class one – and was very physically active in college. As I have gotten older though, working in an office with a long commute and getting further and further away from the intensity and camaraderie of team sports has made me more sedentary. With that change has come gradual weight gain. I was working in a profession that is well known for unhealthy lifestyle patterns and constantly saw older colleagues struggling with issues related to their diets and lack of exercise. As I turned 30, I knew that I needed to chart a different course before it got more and more difficult make a change.
I started training for and running half-marathons in 2012. This got me off the couch, but after 2 years, 4 half-marathons and many miles logged, I was active, but still not losing weight. My work hours and commute meant I was too often relying on eating out and was occasionally making healthy choices as to quality, but always with too much quantity. In January 2015 I topped out at 237 lbs on my 5’11’’ frame and after a push from my wife I got in touch with Chan.
I was skeptical at first about working with a trainer. I had tried a few sessions before with other people and saw few results. Chan and I had met through mutual friends, and I had heard some good things, so I thought I’d meet with her. I was immediately drawn to both her intensity and the way in which she wouldn’t let you speak vaguely about your goals. She pushed me to be specific about what I wanted. For me that was to drop weight so I could train the longer miles needed to run a marathon. We put a plan in place with some specific goals and got to work. Oh yes, we got to work.
A group of 4 of us started in January meeting 4 mornings a week at 6:15 AM for 45 minutes. I didn’t know how long I would be able to keep that up, but the culture of encouragement and accountability cultivated not only by Chan, but by the group as well has been quite the catalyst. We each have separate goals, but are able to push each other to meet them. After a couple of months we cut back to 2 days a week together, but still work our plans the rest of the week. We’re still going strong.
The other missing piece for me had been meal planning. Chan pulled together an initial meal plan that saw almost immediate effects. As my body has shifted and we get closer to beginning to train specifically for the marathon, the meal planning has shifted as well. Since January I have lost more than 30 lbs. and the pace of my casual runs has dropped from a 10:45 min/mile to an 8:45-9:10 min/mile. It is amazing how much easier it is to attack a hill with 30 fewer lbs. on you.
Beyond simply my fitness and weight loss goals, these last few months has brought an order into my life that has reaped benefits in so many other realms. I have more energy, and the daily rhythm has focused me and made me better at work and at home.
I give a lot of that credit to Chan who is a fantastic trainer, as well as the group environment in which we train. I thought I was stuck. Chan has helped me focus on my health goals and has given me the tools and the encouragement to reach them.