For TNG’s first spotlight on individuals whom represent Guts, Resilience, Initiative, & Tenacity, I’d like to share a friend and fellow athletes story.
Jeremy has inspired many athletes in his local CrossFit box not only by his weight loss but by realizing his true athletic potential by raising the bar for himself daily in the gym. His personal life has also been exemplified by his GRIT to hold onto his “laser focus” and using the momentum of feeling great in the process to push himself into new and uncharted territory. I’m proud of him, as is his support group and family, and look forward to seeing what goals he reaches next!
Below is his story:
“GRIT. Guts, Resilience, Initiative, Tenacity. I love the brand. I love what it represents.
A year and a half ago, something had to change. Looking at myself then, I was overweight. I was tired and sluggish most of the time. I had 4½ year old and 6 month old sons that I wanted to be able to keep up with, and be around for as they grow up. I wanted to be better for my wife. For my overall quality of life.
Somewhat on a whim I started going to Crossfit. I’d worked out in ‘globo’ gyms on and off (mostly off) over the years and had realized I just didn’t like them and wasn’t going do that again. Crossfit, while including many of the exercises and weightlifting that I’d done in the past, was where similarities ended. This was so much more. So much better, for me, at least. For someone else that thing that excites could be something totally different. So long as it engages and motivates them to improve themselves, whatever that improvement might be, then it is worthy.
A year and a half later, I’ve lost 90 pounds (as much as the combined weight as my sons – WTF?!) and I feel awesome – ALL the time. I can engage with my family now in ways I couldn’t before. What a blessing.
End of story, right? Not even close. Had I set out to lose 90 pounds, I would have certainly failed. I had no idea then what I was capable of, what my body was capable of. I only knew that something had to change if I wanted to live a full life. A long life. I started out with one simple goal, it is still my primary goal – I wanted to feel better.
Along the way what that has meant, and how I’ve gone about achieving it has changed and evolved. I’ve created and achieved new goals, and continue to set yet loftier goals. Initially, it meant I’d like to lose 20 pounds and go to Crossfit twice per week. As I achieved those goals it became lose 5 more pounds, then 5 more, and so on. Go to Crossfit 3 times per week, 4 times. Now 5 or 6 times. Along the way, start eating better. Then dial that in even further with nutrition coaching.
None of my personal achievement was done by myself or by accident. While I ultimately had to be the one to grind and put in the hard work, I surrounded myself with amazing people, new friends, that have helped keep me accountable. Who root for me. Encourage me. Inspire me. I think, I hope, I know, that goes both ways. This path that I’m on is nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. It is exciting. It continues to excite me. It should be sustainable, but I realize I can’t ever become complacent about it, lest I fall back.
Had I set out a year and a half ago looking to achieve things that are now simply part of lifestyle, I would have surely failed. The goals would have been too lofty. I had to simplify. I was willing to commit to a process that would hopefully lead to a positive end, even while I didn’t know what that end necessarily was. And perhaps to an extent, still don’t.
What has changed though is that things I once looked at as impossible, I now see as inevitable. I now see my life as limitless, though not unconditionally so. I need to continue to grind, to exhibit GRIT, to put in the time and hard work, even when I don’t want to, and especially through the cruelty and tragedy that life sometimes throws at us.
Very early on in my journey, my Dad died suddenly. Dealing with my grief could have easily derailed things just as they were starting. Grief will be different for everyone, as how they manage it. People who know me well, know that I tend to look forward and don’t dwell on things that have happened and can’t be changed, except to learn from them to do and be better. Easier said than done.
I did find a way to turn personal heartbreak into inspiration. Losing my Dad was really a wake-up call for me. I became determined then to take control of everything I could to live a healthy, long life. That doesn’t mean that I might not one day still fall ill due to some genetic predisposition out of my control, or walk out my door today and get hit by a bus. It just means that for those things I can control, I’m going to do that as best I can to live a full life. Today my risks of heart disease, diabetes, and many others due to being overweight have certainly diminished. My overall happiness has increased. I still have bad days, like everyone, but they are fewer. I’ve learned (and am still learning) not to sweat the small stuff and stay focused on the more important things.
As I go through my daily grind and struggles to keep on track, I need only think of my Dad, who has gifted me this razor sharp focus and commitment to be the best me I can. That focus is as strong now as the day he died, maybe even stronger. He, and those sharing in my journey are part of my GRIT.
-Jeremy N., CFNAC Athlete