Transformation Tuesday with Justin
Today's #transformationtuesday comes from Justin, who shares his spectacular journey of health obstacles and family motivation to turn his life around! How old are you and please can you share your health and fitness journey to date? I wrote this when I finished the Transformation Contest at my Box. But something happened in my life since then that gave this transformation so much more meaning. So I had to rewrite my story. But I will get to that a little later.
I think my transformation really started when I heard those words from my cardiologist:
I am sorry Justin but we can’t put this off any longer you need that pacemaker
You see I have had a problem with the electronics of my heart that tell it to beat. My resting heart rate was around 30 beats a minute and at night when I slept it would drop as low as 15 beats a minute. I had been able to live with 2nd Degree AV Block for years and the last year with 3rd degree AV Block. It’s when the signal that tells your heart to beat doesn’t get through to tell it to beat properly. I didn’t know I had a problem until about six years ago during a routine physical. At that moment she told me I needed a pacemaker many things went through my mind. I thought this is the last thing my wife needs to worry about. Suzell lost her mom to stomach cancer just a couple of years ago and her dad who had prostate cancer (and just past away recently from pancreatic cancer) and now I need a pacemaker. I felt guilty that I added to her stress and felt like a burden. And what about all the things I enjoy doing. Football, surfing, working out, does this mean I am done with all these things? My eyes started to water up and I started to get sick to my stomach.
I thought I am too young for this.
I think my Doctor saw the panic in my eyes and said “Your life does not need to change in fact you have been living with this for so long you have no idea how much better you’ll feel.”
She went on to tell me that I could play my sports and do most of the things I loved to do. I went from one minute feeling like everything was taking from me to feeling like I just won a million bucks. I will never forget that walk out of the doctor’s office that afternoon feeling so determined not take for granted my health again. I need to get back in shape and I immediately started planning what I needed to do. I told the doctor lets get this thing done right away so I could recover and get to work on losing the weight that I’ve put on in the last 13 years.
After my recovery from surgery Suzell told me that the Crossfit Box (Peak 360) that some of our friends went to just moved down the street. We were both intimidated by it but we went to check it out. After seeing the first class I was like this is exactly what I was looking for. Suzell always got mad at me because I would go to the gym and lift weights and do very little cardio. I had been going to boot camp for about a year and even had a personal trainer for over two years but I saw very little results in my weight loss. But this Crossfit was going to fulfill all my needs. Everyone was so nice even the other members. It was like a family and everyone seemed to want to motivate each other.
After a few weeks I will never forget something Guido said to me. He came up to me after a work out and asked me how old I was. Then he said “Justin there is no reason why you can’t be in the best shape of you life right now”. I was like Yeah!........Why not! When I think about it even now it gets me going. Then that same month that we started Virginia mention something about doing a Transformation Challenge. I was like that’s exactly what I need and I told Suzell I was in the perfect situation to win this thing. I was 285 lbs. And I was taking High Blood Pressure pills, High Cholesterol pills, Thyroid Medication. It was time to get to work.
Virginia put me on a diet and the first few weeks I was like I am eating way too much and the weight wasn’t coming off as fast as I thought. I was shocked when Virginia told me you're not eating enough! She said trust me, and you will lose the weight. She gave me another diet and the pounds started to fall off. I was shocked. I really pushed myself during the classes only slowing down when I felt like I was going to throw up. I often finished last but I didn’t care. Thank You all! The Peak 360 staff and everyone who yelled my name in encouragement when I was struggling through a WOD helped me get where I am today everyone played a part. I’ve lost over 84 lbs. and weigh 205 lbs., from almost 35% body fat to just over 12%. From struggling to run a warm up lap to running my first 5K. I could hardly do a Pull-Up to being able to do Muscle-ups. And I just competed in my first RX competition. I could go on and on. Oh.... And No More Medication. Even my Doctor Elie Haddad even joined after seeing my results. Suzell and I want to thank you Guido, Virginia and all at Peak for giving me my Health back and that’s Priceless. And why did I have to rewrite this? Well, my father recently passed away at 66. I told him about Crossfit but I hadn't really shared with him my results and how much weight I had lost because I wanted him to see me in person and share with him all that I had accomplished. But I never got that chance. I got a call from my brother that my father was in the hospital and in bad shape. I flew up right away to see him but I didn't make it in time. He didn’t have to die. But my father died from complications do to a very unhealthy life style. He was overweight and ate everything you shouldn’t. If he had taken care of himself he would have been alive today. My transformation now means so much more to me after I saw the pain in my mom’s eyes when she lost her husband. It made me think of my situation and my wife Suzell. Things do happen in life that we have no control over but there are something’s that we can. I can’t say Thanks enough! And special thanks to my beautiful wife who supported me the whole way and slaved cooking for me. Without her this would had never happened.
What types of foods did you used to eat as a kid and young adult? What's changed since then? A lot Processed foods. Cereals,white rice,fried food. And a lot of milk and sweets.
Do you play any sports or what sports do you like watching? Crossfit
What are your interests, passion and what makes you smile? As a Crossfit Coach I get to help and watch people change their lives. And sharing the love of Crossfit with my wife also make me happy.
What was the catalyst that sparked your lifestyle change? When I got my Pacemaker. I realized I needed to get healthy not only for myself but my wife who recently lost her mom.
What are some of your dreams/goals you hope to achieve over the next 12 months? I want to make it someday to the Crossfit Games
What tips would you like to share with my readers about your transformation? A healthy lifestyle has to be a life long commitment. You have to find a way to eat healthy for the rest of your life. Because diets don't work long term. Be happy if the weight comes off slow and if fall off the wagon and gain some weight just get back on!
List your social media if you would like people to follow you Instagram @hopmanj
And if you've got the time, check out Justin's documentary!
Thanks Justin for taking the time to share this journey with us!
If you've got a transformation you'd like to share, click here to share your journey.
Much love and friendship,