In 2004, I was in good enough shape to finish Ironman Canada. Fast forward 8+/- years: My wife and I have two healthy sons and I was enjoying “life” in Corporate America. I had gotten lazy and out of my fitness routine. My wife was starting to make “jokes” about how pudgy I was, but I couldn’t see it when I looked in the mirror. I could feel my gut bouncing when I lifted my son over my head, but if I sucked it in, it didn’t look all that bad. Then I went to the store and tried on a new Euro-cut shirt and much to my dismay, it looked like I needed a bra! As one of my favorite rap songs goes, I was “6-foot-1 and tons of fun!” I knew I needed to do something to get back into shape, but I didn’t know what.
Soon after, I had a dream about wanting to sit on the couch, rather than going outside to play with my kids. On a whim the next day, I signed up for a 12-week boot camp program with Joe and Nicole Decker at Gut Check Fitness. I figured that if the World’s Fittest Man (yes, he did earn that title) and Guinness World Record holder could not whip me into shape, then no one could. I was 42 years old and weighed 205 lbs – not hugely overweight by any means, but there was a good 25 lbs of hamburger, french fries and Coca-Cola sitting around my mid-section. I didn’t know what to expect at boot camp. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the 12-weeks. There was a lot of doubt going through my mind.
That first workout was a Saturday 90-minute class. It was the first day of the 12-week challenge so we were “tested” on a variety of exercises (pull-ups, push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, a timed one-mile run, and some others exercises). During that first class, I felt like I was going to die….but to the Decker’s credit, they kept me focused.
They constantly encouraged me by calling out my name (and that of the other 50+ people that were there that day) and motivating me through words and actions. Yes, not only did they verbally tell me what I should be doing, but most of the time, they do it with us!
Needless to say, by the end of the class, I was a mess. I made it back for another couple of classes that week and a few more each week after that. By the end of the 1st month, I was feeling pretty darn good. The pounds didn’t come off right away, but my body was definitely making a transformation. I could feel and see some definition in my abs, I was able to do more of the exercises without being so winded afterward and I definitely was stronger. But it wasn’t only physical changes that I noticed. I was happier with everyday stuff and my wife said that I had more energy too.
I started going to boot camp classes 4-5 days per week, religiously.
It doesn’t feel like “work” when you are with Gut Check. They make “working-out” more like “playing.” They both have a magnetism about them that makes EVERYONE (fast or slow, tall or short, fit or not) feel like part of the gang.
What I, and every other Gut Checker, have received in return far exceeds the 60-minute sessions each day. Joe and Nicole have built a community. They got to know me: from my diet and fitness goals, to my family and regular life. When I was slightly injured, they came up with modified exercises for me. When I struggled, they were sympathetic and encouraging and they were always there to kick me in the butt to get me going.
They keep the workouts varied and interesting – it’s different every class. And they have so many different classes at different times and locations that it’s hard not to find one that fits your schedule!
Many of us Gut Checkers have trained together, along with Joe and Nicole, to run ½ marathons, practiced for relay races, done obstacle races together as well as the more mundane challenges of trying to lose or maintain weight. With the help of Gut Check Fitness, I’ve not only achieved some fitness goals, but I feel like I have a second family. The people who work out with Gut Check are awesome!
They have pushed me, motivated me, advised me and cheered me on as I’ve gotten stronger, more confident, and more agile over the past 7 months. I’ve lost almost 20 pounds and now I can run 30 miles in a day rather than stopping to catch my breath at the top of the stairs. I’m still a work in progress. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I know that I can get there. If I hadn’t stumbled upon Gut Check Fitness, there is NO WAY that I would have made it this far. Whether you are already fit or a current couch potato, I strongly encourage you to come to a Gut Check Fitness class. You’ll get a great work out and make some really good friends – the “real” kind of friends that will join you at 4am to workout with you!
– Jon Choy