I have had a love-hate relationship with the gym. It had never been a place that I really felt comfortable. For twenty years after getting married I simply avoided going to the gym. It was so much easier that way (or so I believed). Eventually I reached 206 pounds. I did not like the way I fit in my XL size clothing, or needing to pause to catch my breath so often.

At that point I started running and radically changed my diet. I dropped nearly 50 pounds and my wife told me I needed to stop losing weight and start gaining muscle. This idea was met with fear. My distant memories of the weight room in high school were filled with feeling small and being intimidated by others. Inside I felt like such a weakling.

My wife joined Golds Gym in Issaquah in 2011. I joined at the beginning of 2012 and when I went with her I would simply do cardio. This helped my weight stay in the 175-185 range, but I was not building muscle. I kept avoiding the idea of strength training. In 2013 Deanne completed the Challenge and she really got into it. I saw the impact that working with a personal trainer had made in her life. I saw her dedication and commitment to working hard. And most significantly, I saw results. She looked amazing.

My son and my wife kept encouraging me to work out with weights. They inspired me to push past my inner fears and to pursue the results I wanted. As I ventured into the other side of the gym, I gained confidence. Thanks to some personal training sessions with Garrett, I became more comfortable with the gym. I still faced feelings of intimidation, but I was motivated by the results I saw in my wife.

In December 2013, I decided to set some fitness goals for this year. I had never done this before in my life. Remember, I was the guy who avoided the gym for 20+ years. I made fun of people who worked out while I enjoyed pizza and pasta and ice cream. Here are my goals: 1. Complete 5 pull-ups, 2. Bench-press my weight, 3. Keep running three days each week, and 4. See my abs.

My daughter has an 8-pack and obliques. I thought, “Why not me?” On top of that, my dad died when he was 50 years old. I’m going to turn 50 next year. I know his lack of a healthy diet and exercise contributed to the heart condition which took his life. I’m motivated to take better care of myself and there’s no time like the present.

So, when the Golds Gym Challenge was announced this year, I was eager to sign up. I welcomed the opportunity to track my progress toward my goals with measurements and photos. I was ready to start working again with a personal trainer. I was motivated to see the kind of results that my wife had seen.

As I write this, my triceps are sore from yesterday’s workout and that is a good feeling. I hope my body is always sore somewhere. That will be a great indication that I’m sticking with the gym workouts. Overall, the Challenge has been a great experience.

I have made progress toward my fitness goals – I already can complete 5 pull-ups. I believe by the end of the year I will see my abs.

So how about you? What’s your story?

And more importantly, what are you doing to pursue your goals this year?