*Lindsay’s Note: I recently had the opportunity to interview the Beachbody Challenge winners. The Beachbody challenge is a contest where Beachbody gives away over $1 million dollars in prizes and two grand prize winners receive $100,000 each. The below is part one in a two part series interview with the Beachbody Challenge Winners Justin Wells and Carmen O’Quinn. Below is the part one interview with Justin Wells. Their stories are truly incredible and so inspirational.
How did you hear about Beachbody and the Beachbody Challenge?
I had watched a number of Beachbody infomercials over the prior few months and longed to be one of the success stories featured. I ordered Rockin’ Body, and I began with that program at 360 pounds. As I progressed and then regressed, I still watched the infomercials for Insanity and the 21 Day Fix and felt more and more compelled to try them. I finally ordered the 21 Day Fix, and since I began that program I have been on a mission to achieve and maintain the best possible health.
The Beachbody Challenge wasn’t even on my radar for the longest time, but I saw some information about it in the inserts with my 21 Day Fix order. I asked my coach about it, and he and the rest of our awesome team encouraged me to enter my results. I am certainly glad I did!!
How many years were you overweight?
I spent much of my childhood years somewhat overweight. My doctors began pointing it out as a problem area around age of 13 or 14. Once I reached adulthood my weight gain began to accelerate, and I averaged 10-15 pounds of weight gain a year after I graduated from high school. I found myself at 360 pounds in 2010. I lost about 50 pounds, but fell back into old habits and regained the lost 50 pounds in less than two years. In the Spring of 2013 I was back to 360 pounds. All in all, I would estimate I have spent at least 25 of my nearly 36 years of life overweight, and at least 12 or 13 of those years significantly overweight.
What did you find the hardest about being overweight?
There were many difficult aspects to being overweight, but I would consider the feelings of isolation I felt during that time. I never felt like I belonged anywhere because I could not shake the feeling that I was in the wrong body. I stood out in all the wrong ways, and I could easily find myself when looking at pictures of crowds because I was so much bigger than everyone else. When I would go into clothing stores, I had to bypass so many clothes I liked because they weren’t available in larger sizes. I remember settling for whatever was available in big and tall sizes for so long. Combining that with being too big to sit comfortably in many seats and ride on different amusement park rides left me feeling very ashamed and alone, and I got to a point at which I lost interest in going most anywhere.
What made you want to make a change in your fitness and eating habits?
I really began to think about what I was doing to my health when my wife became pregnant with our son. I was teaching classes at that time that discussed the importance of a father in a child’s life, and I realized that I was not at all positioned to become a positive influence in the life of my son. At my rate of weight gain at that time, I was facing a short time with him. I would have likely taught him terrible lifestyle habits and then left him to fend for himself after I ended up dying at a young age.
How did you first start your program?
I began working with the Rockin’ Body program because it was the only one I could even begin to keep pace with. I had to modify often, but I kept at it. After I fell off the wagon following my son’s birth, I was fortunate enough to have not regained much of what I had lost to that point, and I began the 21 Day Fix, which was the program that led me through the bulk of my transformation.
Did you find it hard or easy?
At 360 pounds, no exercise is going to be easy. I became short of breath easily and had difficulty keeping my balance. When I began the 21 Day Fix, I have never been that sore at any point in my life. It was uncomfortable to use stairs, bend over, or sit on the toilet. I knew deep down, though, that it was working, so I kept going. As time went on things became less difficult, but never easy. In my opinion, I should never find my workouts easy. If I get to that point, it is time for a new workout program. I believe we must face challenges in order to change!
Did you enjoy it?
I struggled and frankly still struggle to “enjoy” the workouts and the sacrifice that comes with eating healthier, but I thoroughly enjoy all the benefits that come from it! I enjoy being able to feel like I actually belong somewhere. I enjoy being able to find the clothing I want rather than settling for whatever is available in larger sizes. I love being able to spread the message of health and fitness to other people around me. I love being able to feel more in tune with my wife because I am finally in tune with myself. Most of all, I enjoy the light I see in my son’s eyes every time I am able to run and play with him! I think of that light every time I find a workout grueling, and I keep going. I will never allow anything to take that light from my son’s eyes, and any pain I have to endure to keep the light alive is well worth it!
What programs from Beachbody did you use to help you lose the weight?
I began by using Rockin’ Body, but the bulk of my results came with the 21 Day Fix. I also used 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity Max:30, P90X3, 22 Minute Hard Corps, a bit of T25, and now Country Heat. Once Country Heat concludes I am beginning Hammer and Chisel.
Why did you choose these products?
The 21 Day Fix offered guidance in portion control, which has always been my weakness when it comes to health and fitness. I was drawn to the idea of finally being able to grasp the concept of eating the right foods in the right ratios. I had never really had much education on portion control, so this program opened my eyes.
I continue to use Beachbody products because Beachbody offers the most comprehensive fitness package by far. When someone orders a Beachbody program, he or she receives an awesome workout program led by world-class trainers, support from a free coach, and an amazing amount of online support and assistance through teambeachbody.com. Other companies sell fitness programs and supplements, but Beachbody offers support for both body and mind, and for that reason they will forever be my company of choice!
What has been the hardest part about your journey?
The most difficult aspect of my journey has been remaining patient. We live in a society in which we rarely have to wait for anything. We have instant access to almost anything we want, and this has taken a toll on my ability to wait effectively. Losing over 160 pounds is not a task that can be completed quickly, though. I had to work for days upon days to see even the smallest results at times. I have been proud of turning down dessert yet again, only to realize that I will have to wage the same battle again the next day. Transforming our health takes tremendous perseverance, and that has not always been easy to come by for me. For me it has been more than a three-year odyssey, and I am still working to transform my body into the body I want. I am far closer than I once was, but I have a lot of work yet to do!
What has been the best part about your journey?
I have had so many highlights it is difficult to choose just one, but I would have to say the prospect of a longer and better life is the best part of my journey. Had I changed nothing, I would have been fortunate to live past 50 years of age. Now I see no obstacles to living into my 80’s or 90’s! Not only have I added years to my life, but my journey has added life to my years. I find myself wanting to take part in more things now that I have more energy and a better outlook. I am confident I will get to see many of my son’s milestones and enjoy life with him, and I can’t imagine anything better than that!!
What do your friends and family say?
My friends and family have been blown away by my results! They were so accustomed to me never eating vegetables and eating huge portions of everything bad for me that they are often speechless now! Even though I have been smaller for a while, I still encounter friends I haven’t seen in some time that fail to recognize me. People mainly want to know how I did what I did. My great hope is that many of them will feel inspired to begin health and fitness journeys of their own.
How do you plan on spending your money?
I plan on spending as little as possible, to be honest. The money represents security to me. Life can throw some difficult circumstances our way, and sometimes having some financial protection can soften the blow. My family has a level of financial freedom we have never had before, and that is worth more than anything I could buy with that money in my opinion.
You are now a Beachbody Coach. Can you tell everyone what that entails and how anyone can become one if they are interested?
To me, a Beachbody coach is someone who has a passion for paying forward the blessings in his or her life. Once I found success with Beachbody programs, I wanted to tell other people about what they have done in my life. I believe that is what being a Beachbody coach is all about. Anyone can sign up as a coach through teambeachbody.com, but I would not recommend it to anyone who is not passionate about Beachbody and what it represents. If someone believes in Beachbody and its products and is thinking about becoming a coach, I would tell him or her to go for it, but to do so for reasons other than money. We have to want to help people first and foremost. If our primary aim is to make money, we will not find joy in the coaching role. If we reach out to others with the spirit of helping them transform, the money will follow.
Is there anything you want to say to anyone who may be struggling with their fitness and overall health?
The main point I want anyone to take away from my story is that results like mine are possible for anyone. I am not physically gifted, and it would be a major stretch to even call me an average athlete. I am simply a guy who refused to quit in his journey and got great results due to perseverance. I tell people to love themselves and believe in themselves, and that if they eat right and exercise every day great things will follow! We have to stop comparing ourselves to everyone around us and simply work on building the best version of ourselves we can be. Finally, I would tell everyone to stop thinking anything is impossible, because I have achieved so many “impossible” things throughout my journey!
What about you? What do you think about Justin’s journey? Post in the comments and let us know. Also check out the sweet giveaway below for your chance to win a Beachbody prize pack.