2019 Male National Challenge Winner
It's Lower Body Day

We are beyond excited to introduce our Male 2019 National Challenge $10,000 Winner, JOHN PUCKETT.

 

 
John Puckett is a Farrell’s member at Farrell’s EP True in West Des Moines, Iowa. John joined Farrell’s in the Winter of 2018, and the rest of John’s story is nothing short of inspirational. Keep reading to hear, in John’s words, how his hard work and dedication to his health and his family changed his life.

The Road to Farrell’s

I have always been big. I can’t remember a time where I was under 300 pounds; it was just a way of life for me. My job as an automotive mechanic is physically demanding and requires me to fit in tight spaces. I was okay with how I looked, and it was how I lived life for many years. I didn't notice how overweight I was until in 2015 when I was spending time with a group of my friends I only see once a year. One of the guys lost 50 pounds. We couldn't believe it was the same guy–he was almost unrecognizable! I thought to myself; this is something I can do. It was a great thought, but I didn't take any action. I continued to watch his weight-loss progress throughout the rest of the year on Facebook and was inspired but still didn’t take action.

In February 2016, I flew to Arizona to visit my wife’s grandfather. At 336 pounds, the three-hour flight was uncomfortable. We had a trip to Ireland booked for May of that year, and the flight was 16 hours. I knew there was no way I was going to make the flight at my current weight. So, I set a goal! I wanted to be 296 pounds the day I stepped on the plane. I had 12 weeks. I watched what I ate and started walking five miles every night. And I reached my goal! The day we left for Ireland, I was 296 pounds. It felt great to set and accomplish my goal! I continued to eat healthily and walk every night after we returned from vacation. My friends and family complimented me on the changes I made and how I looked. I felt great about myself and what I accomplished! But then came winter in Iowa, and it gets cold. I couldn’t motivate myself to go outside and walk after working all day in the cold. So, the weight came back.

 
 

Ten Weeks Changed My Life

November 2018 rolls around, which brings Black Friday. My wife and sister signed for the Farrell’s 10-Week Challenge. I’d heard about it but wasn’t sure if it was for me. My first thought was the cost. It was around Christmas, and money is always tight around the holidays. My second thought was, my wife and my sister are doing it, and I don’t want to be the third wheel. But, I went for it anyway and joined! The three of us showed up Monday to meet our coach, Allison B., and it was a BLAST. After the second week, I was hooked!

It was during those ten weeks that I found a new person hiding inside of me. To say it changed my life would be an understatement. I was a better person, mentally and physically. I finished my 10-Week Challenge with perfect attendance, knocked four minutes off my mile, quadrupled my push-ups, and nearly doubled my sit-ups. I lost 46 pounds and 10% body fat. Oh, and won the $1,000 prize for my gym! I used the money to pay for my continued membership.

The best part of it all was the awesome group of people I met and the amazing friendships that formed. I love my Farrell’s gym and the people in it. The people at Farrell’s are why my wife and I come back every day. I give a lot of people praise for what they helped me do. There was one person who had the most impact on me, Steve M. He was the evening head coach, and he made me feel welcome every day. In my opinion, that support is what you need to keep going. A fist bump as you walk in the door, ask how your day is going, and talk about cars; Steve made me feel comfortable.

 

Keeping the Momentum Going

After the 10-Week celebration party, I was in strength training class using lightweight resistance bands. I felt like I was done with my challenge. Ten minutes into class, my instructor says, “You’re not done; get to work!” After class, Steve encouraged me to sign up for the Farrell’s $10,000 National Challenge. I decided to keep this momentum going and continue to make myself a healthier person!

There was an opening for a new coach during my class time, and a few members asked if I was interested. I thought, why not step it up to the next level? I coached for one year and connected with so many people. Of the four 10-Week Challenges I coached, 95% of the people became Farrell’s members and continued to workout during my class! Through coaching, I was able to help others reach their goals while accomplishing mine at the same time. Together, we became family!

 

More Than A Gym – A Family You Can Count On

The word “family” we talk about so much at Farrell’s is very true. Together, we have a small group of gym-mates that all live within walking distance of each other. It’s these six people: Steve, Allison, Christopher, Kara, Michael, and Steven, who are my go-to people when I need help. If I have a bad day, wander off my path, or just need to vent, they are always there to guide me. They give me the encouragement I need to get up, dust myself off, and get back to work.

But most importantly, I cannot forget my wife! She has been there for me through the ups and downs. There are many moments that she was there for me, but one, in particular, stands out. One evening I was standing in front of the refrigerator, doors wide open, looking at the food on every shelf. I was trying to stick to my meal plan, but at that moment, I was so ready to give in and take a huge jump backward. But my wife pulled me back from the refrigerator and said, “Look how far you have come! It’s only a few more weeks. You have put so much into this and you look great!”

My Journey Isn’t Over!

I am a changed person in every way. For most of my life, I was a grumpy person. But now, I look at things differently. I've come to appreciate all the people in my life because they’ve helped me and probably did not know it. I want to thank my Farrell’s [location] owner, Josh R., and head coach, Cindy C., as well as all the instructors and fellow gym members for providing me the tools and support to reach my Level 10 every workout!

So many doors have opened for me. I was so excited to compete in my first Wild Boar five-mile obstacle course and finish in the top 20 of my age group! I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone by putting on a microphone and standing in front of over 50 people to share my story. And recently, I was asked to become a Farrell’s ambassador and be featured in a radio commercial to help inspire other people to take the leap and step out of their comfort zone and try something new.

Congratulations, John!

 
 
 

 

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