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See how setting goals, staying motivated, and making small foundational changes can have huge results in Lieutenant Robby Owens, Sr.'s personal wellness story.

My Fitness Story

Some fitness articles and web sites offer suggestions on nutrition to workout programming and everything in between. Often times, the ones offering these suggestions look like they are right out of muscle and fitness, or the accompanying pictures are of fitness models with 6-pack abs, and ripped muscles. This is done in an attempt to motivate you to push yourself and to visualize what you can obtain. In reality, this often makes the climb tougher, and it can even be intimidating (especially during times when you struggle). While I feel like I have accomplished a lot when it comes to fitness (weight loss, marathons, strength gains), I am here to tell you that it was not always that way, and it is not always that way.

This is me in 2010, I was 5 feet 9 inches 216lbs. I will not mince words I was FAT! Not only was I fat, but I was also out of shape. I was 28 years old and could barely run a mile! In my younger years I was a pretty good athlete. I played baseball, played football into high school, and I was a wrestler which which is where most of my athletic success came. This person you see above was a shell of that former athlete. Worse yet I did not know I had a problem, and I actually used to poke fun at the guys around the fire station that were working out. I used excuses like “I’m Young I don’t need to work out” or “I perform when it counts”. Then my performance began to suffer. My SCBA did not last as long, I got tired very easily, and I began to see numbers I did not like on my yearly physical. I finally said enough is enough, so I began to make changes. I started small at first just working out for around 30 minutes of cardiovascular conditioning. Then I started lifting weights, and although I didn’t change what I ate, I ate less of it. Next, I began to change what I ate by making some smarter choices, and I set goals like finishing a half marathon.

Today in 2015 I am 33, still 5 foot 9 (fitness does not work miracles, so I will never be 6 feet tall!), and my weight is between 175-180lbs. I have completed marathons, half marathons, 10K’s, and 5K’s. I’ve finished Tough Mudders and 9-11 Memorial Stair Climbs. Even with all my personal accomplishments, it is still a DAILY struggle for me to get to the gym and to watch what I eat. I do not have 6 pack abs, nor am I anything close to a fitness model. I still have a bit of a belly and love handles! It is a struggle that will never end, but I am not satisfied. I want to continue to slim down a bit more and add more strength. My story began 5 years ago, and it’s a work in progress. I still have pages to write, and chapters to close to my fitness story, or better yet my fitness journey.

That’s my story, but the question remains: What will your story be? Start making the changes today to ensure it is one you and your loved ones be proud of.  

Article by Firefighter Functional Training Panel Member Robert C. “Robby” Owens, Sr., Lieutenant, Henrico County Division of Fire, VA

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