When you’re used to taking part in the action, being on the sidelines is hard. Yet that’s where 24 Hour Fitness member Greg Kokanour found himself in 2020. As gyms closed and people began realizing the severity of the pandemic, Kokanour came to some serious realizations about his health.
He was overweight. He was often short of breath. He had limited mobility and he was suffering from shoulder pain. Not only was his body fat percentage above the healthy range, he had also entered a stage of pre-hypertension.
So, in a summer when many people were still getting used to life in isolation, Kokanour made some important adjustments of his own. He began virtual workout sessions with 24 Hour Fitness coach Vinh Duong, who also helped him examine his eating choices as part of Kokanour’s overall commitment to improving his health.
“I found that following a low-carb diet has really helped me with keeping my weight loss on track. It was hard at the beginning, but later became a normal thing,” says Kokanour. “With better nutrition and coaching, I have noticed better flexibility and the ability to do exercises I was not able to do in the past.”
Kokanour is training three times a week, has lost more than 30 pounds and has become proficient with kettlebells for conditioning. His mobility has improved and the shoulder pain that once plagued him has disappeared. The changes have had a positive impact in another area of his life as well.
“I have noticed that my side job of umpiring baseball for youth travel ball has become easier on my body. I no longer have the aches and pains from being on my feet for six to eight hours on Saturdays and Sundays, due to less weight and better movement.”
24Life: How have your goals changed over time? Would the former you be surprised by where you are now?
Greg Kokanour: Once virtual sessions started, I was able to sync up with my coach and start a plan where we not only focused on routines to improve my flexibility and cardio, but also work on my diet. This is actually where I found it easier to follow a new diet, because I was not eating out as much and able to focus on watching what I ate and follow an exercise routine, which included taking walks three times per day (trying to keep at 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day). I even blocked out my work calendar so that folks knew I was not available during certain periods of the day, because of my walks.
My original goal was to get back below 200 pounds, but Vinh has pushed me to get below 190, then to below 180, and now the new target is below 170, with me at 174 at the beginning of May 2021.
And yes, the former me would be surprised. For example, pull-ups were the hardest thing to try and even accomplish just one, and today I was able to do three rounds of four to six pull-ups. It has been a long time since I have been at this weight, and now I find that I have more energy and my body is no longer sore after a long day on the baseball field umpiring games.
24Life: Do you have a mantra or “self-talk” that helps keep you going?
GK: When I start to gain weight, I remind myself of what I have been able to accomplish over the last year and how I feel now compared to then. Also, I have gotten rid of my clothes that no longer fit, so I don’t want to return to those larger clothing sizes.
24Life: What’s the one thing you’ve discovered that always brings out your best?
GK: Competition and the goals I have set for myself. I am always competing with coworkers to have the most steps in each day—I do not like to lose to them.
24Life: How has your experience helped you to bring out the best in others?
GK: I encourage other coworkers to make sure to take a break from work (we all work from home) and find that time to either walk, stretch or just get away from the computer. Plus, we challenge each other with daily step counts.
Results not typical and may vary per individual. With a regular diet and exercise routine, typical weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Please consult a physician before starting or changing a fitness routine. Personal training and virtual personal training available to 24 Hour Fitness members for an additional fee.
Photo credit: Greg Kokanour