How this 24 Hour Fitness Area Group X Manager lost weight and turned his life around.
My name is Allan Korsunsky and I live in Oceanside, California with my wife and two children. I am an Area Group X Manager with 24 Hour Fitness, and I have had the pleasure of overseeing more than 1,500 Group X Instructors throughout New York City, the Midwest and Southern California. Seven years ago, I was in chronic pain and decided that it was time to do something about it.
Here is my transformation story.
24Life: Tell us about your fitness journey—where does it begin?
Allan Korsunsky (AK): Around seven years ago, I was struggling with chronic back pain, was 100 pounds heavier and taking pain medication. I remember waking up every morning with sharp pain, barely able to move. Having had numerous injections and procedures, none of which worked, I resigned to the idea that I would be in pain for the rest of my life. I ate really poorly and barely moved, let alone exercised.
I knew something needed to change when at the age of 31, I purchased a cane from the local medical supply store to help me walk. With the support of my wife, we devised a strategy to taper off my meds, improve how we both ate and get moving! In a matter of two years, I shed 100 pounds to achieve my goal weight.
24Life: Do you remember what you said to yourself or the exact moment that you decided you needed a change?
AK: I remember watching television late one night because I couldn’t get comfortable. I thought about how mundane my life had become and how much of a burden I was on my wife. I vividly recall saying out loud, “I can’t live like this anymore. This has to change.”
24Life: Who helped you along the way?
AK: My wife has been the driving force behind everything good in my life. She stuck with me and supported me when I was at rock bottom. She literally put on my shoes and socks for me every single morning. Without her, I’m not sure I would have had the strength, determination and discipline to achieve my goals. She made my goal her goal.
24Life: What kept you motivated to stay the course?
AK: I set small manageable goals that I knew were achievable. My strategy was to make small changes over a long period of time. I started with diet. Instead of a chicken Parmesan sandwich, I would have chicken Parmesan with salad, then grilled chicken Parmesan with salad, then grilled chicken with salad, then grilled chicken with broccoli.
I did the same at the gym. I started with the recumbent bike, them the stationary bike, elliptical, some weights. Group X is where my results really started to take off. I started with BODYPUMP, fell in love with the program and became an instructor. Seven years later, and with a dozen additional formats under my belt, I oversee Group X for all of Northern San Diego County.
24Life: Were there moments of self-doubt? What did those look like and how did you overcome those?
AK: The self-doubt came before I decided to make a change. It was like living in a world full of excuses. The sad part is, every single excuse I ever made, I actually believed. That’s why it kills me when I hear people say that they don’t have the time to go to the gym or “I need to get in shape before I join the gym.” The only thing that really gets in your way is you.
24Life: What surprised you the most about yourself during this journey?
AK: Having always been somewhat of an under-achiever, the biggest lesson I learned was that, with hard work, discipline and persistence, there is absolutely nothing that cannot be accomplished. I applied the principles I learned through my fitness journey to my career, and the outcome has been tremendous. At the age of 32 I was able to transform physically, mentally and financially.
24Life: What was the most challenging part of your journey and how did you overcome it?
AK: Getting started was the hardest part. It’s really easy to say, “I’ll start Monday,” or “I am going to start a diet after the New Year.” If you want it, get it—and get it now!
24Life: Did you have a specific goal in mind?
AK: I just wanted to be happy, healthy and have a family. I have all three now!
24Life: What is your go-to workout?
AK: I never repeat a workout, but you will likely find me doing some high-intensity interval training or under a barbell doing strength and conditioning work. My most recent goals have been to increase my max in both deadlift and back squat. I am sitting at 505 pounds and 400 pounds respectively.
24Life: What advice do you have for others who are just starting out or want to quit?
AK: What are you quitting or giving up? Remember why you embarked on this journey to begin with. Do you want to lose weight for the sake of losing weight, or are you troubled by how you feel about yourself? Is it worth giving up if you will just feel bad about yourself down the road? Fitness goes so much farther than how you look. When times get tough, just remember what brought you to the decision to make a change in the first place. Don’t get in your own way of being the best version of yourself.
24Life: Any specific rituals that you have that you think may be helpful to others?
AK: I take out my frustrations on the gym floor. Let’s face it, between work, bills and the stresses of everyday life, we all get bogged down with “stuff.” Use that energy to work a little bit harder, lift a little bit heavier and breathe a little bit more. I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted for every 100 that I lift.
24Life: What did you do when you would make a mistake or fall behind schedule or get frustrated with your results?
AK: There are no real mistakes or schedules. Goal weights or body-fat percentages are really just guidelines. The true indicator is how you feel on any given day. If you aren’t feeling 100 percent, kick it into overdrive until you do. You have your whole life to make work on yourself, just don’t wait to start doing it.
24Life: What’s next for you? Do you have any future goals that you’re going after next (or currently)?
AK: I have a pretty busy job and spend a substantial amount of time working out/training. My goal is to spend a bit more quality time with my wife and children. I wake up early every day to make breakfast for our family. Since my daughter just started kindergarten, she is up and out extra early. To make up for the lost time, I spend more time with her and my son before bedtime. We play, read, tickle and sing. It’s the highlight of every day!
Photo credit: Courtesy of Allan Korsunsky
Please note that the results that Allan has experienced are unique to him, and your results may vary. Always consult your health care provider before undertaking changes in your diet or fitness regimen.