It all started with a car that stopped.

In his freshman year of college, 24 Hour Fitness member Julian Salazar’s car engine blew out. Without a reliable means of transportation, Salazar dropped out of school and worked overtime at his job to pay for a new car. The long hours were taking a toll, however.

“My physical health was not a priority, and I gained a substantial amount of weight,” he says.

Previous experience with high school sports training wasn’t helping Salazar combat the weight gain, and though he was able to return to his college campus to receive his certificate in Food, Nutrition and Wellness, the pandemic brought both school and work to a halt in spring 2020.

For his birthday that year, Salazar had one wish: to improve his health and fitness. The next month he began training online with a 24 Hour Fitness coach. He started strong, but after six weeks found his own engine stalling. He shifted some of his focus to maintaining a consistent sleep and activity schedule and was able to jumpstart his progress toward his goal.

“I believe a lot of people see the gym as a place to lift weights and get in shape. However, I found it to be more of a second home for me,” he says. “It was quite a journey, and I feel like I’m just getting started. But most important, thanks to 24 Hour Fitness, I hope to enjoy long-term benefits from this experience.”

24Life: Sometimes we need an extra push to get out of our comfort zones. Has your coach inspired you to try something you might not have explored?

Julian Salazar: One example of inspiration was the use of wrist wraps and wrist straps. I had never used them; however, I always saw other people using them at my 24 Hour Fitness facility or online. I inquired about purchasing a pair and one of the coaches was extremely helpful in explaining their purpose and use. Now I’m completing new goals with them!

24Life: They say “fitness is a journey and not a destination.” Does this ring true for you today? How?

JS: This statement rings extremely true to me! In the moments following the completion of a program or meeting a new goal, there’s a sense of gratefulness and clarity that good things take time, effort and consistency.

I love to recall the moment I recorded myself a year ago, prior to starting my program. When I watch my past self, it’s humbling but exciting to see where I was before the hours I spent at the gym, the calories burned on the treadmill and all the weights I lifted. Then I think about the process, the journey!

I remember the first time I was able to bench press 225 and how I struggled. It’s amazing to recall moments like that because it makes you far more excited for what you can do next. There is a certain level of understanding that even when you feel like you’ve reached your destination you’re still barely getting started. And that’s how I feel about my fitness journey!

24Life: Please share with us all that you are doing to maintain your fitness results (e.g., in club and/or at home workouts, physically or mentally)?

JS: I’m currently staying consistent with the workout split that I’ve maintained since July 2020:

Monday – Pull

Tuesday – Push

Wednesday – Legs

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Pull

Saturday – Push

Sunday – Legs

Regarding my fitness results, mentally I feel as if I don’t really have much of a choice but to continue to stay consistent in the gym. There was a point where I stopped focusing on doing it solely for the way I looked and stuck with it to maintain my health, instead. I do the same general workouts but sometimes I switch them up here and there, which gets me excited!

24Life: If you could tell your former self anything – now that you’re further in your journey – what would it be?

JS: The most important thing would be to know that everything is worth it. Have fun and enjoy the process. There will be a point where excuses no longer work and you don’t have a choice except to show up and work hard, and that’s the fun part—in fact, that’s the easy part!

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: Julian Salazar