Suddenly, Gary's half the man he used to be
Durham's Gary Wilkinson has achieved a life-changing transformation in the past 18 months.
Weighing in at nearly 26 and a half stone in July 2015, the 44-year-old support care worker was unhappy with his lifestyle and health. "I was in really bad shape. I had a respiratory machine and was wearing clothes that were sized 4 or 5XL."
"The lightbulb moment for me was when I was at a radio rally in Summer 2015. I was very sick and sweating, getting out of breath and feeling dizzy just by walking a few hundred yards. I knew something had to change so I arranged a Lifestyle Programme appointment with my doctor."
After joining the gym at Durham County Council's Abbey Leisure Centre on his doctor's recommendation, the results have been remarkable. Gary has lost 11 and a half stone and reduced his body fat percentage by 73 per cent.TextArea=Call to action 1;ActionID=11;
Gary attends the gym two or three times a week and his varied routine includes a mix of weights and cardio work. He also takes advantage of his multi-site membership by swimming at Freeman's Quay Leisure Centre and plans to include GX classes in his fitness regime.
His favourite piece of gym equipment is a punch bag, which helps him kick-start his work out and also helps to control his breathing. He has also rediscovered walking as an effective form of exercise.
Gary says: "The staff at Abbey Leisure Centre are really nice. They have a really supportive attitude and are happy to talk to you, giving advice on exercises and will also help track your progress with weigh-ins and other tips.
"Don't be afraid that you'll be the biggest person in the gym. I felt like that at first but I soon realised that everyone is in the same boat and has the same goals as you.
"I hated PE at school and wasn't much good at sports but the buzz you get from seeing your progress is awesome. My aim for 2017 is to continue with my rebooted lifestyle - I want my recreation to continue."