Brian Shreck – 2015 90 Day Challenge


Before Essay

I think I have known deep down for some time that this is not the way I was meant to live, that I must have some greater purpose in life than to die young due to overeating and being sedentary. That’s no legacy to leave behind because nobody was meant to live that way.

When I turned 32 in April, I had been over 300 Ibs. for several years. A recent visit to the doctor revealed that my blood pressure was in the range of stage 2 hypertension, placing me at high risk of heart attack and stroke. With a family history of heart disease and diabetes, I know I am running out of time to start taking care of myself or I will soon be facing irreversible health conditions that will decrease my quality and quantity of life. I have seen this happen in my own family. My mother died at age 44 from an illness that was probably exacerbated by her obesity.

In reality, my weight is already having profound effects on my quality of life. My social confidence is basically nonexistent. I frequently get depressed and disappointed in myself for letting my problem get this far out of control. I walk around in a nearly constant state of humiliation and it makes me want to go out in public as little as possible. I avoid opportunities to see old friends because I don’t want them to see how big I’ve gotten. I look at a photo of myself that was taken when I was in Navy boot camp 14 years ago. I can’t even believe I am the person in that picture.

I want to reclaim that version of myself so I can get back to living life the way I was meant to live it. Competing in the 90-Day Challenge will give me a great jump start toward my goal and force me to make a credible commitment to doing the work I need to do to get there. Now is the time because if I wait too much longer it might be too late.


After Essay

When I started the 90-Day Challenge, I expected to experience physical changes in my body. I knew that if I stuck with it I would lose a lot of weight and I would feel and look better physically. And without a doubt the physical changes have been significant. I feel better physically than I have felt in at least 10 years. However, I think the biggest, and most unexpected, transformations I have undergone have been the mental, emotional, and spiritual ones.

First, I have learned how to ignore the negative internal dialogue that we all experience. This was one of the factors that I unfortunately allowed to hold me back for so long. For years I would periodically start dieting and working out. And I would lose as much as 15 or 20 lbs. pretty fast. But as soon as it got hard I would talk myself out of continuing with it. I would listen to all of the negative things I would tell myself. I would convince myself that I just couldn’t get back into shape from the condition I was in, and that I was just destined to be obese. I would talk myself out of going to the gym because I convinced myself people were looking at the fat guy and wondering whom he thought he was fooling. If I could tell my past self, or someone else in that situation now, two things I would say that, first, you can get back in shape no matter where you’re starting from. Second, I would say that if other people are thinking or saying negative things about you, so be it. You only lose by letting it shut you down. But if you ignore it and press on, the payoff will be huge. The cost-benefit analysis on that one is pretty simple. I only regret that it took me so long to figure it out. Once I stopped making excuses and stopped talking myself out of it, I started feeling at home at Bodyworks and now I look forward to my workout every day as one of my favorite parts of the day. If I skip a day, I miss it and look forward to getting back. I never would have imagined that before. I haven’t gotten rid of the negative and self-defeating thoughts. I still experience them sometimes. I think most everyone does. But I’ve learned to ignore them and not let them win.

The second way I know I have changed mentally and emotionally is in my renewed self-confidence. I mean this not just in the sense of having more social confidence, but also in the sense of believing in myself. I have surprised myself so many times with what I can do that I have learned to stop doubting myself. I am doing things in the gym now that I would have never envisioned myself doing when I started. I’m completing workouts with my trainer that I never would have imagined myself doing before. When I started I could barely make it through a 30-minute Group Core class. Now I can power through that and do another 30 minutes of Grit immediately after. I still have some more progress to make to get to where I really want to be, but I am more confident than ever that I will get there and stay there because I am motivated by the excitement of continuing to learn more about what I’m capable of. If I could say one thing to my past self or somebody in that position now it would be not to get discouraged by what you think you can’t do. If you continue working hard and keep pushing yourself you will be amazed at what you’re capable of. This is one of the things I love about my trainer and group exercise instructors at Bodyworks. They constantly push me to work harder and try new things. They never let me fall into the self-fulfilling prophecy of low expectations.

Finally, I believe that my experience at Bodyworks and in competing in the 90-Day Challenge has been good not just for my mind and body, but also for my soul. Before I began I was depressed and ashamed because I knew I was not living the life that I was put here to live. I believe that Bodyworks and this challenge came into my life for a reason because they could not have come into my life at a better time. I needed a lifestyle change and I was finally ready for it. As I said above, I still have more progress to make, but I am pushed to continue by a renewed drive to be the best version of myself and the best son, brother, uncle, and friend that I can be to the people in my life. I now know that I am here to do more than what I was limiting myself to before, and this experience has set me on the right track to be here and be at my best for whatever God has in store for me in the future.

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