The Daily Beet

14 Sep From Broken To Boxing: Bill’s Story

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It all started when I was loading some speakers on a loading dock and hyper extended my ACL deficient knee.  It swelled up like a basketball and I couldn’t walk the next day.  When I can’t walk, I can’t work as I am an electrician by trade.  I went to the orthopedic surgeon where I was told that I have the knee of a 70 year old man and would need a knee replacement.  My surgeon however, was reluctant to do it because my occupation requires me to be so active and I was only 41.

After a MRI, it was also discovered besides being ACL deficient that I had arthritis and a shredded meniscus.  My surgeon thought it was in my best interest to have a dibridement and a partial menisectomy to clean up the scar tissue and smooth some of the rough bone surface.  He highly recommended that I lose weight as that would be the best way to relieve stress off the already worn and torn joint.  I was 250 pounds on the verge of losing my career and very frightened.  I had tried losing weight before and was never able to achieve any success.

I consulted with a personal trainer because I had no clue where to begin or what my goals should be.  We set up an appointment for my first workout and I did a couple of sessions before my knee surgery where we laid the ground work for what I should do after recovery.  Getting back to the gym after surgery, my trainer helped me with my rehab and supplemented my physical therapy.  During this process I re-injured an old injury in my rotator cuff which required surgery.  This surgery was not nearly as easy to rehab.  It made it tough, but I made some progress on my weight and strength thanks to my trainer.  I was feeling a bit better and managed to get my weight down to about 220.

By this time I was working in the office of a major electrical contractor doing business development and estimating multi-million dollar projects.  The stress of my work had a huge impact on me not being able to realize my fitness and nutrition goals and I quit going to the gym.  About that time, I met the woman of my dreams who would later become my wife.  Ironically we had both struggled with our weight our entire lives.  Needless to say, our bad eating habits and lack of physical fitness were multiplied as a couple.  Approximately 2 years later, I was so unhappy with the way I felt and looked, that I swallowed my pride and made a phone call to my trainer.

My first day back in the gym, I weighed 250 pounds once again. At 5’11” this is not a healthy weight.  I knew what needed to be done.  I just couldn’t get there by myself.  I started going back to Success Personal Training  to see my trainer Travis, 3 days a week.  I told my wife I was going to do it with her or without her. Just about every time I went to the gym for 2 months, I asked my wife if she wanted to come along.  It was always the same response.  She wasn’t ready.  One Saturday morning out of the blue.  I was getting ready to go to the gym and my wife asked if she could come with me.  It was a great day.  We showed up at the gym and to Travis’s surprise, I had brought him his next client.  The conscientious trainer that he was, knew just how hard to push her to get results and not scare my wife away.

I felt very focused in my physical fitness routine, but was still struggling with my nutrition.  Being a vegetarian, I always thought I ate pretty healthy.  After doing a little research, I discovered that was far from the truth.  We decided to follow a whole foods plant-based diet after watching Forks Over Knives and The Last Heart Attack with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on CNN.

Shortly thereafter, I was offered a traveling job in project management with my company.  My first assignment was in Kansas City, MO.  I was going to do it different this time. My wife would be traveling with me.  One of the first things we did when we got to KCMO was look for a gym.  We joined a local gym that offered personal training and group fitness classes.  For some reason I was compelled to try cardio boxing. I thought it would be easier on the knees than running.  After my first workout and the sound of the boxing gloves hitting the mitts, I was hooked. I loved boxing!

We were on a roll.  With the 1000 calorie workouts couple with good nutrition via The Engine 2 Diet and less mental stress at my job, I watched the weight fall off at about 3 pounds a week.  The funny thing is, I was never hungry.  My wife prepared bountiful lunches and nutrient dense dinners for me every day.  I ate fruit, veggies and nuts for snacks and had a giant bowl of oatmeal for breakfast each day.  I was always eating! I also started becoming in tune with my body and it’s needs. I ate to refuel for my workouts instead of eating mindlessly.

I loved putting on my boxing gloves and the workout that I got.  I started working out with a boxing coach named Cam Thompson and started training to compete in the Master Division at the Ringside World Championships in the light heavyweight division (178 pounds). Every day I focused on what I could do and how I could improve.  I never thought I could meaningfully participate in a sport with all of my injuries. I never thought I would ever see the south side of 200 pounds.  Hard work and dedication got me there.  I made my weight of 178 pounds a couple of weeks before Ringside Worlds.  I competed along side 1200 other athletes aged 9-77 years old.  At 44 years old, it felt great to be there, surrounded by my support team doing what I had deemed impossible. It is never too late and you are never too old to start!

p.s. – my coach is now doing Engine 2 as well and has lost 35 pounds!

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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Joyness Sparkles
    Posted at 07:27h, 14 September

    Congratulations! What a great inspirational story. 🙂

  • JenO
    Posted at 12:54h, 14 September

    So happy for you!! Great job at sticking to your guns and doing what needed to be done. The rewards will be long lasting for sure.

  • Ginger
    Posted at 14:29h, 14 September

    Good for you!

  • Chris
    Posted at 15:49h, 14 September

    Great story! Keep working hard, I appreciate you taking the time to inspire others!

  • Daniel
    Posted at 15:56h, 14 September

    Got a bum knee myself and about 65 pounds to lose. Thanks for giving me some hope. Never would have thought of boxing. Will check it out.

  • James g
    Posted at 16:58h, 14 September

    Great inspirational story. I have been boxing for 18 months now, and I am 53. I was bored with regular gym workouts, and boxing has kept me motivated to work out. I also love the politeness and respectfulness I come across at all boxing gyms. Being a vegan and a pacifist and a boxer confuses some people, but somehow it works for me!

  • Kirsten
    Posted at 19:56h, 14 September

    AWESOME story…I too have knee issues…this is great inspiration! Keep up the great work 🙂

  • dms
    Posted at 02:09h, 15 September

    Great job, and great story !

  • Jane Brady
    Posted at 18:43h, 19 September

    This is just the blog I need. Although i would not consider myself a runner, I do jog every morning. I found out today that my factured foot will need surgery, which will keep me in a cast for 6 to 8 weeks. Of course, it is my right foot, so I can not drive. I have cried all day. Reading your blog provided me the one ray of sunshine that I needed. Maybe there is hope for me.

    • Anna Chapman
      Posted at 19:11h, 14 January

      I don’t know where you are in your rehab, but I’m currently in week six of a right foot cast. This blog was important for me, as well.
      I hope your recuperation went well

  • Mechelle Tucker
    Posted at 17:13h, 14 January

    So amazing and inspiring!! <3 this!

  • Barb Meahan
    Posted at 23:38h, 18 September

    My right knee is very bad and left one on its way, I started Plant based eating a week ago and praying this helps! It is hard to work out due to my knees, at this time I started this after watching Forks overs knives and my high cholesterol and Dr says I give you 3 months to lower or we have to do meds..I refuse to do meds! So far I have lost one pound I need to drop about 17 pounds..I am very nervous because in 3 weeks we are going on a 1 week cruise! I am going to try my best to eat as well as I can, but don’t know what to expect! Has anyone else done this? Thanks for listening!

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