Just four years ago, Athens resident Marcus Wiedower came to personal trainer Michael Williams because he had made the decision to get fit. At the time, Marcus weighed more than 200 pounds.
“Four years ago,” Marcus says, “I was supporting my family, doing the life thing but not stopping to take care of myself. I was 31. One day, we were in the pool and my daughter was hanging off my shoulders, saying that she was so glad to be hanging onto her daddy’s ‘big strong muscles.’ Right then, I realized it was not muscle she was holding onto. It was fat. I was overweight and out of shape.”
Michael, a two-time Ironman finisher and Boston Marathon qualifier, believes that making the decision to lose weight is where people have to make a change. “The pounds never seem to come off quickly enough to motivate people,” states Michael. “Making the actual goal something more rewarding – like deciding to complete a marathon or a hike – are the goals that lead to weight loss and putting your body in shape. The exercise is for a more substantial change. You have to find what excites you and achieve/exercise correctly.”
Marcus’s wife has always been a runner and a great inspiration to him in his efforts. They were familiar with a program called Wow! Boot Camp, an outdoor fitness program that helps people lose weight. In August 2007, he started the program and was hooked within the first month. Starting slowly, Marcus made small but important changes, and he realized quickly that any change “made a difference in the fitness” he was gaining.
In February 2008, they went for a run … normally, she would run 10 miles. She asked if he would do six miles and he thought he could, so off they went. During the run she asked if he thought he could do eight, and he thought that would be “pushing it.” But one hour and 12 minutes later, he had run the eight miles. One year later, he ran his first half-marathon.
If you’re thinking that you are too busy to take on a fitness goal like Marcus did, read on. He is a stay-at-home dad to his three children. He started a Wow! Boot Camp extension in Oconee County and coached until his wife returned to nursing school (he became a certified trainer during the last few years). He is actively involved in fundraising at his daughter’s school and, of course, one of the fundraisers is a Fun Run, which raises money based on how many laps can be finished in 15 minutes. Oh, and his nine-year-old daughter is about to enter her first Ironkids race. His fitness routine has become a part of his life routine now, and he simply works exercise into his daily schedule.
Today, Marcus weighs in at 155 to 160, and as we go to press with this premiere issue of Athens MOVE, he is preparing to compete in his first Ironman competition, to be held in Louisville, KY, at the end of this summer. In four years, almost to the day, he will have made the journey from obesity to triathlete.
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