“After loosing 100’s of lbs from surgery, Marcus gained the muscle he lost plus 20 pounds more (muscle) and learned how to live a fit life!”

“My name is Marcus. I’m from Dallas, originally from Waco. I spent most of my life overweight, and then later completely obese, so life wasn’t too good physically. I had high blood pressure, I couldn’t do much. I’d get winded walking across a parking lot. I didn’t really have very much quality of life, for sure.

I felt like I was missing out on a lot because there was so much I couldn’t do. One example would be, I went on a trip to Oregon with a friend and outside of Portland we wanted to look at waterfalls. She wanted to hike down to the bottom of this mountain to look at a waterfall and I said, “I’ll wait for you here. I can’t go.” So I was missing things. I felt miserable.

I had done it all. I’ve done every diet from Weight Watchers to South Beach to I don’t know what else. I had worked with other trainers before but it all has to come together—you have to have your diet together, you have to have the routine together, and you have to be motivated to do it. It really had to come from within, I think, more than anything.

I did have gastric bypass surgery in August 2007. I decided that, for me, health wise it was literally do or die at that point. I had to take some drastic steps and get the weight off immediately. At that point I was 362 pounds. I went through the Baylor program, explored all the different procedures that were out there, and decided that was the best one. I absolutely have never regretted the decision since.

They started telling us way before the procedure, to prepare you, that it is a lifestyle change. It is not the magic pill. I think people do think that that’s what weight-loss surgery is. I think there are even people who do it who think that’s what it is, and never actually make a change in their lifestyle. I had it drilled into me that you still have to do all the things that anybody else has to do; you do get a medical leg up, I guess. The way I’ve heard it put is, you start out having to mow your lawn with just a pair of scissors and you work at it and you work at it, and the grass keeps growing faster than you can cut it. The weight-loss surgery is giving you one day on a riding lawnmower. Then after that, you still have to mow your lawn but at least you get a push mower at that point.

I don’t think I ever felt skeptical of y’all; I sometimes questioned myself and my own motivation and whether I could do everything I needed to do. But I think that’s one of the big reasons why I called y’all in the first place, was to help me through that.

I’ve never liked physical fitness or exercise or anything. When I thought of that, I thought of junior high coaches screaming at me if I couldn’t run a mile in 10 minutes, or whatever it was (I can’t remember), but it was miserable to me. I never enjoyed it. But I think a lot of things changed for me. First of all, I started seeing results from it and that was my biggest motivation. I also learned to enjoy exercise and specifically weight training. It’s gone from something that not only did I dread, it was not something I was even going to try, and now it’s something I actually really enjoy. I enjoy it more, the more results I see.

The biggest thing is, I did see some weight loss [since I started working with you.] With the gastric bypass, I was going to lose the weight one way or the other; the question was, Was I going to keep it off? Number two, as part of that weight loss, with gastric bypass, if you’re not working out, you also lose a lot of muscle in the process as well. So my main goal was to make sure I didn’t. The opposite happened—not only did I not lose the muscle, I gained [about 20 pounds of ] muscle I never had. [Lost about 60 pounds of fat.]

I’m so much more physically active. I like bicycling—I do a lot of that. I never in a million years thought I would be able to do that. I think back to what my dream was when I was so overweight. I dreamed of, oh, maybe someday I might be able to walk the Katy Trail. Now I’m biking it two or three times. Just doing things I never dreamed of doing. Actually it just keeps going. It’s not even what I dreamed about two years ago; it’s like a year ago thinking…one day I tried to do a chin-up and I could barely get one out. I thought, “Okay, that’s going to be my test. I’m going to be able to do a chin-up.” Well, I didn’t try for the longest time—it didn’t occur to me to try again. Not too long ago, Erick got me to try a chin-up and by golly, I did 25 of them! I was like, “How did that happen??”

I would say just try it. For me, I had my doubts but just trying it for a little while…I guess I’ve learned that I can’t set goals that are too far out or too lofty. It’s not like I can say, “Okay, in a week I’m going to lose 20 pounds.” I’ve got to set goals that I can actually achieve. I think just getting started and just trying it, and taking it one week at a time or however it works for somebody, because then you start seeing the results and it starts getting easier and easier.

[It’s a lifestyle now and you’re never going back?] Absolutely.”