This time last year, Brian Gray weighed 250 pounds. Today? His nieces and godchildren tell him, "Whoa! You're skinny now!" Here's Brian's story.
What was your starting point, and how did you find The Studio (MDR)?
I started at The Studio (MDR) in July of 2012. At the time, I was probably around 250 pounds. I had just lost 20 pounds from changing my diet, going to the gym regularly, and doing some light running, but I felt I had hit a wall and I wanted to add something to my workout routine. My friend Beata Czechowski told me about the Studio (MDR) and introduced me to Lindsay. So after going on YouTube and looking up videos of people doing "Pilates" on a mat, I figured, I can do this. Mind you, I didn't see anything on YouTube about using a reformer. So Lindsay invited me to one of the introduction classes, which she happened to be teaching. When I walked into The Studio (MDR) and saw these medieval machines, I thought I was in the wrong area. I was looking for the "pilates" room, but the only other door I saw was for the bathroom. Then Lindsay walked in and informed me that I was in the right spot. I was thinking, “What the fudge?! What did I sign up for?!” I soon found out it was the best workout of my life.
You work in the music industry. How do you make your workouts a priority and sneak away from the office in order to make it to class?
When I made this life change a year ago, I decided to make my body a big priority. I just have to put forth the effort to make sure I get my workouts in. Scheduling classes definitely helps keep me focused. If I have to travel, I make sure I have a class scheduled as soon as I get back. If I make long trips, I have MDR's "at home workout" videos locked in my iPad! And since there are late classes in the evenings, I never have trouble making it from work on a daily basis. Also, I've been running a lot more, so when I plan a road trip, I try and find a nice running trail in the city I'm going to. This keeps my runs interesting and I always discover new things and see wonderful new scenery in each of the cities.
Tell us a little bit about being a guy at The Studio (MDR)! Do you feel like this is harder than any of the other more typical "dude" workouts you've tried? Do you take MDR MegaMen classes (and what are they like)?
I've been hitting the weight room ever since I played high school football. I may have had a few small breaks over the years where I lagged off, but I've pretty much been in a weight room since the age of 15. All I would ever do when I lifted was bulk up. I would never get any kind of muscle definition. I didn't throw cardio into my workout routine until I was in my late 20s, and that's when I learned that doing some cardio would actually help me slim down (along with eating healthier). So when I started taking classes at The Studio (MDR), I felt it was the HARDEST yet the BEST workout I have ever done. Because it incorporates strength building, stretching, and cardio, I started seeing results within a month. I do take MDR's MegaMen class, and I love it because it focuses more on the upper body and arms. And I like how they play the hardcore hiphop for the fellas during class!
What's been the feedback on your weight loss? What are your friends and family saying, and what's that been like for you?
I've gotten all kinds of positive feedback from everyone! And I haven't been shy to tell them I've been taking classes (along with eating a healthy diet and running)! Oh, and when my nieces and godchildren tell me "Whoa, you're skinny now," that's the ultimate compliment. You know the kids won't lie! So, the compliments definitely make me feel great and help me stay motivated.
What are some of the challenges you've faced along the way? Any setbacks? Any times when you felt like you were going to give up? Or let your diet go to crap?
The diet is definitely the biggest challenge. A lot of business dinners and birthdays make it tough, but I've been able to stay pretty focused. As far as the workouts at The Studio (MDR), I have had no desire to stop at all. Again, being able to schedule classes helps keep me on track.
Speaking of diet, how have you cleaned yours up? Are there certain foods (like sugar and salt?) that you try to steer clear of now? Any other ways you've changed your diet?
I have a big sweet tooth, so the biggest change for me was to cut out sweets as much as I could. Cakes, muffins, donuts, and vanilla lattes from Starbucks and Coffee Bean are some of the things I've cut back on a lot. I also cut back on alcohol. I try buying and eating organic foods when I can. And I snack on healthy foods all day to keep the metabolism going. I didn't want to try any fad diet; I just wanted to eat healthier. But I did borrow something from one diet program. Some friends were doing Weight Watchers, which is based on a point system. I don't think I could ever do a diet where I'm counting points, but they told me one thing that was useful: vegetables and fruits are zero points. So when I'm hungry and I need a snack, I usually choose a vegetable or fruit.
What are your goals now? Do you want to lose more weight? Or run a marathon? Or bike 100 miles? What are the big things in your life you're hoping to do -- and how are your workouts at The Studio (MDR) helping you get there?
I would like to lose another 20 pounds, and then I MAY consider running a full marathon (investing the time to train for a full marathon is the hard part). I've already done a half marathon, and my workouts at The Studio (MDR) definitely helped me accomplish that by building my stamina and strengthening my core to help me push through those 13.1 miles! The great workouts, the great teachers, the community, and friends at The Studio (MDR) are all contributing to my healthier lifestyle -- and I appreciate everyone and everything about it!