YMCA member Thomas Sparkman achieved his goals of weight loss, increased strength and stamina, and improved health. He attributes his success to determination, and the encouragement and support he receives from staff and members. Read about his YMCA experience here.

What a truly inspiring story from member Thomas Sparkman. Thank you for sharing your journey. Here's to continued health in the New Year!

"I joined Countryside YMCA February 16, 2019. I was obese, over 450 lbs, had some medical issues and some personal issues and determined it was time was time to do something about my weight and health.

When I first started, I was so unhealthy I could not walk from the entrance to the Starter Fitness room without stopping to rest. I met with Member Coach Gale who helped me come up with a plan to get healthy and fit. It included swimming and using the Nu Step and Nautilus machines in the Starter Fitness room. I started with swimming 30 minutes in the Stolle Pool and 10 minutes on the Nu Step. I started with my own plan for cutting calories significantly, but later met with a dietitian"/nutritionist from my physician’s office in order to make sure my nutrition was adequate.

I began to see success right away dropping over 30 lbs my first month. I slowly increased my minutes of exercise. Now I spend 2 ½ hours in the pool; swimming for an hour and running in place 1 ½ hours. I do 30 minutes on the Nu Step and use the nautilus and do some exercises with dumbbells in the Starter room.

The people I’ve met here at the Countryside Y in the Stolle Center and Pool and the Starter room have been a big part of my success. I get more encouragement here at the Y than I’ve probably had my whole life. People here care more than they do at other fitness places.

I am well on my way to meeting all my goals. I’ve lost almost 200 lbs, I’ve increased my cardio endurance and strength significantly. I can walk the whole grocery store without needing to stop and rest, and I have a community of friends here at the Y. My diabetes Dr. no longer needs to see me and I’m close to getting off my blood pressure meds. I am a firm believer that it takes a combination of exercise, proper diet, and supportive people to meet your goals!"