A Durham slimmer is half the man he used to be after he decided to tackle his spiralling weight problem in a life-changing transformation.
Gary Wilkinson has lost 11-and-a-half stone and reduced his body fat percentage by a massive 73% in just 18 months after hitting a council-run gym on the orders of his GP
It is a far cry from July 2015, when the now 44-year-old support wroker weighed in a nearly 26-and-a-half stone in July 2015.
“I was in really bad shape. I had a respiratory machine and was wearing clothes that were sized 4 or 5XL,” he said.
“The light bulb moment for me was when I was at a radio rally in Summer 2015.
“I was very sick and sweating, getting out of breath and feeling dizzy just by walking a few hundred yards.
I hated PE at school and wasn’t much good at sports but the buzz you get from seeing your progress is awesomeGary Wilkinson
“I knew something had to change so I arranged a lifestyle programme appointment with my doctor.”
Gary now attends Durham County Council’s gym at Abbey Leisure Centre two or three times a week and his varied routine includes a mix of weights and cardio work.
He also takes advantage of his multi-site membership by swimming at Freeman’s Quay Leisure Centre and plans to include GX classes in his fitness regime.
His favourite piece of gym equipment is a punch bag, which helps him kick-start his work-out and also helps to control his breathing.
He has also rediscovered walking as an effective form of exercise.
Gary said: “The staff at Abbey Leisure Centre are really nice.
“They have a really supportive attitude and are happy to talk to you, giving advice on exercises and will also help track your progress with weigh-ins and other tips.
“Don’t be afraid that you’ll be the biggest person in the gym.
“I felt like that at first but I soon realised that everyone is in the same boat and has the same goals as you.
“I hated PE at school and wasn’t much good at sports but the buzz you get from seeing your progress is awesome.
“My aim for 2017 is to continue with my rebooted lifestyle – I want my recreation to continue.”
Visit www.durham.gov.uk/leisurecentres for information.