A Crossfit I Can Support

For many people staying in shape involves playing sports. But the challenge can be that as we enter adulthood there aren’t as many opportunities to participate in organized sports. We don’t have scheduled practices. We don’t play in as many tournaments. We don’t go to sports camps in the summer. And basically life gets busy and it’s tough to find the time for work, spouse, family and much else including playing on a sports team.

So for the gym rat that graduates all of the sports offered during school this can be a recipe for future in-activity, reduced health and weight gain.

And so it was especially encouraging to see a friend take control of his health and achieve a great result.

Mike Penninga 4 months ago at 214 lbs.

Mike Penninga 4 months ago at 214 lbs.

Some of you might know Mike Penninga. Mike has been the pastor at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship for the past nine years. He is a Kelowna boy and has always been involved in and competed in sports. I even recall a client, Mike J, sharing a story about playing men’s league basketball when Mike P was still in university in the early 90s.

So Mike was always active and never had to worry about his weight or his health. His high level of activity took care of managing his weight and prevented injury.

But then he was down to Las Vegas in November. And he stepped on the scale shortly after the trip and wasn’t happy with the number.

So I had to know besides the number on the scale what else prompted him to get started? And he was honest to admit that vanity played a role. He is on stage in front of his parish. He’s the face of the videos they produce. And he sees himself a lot and he was looking chubby. And he didn’t like it.

It was time to make a change. For sports and for health.

Instead of going it alone he contacted 3 other friends for a health challenge. He had to lose 15 pounds in 4 months or shave his head. And as the pastor of a church this penalty would serve as a great motivator to ensure success.

Mike with his accountability & challenge partners Scott, Isaac and Steve.

Mike with his accountability & challenge partners Scott, Isaac and Steve.

But he didn’t want to just leave it to the threat of having his head shaved. So he reached out to me at one of our weekly football games. And we set a time for a call to plan a strategy.

Last week Mike and I got on the phone to check-in.

Mike announced that he is down 25 pounds from 214 to 189. This is the lightest he has been since high school. He says he can’t believe he is under his goal.

Mike at 189 lbs (his lowest since high school) in only 4 months.

Mike at 189 lbs (his lowest since high school) in only 4 months!

And so I had to ask him what was the biggest thing he did to achieve this success? And he said it was when I told him to not do everything. Only do healthy things that you can do forever. Sustainability will be the key.

I was curious as to what healthy habits he was now following and he said he was eating better, eating less, having fewer sweets and treats, he had cut out pop and was making a better effort with night-time snacking. In other words, mindful eating, reduced sugar and smaller portions paved the way to success.

With these changes the weight started falling off. And he says it became fun to weigh in and see where he was at.

I asked Mike how has this transformation changed his life? And he said he now has more energy. At soccer he’s not tired and his joints don’t hurt.


That’s pretty cool!

But it wasn’t all that easy. With his job as a pastor he is always around coffee and treats. But rather than go cold turkey (remember the rule of healthy and sustainable?) he became selective. He might have a small piece of pie or a square. He was able to find a balance that worked. And continues to work. Last week in fact he was out with the boys for beer and wings.

He’s feeling good. And winning, whether at sports or a health transformation, makes you want to stay there.

Besides the weight loss and improved health Mike has also noticed better sleep and feels more confident. And it feels great when others take notice and compliment him. Hopefully this serves to inspire others to better health and fitness as well.

From a coach’s perspective here’s my take on why Mike had success.

  • He was motivated to get started and believed in his goal. He had reached the point of not wanting to stay where he was health and weight-wise any longer. The pain of staying the same was greater than the fear of making a change.
  • He listened and took action. When I told Mike what to do and how to do it he said ok. He didn’t debate me. He didn’t give me excuses. He didn’t tell me why his situation was unique and wouldn’t work for him. He simply followed the instructions.
  • He got started right away. I didn’t hear anything like ‘Im busy at work and will get started when it slows down’. Or ‘we’re away for the holidays and then I’ll get at it’. There wasn’t a delay. There wasn’t a better time for him than the present.
  • He understood his why and lived. Mike’s reason for doing this wasn’t weight loss. It wasn’t focused on the end goal. instead we re-shaped his purpose by making it about being the best example for his kids and wife. What parent wouldn’t do everything possible for the family? When you doing something positive for someone else, such as your family, you won’t ever quit.
  • We made the plan simple. There weren’t a lot of rules for Mike to follow. There weren’t a lot of strenuous workouts. In fact, I didn’t give Mike one workout to do. (let that sink in for a bit for everyone thinking they will train themselves to better health, fitness and performance)

That’s it.

And the same would work for others as well.

Maybe you’re stuck and feel like you’re spinning your wheels?

Maybe you’re at the point of saying ‘screw it. I’m tired of my current health and am ready to make a change’?

Maybe you’d like to our next success story?

If you’d to find out more reach out to us at (250) 212-2972 or send us an email at athlete training (at) shaw (dot) ca and we’ll see if it would be a good fit to work together.




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