Oh man, we’ve got a great one for y’all. Shout out to our Member of the Month, David C.! This cool cat, a professor at GSU, has been rocking it at the 7 am classes for the past two years. With his consistent effort and hard work, he’s not only set new personal records in the gym like going up in weight for exercises and improving his 2K row, he’s also seen positive health changes like dropping down on doses for medication, losing body weight, gaining more energy, and enjoying better sleep. High five David! Read on to learn more about this stellar 7 Am’er below.
Hometown: Born in Memphis (my father, Vietnam-era Navy enlisted, was briefly stationed there on the Mississippi River), raised in West Lafayette, Indiana (by which point my parents were both working at Purdue University), and came to Atlanta out of my University of Iowa graduate studies in 1996 (when the Olympics were here).
Occupation: College professor at Georgia State University. I started the university’s Creative Media Industries Institute, and direct its academic programs in game design and media entrepreneurship.
When did you first start FitWitting? August 2018. My birthday falls in late July, and by July 2018 I was ready to make a serious lifestyle change.
Tell us about your sports & fitness background:
Here’s the thing: I have no background in sports and fitness. Never played team sports in school (I was a band, theater, and debate geek), and never connected with team-based fitness activity of any sort. My prior efforts at fitness were all, thus, really individualized – diets and solo activities like stationary biking and rowing. My friends who had connected to fitness class or club activity were more often than not in the hyper-intensive programs, which kept me away from them until I heard the case for FitWit.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness since starting FitWit?
The changes have been dramatic. I’m embarrassed to say that when I decided to tackle my weight and fitness issues, my weight had gotten as high as 295. Since joining FitWit that’s dropped by 65 pounds. I had blood pressure issues – not anything horrible – but since starting at FitWit I’ve been approved to drop my prescription doses by half. I have energy, don’t get winded so easily, and sleep better and more soundly. At the start, I often struggled just to complete workouts in ways that didn’t leave me sore for days. Those days, happily, are gone. I’m challenged by workouts but not defeated by them. At the beginning, there were very basic things I couldn’t do: I think it took me six months to finally figure out how to jump rope for longer than 20 seconds, and maybe two months before I could do the stork-like end-of-workout stretch without keeling over out of balance. But I’m gaining in confidence when it comes to mobility.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like FitWit that were totally unexpected?
Longevity tends to run in my family, knock on wood, and so I wouldn’t say I feared too much about having my life cut short by my lack of fitness, but what brought me to FitWit was a sense that if I didn’t do something dramatic, while I might live to be 100, my future would be one or soreness, declining mobility and stiffness. My hope was just to halt the slide of all that. Much to my surprise, not only has my general fitness been improving, but those other problems are mainly gone too: a minor back issue, destined I feared to worsen, has actually completely disappeared. Joint issues are, for now, gone too. The other big change for me, and unexpected, is that my whole life I’ve been a night owl: late to bed, late to rise. I knew signing on to morning classes at FitWit was the only way to take on daily workouts, but wondered if my body would rebel or if I could sustain an earlier-in-the-day life. To my total surprise, I’ve completely adjusted, a good thing that puts me back onto a body clock more in sync with the rest of humanity.
Why do you FitWit?
It turns out I really like being in week-daily classes – I’m inspired by seeing everyone else work hard and to see their progress. I enjoy the variety of workouts, and that they are thoughtfully organized. And I’m really grateful for the staff – always helpful, always motivating. The combination has transformed my life for the better.
I tend to like workouts best when we are led through a cycle of different exercises, move through stations, and have a variety of activities in a session. I have a long way to go until I’ll be an expert rower, but I enjoy working to get better at that and the motivation to drop times.
Least favorite workouts?
Burpees! Push-ups! Pull-ups! And I don’t really enjoy running beyond very short loops. But this is a little hard to answer because as I gain strength I want to get comfortable doing those exercises. Right now, for instance, I’m a bit tortured by the daily supine leg lifts. But very slowly and surely, they are getting easier – and that’s the goal, I expect!
Three words to describe you:
seeker, teacher, dedicated…
Any favorite FitWit moments?
For me, the best moments are the daily connections and the predictable rhythms of everyday (“7 AM: Two kettlebells, yoga strap, PVC!,” “First white mailbox,” banter about the quality of the playlist, introduction of the newbies, the occasional announcement of a personal best, the rain-or-shine spirit…).
I want to lose a last 50 pounds, and get to a weight level where I can comfortably do sustained push-ups, pull-ups, and run longer.
Words to live by?
I love the Leonardo da Vinci line: “learning never exhausts the mind.” And the George Bernard Shaw line: “Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.” And one more, from Maya Angelou (a hero I encountered as a Wake Forest undergrad, as she was then a professor there), relevant to our times: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Something cool we don’t know about you?
For nearly thirty years, I was completely absorbed in the world of competitive tournament debating. After high school speech and debate involvement, I went to Wake Forest for my undergraduate degree because I competed on their debating team, then for almost 20 years afterward coached college debaters: at Dartmouth, Georgetown, the University of Iowa (where I did my doctoral work) and then at GSU. Learning how to speak comfortably in public (1979 Indiana Boy’s Extemporaneous Speaking champion!) and make a case for something changed my life for the better, opened countless doors, and brought me to my work as a college teacher. Meanwhile, there are still days when I miss the high school experience of playing the trumpet in the orchestra (one of my first big life decisions was whether to pursue a music scholarship at Indiana or a debate scholarship at Wake Forest; the decision to quit that musical instrument I think is why I love classical music so much to this day).
Anything else you’d care to share?
FitWit, you inspire me!