Sometimes we pass by people and we never know what they’ve been through, how inspiring their story is, or how great they are. But sometimes, a simple and little thing can open our eyes to the wonders of someone’s greatness and perseverance.
We had such a moment recently, and we are grateful to share with you the story of an amazing Mava Sports family member, who was kind enough to tell us the story about his journey towards being healthy, fit, and strong. Lynden’s story is an inspiration to anyone who wants to live a healthy life. He is the living proof that we CAN achieve anything, as long as we believe in ourselves.
Standing right under 5'5 and tipping the scales at 419 pounds, and also being born with Blount's Disease; a condition which causes extreme bowing of the legs; life for me was crazy! My eating habits were out of control. I also have issues with osteoarthritis in both my knees, and suffered from severe sleep apnea, just to name a few of my medical concerns.
He is the perfect example that the WILL to live is the only fuel you need to keep you going on your path to a healthy life. There is no greater motivator in the world, and it is indeed all you need to keep going and not give up. And the best part? It’s in all of us. And Lynden shows us how it works, so we are happy to share his story with you. Without further ado, meet Lynden Gordon.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Lynden Gordon?
Lynden Gordon is an individual with strong spiritual strength and belief system. I love with my whole heart, and don't mind helping others wherever I can. And last but not least, I'm a fighter!
A few days ago you sent us an incredible “before and after” picture of you. We were just AMAZED to see the changes you went through. Can you tell us a bit about your getting fit journey? How was your life before you started on this path?
O boy… My life before the journey...whoa!!! I was an obese child. At the age of 9 I was wearing a men's size 36 pants. I then grew up to become a morbidly obese adult. Standing right under 5'5 and tipping the scales at 419 pounds, and also being born with Blount's Disease; a condition which causes extreme bowing of the legs; life for me was crazy! My eating habits were out of control. I also have issues with osteoarthritis in both my knees, and suffered from severe sleep apnea just to name a few of my medical concerns.
In February of 2004 when my mother passed, I decided then that it was time for a real change. And If I didn't do something I was going to die. So I finally decided in November of 2005 to undergo the Gastric Bypass surgery. It was truly a blessing from heaven. That day - the 7th of November marked the start of my new life. A life that would now include healthy eating, cardio, and weight training.
We’re curious as to what triggered this change in your lifestyle?
This change was triggered by not loving the body I saw in the mirror; by being the absolute biggest person in the room anywhere I went, but most importantly, the reason was I did not want to die!!!
What did it take for you to make the change?
For me, to make this change, it took faith and leaning on the Father(God) for strength. I really didn't have an earthly support system, just the Lord Jesus Christ.
The will to live is definitely the strongest motivator to be healthy. But how hard was it for you to make the decision to undergo surgery? Were you afraid, were you excited?
It took me 3 years to actually have the surgery. I started researching it in 2002. In those 3 years I went back and forth about committing to the surgery. And I was scared but after my mom passed I said “scared or not, I don't want to die, so I gotta do it!”. And then the excitement kicked in for this change - this journey I was about to embark on.
What can you tell us about your training? How and where did you start?
My training started at the end of December 2005. I had gym memberships in the past; I would pay them but never go. I started with the treadmill. I was only able to do 1.5 mph for about 10 minutes and that would have me sweating bullets. And then I would go to the weight room and fumble around in there for about 20 minutes or so. At that time I wasn't exactly sure what to do, but I stuck with it and never gave up.
What about your diet, what changes did you have to make concerning your nutrition?
So, after the Gastric Bypass surgery you’re given a new diet to follow when you get home to guide you on healthier eating. I took that and ran with it. I have now completely revamped my eating. I'm all vegetables, good carbs, chicken, turkey, fish, and the occasional red meat. I do allow myself treats/rewards, just in moderation.
How long did it take you to reach your health and weight goals after the surgery?
I would say it took me around 2 years to feel comfortable in my skin. And the rest of the time has been spent on just making my body better. I always have a new personal goal to hit, so that way my workouts stay fresh and upbeat; and my love for the gym never dies.
Did you experience any side effects that came with your big change?
No negative ones; this journey was blessed. I did gain knowledge, health, strength, and the love for working out/training.
What difficult challenges did you encounter and how did you get through them?
EATING!!! Without a doubt my biggest challenge, and I still have to keep it in check today. I was an emotional overeater who also ate late at night; horrible combination. The way I get through these nasty habits is changing the way I see food (fuel not feast), keeping my emotions in check (no stress), disciplining myself (praying), and just saying NO!!!
You say eating was and still is your biggest challenge. And we admire the discipline you have in keeping your cravings under control. But we all deserve a treat every now and then, so what is your favorite treat?
My favorite treat to myself is pizza. And I also enjoy chocolate baked goods.
Who do you think should take under consideration doing surgery? Would you say it’s something that anyone who tries to lose weight should do, or is it something of a last resort, an intervention to save one's life?
I am a supporter of weight loss surgery and I feel that anyone who medically qualifies for the surgery should consider it; and definitely those individuals whose lives are truly hanging in the balance should do it. Through my journey l’ve learned that proper diet and exercise can most definitely do the trick. So I would advise people to try eating healthy and work out before going under the knife.
What keeps you motivated to keep going? What is your why?
What keeps me motivated is the joy of being able to live this new life. It's no longer a dream, it's my reality!!! And my why is simple: it's LIFE. To wake up in the morning and be alive in this body that is healthy, strong, and feels good to be in.
We’re extremely happy to know that such an awesome and inspiring athlete like yourself is wearing our gear! Please tell us how you came across Mava Sports.
I’ve seen a Mava Sports ad on Instagram and said "hey the products look like they can help me why not". I really love the support and compression I get from the knee sleeves - they're super comfortable and I love them.
Would you recommend out gear it to your friends and family? If so, what would you tell them?
Yes I would and I do. They work no doubt about it, just try them and you'll see.
You say you love the support and compression of our Mava Knee Sleeves. How important is it for someone with osteoarthritis to wear knee support, and how does it aid your training?
It's extremely important for individuals with osteoarthritis to wear knee supports. I never train without them. They take some of the pressure off my knees, and give me more stability. And they also reduce the pain and swelling.
Your story is impressive! And your ambition and willpower are sure to inspire anyone. What was it that inspired you in the first place?
What inspired me in the first place was the want to LIVE. And to live good. I wanted to be happy in my skin, and love me and love my body.
We had a small chat via emails before this and you mentioned that you’d like to do something about the obesity issue in America. What are your thoughts on this subject and how are you planning to make that change?
The obesity crisis in America is insane and out of control. There are a number of things that contribute to this problem in the US, such as FDA not properly regulating the nutrients and standards of our food. I feel mental health issues, such as depression, affect the obesity rate in America, and also the lack of education on food and our bodies as they relate to each other in our society. One way that I’ve started to make a change in the obesity crisis in my community is I held a free health seminar. This seminar facilitated open dialogue with me sharing my story and answering questions from the attendees. I also supply them with folders full of valuable info on health, diet, fitness, and weight loss surgery.
Having experienced obesity yourself, you might have an understanding as to why people get to that point. What, in your opinion, are the reasons why so many of us get stuck and end up waking one day unhappy with their bodies?
I don't think you just wake up one morning unhappy with your body; It’s a process. We get stuck in whatever rut we find ourselves in, like poor diet, lack of or no exercise, stress, and these factors overtime will make you unhappy with your body.
What were YOUR reasons?
My reasons were over eating, very poor and unhealthy diet, and no exercise (EVER).
How do you see this obesity problem in America, and not only, resolved? Is there anything that each of us can do to help?
This obesity problem we have here in America is a very sad situation. It hurts me to see all these people trapped in their bodies slowly dying and they need help! Yes, we all can help. It starts with education and teaching our children a better way so that the cycle does not continue. And we have to work in teams holding each other accountable for our actions.
How does a day in your life look like now, as compared to a day lived by the old you?
A day in my life now is filled with going to the gym. I'm way way more energetic, my life is more active and a lot less painful. I walk now. The old me would not walk; I can walk to the mall now and not be a tired mess. And no more 4 double cheeseburgers, 1 fillet o fish, and a large fry from McDonald’s in one sitting. I have control now and I eat clean.
How did your social life change after your transformation? What can you say about how people see you and treat you?
I've always been a social person. I’ve always loved life; but now I can truly say I am really comfortable in my skin. I'm at peace with me. And I don't feel like everyone is staring at me anymore. Now people who don't even know my story give me complements on my physique.
How do you stay in shape now?
I keep in shape by doing cardio - I love the elliptical machine. And weight training. I'm a weightlifting BEAST. I was nicknamed SMASH.
Smash, that is a great, well-deserved nickname! How often do you train in a week? And how do you go about your recovery days?
I train 6 days a week. I do cardio all 6 days. And I lift heavy 4 days and light 2 days out of the week. And I take 1 complete day off for rest.
What personal ambitions and goals do you have for the future?
I would like to take my seminars and motivational speaking across the USA and abroad. And I would also love to open a facility that educates, motivates, and trains obese and morbidly obese adults and children to give them the help they need to win.
Your story is very inspiring and we wish you good luck and success with your ambitions and goals! Tell us, how did you start your career as a public speaker? How hard (or easy) was it for you to share your story for the first time?
The public speaking wasn't hard, I just jumped out there and did it. And I would speak to anyone anywhere that needed my help. I love people and communicating with them, so sharing my story was effortless, it just felt natural.
What would you recommend to those who are trying to lose weight and get in shape?
I would have to say: pray and stay the course. If you fall, get right back up; never give up because your reward, your blessing, is right on the other side.
If you could give your old self advice, what would that be?
I would tell my old self it's time for a change. And you have to get committed to a proper diet and workout regimen. And make sure you weight lift, cause your gonna love it!!!
Finally, what motivating words would you like to share with those who want to follow in your footsteps?
If I can do it anyone can… and just remember your healthier “you” lives in YOU, just be bold enough to let him/her out!!!!!!!
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with us. We’re excited for the people who will be reading it because your story is beyond motivating! :)
It was my pleasure to do the interview with you guys, this is truly a blessing and I'm super excited. I'm honored that you guys would choose to interview me. I thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my story, this is just awesome!!!
What you can take from Lynden's life story is that you CAN change your body, you have the power within you to make the changes you need in order to become healthier and stronger. It only takes a little bit of courage to take your first steps, but once you do, you'll keep on walking and you'll reach your goal in no time. When you dedicate yourself to your goals, to longevity and health, the journey will be so satisfying, that you wouldn't even notice how time flies by. But you will see your progress!