CINCINNATI - "I think I can inspire and motivate so many people, regardless of being a big person. That relatability factor is priceless." - John Drury
This month, my inspiration came from an average guy with an incredible story of fitness, transformation, dedication and--yes--dance. Meet July's #9Fitness Fan of the Month and creator of Big John's Dance Fitness, John Drury.
As a full-time truck driver, Drury, 43, struggled with his weight due to the sedentary lifestyle.
"I always played sports in high school and was active, but before you know it, you're 400 pounds," he said.
In and out of Weight Watchers, the Sharonville man said he found excuses ("I'm too busy," a familiar excuse for all of us who've struggled to get fit), and held himself back from making a change.
Losing to win
Things turned around for him February 2011. Local radio station KISS 107 hosted its own "Biggest Loser" challenge, and Drury was selected as one of the contestants. Organizers set him up with a personal trainer, gym membership, and the tools to get started; the rest was up to him.
"I took advantage of this opportunity," he said. "I decided I was going to make the best of it."
It turns out, the challenge was the spark Drury needed to begin his journey. In the three months of the competition, Drury lost 54 pounds. His total weight loss for 2011 was 97 pounds. In addition to getting active, changing his typical eating habits made a huge difference.
"I started packing meals and paying attention to what I ate. And, I started drinking lots of water and stayed away from sugary drinks."
Busting a move
Most importantly, Drury found dance. He says he's always loved dancing, something that came naturally to him, and was introduced to Zumba through the gym KISS 107 provided for him. The verdict? It was a great way for him to get his cardio in and see the pounds fall off.
"Even though I was the only guy in the class, I loved it that much that I wasn't going to make an excuse," Drury said.
He stuck with it, kept losing weight and decided to take the next step in his fitness journey: inspiring and teaching others. Drury took the plunge and got certified as a Zumba instructor. His mission: to motivate women and men through dance fitness.
Eventually Drury created his own routine and program: Big John's Dance Fitness, which features hip-hop moves choreographed by Drury himself.
Easy, fun and energetic, Drury is getting people moving, losing weight and feeling great using the same tactics that helped him shape up. He's taught at community centers, hotel banquet rooms--event out of his garage and basement.
Today, Drury is inspiring others through dance fitness at Fairfield City School district's health and wellness center. He has even been featured on CNN, Yahoo! and AOL, as well as profiled by AARP. While attending a convention in Las Vegas, he met with an investor interested in sharing his story; so, Drury's dance fitness DVD, and website and currently in progress.
SEE JOHN DRURY'S STORY
Pursuing a dream
Drury's motto? "Keep on truckin'," is fitting for this dancing truck driver who's not giving up.
Currently at 315 pounds, the 6' 7" Drury admits that he doesn't have all the answers to weight loss and healthy living,but that's not slowing him down one bit.
"I'm a full-time truck driver and family man. I struggle with weight loss today, but I keep pushing along and hope to inspire people."
He said if he can inspire and motivate one person, then he's done his job. He embodies the #9Fitness community, so I have no doubt that he'll only continue to motivate others as they work toward the life they've always wanted.
When I asked Drury what his dream is, he immediately offered this excited response:
"I'm a big Ellen DeGeneres fan, so my dream one day is to get on her show and dance. You never know…."
You can connect with our Fit Fan of the Month John Drury on Twitter @Dancer1150. Have an inspirational story like his to share with me? Let me know on Twitter @jennyfromthebak. I can't wait to hear from you!