One Year – Thom Harig

My first year at Priority Health and Fitness

I stepped into Priority Fitness a year ago on October 12, 2017. There a few reasons why I made the decision to come to the gym and get my 44-year-old ‘dad’ body into better shape. I wanted to spend more time with my wife Ashley. Ashley has been a member at Priority over the past few years and has had some success. We have busy lives and our conversations were reduced to a few minutes before we fell asleep each night.

My second reason is how I felt. I felt like a slob. My diet was horrible. Fast food meals, processed boxed foods, high amounts of sugar, and gallons of soda. My weight was up to 210 pounds, my cholesterol over 200, and my blood pressure was at 152 over 96. I was prescribed medication for hypertension and I felt horrible. Chest pains, shortness of breath, and headaches were common place. I did not feel good physically, and it began to weigh on my mood.

This brings me to my third reason why I came to Priority Fitness. I have not previously shared this with anyone. I am a suicide attempt survivor. In my teens I was diagnosed with depression. I received treatment and have done very well over the past 30 years, but it is something that I must be aware of and deal with during stressful events in my life. Last summer I was not in a good place emotionally. I had made a career change that was not working out as planned, my health was getting worse, and I felt disconnected from my family. I could feel myself slipping into a dark place and so, I began making changes to try and shift my mood. I left the job that made me miserable. I changed my diet drastically. I reduced my alcohol intake to a drink every 2 weeks. And, I came to the gym.

I began by attending maintenance workouts. My first few weeks at the gym were embarrassing! I could not get through a workout to without falling to the floor in a heap of sweat, gasping for air, cramping, and thinking “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?!” I was self-conscious and felt like I had absolutely no business being at the gym at all. However, it made Ashley happy that I was coming to the gym with her, so I kept it up. Each week was getting a little easier as I began to see results. The weight loss in the first 3 months was quick. At the end of December my weight was 185 pounds. I had lost about 25 pounds from the day I walked into the gym. My energy was way up, sleeping improved, and my mood was getting much better.

On January 20, 2018, Adam invited Brandon Davis to come to the gym and talk about lifting and programming for weight training. During the talk there is something that Adam said that has stuck with me since. “The bar(bell) will never lie to you.” I walked out of the gym that day determined to get into heavy weight training. That was also the day that I decided that I am lifting weight for me. No one else. My motivation was no longer about making anyone else happy. I had to do something to make myself happy. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I felt like I was being selfish. I would sit and come up with a thousand reasons of why I should not increase my workouts during the week, train hard, modify my diet in a completely different direction, and make the investments to make it happen. But I had the one reason that all those excuses could not match:

I am here to make ME happy. If I am happy then my family will be happier, my life will be better, and I can be present for everyone and everything that may come my way.

Over the next few months I focused on powerlifting; deadlift, squats, and bench press. Adam guided me through the basics and I watched as many YouTube videos as I could on technique. (A little side note: Be wary of what you see on YouTube!) I purchased my own bar, bench, rack, and plates to begin training 5 days a week. The results were coming faster, and my body began changing dramatically. Adam guided me through the changes I needed to make in my diet to fuel my training, including supplements (big fan of MooreMuscle products!) and recovery strategy. In nine months of training I have become the strongest that I have ever been. I feel younger and have a tremendous amount of energy.

The best part of my first year has been the introduction of the Barbell Cycle at Priority. Barbell Cycle focuses on powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and development over the long term. I am very proud of the group that has come together over the summer and continues to grow. Watching someone make a new personal record on a lift after weeks of work is awesome. I am someone that needs to have measured growth to stay motivated and barbell cycle provides that. Everyone is supportive, and I enjoy helping everyone find little ways to get more weight off the ground.

Whenever Adam has an idea to bring a new element into the gym I immediately offer to do what I can to make it happen. I want to see the gym succeed, and I want people to have the opportunity to change their lives for the better.

After one year at Priority Fitness I can say that I am healthier, happier, stronger, and more honest than before. From the lows that I felt before I walked into the gym the first time, I have realized that I can not make anyone happy unless I make myself happy. Lifting and laughing at barbell cycle is my happy place. My relationship with the barbell is the most honest relationship that I have ever had. We all wear ‘masks.’ We hide the things that bother us. We are polite and keep our problems inside. But, when you step up to 405 pounds on a barbell with the goal of lifting this weight off the floor, past your knees, and locking out your shoulders… well, you can’t hide. You can’t fake it. You either pick that bar up and stand tall, or you can’t. If you can’t, that just means you have more work to do. If you pick that bar up and stand tall, that just means you have a new hill to climb on the horizon. Priority Fitness, and more specifically Adam Moore, has saved my life. I can say that honestly and will all my heart. I am not sure where I would be if I hadn’t stumbled into the gym on that October day in 2017.

If you want to change your life, then start with you. Be selfish. Take the time for yourself to make these changes in you so that the time you spend with others is quality time. I recommend coming to Priority Fitness and begin making changes today.

Best of luck! I hope to see you at the gym!

Thom Harig