The Capital of Annapolis

EDGEWATER, Md. (AP) — Jimmy Amburgey didn’t start to worry about his weight until something as routine as getting out of bed became too difficult. And his joints ached when he simply walked around the house.

The 26-year-old weighed about 600 pounds.

Then, after prodding from friends and family who were concerned about his health, Amburgey decided to change his lifestyle in January. He joined South River Fitness and adapted a regimen that called for him to exercise regularly and to include salads and other vegetables in his meals.

He has lost nearly 200 pounds and hopes to reach his ideal weight by next summer.

“There are days where if I get a phone call from my friends wanting to go out, it’s hard. I have to say no,” Amburgey said. “It’s more mental than physical. You put it in your head – do you want to reach this goal or don’t you?”

Amburgey was always bigger than his peers, but his weight was easier to manage back when he played defensive tackle for Southern High School’s football team. After his 2003 graduation, he stopped exercising but continued to live on a diet largely of fast food and sodas.

When he first came to South River Fitness, his joints hurt so much he could barely walk. Personal trainer and fitness coach Casey Donaldson placed him on a low impact workout. Once his joints lost their stiffness, she developed a routine that focused on his core and strength training. Now, it’s not unusual for him to hold his body upright by planking, running in place or flipping a 325-pound tire across the gym floor.

“He’s progressed like you wouldn’t imagine,” Donaldson said.

Amburgey has structured his days so that he goes to the gym in the morning and evening. He works with Donaldson four times a week and also participates in group fitness classes. He documents his weight loss journey on his Facebook page.

“There is no0o0o0 finish line,” Amburgey wrote Aug. 21. “Its a continuous journey…..that’s why I’m always goin’ to be lookin’ to push my limits.”

His new lifestyle hasn’t ended his social life. Amburgey still can go out with his friends but has to make alternative choices when there is food involved. He lets nutrition coach Bri Simpson know if he’s going to eat out and she’ll remind him to have a serving of vegetables and have the bread taken away from the table. He also should have a serving of protein and meat that is grilled instead of fried.

“We want him to be a healthy, reasonable weight,” Simpson said. “He didn’t put the weight on all at once.”

Amburgey weighs about 400 pounds now and his goal is to get into the 230- to 240-pound range.

“We want him to be safe,” Donaldson said. “This isn’t one of those crash diets. He’s eating healthy, real food.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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