Lawrence: An incredible & motivating story

15 Apr 2013

One day when I was 19, I literally looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe what I had done to my body. Since I could remember, I had been eating every sort of junk out there, sugar, sugar, sugar! Twinkies and cupcakes (you would think I had stock in Hostess), Nestle Quik and Captain Crunch, Big Macs and cheesesteaks…please stop me from remembering all of this.

…But it all came to a halt one crazy day.

photo 3

Before and AFTER!

I had moved to NYC at 19 and got hired on the spot as a waiter. They needed me to start in 2 hrs…but the only problem was that all the uniforms they had were tooooo small! As they left me standing there, I realized that at 6′, 240+ lbs (not Olympia style, but more like a triangle) and a 44ish inch waist, I was not going to fit anything there. So I grabbed the smallest slacks they had, 40!

Me before my change!

You are what you eat.

Now there was no hope of buttoning them whatsoever. They cut off all the circulation in my legs and I was praying they wouldn’t split as I walked around or had to bend over too far. So I grabbed a shoestring and tied them using the pants belt loops…yes it was embarrassing. I put the apron on and hoped I would never have to take it off during work.

When the night was done (and by the way, I just cleaned tables that night, so no fast walking needed and the lights were dim, so people couldn’t see how tight the pants were!), I went to change and without thinking, sat down and Ripppppp! My co-worker looked at me as to say, “What happened?”

…and that’s when I realized I had a problem. I looked in the mirror that night and thought to myself, “What had I done!?” I couldn’t stand how I looked and decided tomorrow would be Day 1 of the New Me.

I started the gym the next day, embarrassed but determined. For the next few weeks, weight was dropping off! One day, a month later, one of the regular customers tapped me as I was walking by and quietly whispered, “Weren’t you…I mean before…” I knew what he was trying to say. So I smiled and said, “Yes, I was the fat kid”. He smiled and told me to keep doing what I was doing. Six months later, I had lost 70 lbs and 12 inches off my waist and was loving what the mirror was saying.


What I used to eat

The only problem was that all I did was cardio and no weights. So the little strength I had was dwindling and I could feel it. So I decided to add some weight training to the schedule and then began the new transformation…

After food

What I eat now.

So now that I was down 70 lbs and 12 inches off the waist alone, I ran into a new problem-stamina. The smaller I got, the harder it became to lift the trays. At one point, I dropped a tray of meals before I even left the kitchen and just knew I was going to lose my job. Fortunately my boss was so impressed by my weight loss, he decided to help me out. Since he was into fitness, he realized that I concentrated so much on pure cardio that I had lost the little muscle mass I did have. And this is why he will never be forgotten…

He signed me up at his gym, paid for my years membership, and became my personal trainer!

We would work out in the morning before my shift. Some days he didn’t even have to go in, but would get up @4:30 a.m. anyway to work out with me BEFORE MY shift! Over the next few months he taught me about nutrition, technique, muscle functionality, and gave me all the mental motivation I needed. Not only did I get stronger, but smarter about my workouts. I made it my purpose every workout to be better than I was the day before, to choose the path that would lead me to better decision-making, and to use the tools lovingly handed 2ME to make another’s life as fulfilling as it could be.

And now here I stand 18 yrs later as tall as ever! And my passion and drive for fitness is NOW fueled by my clients. As I look into their eyes walking into the gym, I can’t help but to see myself – a young man lost, waiting for a single chance to grab hold of life’s greatness.

I will never forget that moment when my mirror spoke 2me…

…and I will never forget the person who rescued the man from within me!

Thanks Gene

Story told by Lawrence Thaniel, Jr,

5 Responses

  1. Thanks Nikki for the honor!

  2. lisa says:

    Inspiring!! Amazing that Lawrence went out and lost the initial weight himself, and how wonderful that someone really wanted to make a difference in his life and went out of their way to help him out. Great story.


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