A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Eastside YMCA Member Les Finnell started off slowly and put in hard work over two years. Here’s his story of inspiration in his own words:

After being rushed to the Emergency Room in an ambulance during an anaphylactic episode in 2016, I remember the doctor telling me “this is your last bus ride; something has to change.” I knew something truly did have to change but did not know how. Back then, daily activities like grocery shopping would exhaust me. I had a bad ankle, after a failed ankle surgery, which limited my mobility, and my weight was the highest it had ever been. How could I exercise when I could barely walk?

I joined the Eastside YMCA two years ago, when I weighed over 400 pounds. At the recommendation of my doctor, I started taking water fitness classes twice a week. The classes were fun, low impact on my ankle, and perfect for my activity level at the time. As time went on, I started losing weight, and my mobility improved. I changed my fitness routine, lifting weights and doing various cardio exercises. I now work out six days a week. I also hired a personal trainer, Jack Newport, and work out with him three days a week. Jack pushes me to stay on track with my nutrition and diet, and to exceed my limits in the gym.

Now, a little more than two years later, I can proudly say I have lost 230 pounds!


Congratulations, Les, on keeping up your hard work for a healthier you! You’re an inspiration to all!


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