My name is Gary Stotler. About 6 years ago I stepped on the scale at 400 pounds. I knew I was on a fast track to a heart attack by the age of 35… I didn’t know what to do or how to do it so I took a walk around the block and learned to portion control my food.
A year later, after taking consistent action and continuing to grow a little more every day, I lost over 100 pounds. I slowly started running a block at a time with small continuous growth in time a distance, I ran my first marathon about 2 years into my journey.
Having lost nearly 200 pounds and running a marathon, I decided to see if I could find my personal limits. Growing into an ultra-runner with a 50k, then a 50 miler and as I finished my first 100-mile race 4 years to the week of stepping on the scale at 400 pounds…
I knew I had found something inside me and I believed I was unstoppable. I knew there was something that I hadn’t found… the attention, love, or external validation I thought I deserved. There was also something I didn’t understand… who was the man in the mirror that was looking back at me?
I had changed myself so fast mentally and physically… yet I was not able to keep up with how the reflection in the mirror had changed. I hit a huge bout of depression due to my lack of understanding, could no longer run away from my problems, turned to alcohol to numb the pain, lost my family, alienated my friends, made very poor personal and professional decisions and woke up one day with the idea to climb to the top of a mountain and jump off.
To this day, I still don’t know what kept me from ending my life… A month later I failed a race I had been thinking about every second for nearly 2 years.
A week later I woke up in a drunken fog and realized I had driven my car home the night before… I quit drinking that second.
I slowly sobered up and changed jobs.
I began to repair some of my relationships.
I completely lost many friendships.
I got fired from my new job and lost my apartment…
A month later, with a car full of my personal items, a tank full of gas, and $47 in my pocket, I moved to Denver, CO.
It didn’t take long for me to lose another job and to begin wondering what the future held… I started building my coaching business. I did some consulting work. I trained for Leadville 100 mile race once again. I spent my time writing, reflecting and discovering not only who the reflection on the outside was but I found the real person on the inside I had longed to find for so long.
I finished Leadville… I came up short of my goal, but nonetheless it was a major accomplishment in my life.
After the race, I hit another rough patch personally and professionally. I started a new job. My personal life was in disarray and I had no real idea what my future held…
I lost another job. I was lost and alone just hoping the universe would show me a way.
I found a new job.
A job doing everything I’ve always wanted to do. A job that challenges me. A group of people that care about me. A place where I can grow and learn and succeed.
Through the last couple years I have tried and failed and tried again. I’ve stumbled, been laughed at, cried a lot, and many times over have wondered “why things have gone this way…”.
As I woke up this morning with love and gratitude, I reflected on the past couple years with a heavy heart and an open mind.
I woke up today a coach, speaker, trainer and I realized today is the first day of the rest of my life.
In the past two years I have gained certifications as a personal trainer, mindset and behavioral coach, personality assessment trainer and I continue to read and write as I continue to grow my personal philosophy on business, fitness and life.
Today I woke up and have never been as grateful and thankful that I didn’t give up… even when times were at their worst. Today I realized I have woken up in the middle of my wildest dreams and my dream has become my reality.
I know times change and situations evolve… but nothing will ever take away the time, effort and incredible amounts of patience and persistence it has taken to overcome the adversities and failures that have led me to today. I wake up and live with gratitude today and for all my days to come regardless of how good or bad the situation presents in the moment.
For the first time in my life I am actually proud of myself.
… to write that statement is something I believed was impossible…
I’ve seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows… and the most important lesson I’ve learned is to take just one more step forward and you’ll find a way.
“My Victory isn’t Crossing the Finish Line. My Victory is Taking the Next Step After I Want to Quit.”
Best Day Yet,
NASM CPT, BCS