To most people fitness and athletics are synonymous. It’s an excuse we get a lot at the gym. “I’m not athletic enough to exercise. I was awful at P.E. in high school and never athletic enough to play sports so I’ll never be able to exercise.” In all honesty, it sounds good. Unfortunately, it’s far from the truth.
Our members of the month for July, Coletta and Dustin Fletcher, could have used that excuse. Coletta’s sports career consisted of a chubby childhood, middle school basketball, and 1 year of high school volleyball. Dustin’s sports career also consisted of a chubby childhood and 2 years of high school soccer. Needless to say, neither was considered a “jock” in high school.
It didn’t matter. Since 2010, Dustin’s competed in 3 half marathons and a dozen or more 5/10k’s. Coletta has also competed in one half marathon and several 5/10’s. Not too bad for two former chubby kids who were never all star athletes.
After talking with them about their fitness journey, a few familiar themes from conversations with previous members of the month popped up. 1) Perseverance. 2) Priorities. 3) Teamwork. 4) Hard work. It’s a great recipe for success that we see all too often, and it’s not just used to better one’s health. It’s used in all areas of life. We see it in young athletes. We see it in successful entrepreneurs. We see it stay at-home moms who amazingly balance an array of responsibilities. We see it in 80 year-old couples who have been married for 50+ years. It’s everywhere.
Dustin and Coletta could have easily stopped. In fact, like a lot of people, they could have never started. Inertia is a powerful obstacle. They could have easily said, “We were chubby when we were young, we were heavy in high school, and we’re still heavy as adults. It must be genetic, so there is no use in fighting it.” They didn’t. Instead they used it as fuel for their fire.
When Coletta first started exercising after see Dustin complete his first 5k race on July 4th of 2010, she couldn’t make it a mile without walking. In fact, she referred to running a mile at the point in her life as “impossible.” She could have given up. She didn’t. She stuck with it and 3 months later, she ran her first mile. Now she’s running 5k races.
When Dustin suffered numerous injuries (knee, hip, and feet problems) from running too much, he could have given up. He didn’t. He started lifting weights, riding his bike, and finding other alternatives to running so he could continue to train.
When they both hit weight loss walls, they could have both given up. They didn’t. They added strength training to their exercise regimen and cleaned up their diets. Coletta added another 20 pound weight loss to her total (she had already lost 35lbs by just running) after her initial “wall.”
They persevered, and that’s why they’ve succeeded.
With Dustin working afternoons at Ameren in Missouri, Coletta working twice a week at Nelson Audiology, and a 4 year-old son Hank, things can get pretty hectic at the Fletcher household. Coletta freely admits that if they didn’t have a schedule, neither one of them could find the time to exercise. It’s their schedule that allows Dustin to exercise 5-6 times per week and Coletta to exercise 3-4 times per week. A healthy lifestyle is at the top of their priority list, so exercise always makes the weekly schedule. Why? Because they wanted to set an example for their son. According to Coletta, “Our biggest motivation for exercise would be showing our child(ren) how to live a healthy lifestyle and not to have to fight the same battles we have. Dustin and I were both chubby kids and heavier adults. We talk all the time about how if this is the only thing Hank sees, it’s the only thing he will know. We don’t keep junk in the house and we talk to him about everything we do involving exercise/fitness.”
When it becomes a priority, it becomes a reality.
It’s important in everything we do, and according to Coletta it’s extremely important for the Fletcher team. Not only have they found it extremely motivating (they both cheer each other on at races, and Dustin even comes back after he finishes a race to run with Coletta), but it’s also brought them closer together as a couple. When one of them meets an obstacle, the other one is there to help them overcome. When one runs into a problem, the other one is busy working on a solution for it. They’re a team. They’re a support group. They’re a family!
There is no I in team.
It would be ridiculous to assume all of this came easy. It didn’t. It required a lot of hard work. It took Coletta 3 months of walking and jogging almost every day to run an entire mile without stopping. She currently works out 3-4 times per week. She runs, lifts weights, competes in our challenges, and even bikes. And if you’ve ever seen her by the end of one of her workouts, she’s flushed, sweating, and breathing heavy. She understands the importance of intensity when it comes to making a transformation.
Dustin does too. Even with his injuries, he trains through them. Like Coletta, he runs, lifts weights, competes in our challenges (which he’s always one of the favorites to win), and bikes. He trains 5-6 times per week. He won one of our Biggest Loser challenges. He won the Mt. Everest Challenge. He also was the first to complete our triathlon. Rarely will you see him in the gym when he’s not out of breath. He jumps from the treadmill to a bike to the log press to the deadlift. His workouts consist of constant motion. It’s work, HARD work.
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
And that’s why I have to admire them as a couple. Like our other members of the month, they had more than enough to opportunities to make excuses. They didn’t. And because of that, they’ve succeeded!