It wasn’t until July 2009 that I decided to get BIG.STRONG.FIT.HEALTHY, but I look back now and know that I should have done so earlier. With our son being just four years old at the time and diagnosed with Autism, I knew I needed to be there for him and my wife and that being closer to 300lbs, eating poorly most of the time and getting no exercise was not a good way to “Be there” It just hadn’t clicked at that point. This was me in November 2008 – quickly approaching 300lbs and the father of a three year old. Further adding to the motivation to finally get back into shape was the factor of heart disease on my dad’s side of the family. My dad had a heart attack and subsequent 5-way bypass back in 2009. Again, my habits were not doing much to prevent heart disease. I was not happy at 300lbs. It’s amazing how much my son motivates me to stay in shape now. He and my wife have been there for my running races, and are supportive of my working out – this is a huge plus! Here are my son and me at the end of my first 5k race, back in October 2009. He doesn’t look anything like me does he? (kidding of course) After my first 5k race back in 2009, Our son took an interest in all the exercising that was going on. He seemed quite fond of the treadmill and even runs on it sometimes. He copies me stretching and everything. I’ve even taken him with me to the gym a few times so he can watch me lift. On his own, he picked up a Kettlebell and went to work! He also followed me around for the entire workout, paying attention to what I was doing– difficult for any kid, let alone a child with Autism. Kids can be a great motivator to stay in shape. I want to be that dad and even someday the grandpa that can run around with their kids – run with them at sports practice etc. Everytime I look back at pictures such as those in this post, I get more motivated to not end up at 300lbs again. Even at such a young age, it’s clear that Jack looks up to me, and I’d much rather have him joining me at the gym than sitting on the couch munching Doritos. Following the birth of our daughter back in June 2011, I’m even more motivated to stay fit through exercise. Family means everything to me, and I’m going to do everything I can to be here for them! So, what keeps you motivated? How do you keep moving and not quit - Family, Friends, BodyBuilding contests, marathons etc? We want to hear from you! Let us know. From 9-5, Lonnie sits in front of a computer. Outside of being an IT Geek, he’s an athlete who’s familiar with the cycle of being fit-fat-fit that so many of us struggle with. Down from his highest weight of 300lbs in June 2009, he’s made the permanent lifestyle change to remain Big. Strong. Fit. Healthy. When not spending time with his wife, son and daughter, he’s at the gym keeping off the fat and adding quality lean mass.