How 52-year-old man lost 25kg in a year
A LIFETIME of unhealthy habits caught up with Stephen Brown last year when his weight peaked at 115kg. But through hard work and determination, he is now a different man.
Today, the 52-year-old says he is in the best shape he has ever been after shedding 25kg through CrossFit training.
The disability carer exercises up to six times a week, and says he feels "off" if he misses a workout.
The new regime hasn't just changed the Hervey Bay man's look, but all areas of his life.
"I'm genuinely much more happy now, CrossFit has steered my life in the right direction," Mr Brown said.
"Life stresses seem to dissolve when you're exercising."
Mr Brown said one of his lowest points was sitting home alone, realising time was passing by. He did not want a photo of himself before the transformation to be published because of how much he did not like who he was.
"I was sitting on a chair, realising I wasn't doing anything with my life," he said.
"I knew I had to change myself, my attitude, and become more engaged in the community."
The former chef had never set foot inside a gym before heading to his first session at Fraser Coast CrossFit.
Though he admits to being intimidated by the equipment and other athletes at first - CrossFit is known for its intensity, after all - the support of others quickly made him feel comfortable.
"I knew after the first night that I wasn't going to shy away," Mr Brown said.
"I accepted that I was going to be committed to this.
"The group I was with was very accepting and encouraging."
Mr Brown is currently taking part in the CrossFit Open, which involves fitness enthusiasts around the world completing the same workouts over a number of weeks.
This is a vast contrast to last year when he was instead an observer, coming to his local box to support others who were taking part.
"I couldn't even lift a weight above my head when I started," he said.
"I like the push press now."
The father-of-two battled poor health through adult years, and received a kidney transplant 20 years ago after a kidney failure.
Turning 53 next month, he says his best years are still ahead.
"I was sick for about 15 years," he said.
"It was the doctors and nurses and surgeons who put me back together, and I'm thankful for them."
Mr Brown's advice to others finding themselves stuck in a rut, no matter what age, is to just get started.
"Do something, you won't regret it," he said.
"Join the group you've been thinking about, or join two."