For former Northwood High School football player Kris Lafeir, enough was enough. After taking a good, long look at himself in the mirror, he decided that he needed to turn his life around.
“In July of 2007, I was 295 pounds and I could not believe it,” Lafeir, who is 5’10”, said. “I was almost 300 pounds. I said, ‘Man, I am really way too big.’ If you let your body go, it really is amazing how fast you get there, get to that weight.”
A 2001 Northwood graduate, Lafeir played football under the direction of Coach Ken James. Lafeir went on to serve as a defensive tackle for Adrian College for two years.
After taking a second shift supervisor position with United Parcel Service (UPS) and having two young sons, Lafeir admits to letting himself go.
“Before, I would eat until I was stuffed, until I could not move,” Lafeir said. “I drank a lot of pop. I probably drank a 12-pack a day, easily. I would eat late at night and I slept in. I did not have any energy and I did not feel well.”
As bad as he felt, it would take his two sons, Nolan, now 4 years old and Nathan, now 2, to help motivate him to get back to being physically fit and healthy.
“I wanted to reflect a healthy lifestyle to my kids,” Lafeir said. “The main motivator for me was showing my kids what a healthy lifestyle was. I want to make sure they would be exceptional athletes. Coach James, in high school, always said that I did not come to the football team with natural ability but I built myself into a great football player because I worked out in the weight room and worked hard.
“I want my sons to know that it takes hard work to achieve things. I want to motivate them,” he said.
Another motivating factor was the fact that the male relatives on the Lafeir side of the family suffered from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes.
“My dad is a type 2 diabetic now and my older brother, Rob, has bad cholesterol and sugar,” Lafeir said. “I wanted to be around for my sons.”
So Lafeir began to eat more healthfully and he began working out with weights at his home until he lost almost 30 pounds. In January of this year, he decided that he needed to go to a gym and so he walked into Carroll’s Health and Fitness Center, in Walbridge.
“I started working out again at home and I lost some weight,” Lafeir explained. “In January, I joined Carroll’s gym. I weighed 265 pounds then. I just went at it. I began to eat properly and I am working out daily. I am now 195 pounds.”
During this time, Lafeir decided to enter a contest being held at the gym. Known as the “Wall of Shame,” clients and staff members at the gym were encouraged to post “before” and “after” photos of themselves on a poster to help motivate themselves and others at the gym.
According to Maria Carroll, manager, four male clients decided to take the makeover challenge.
“The ‘Wall of Shame’ included a poster with pictures of some of our employees when they did not look so great,” Carroll said. “One of the pictures was of an employee when she was pregnant and another of an employee when he was a teenager. We encouraged our customers to put photos of themselves up. We held a contest to see who would make the greatest transformation through diet and exercise. We wanted to encourage people to show themselves off if they lost weight at the gym. The one who made the biggest transformation through diet, exercise and our gym program would win.”
Two of the men lost weight and two of the men gained some much-needed weight, Carroll said adding that all of them gained muscle throughout the contest.
“They all look phenomenal,” Carroll said.
During the gym’s Open House week, held Oct. 6-11, several other contests were held to help keep their clients motivated to get healthy and to keep working out.
“All of our current members were encouraged to participate in weightlifting, callisthenic and cardio contests throughout the open house week for a chance to win a one-year membership,” Carroll said. “We had a total of six contests and gave away a year’s membership per contest. It really helped increase the energy level and brought in a lot of ‘out of date’ customers to check out our newly remodeled facility.”
For his efforts, Lafeir won a three-year membership to the gym. His before and after photos will also be displayed at the gym to serve as inspiration to others.
“It is a lot easier to get motivated to do stuff now. I feel a ton better,” Lafeir said. “I was 255 pounds in college. Now I am in better shape. It is easier to wake up and come to the gym now. I don’t drag as much as I used to.”
Lafeir also gives credit for his success to Dan Gallagher, a personal trainer and staff member at Carroll’s.
“Dan always helped me. He was a big motivator,” Lafeir said. “The whole staff are really good people. They are why I come here.”
For his part, Gallagher took the compliment in stride.
“I am humbled and I appreciate that I was able to help motivate him,” Gallagher said. “All of the guys really worked hard. It was on them. They put forth the effort to make it happen. It really is awesome. These four guys had different issues. A couple were heavy and one was really small. Through their own personal desires, they made great transformations. We offer circuit training, cardio, ellipticals and free weights. We provided the tools and they brought the desire.”
Although he is not a certified trainer yet, Gallagher said he works with clients to help them gain or lose weight. Currently a business student at Owens Community College, Gallagher said he plans to take classes to become certified and is hoping to own his own gym one day.
Gallagher said the whole staff and the atmosphere at the gym are to be credited for the amazing transformations.
“This is your ‘average Joe’s’ gym. It is not a large, state-of-the-art gym. It is not a Super Fitness-sized gym,” he said. “We have a good staff and good people come here. A lot of our business is by word of mouth. A lot of the staff stay late to give advice and workout with our customers.”
“Gloria and Terry (Carroll) have given something wonderful to the community,” Gallagher added. “The people here feel comfortable and many bring their whole family in because it is a friendly atmosphere.”
Gallagher said the competitions will be held quarterly and the gym may continue with the annual contest as well. He is hoping to add women’s, age and weight class brackets to the contest to encourage more people to compete.
“We want the energy level to remain high here,” Gallagher said. “Many people say they want to hang around the gym even after working out. We want to keep that going, to keep people excited about exercise.”
The loss of nearly 100 pounds has brought some extra benefits as well.
“My brother called me after seeing my current photo and told me he was going to begin working out as well,” Lafeir said. “He used to be a bodybuilder and he wants to get back to it. He just had a son a little over a month ago and I told him he needs to be around for his son.
“My fiancé, Stephanie, now has a better boyfriend,” Lafeir said laughing. “She is happy. Not to sound conceited but I am kind of a prize boyfriend now. Her family and friends think I am good looking now.”
At 295 pounds, enough was enough for former Northwood High School football player Kris Lafeir. Wanting to set a healthy example for his kids, he decided that he needed to turn his life around. A former member of the “Wall of Shame” at Carroll’s Health and Fitness Center, in Walbridge, he now weighs in at 195.