Health & Family

Facebook group helped him meet 90-day fitness challenge

Dave Brown takes a selfie while holding a “plank” pose.
Dave Brown takes a selfie while holding a “plank” pose. Dave Brown

Dave Brown, 45, of Charlotte made a New Year’s resolution in January of 2014 to get in shape using the program P90X – a 90-day fitness challenge – and the best way he knew to actually stick with it was to find some accountability partners. He traveled for work as national sales director for the Hach Company and knew he couldn’t physically meet up with friends for workouts, so he created some virtual accountability with a private Facebook page he calls “Just Push Play.”

What started with Brown and two of his friends, Richard Gilles of Rock Hill and Sean McCartney of Charlotte, has grown into a thriving page with 112 members. Friends of friends, neighbors and colleagues from as far away as California, Colorado and Ohio post their workout routines, photos and inspirational messages, ideas for new workouts and challenges to the group. The members include all fitness levels from marathon runners, bikers and walkers, to people who enjoy yoga and Jazzercise.

Brown not only met his goal of completing P90X but has kept in shape with new challenges like “Body Beast” (a bodybuilding website) and has stayed motivated by group efforts like the one to see who could hold the longest “plank” pose. Here is Dave Brown’s story in his words.

The challenge

“I had all these suits that were getting snug and I took them to the seamstress and said ‘Can you let them out a little bit?’ They said, ‘You’re at the max. It might be time to get new suits.’ So my goal wasn’t to lose weight; it was to get back into my suits. I think it’s great when people lose weight. I don’t usually preach that. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin.”

How I did it

“We each started on P90X, which is 30 minutes a day six days a week. We started feeding results (to Facebook) from the three of us. I post a lot of motivational things. I find images on the Internet, and when I complete my workout, I’ll say something that’s going on with me that day. I’m a road warrior, in a hotel a lot. I’ll tag the hotel and take a picture of the fitness room and say, ‘This is a good gym in Loveland, Colorado.’…

“It can be motivation for people if they get 10 more likes or (encouragement saying) ‘keep going.’ It can be very positive for the group….

“One of the reasons I put it in a group this way is if I’m posting about fitness 90 straight days (on my feed), somebody in my family or group is going to say, ‘Would you stop it?’ It’s funny with ‘Just Push Play’ – some people’s workouts are not complete until they post it in the group. It’s their mindset.

“We have some people here who are pretty extreme, mud ninjas (who compete in muddy obstacle-course races) and a marathoner. But there are also beginners. It’s important to me that it’s all levels. We always just say in the group ‘I beat the couch.’”

The result

“At the end of the 90 days, I was in my suit.” (He posted a photo to the Facebook page.)

“The Facebook page keeps me motivated because I’m kind of the leader of it. They’re all watching what I’m doing. They always want to know what I’m going to be doing next.”

What I learned

“I need to have some sort of goal and it’s not so much signing up for a 5K. It’s ‘Yes, I’m going to do this program, P90X, or I’m going to do this 30-day challenge.’…

“I really didn’t think this thing would keep going like this. But it never really stops. You never really quit; that’s why all these folks are still going. It’s pure motivation and accountability.”

Your story?

We’re looking to share stories about health and fitness, about overcoming obstacles and about new discoveries you’re making on the road to Living Well. Send your suggestions to mystory@mcclatchy.com

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