The Weekly Weigh-In: Finding Your Motivation by Ryan Nolen



Ryan Nolen is a current graduate student at Kent State University in Ohio. Ryan graduated from Marietta College in southeastern Ohio in 2012, and will receive his Masters in Higher Education Administration from Kent State in May 2014. His areas of experience lies in Orientation, Student Conduct, and Residence Life, and is currently on the job search for residence life positions in the New England area. When Ryan’s not working, he enjoys trying to master the art of cooking, exploring local coffee shops, and spending time with his friends with which he will soon part.


Meet the old me, in July of 2011. I came in at a pretty solid 260 pounds. Eating college food every day, I never paid much attention to my weight. I gained some weight in college, but I wouldn’t say I gained more than anyone else. It was after college that really got me. Enter grad school.


I had a meal plan at Marietta College for four years, so while my eating habits weren’t the healthiest, I was at least on a pretty consistent eating schedule. When I moved into my apartment in Kent for grad school, I had to buy my own food, and cook it. That quickly translated into buying Lean Pockets (solely because they had the word Lean, which I thought translated into ‘Healthy’). The adjustment to life off campus was hard, and the freedom to eat whatever/whenever I wanted proved to be a challenge I was not prepared for.

Let’s skip to the end of my first year of grad school, May 2013. My size 40 pants were starting to get a little snug, and it was officially springtime, meaning my sweaters couldn’t hide my actual weight any longer. This same feeling of anxiety, self-consciousness, and disappointment came about every spring, and this year proved to be no different. While I was watching Netflix late one night, snacking (like I normally did), I saw an advertisement for this workout program called DailyBurn ( Let me preface this, I have tried workout programs before. I couldn’t muster up the strength to do the same, hour-long workout for the third day in a row. I would get on these health kicks that would ultimately last less than a week. But somehow, DailyBurn seemed different.

The advertisement was for the “15-Day Challenge”. The challenge consisted of one 15-minute workout a day for 15 days straight. This was designed to jump start your metabolism, get you used to some of the workout moves, and train you to persist through the longer, more intense programs DailyBurn offered.

I sat on my couch, finishing my bag of chips, for about 30 minutes before realizing that, if I would have just gotten up and done the first workout, it would have already been over. I couldn’t justify not doing it. So I did it! And let me tell you, that was the longest 15 minutes of my life. But then it was over. The endorphins I felt after this workout was something I had never felt before. I knew at this point that I was committed to the 15-day challenge.

I was so proud of myself for working out for 15 days in a row, even if it was for only 15 (excruciating) minutes. After the challenge was over, I knew I wanted to continue working out, so I perused through the plethora of programs DailyBurn offers, anywhere from Yoga to Cardio and Kettlebells to Dancing. (Fun fact: DailyBurn’s Let’s Move! dance workouts (click on Let’s Move! for a video) have been featured in Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign  (Click on Let’s move to read more) to end childhood obesity)

I continued to feel great, and see results in the mirror, for the first month of the program, where I was already down 20 pounds! My size 40 pants were now too baggy, and I comfortably fit in a size 38 for the first time in a long time. The best part so far? All of this was FREE. DailyBurn’s 30-day free trial proved to be totally worth it, and now as a grad student I still only pay $10 a month. That’s 2 venti caramel frappucinos with skim milk and no whipped cream and an extra shot of espresso.

I started following DailyBurn on Twitter (click on twitter to find their page), and would tweet at them when I had a really good workout, or successful weight loss goals, like the 30-pound mark I reached in July. The fitness gurus at Headquarters then contacted me to write a success story about me for their website! ( I couldn’t believe it. Practically my whole life, I had struggled with my weight. In less than 3 months, I was given the opportunity to share my story; how I started DailyBurn, why it works for me, and what keeps me motivated to keep going. It was an incredible feeling that kept me beyond motivated to keep going strong.

Let’s fast forward to the end of September. I had continued to work out, every single morning, and had ultimately lost 65 pounds. Again, let me preface. When I started that first 15-minute workout in May, I never expected to see these results. I never expected to fit in size 36 pants, ever. But not only did they fit, they looked good. I felt good. I felt great. My confidence was through the roof, and it was the first time in my life that I was actually feeling comfortable in my own skin. If I would have known results like this were to happen, I would have taken more before photos (and less selfies in the mirror every Friday), but I digress.

In November, DailyBurn started looking for real users of its program to feature in an upcoming commercial, and contacted me to see if I was interested. Interested in being flown to LA to be in a commercial? YES. Where do I sign?

I couldn’t believe that less than a year ago, I was that guy who saw a commercial for DailyBurn, and turned the channel. It was my way of escaping, and not fully admitting that I had a weight problem, or that I needed to work hard in order to change things. Now, I get to share this exact story, with all of you, in a nationwide commercial.

The experience was so surreal. When I first arrived on set, I met one of the DailyBurn trainers, Anja Garcia (click on her name to find her facebook page). Not only is Anja my favorite trainer, but her workouts are responsible for literally reshaping my entire life. It couldn’t have been any more of an awesome culminating experience to my weight loss journey. It serves as a reminder to keep it up. I currently am maintaining my weight right in size 34 pants at 195 pounds. I’m happy, I’m confident, and so very thankful for all of the support, encouragement, and cheers I have received along the way.

This serves as my reminder that now it’s time for me to pay it forward. This couldn’t be any more cliche’, but if I can do it, you can do it. It’s only 15 minutes. And it’s free for an entire month. I hope to serve as that inspiration that others need to put down the bag of chips, get off the couch, and move.

You can view the commercial here! ( Don’t forget to follow @DailyBurn on Twitter to keep up with new workouts, healthy recipes, and success stories of its users, like YOU. You have 30 days, make it burn.


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