FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A year ago, Fort Wayne’s own Mike Danley began his journey on season 12 of NBC's hit show the Biggest Loser, but that was just the beginning.
Coach Mike was 61-years-old at the time and worked as a Fort Wayne high school teacher and football coach. When Coach Mike was selected as a finalist on The Biggest Loser, he had never watched the show and never suspected it would change his life so significantly.
“Six to eight hours a day working out was very common," says Coach Mike. "We were pretty much segregated from the whole universe out there.”
Less than three months later Coach Mike was eliminated after going from 309 pounds to 268, but the journey didn’t end there.
“The Biggest Loser had asked us if there was somewhere we could work out at home. Did we have a favorite spot? I immediately thought of Jason, because he was a neighbor kid down the street when I was coaching at Northrop and then over at Northside," Coach Mike recalls. "I knew that he had graduated and opened up his business and I thought, who better to work with than somebody who knows all about football and can really understand and appreciate hard work?”
After a lot of paperwork and a bit of secrecy, Jason Rubin at Absolute Results took on the challenge of being Coach Mike's personal trainer.
Rubin says, “The goals were not that different than a normal person coming into our facility. A lot of people do have the same goals. It was a lot of pressure because I knew it was going to be more of a public thing and he had been working with the best trainers in the world.”
The journey, says Coach Mike, was not without its obstacles. “I came back here and had to have a toe taken off because it had gotten infected to the point where we couldn’t save it. So that slowed down the workout process for about three weeks.”
After healing, Jason didn’t take it easy on him. He helped Coach Mike lose another 30 pounds before the Biggest Loser marathon and another 25 by the finale for a total weight loss of 96 pounds.
“I want to do it for me, no question about that," says the now much thinner 62-year-old. "I want to do it for my family, retirement, grandkids, just like everybody else, but there are no excuses. No excuses.”
To keep from putting the weight back on, Coach Mike still comes to Absolute Results at least four days a week for two to three hours each time.
Rubin says, “In the summer when he first got home from the show, it was seven days a week no matter what, so it’s a little bit different now. We do things just to maintain. We still have the intensity, but it’s not as intense as we used to time frame wise because we’re in more of a maintenance mode than anything. There’s not a whole lot more for him to lose.”
Coach Mike still has a few goals left on his list. “I still have a goal of reaching that 100 pounds, just for psychological satisfaction. Then the other goal that I have is to run a 6k at the Peachtree marathon in Atlanta July 4th weekend.”
He’s also teaming up with Jason to make presentations about health and wellness throughout the community. He says it's rewarding to inspire others with his transformation.
“I have far more energy, less stress. My motivation is really, really good. I look forward to coming to the gym. I look forward to going to teaching. I look forward to being with the kids. I’m not tired out, wore out, or burnt out.”
His wife also helps him stick with his new, healthier eating habits. “She likes who she sees," says Coach Mike smiling. "She likes who I am; my energy, doing things around the house. Those honeydew lists are getting longer.”
Coach Mike still takes medicine for a heart condition, but no longer has problems with blood sugar, cholesterol, circulation, or sleep apnea.
He says, “I enjoy the way I look, the way I feel, clothes fit, and it’s just a whole new lifestyle and I never want to go back to the old lifestyle. I keep working hard to stay where I’m at and appreciate the second chance that I’ve gotten and the opportunity that the Biggest Loser gave me when they selected me as a contestant.”
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