Rob Bond, the executive chef at Blue Mountain Brewery, didn’t set out to lose 120 pounds. When he joined the Waynesboro YMCA in January, he was just thinking, I need to do something.
“I went into it not having any goals. My focus was on just making a lifestyle change,” Bond said. “I had these unhealthy habits that I had fallen into, and I look at my family history, and I wanted to do something to change my life, change my direction.”
Bond started on his journey at 385 pounds. Now a fit, muscular 260, Bond joked that he feels like the movie star Dwayne Johnson, and that his goal is to a “professional walking muscle.”
He has come a long, long way in 11 months.
“Three eighty-five at the age of 34 just wasn’t good,” said Bond, who had a hard time “just doing basic things.”
But he pushed himself. Using the Army physical fitness test as his guide, he progressively stepped up the intensity of his workouts in the cardio and weight rooms.
“Nothing worth anything ever comes easy. It’s just hard work and determination,” Bond said. “I didn’t stand on a scale every day. I didn’t get on a scale more than once a month. I just kept working hard. Every day, every week, I’d try to add a little bit in terms of intensity, to try to keep progressing, to keep pushing myself a little further.”
The hard part is being a chef and thus being around good food all day long. But Bond sees his training as an advantage.
“I find ways to take the foods that I know are great and delicious, and use them in ways that are not as bad as they could be, or even just limiting the portion size,” Bond said. “For me, it’s easy to sort of graze all day long, because I’m around food all day long. Limiting that, having more knowledge about the calorie content in foods, what you take in, that’s all important. Knowing that, not necessarily counting calories, just being aware, helps you make good choices and good decisions.”
Good choices, good decisions, and baby steps toward making change.
“My kid enjoys riding rides at Kings Dominion. Last year at this time, I wouldn’t be able to ride a roller coaster,” Bond said. “As this year progressed, the seats got looser and looser. The goal at the beginning of the season, I couldn’t fit in the front seat. The seats in the middle are a little bigger, and I’d sit there, but as the season went on, I wanted to ride in the front. That was my motivation.”
Another step was running a 10-minute mile, which Bond did last month.
“Honestly, I didn’t think that I was going to be doing that,” Bond said. “For me, that was huge. It was an accomplishment. While I was doing it, I was smiling, I was laughing. I kept thinking, surely I’m going to get tired soon, but I just kept doing it and doing it. I just pushed myself a little harder every day to get there, and every day I surprised myself a little bit.”
– Story by Chris Graham