James Stephenson

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I was in a lot of pain until Rome helped to change my life around.

I’ve been a professional Automotive Technician for 20 years.  I’m constantly on my feet stomping around on concrete floors, lifting heavy parts using improper form, and putting myself in compromising physical positions to do what I love; but it takes a toll on my back.  About 15 years ago I was getting ready to leave work when I had to finish one final job. As I bent down to pick up a small tire and put it on a car, I felt a small twinge in my back. I thought nothing of it and just continued working.

Later that night I found myself in the Emergency Room.  Turns out that years of working out in a gym with improper form coupled with  years of working on cars had damaged my back. My issue was a herniated L3 and L4, and after years of pain the back issue was taking a serious toll on me.  I have seen specialist after specialist, had beds made specifically for me (yes, more than one), bought every lower back contraption that I thought would help, and I still found myself in the ER 2-3x a year with back issues.  My back would regularly give out without warning--I was having trouble doing my job and I had forgotten what a weight room even looked like. In October 2014 I had been to the ER for the final time. I was at my breaking point; this was no way to live.  I decided to see another specialist and was told that I would need surgery. This surgery was somewhat major and would require me to be out of work for a period of time as well as reduce movement and range of motion in my future.

The following day Rome happened to come into my work to get his truck serviced and we got to talking about his gym.  I was clearly overweight at the time weighing in at just over 260 lbs at only 6’ tall. I was essentially a big puffy circle that had trouble tying his own shoes without having back trouble.  Rome convinced me to give him 90 days to help me. He suggested some training and diet changes that would help ease the pressure on my back. Knowing I was in a bad situation and I didn’t really want surgery, I took him up on his offer. That was easily the best health decision I’ve made for myself and my family.

I started personal training with Rome in January of 2015 when I was 262 lbs.  By March I was down to 230 lbs, by December I was 210 lbs and looked better than I did throughout my 20’s.  It’s now been almost 3 years and I haven’t been to the ER for my back one single time; I haven’t had any surgeries, and I’m easily in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in.

I’m not saying it was easy.  Some days were downright awful.  But with Rome’s support, the additional as-needed “kick in the butt” to get me motivated, and the support of the entire Romeo Athletics [CFR] community there was no way I wasn’t going to hit my goals.

I’m very pleased with the results that I’ve worked for over the years.  I’m also very proud to be part of a gym that continuously gives back to the community and supports its members professionally and personally. Everyday won’t be easy having Rome as a trainer, but nothing worth it ever is.