Monday, June 18, 2018
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PERSEVERANCE: Men discover healthier way to live their lives

Many different people at different times sign up for a gym membership.

Some choose to make working out part of their everyday routine and others go for a few sessions before struggling to get up the following Monday.

Two regulars at Gothenburg’s Wellness Center, Kevin Schwanz and Colby Simants, don’t mind awakening early in the morning or closing the place down at night with weight-training sessions.

But this wasn’t always the case.

Unhappy with weight

Both Gothenburg residents, now in shape at 215 pounds, decided to make a change after realizing how unhappy they were.

Schwanz, who works for Union Pacific Railroad in North Platte, said he has battled thinness his entire life.

Although some people said he had an athletic build when he weighed 150 pounds, he didn’t agree.

“I was frustrated after working out for a couple years and not getting desired gains,” Schwanz said. “At one point I got asked if I was sick because of how thin I was.”

Simants, a Gothenburg High School senior, struggled in a completely different way.

Decision brings results

He weighed 285 pounds as a freshman in high school and made up his mind to change while sitting in his dad’s pickup truck.

“I realized I wasn’t happy being overweight,” Simants said. “I hopped on the treadmill when we got home.”

Schwanz and Simants took different approaches to producing results.

“The first time I ran it was for 10 minutes at five miles per hour,” Simants said. “It killed me.”

He kept at it and eventually got to the point where he could run for 30 minutes without tiring.

With new habits, he said he stepped on the scale and noticed his weight was going down.

“I was dropping almost 20 pounds a week from running and cutting back on my eating,” Simants said.

Weight loss through running

He ran regularly for almost a year and lost 125 pounds dropping to 160.

Both Schwanz and Simants became preoccupied with working out and addicted to their results.

“I couldn’t believe I lost that much weight from running. It got to the point where it’s all I thought about,” Simants said.

Schwanz, however, began researching information from magazines and getting information from people he was working out with.

“I found out how to eat and changed my diet, forcing myself to eat breakfast and eat properly,” Schwanz said. “After that, I started seeing big gains nd it kept me going.”

Schwanz added that working out is what he does for fun.

“Working out is my hobby,” he said.

Both gym-goers have seen personal lows that have been lifted to confidence with humility.

Confidence grows

Schwanz said his confidence has grown immensely and he has become humble through his trials.

“I had to stick with it,” Schwanz said. “It took a lot of discipline.”

Simants echoed the positive impact working out has had on his life.

“I went to school and my friends didn’t even know who I was,” Schwanz said. “I’m emotionally and physically happy. Looking good gives you confidence.”

A shoulder injury acted as a blessing in disguise for Simants 1 years ago.

Injury brings changes

“It hurt my shoulder to run so I looked at other outlets to lose weight,” he said. “I read somewhere that lifting weights burns calories too.”

Even though he had no experience with weight training he consulted Gothenburg High School football coach Craig Haake for strength tips.

Now, Simants prefers leg press and bench press over running on the treadmill and for good reason.

He said he went from not being able to lift plates (135 pounds) on a bench press to reaching his personal best of 255 pounds this fall.

Simants gained 45 pounds of “good” weight back.

Both Simants and Schwanz are looking ahead for challenges or inspiration.

Exercise in college plans

Simants plans to pursue something in the exercise science field after high school.

Schwanz, who has competed in strongman competitions in the past, is exploring possible competition options in the area.

“I’m never satisfied with where I am,” he said. “Right now I want to bulk with some extra fat and in the summer I will want to be leaner but maybe five pounds heavier. I set little goals.”

Both men said they faced challenges daily to go to the gym and to eat properly.

“I’m an example of what hard work can do,” Simants said.

But like Schwanz said earlier—working out may become addictive, it may become fun and it could possibly become your next hobby.

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