Image above: Brent Keyes from 2009 to 2011
In late 2009 Abby Keyes had begun preparation to open a Barefoot facility in Watertown, South Dakota.
She was going through our qualification process, studying everything from functional anatomy to nutrition while going through our workouts and dialing in her eating habits when she was joined by her very first and most important client: her husband, Brent.
Brent was overweight to the point that it endangered his health and it was effecting everything about his quality of life. He made a decision that it was time to take control, and he began to change.
Brent has completely transformed his body. He has a newfound athleticism and energy, sleeps well, can run through the park with his daughter and many of his relatives who saw him just last year don’t even recognize him.
It’s an amazing process, and Brent and Abby have been kind enough to share the story.
Brent: “I remember when I was at my peak weight of 285 pounds. I wanted a Harley motorcycle so bad and Abby wouldn’t let me have one. She told me she loved me too much to see me get killed on a bike. But she finally got tired of me talking about it, and we made a deal: If I dropped my weight down to 210 pounds, I could buy one.
Abby: “Brent’s health was, as he said, like an 80 year old man. He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea – he had to sleep with a c-pap machine – and his anxiety was out of control.
He had no energy at all. He pretty much came home and planted himself in the chair for the rest of the night. He had no energy to play with our daughter. He would almost never come on walks or bike rides with me. If he did he would be tired after only a few blocks and would go back home. His heart would race just from going on a short walk, which escalated the anxiety problem. I tried for a long time to convince him that with regular exercise it would make him feel better.”
Brent: “We started with small changes every few weeks. No more soda. More vegetables. Less fried stuff. Fish oil. The changes added up. By December of 2010 I had lost 45 pounds. This was with dietary changes alone.”
Abby: “At this point, he did not feel “good enough” to work out yet. He said that it made his heart race and was painful.
We had a vacation coming up in March and he wanted to get down to 220 by then, so he started working out slowly, using an elliptical machine. This against my advice because I didn’t want him to waste his time but we compromised on it.
Soon he came around started doing the workouts I gave him. It was at that point that we decided to make a change in our diet from eating “pretty healthy” to eating paleo. I threw out a lot of junk and didn’t buy any more. I remember Brent came home for lunch one day and was complaining because there “wasn’t anything to eat.” Nothing that wasn’t healthy in other words.
He met his vacation goal. At first when he started working out he just wanted to see a number on the scale. Then his mindset changed and he decided he wanted to be stronger, leaner, and more healthy.”
Brent: “One of my highest points since starting this process was wake boarding for the first time of the season. The last time I was on the water was nine months earlier and before I started the Barefoot workouts. I got up quicker, was far more athletic on the board, and did tricks that I had never done before. This wasn’t because I had been practicing, but because my body was in so much better physical shape. I went with my brother, who is strictly a runner, and he called me that evening to ask if I was as sore as he was. I said ‘nope, I feel great.’ Barefoot has trained my body to tackle anything I want to do.
I have to admit, one of the best parts of all of this is the compliments I get. Not a day goes by where I don’t get at least one person commenting on my transformation. Even my own aunt didn’t recognize me at a graduation party when I hadn’t seen her for about six months.”
Abby: “In March he did the V Diet. After that he was down to about 200. He is doing Barefoot workouts 3 times a week now and is very faithful to his diet. He has even dropped a few more pounds since finishing that diet.”
Brent: “One of the most insightful moments I had was when I recently went in for my annual physical with my doctor. Right away, he could see I had lost a tremendous amount of weight, but after he took my vitals and ran blood work, he was amazed and so was I.
My blood work came back perfect in every category. Blood pressure was below the standard “120/80″. He told me that he didn’t know what I was doing, but to keep doing it. He said I had added another 20 years to my life. Amazing how a lifestyle change can have such a huge impact.”
Abby: “Last time I knew he weighed 196. He is a totally different person. He is very active with our daughter, he asks me if I want to go for bike rides or walks. And he never misses a workout day. It’s pretty cool to think he lost more weight in just a few months than he had lost in the whole previous year.”
Brent: “Another awesome moment was when my father in law was looking at a picture of a group of us guys on vacation and he said “you are no longer the fat guy in the pictures”. And it was true, my whole life I was the chubby guy in every group.
But the ultimate feeling is playing with my daughter now and being able to keep up with her. Run, jump, play, climb, and roll with her without getting out of breath. Before I started this, I physically couldn’t do those things. I was a “sideline Dad”.
Here I am at 196 and I still don’t have a Harley. Not because I can’t have one, but because now I don’t want one. They are dangerous, and I have so much more to live for now with a daughter that I don’t need the risk.”
Update: Brent is still in great shape, and trains at Barefoot 3 days per week. He’s now lean enough that he’s been focused on slowly gaining lean muscle and strength while staying active outdoors.
Here’s Brent and Abby in Costa Rica, 2015: