Meet Our New Athlete - Jonathan Clark
Growing up, Jonathan Clark was always 'the chubby kid', which made him self conscious about his weight. He turned to alcohol and food and developed an unhealthy relationship with both. Now, he's turned to fitness to help him grow.
How Jonathan Clark ditched the alcohol, lost the weight, and turned his life around.
I've been asked to write a blog post, so the Be Defiant family could get to know me better.
It was actually quite daunting. It meant I had to sit down and actually think about who I am, and how I got to the position I'm in now, up to becoming part of the Be Defiant team.
Growing up I was always 'the chubby kid', which made me self conscious about my weight. Luckily I was never really bullied or picked on because of my weight, but the odd comment here or there over the years, which still had an impact.
Even as a teenager, internally I was full of anxieties and demons about how I looked, felt. I always put on a brave face. I put on a show and was the loudest in the room, the cheekiest, and the one always having a laugh.
I had loving parents and siblings at home. My mother was a nurse and carehome owner, working hard to give us everything we could want. My father suffered mental health issues for a big part of our childhood / teenage years. As a result, we were very empathetic and understanding to how other people could be feeling. It helped us become aware of mental health issues from a young age. Just not having a true grasp and understanding until adulthood.
Before I found the gym I was over 300lbs, full of anxiety about being struck by the same mental health issues my father experienced. Binge eating and drinking heavily multiple times a week was my norm, until I realised something had to change.
Finally deciding to get fit was the best decision I ever made. It’s had its ups and downs, but I can say proudly that I’ve gone through many phases. I even dieted down to a lean 152lbs, half the weight I started at.
How Fitness improved my mental health
I eventually found a love for powerlifting. After suffering many injuries, coincided with scale weight fluctuations and a car crash that left me needing back surgery, I knew that I had to take a step back and re-evaluate what was going to be best for my health. The best choice I ever made was stepping foot into the my first Fitness class last year.
The feeling I get from Fitness, be it training by myself (which I mainly do) or the atmosphere in the box is unlike any other feeling from training. I’m not lifting as heavy as I was, but learning new skills, pushing myself each session and am around other people going through the same journey.
That feeling of “why the F am I doing this half way through a WOD”, to that post WOD euphoria is unmatched by any other style of training for me.
My story now. 2 Years sober, and growing as a person.
I'm now 2 and half years sober, still suffer from anxiety and my relationship with food could be improved, BUT I’m open about talking about my issues which has helped me so much.
I am a qualified coach of 5 years, and adore coaching others. I have (blowing my own trumpet here) helped so many other people improve their quality of life, just like health and fitness has done for myself and my family as a direct result.
Having anxieties is normal, as a father, a fiancé and someone who works in healthcare and coaching, I will always have worries and anxieties about those I look after. That’s okay.
It’s important to talk with those closest to you if you’re struggling with your mental health. I didn’t for years and it only got worse, and didn’t help me or anyone around me.
I’m very fortunate that I have the most amazing fiancé, family and friends around me without them I wouldn’t be the man I am today. Thanks for allowing me to share my story, it's a pleasure to be a part of the team.
You can follow Jonathan on Instagram to stay up to date with his journey.