WHEN Dave Grainger first walked into Kiss Gym weighing 24 stone he never dreamed a year later he would take on the Swindon half marathon.
But that is exactly what the 36-year-old from Cheney Manor is preparing to do next month after shifting seven stone and taking on the Tough Mudder challenge earlier this year.
“After I finished the Tough Mudder I needed something else to work towards,” he said.
“I really missed going to the gym, so that’s why I’ve signed up for the half marathon.
“If you’d told me a year ago I would be completing the Tough Mudder I wouldn’t have believed you.
“It took me a long time to even go to the gym.
“I started with Slimming World in February 2013 and I lost two stone with them. Then I knew that I really needed to use exercise so I signed up at Kiss.
“I was a bit anxious to start with about going to the gym, and I thought that a personal trainer might help me get where I wanted to, and that’s when I called Adam.”
Despite finding his first session so tough he nearly fainted, Dave persevered, steadily shifting the pounds and working towards the Tough Mudder.
He said: “I was absolutely ecstatic when I finished it. Kiss Gym have been such an amazing support and they’ve inspired me to start my own personal training course myself very soon.”
It’s not just soaring fitness levels and a slimmer physique that Dave has gained during the past year, his journey has also helped to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
He said: “I was diagnosed with depression quite a while ago.
“Having depression is like being in a black hole.
“It’s difficult to explain. You can’t move and you can’t do anything. I have to take prescription tablets.
“But since I’ve been training my confidence and self-esteem has really improved, and I’m taking half the dose I used to.”
Dave in his weightier days
Dave says a lot of his success was down to the support of his personal trainer, Adam York.
Adam, who is also the general manager at Kiss, said he was proud about what Dave had achieved and hoped it would inspire others to be brave and start their own journeys to weight loss and fitness.
He said: “It took a lot of bravery for Dave to join the gym and start coming along.
“A lot of people who are overweight are worried that they are going to be ridiculed when they come to the gym, but actually everyone in the gym just wants to encourage and support people.
“Dave is now one of the greatest proponents of exercise outside of people who work in a gym that I know.”