ALPENA, Mich. — Throughout the year, you’ve seen plenty of our 60 Second Inspiration stories. The segment reviews the journeys of Bay Athletic Club members whose drive and determination have gotten them on a path to healthier life. Larry Donajkowski was one of those recognized. Now, he’s taken home the grand prize at Bay’s annual fitness gala. You may remember seeing his story back in June.
A visit to the doctor for a routine physical in December of 2018 was Larry’s wake up call. He weighed in at nearly 300 pounds, and his doctor suggested she would need to increase the dose of his blood pressure medicine. But Larry took this as a personal challenge.
“I wanted no part of that. So I asked her if she could give me six months to improve my health.”
That’s when he decided to start taking his diet and his amount of physical activity seriously.
“January 1 of 2019 I weighed in at 290 pounds. As of today, I’m down to 191 pounds.
Donajkowski says his journey took an incredible amount of will and discipline, and involved him going to the gym five to six times on most weeks. He says he took the time to construct most of his regimen by himself, powering changes with nothing but gym equipment, the internet, and will power.
“I just got started by a bunch of google searches. I just replaced a lot of my foods with vegetables, and almost all my foods consisted of lean meat.”
His hard work and dedication didn’t go unnoticed. Donajkowski took home the 60 Second Inspiration grand prize at this year’s annual fitness gala. The husband and father of three walked away with a five hundred dollar gift card and an extraordinary amount of confidence. He says when he first got started, it was hard to envision himself at this point.
“Being 43 years old, I never thought I would receive a standing ovation ever again in my life and I’m getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it. So it was pretty awesome.”
So far this year, Larry has completed a half marathon, and he has no plans of abandoning his own race for better health. He says he’s thankful to the people at Bay for making the transformation so easygoing.
“I highly recommend to anybody who’s looking to kick start their 2020 [to] check out the Bay Athletic Club.”
Congratulations are also in order to runners up Ron Garrow and Jennie Handrich.