The Road to Fitness and Sobriety
Eight months and 65 pounds lighter after joining the Y, Nikolas Knepper, 20 years old, shares his journey from homelessness to daily workouts at the Y. While living life on the streets, Nikolas never really ate, slept, or drank much water. When he got sober in rehab, he realized how much he had missed food. “When I first moved into the recovery house from rehab, I was somewhere around 210 pounds. I joined the Y in October of 2019, worked out almost daily and I’m now 145 pounds. In my mental state at the rehab, I really just ate whatever I wanted and was more worried about figuring out how to get sober rather than my physical health so I gained a lot of weight,” says Nikolas.
Nikolas worked out in his teens and maintained a healthy weight. At that time, being strong was most important to him so he would often powerlift. Then substance abuse took over and he weighed in at a mere 120 pounds when entering rehab.
Although everyone’s journey is unique, he hopes to inspire his fellow peers with what he learned about getting healthy. “If there’s one thing I can say about fad diets and fitness programs is that I don’t think they work. You only set yourself up for failure when engaging in an extremely restrictive diet that isn’t sustainable,” Nikolas shares.
“Weight loss is all about starting small by slowly incorporating healthy things in your diet and lifestyle. It also depends on what your goals are. I’ve noticed I’m in better overall shape since losing the weight but now I’ve been incorporating strength training because I want to get strong again.
“It’s a myth that losing weight will make people happy. Sure it helps your confidence and you get a general sense of accomplishment when you see how much weight you have lost and how good you look. But these things will not bring you happiness.
“I have made many friends at the YMCA and it’s always nice to converse with some of the people I know at the gym between sets and that’s what keeps me going.
“In the end it is always up to the individual to find their own sustainable workout program and diet. The most important thing is to stay focused and dedicated to your realistic goals…and always remember to set realistic goals. To me, a Y membership is a great place to come to decompress, de-stress, relax, and to get in shape,” Nikolas concludes.