Featured Athlete: Dustin Westbrook

Featured Athlete: Dustin Westbrook

My name is Dustin Westbrook and I’m a teacher and coach at Silsbee High School. If you look at the two pictures I provided, the maroon manatee that looks suspiciously like Captain Caveman is me in August 2019 weighing in at around 245 which is where I was in December of that year when I decided to start my journey of being more healthy. The other picture is of me in May 2020 around 50 pounds lighter (side note: me in that same shirt a year earlier looked like a walking busted can of Pillsbury biscuit dough). As I’m writing this, it’s mid June on my 41st birthday and I’ve lost close to 10 more pounds and there is still more to go.

 

I should start by saying that this is not my first time to swing drastically in weight. As a kid, I was never fat. I was always quite healthy. Though I would say I was more of a scholar than an athlete, I was an athlete just the same and managed to varsity 6 sports in a school known for athleticism. Then I went to college and I was no longer in athletic workouts but I ate the same, slept in, stayed out late, and found a plethora of new bad habits to aid my new found slovenly existence and slowing metabolism. In a matter of a few years I was up to 245. Then, at 29, I decided to go on a diet. No exercise, just diet.

Dieting alone, did work. Over the course of 8 months I was down to the weight I am now. The difference being, I was miserable. I looked somewhat emaciated and I was always hungry. Then, about 5 years ago, the wheels started coming off. I couldn’t keep up the diet. I would level up year after year. 190s, 210s, 220, until finally I was back where I started at 245. And that’s where I found myself on the last week of December 2019, staring in the mirror before bed thinking, “I’m halfway through 40. I should get started with that mid-life crisis everyone talks about.” Thank God I had no idea how rough 2020 was going to be without adding a new diet and workout regimen.

I started the diet first by joining WW. After a month I had lost 10 lbs (Mainly water weight but hey ̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄ I’ll take my victories where I can get em). Then there was a small setback after wisdom teeth removal. And once that was good, I went to a free Saturday CrossFit class in Lumberton and almost died. I should preface this by saying, I always questioned CrossFit. I had seen a 60 minutes special on the company and heard rumours from people that had never been to a box about drill sergeant instructors pushing you to do more in what appeared to be football offseason workouts of cleans, squats and sprints. I had the misconception that the coaches were people who had always been in good shape and were not really taking the time to ensure good form was being followed or caring about the level of ability in those they were instructing. I knew from experience as a high school coach that that was a recipe for injuries especially in 40 year olds who haven’t done anything physical in 20+ years. The only reason I went was off the recommendation of another HS coach that had once been a member and swore it was the best shape he’d ever been in in his life. I couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong about something.

 

In CrossFit Lumberton, I found a place where the coaches are knowledgeable of the lifting techniques and they pay attention to you becoming better at lifts before they allow you to push yourself too far. The workouts, alongside this diet, Has quickly brought me down to where I was averaging weight wise when I dieted alone, but I’m a waist size smaller. In addition I feel healthier and, though I do have to maintain a diet, I can cheat the diet from time to time and still lose weight. I’m happy. I know at some point I will hit a plateau, but I feel certain I will push through with the coaches help, as well as the CrossFit Lumberton community. And it’s not fun. But you know what else is not fun? Not fitting into clothes you like, worrying about heart disease and high blood pressure. Exercise, at least for me, has never been fun. I would much rather sit in the recliner all day eating cheeseburgers and watching TV, but the only thing that got me was heavy breathing while walking up flights of stairs and a George Costanza body. I’ll take a little physical unpleasantness if it means I feel better about myself and have a little more pep in my step. And I have CrossFit Lumberton to thank for that.

 

P.S. – As I wrote this, I looked into my kitchen at the magnet I have on my fridge. It’s of an overweight dog sitting behind a large pizza with the quote, “yeah I’m about fitness. Fitness whole pizza in my mouth.” It’s always good to remember who you are at your core.

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