Paying it Forward

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Our good friend, Jonathan McHenry, before and after his own transformation! - Learn more at
Our good friend, Jonathan McHenry, before and after his own transformation!

Chris and I consider ourselves blessed to have the jobs that we do. Not only do we have a front row seat to watching peoples? lives change on the show, but we also get to see some of them do something so powerful – pay it forward. More than a handful of our peeps have used the tools they’ve gathered along their journey to change the lives of others. Jonathan McHenry, from season 2, is one of those people. Soon after his year with us ended, he became certified as a bootcamp instructor and began transforming lives himself!

Meet Don. A man whose life will forever be changed by our good friend, Jonathan.

We are so proud of you both πŸ™‚

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Paying it Forward…
with Jonathan McHenry

I went to school with Don’s daughter and my wife played softball with her throughout high school. When my show aired last year she had him watch it. He heard that I was a personal trainer and led a bootcamp. He decided that what better way to lose weight than work with someone who knew what it felt like to be 500+ pounds.

When Don first showed up to just talk about the class he couldn’t take more than 10 steps without having to hold on to something. He walked in and asked if we had a bench he could sit on. He then proceeded to tell us that his daughter was getting married in 13 months and he wanted to be able to walk her down the aisle with no problems. He was ready to do what it took. His highest weight was 502 lbs. After being in my camp for a year he now weighs 390 lbs. The biggest thing isn’t that he lost over 110 lbs, its that he did it with no cartilage in his knee, a fused foot, arthritis in his back and that he weighed over 500 lbs. OH, and he is over 60 years old!

The best thing about Don is how hard he works. He always gives his best even if that means he could embarrass himself by falling or failing. He is always leading by example and pushing himself hard in class which inspires others to push hard. I have heard people say ‘I mean why do I need a break when someone who is over 60 and weighs more than I do is still pushing it’.

When we first met he could barely walk into our studio and last week he accomplished one of his goals by walking continuously 1 mile up a big hill in our town. His journey reminds me of mine. I was so nervous my first class but I always showed up and tried to work the hardest. As I started seeing results, I knew that I could help others and he feels the same. He plans on getting certified as a trainer and working at Annapolis Fitness with me helping older, heavier people take back their lives.

The moment I saw him walking his daughter down the aisle yesterday, it was so emotional. I could see someone who was so proud that he was there and doing what he said he would do 13 months prior. He walked her down a long aisle on a hilly terrain on a golf course with no problem.

I will never forget the teary hug we shared after the wedding. Both crying as we shared in his success. It felt like the finale of our own TV episode. Some of his family hadn’t seen him in over a year and were shocked by how he looks now.

We committed again yesterday that we were not done, but writing a new chapter starting this Monday.

Our good friend, Jonathan McHenry, before and after his own transformation! - Learn more at
Jonathan’s Before and After of his own Transformation Journey

Want to connect with Jonathan? Find and follow him here:


21 Responses

  1. Last question for this week any way….you eat 3 hours when you start a meal or when you finish….Some meals take a while to eat

  2. I have a bad back, bad knees, most of my life I weighted 136, now I weight too much. Went to doctors no one could help me, just fatter and fatter every month. I don’t want to die fat, I want to lose the weight, I am never hungry. Please help, something is wrong

    1. Grab a copy of “Choose More, Lose More for Life” and show the meal plan to your doctor and start there. You can do this!

    1. You typically would have two servings of veggies but that does not always mean 2 cups. See the recipes in “Choose More, Lose More for Life” for examples. πŸ™‚

  3. Thanks for sharing and inspiring others Chris & Heidi. Jonathan has vowed to pay it forward and is doing so here at Annapolis Fitness. We are very proud of them both and many others are taking back their lives as well in the programs ran by our trainers and proving that it can be done regardless of where you’re at physically. Thanks for coaching, helping, and inspiring Jonathan. His experience and continuing growth and fight with his own health and fitness is a real world example to those who feel they are too far gone. Incredible change happens in your life when YOU decide to take control. Thank you for inspiring people to make that decision! Sincerely, The Staff at Annapolis Fitness.

  4. Was surprised to see this article! Don is my neighbor and I have seen him working out with Jonathan a few times this past year, when I would frequent the coffee shop next to Annapolis Fitness. I am happy to see him making an effort to change his lifestyle!! πŸ™‚

  5. Love it! I am starting a group of trainers that have all lost over 100 lbs. Paying it forward to everyone!!

  6. That’s awesome. I have a fused hip and I find it difficult to figure out how to exercise properly. Maybe someday I’ll get it figured out! Bravo to you both!

  7. Wonderful!! I love that your job makes other people realize the power that they already have in themselves. Amazing! Keep up the inspirational work! Peace and love to you and to Chris…

  8. As a female approaching 60 and weighing in at 328 lbs. I can relate to Don’s before life. My major interim goal was to get below 200 lbs. by my 60th birthday on 1/1/11. I made it almost two months early and hit my goal of 160 lbs. a few months later. I couldn’t walk 10 ft. without hurting and panting either. Today I do 5K’s with no pain and no gasping for breath. Almost two and a half years into maintaining my 175-lb. weight loss, my life has changed drastically–for the BETTER! I am no longer limited by my obesity and am able to do just about anything I want. Life is good!! It truly never is too late to change your life. Today, at 62, I am living proof of that.

  9. This is so inspiring! I am an avid boot camper and although I am not over weight I have seen the benefits of working out. I have severe asthma and nearly passed out after 15 minutes my first class. Now I am down to 1 medication at half the normal dose. I am able to push myself harder than I ever thought possible. Having a healthy diet and working out regularly is the best feeling in the world. Kiddos to everyone who has decided to change their lives and make this a priority in their life.

  10. I have just started the carb cyle diet and have bought both Chris Powell’s books, but I still have a few questions….What happens if you can’t eat every 3 hours because of scheduling? Also, am I supposed to eat 2 cups of veggies every meal? I can not stomach it in the morning.

  11. So amazing!!!

    I knew Don when I was a teenager, and he was a very commited father and a hard worker. I am so proud of him for losing the weight!!! Keep it up!!! Congrats to you and your beautiful daughter.

  12. This is awesome. My mom has health issuse and needs to lose weight so this gives me hope she can do it even if doesn’t realize she can yet.

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