Name: John Hayes Alias: Dude (formerly Big Dude) Age:30 Starting weight: 305 lbs. Current Weight: 180 lbs.
If you're lucky enough to have had a conversation with John Hayes, you know he is intelligent, warm and friendly, If you've ever taken a class with him, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that when class starts, he becomes supremely focused and transforms into a beast, cranking out wattages that most people can only dream of! We at Evolution ByCycle have had the pleasure of watching this remarkable transformation happen right before our eyes.
John’s fitness journey began when he came to Evolution in June of 2016, hopped on bike #4 and began to pedal. At Evolution he found friendship, inspiration, emotional support and expert coaching. John made the commitment, tracked his progress, and worked hard in every class. He practiced kaizen, a Japanese word Jenn frequently uses that means to strive for constant improvement. In the process, John reshaped his body and lost an astounding 125 lbs! This spring, John took his skills on the road and joined Team Evolution, along with his dad (an avid outdoor cyclist) and toured the 5 Boros of NYC on 2 wheels during Bike New York’s Five Boro Bike Tour. Read more about John’s inspirational journey in his own words below.. The takeaway here is that there is no time like the present to get started on your own wellness journey!
Besides the weight loss, what other ways has cycling improved your life?
I actually started spinning long before I actually lost any significant amount of weight, with the goal of improving my outdoor cycling. The benefits were subtle at first, but in time were amazing - I clearly had more energy and stamina all the time than at any other point in my life. Gone were the days of dreading walking long distances with my friends, hiking, and climbing stairs. I actually looked forward to doing outdoor physical activities for the first time in my life.
What advice would you give to someone who was nervous or intimidated about getting started?
When I first started spinning, it was very difficult as someone who had never regularly exercised before. It took me 4-5 classes spaced 4-7 days apart to get used to it, and I was sore after every class for 4 or 5 days at first! I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if I'd given up during this time - I would have missed out on a hobby that I value and enjoy so much now! If you can stick it out, it's amazing how you quickly go from feeling drained to energized afterwards. I believe spinning is truly a hobby for anyone, in any condition, at any fitness level. I spent years spinning while weighing over 300 lbs and I never suffered any injuries.
What other lifestyle changes contributed to your transformation besides classes at Evolution?
They say "You lose weight in the kitchen, you gain health in the gym" and nothing could be more true. I spent a couple years spinning and not losing any weight, because losing weight and keeping it off requires sustainable, permanent change to your diet, and it took me a long time to figure that out. But to anyone looking to start, I'd say there's never been a better time than now, because there are so many free resources out there to help you.
Why is Evolution a good choice for your fitness sanctuary in lieu of a ‘big box’ gym?
Evolution ByCycle is different from other places I have spun at. I started coming primarily because there were evening class options I wasn't able to find anywhere else. I noticed right away that the instructors were a huge cut above what I'd had in the past, particularly at the ‘big box’ gyms. The electronic bikes are nice, and EB's system used to track your personal stats over time really drove me to improve. The community and support from my peers and instructors were amazing from day one. The environment is casual, but also more focused/personal than at other places I've been. EB is where I really started to get in tune with my technique and I've seen my athletic abilities increase massively in a way that they didn't even after years of plugging away at other places.
Anything else you'd like people to know about you, or your journey?
I think the most important thing I can say is that there isn't anything special or unique about me. I was and still am just a regular guy trying to be healthier and get better at cycling. I do the exact same thing today that I started doing about 4 years ago: spin or bike 2-3 times a week and eat better. EB has been instrumental in guiding a large part of that change, and I'm incredibly grateful to Jenn C, Jen H, Rich, and Alison in particular for their support.