he first days of class at Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping can be a little intimidating.
FXB attendees show up to the Columbus location of the fitness franchise, where they are split into groups. Their body fat percentage is measured. They do situps, pushups and their baseline of fitness is recorded. They strip down to their underwear, and Farrell’s staff snap a photo.
Perhaps it’s the camera angle, but Bryan Moorman’s “before” photo on the first day of class in January 2013 shows a certain reticence. Facing to the side, the then-48-year-old’s stomach juts over the waistband of his boxer shorts.
Story continues below gallery
At 241 pounds and 29 percent body fat, Moorman had some issues. He relied on a machine at night to help deal with sleep apnea. He was on cholesterol medication and, in the wake of an annual physical, he would add a new blood pressure medication to the list of pills he had to take everyday. Occasionally, Moorman would walk with a cane to offset the knee and back pain he experienced regularly.
Moorman, director of Mid-Range information technology at Cummins, knew at least some of the drill at FXB. He had had watched his wife, Susie, go through the 10-week program and noted her success. Susie Moorman recalls the couple’s first visit to FXB in summer of 2012, when Bryan took a look at the group class doing warmups.
“He said, ‘Oh, I can’t do that,’ and he left,” she said.
Susie Moorman stuck with the August 2012 class. Her husband waited until the next January to cast his hat into the fitness ring, however.
A bearded Bryan Moorman showed up Jan. 5, 2013, for the first day of class.
“He was very quiet,” said Erik Piper, who co-owns the Columbus Farrell’s with his wife, Lindsay Piper. “Perhaps because he was uncomfortable, he could strike you as standoffish and a little gruff.”
Pam Green, a coworker who also served as Moorman’s team coach, watched as he went through the paces of the first night of his 10-week training.
“I think he was maybe a little bit overwhelmed,” Green said. “He was maybe thinking, as most people do, ‘What have I signed myself up for?’ Often, that first week, people are trying to figure out not only what the routine is, but how they’re going to adjust to that routine.”
Adjustments made, Moorman took to the program with an unrivaled passion. He recorded his food intake to the Nth degree, Green said.
Susie Moorman noticed that all of the oranges in the kitchen bore tattoos after she brought them home from the grocery. Her husband was measuring the diameter of each and writing it on the skins.
“That’s the hardest part for most people — to be that dedicated,” she said. “And he was.”
In his first five weeks on the program, which includes a nutritional program and lifestyle coaching as well as strength and cardio training, Moorman lost 20 pounds.
At week 10, he joked that he would receive a T-shirt for perfect attendance. Instead, he took home the $1,000 prize that’s awarded to one or two people each quarter. He also lost 22 more pounds, for a 10-week total loss of 42 pounds.
A continuing act
But the show wasn’t over.
Moorman became a Fit Member — that is, a Farrell’s member who has completed the initial 10-week program. The lifestyle changes continued.
Before beginning at FXB, a dinner out at a steakhouse might include all the bread he could eat and a deep-fried appetizer, followed by a full meal. Now, he will ditch the bread and sugar-based salad dressings, opting for a lighter meat and a complex carbohydrate such as a sweet potato.
As the weight shrank, his outlook grew more positive.
“Hopefully, I come across as happier to those around me,” Moorman said.
Annually, the Cedar Falls, Iowa-based Farrell’s conducts a competition for all of the franchise’s Fit Members. With the help of the Pipers, Moorman submitted his entry, which includes “before” and “after” photos, vital stats and an essay, vying for a $10,000 prize.
“While FXB is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I’ve undertaken in life,” he wrote, “the payback has been equally unparalleled. Through FXB’s balanced teaching in nutrition, cardio and strength training, I’ve reclaimed my life.”
He weighed in at 173.6 pounds. Moorman’s other numbers show a stark contrast as well.
Initial stats show 24 pushups in one minute, and the same number of situps. Moorman’s final stats show 73 pushups per minute and 65 situps.
His time in the mile run shrank from a 12-minute, 17-second struggle to a gliding six minutes, 10 seconds. With his doctor’s approval, he dropped his cholesterol machine, his CPAP machine and his joint pains. His blood pressure sank.
“Finally,” he wrote, “I’m slowly getting used to the fact that when I look in the mirror, I now see a new ‘fit guy’ that I’d previously never known.”
Moorman, the Pipers, and all of Farrell’s waited for the 2014 contest results to come in. Although a Minnesota man who had lost 180 pounds took top national honors, Moorman placed highly as a regional runner-up. His prize: A free year at Farrell’s and the satisfaction of knowing he did well.
In his “after” photo, a quiet confidence replaced the hesitance in Moorman’s eyes. His abs are chiseled, and the lower half of his face, now beardless, flashes a proud smile.
Maintenance is his goal for the time being.
“Part of it is remembering from whence I came,” Moorman said. “I think the encouragement I’ve gotten from friends and family and colleagues, that’s the incentive to keep going, in addition to the health benefits that it brings.”
Moorman knows that, although his accomplishments might look complicated, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to feature a difficult diet or a miserable workout.
“Nutritious eating can be as fun and satisfying as a junk food diet. And so can exercise,” he said. “If you don’t like to run, don’t run. If you enjoy walking or hiking, do that. I think it’s important to find the right workout that fits your interest.”
Moorman serves as a role model for the FXB family.
“He lives a healthy lifestyle every day. A lot of people look up to him,” Green said. “If you knew Bryan before, you would not recognize him today.”