Luke Withers is a 32-year-old warehouse/forklift driver who lives in Haverhill. You may have seen him around our Haverhill centre, although he looks very different from the man that first walked through our doors.
At the start of Luke’s journey, he weighed 24 stone. A year later, in December 2017, Luke had shrunk his waistband down to an incredible 11 stone – an amazing transformation!
Luke credits his success to a non-defeatist attitude, a steadfast determination to outrun hereditary diabetes and, of course, Abbeycroft’s brilliant fitness facilities. Above all, his brother Kenneth was his main source of inspiration, having lost six stone through a similar training programme.
Despite the above, Luke says there was never a moment of realisation that kick-started his training.
“I just knew I needed to sort my weight out. My dad is diabetic, it runs in the family. I didn’t want it to catch up with me.”
Along with his dad, he joined Abbeycroft Leisure and Slimming World. Luke’s goals were flexible. Get fitter and lose excess skin. He began with small bouts on the treadmill at a speed he considered running. It’s a pace he now deems walking!
“I’ve done a lot better than I expected.” Luke continued.
“Don’t get me wrong. There were days where I couldn’t be bothered but I pushed through it. Once my mind is set on something then I’m determined to see it through.“
Running has since become a regular pursuit for Luke, who used to while his time away in a very different way:
“Prior to my new fitness kick, the computer was my main hobby. It used to be uncomfortable for me to do exercise because of my weight. Now I can’t remember the last time I picked up a console. I feel like a brand new person! “Running is probably my biggest hobby these days. I’m always out and about rather than indoors.”
When Luke isn’t trying to beat his parkrun PB (an impressive 21:13) or sprinting on our treadmills at Haverhill, he’s out and about with Haverhill Running Club and taking part in races and obstacle runs.
Luke’s first 5k took 45 minutes. These days he smashes it in 20-22 minutes.
“My next big thing is the London Marathon! I applied for the next one but was sadly rejected. It won’t deter me though, I’ll keep applying,” he said
“In the meantime, I’m looking to complete half marathons.”
“Stick with it! Results may be slow but it’s different for everyone.
“Just because it’s slow, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get there, even if it may seem that others are getting there faster. Accept challenges and always try and better yourself as you go along.”
Speaking highly of Abbeycroft for their part in the process, Luke said:
“They were really friendly and helpful. They gave me plenty of advice throughout the process.”