April 2023 Member Spotlight: Marty Delaney

Marty and Alicia joined our Fit Fam last June and they are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  They have fully embraced all that Forward Fitness has to offer by participating in the Forward Fitness Games and the 100 Workout Challenge.  Marty joined the Run Club this spring and has set a goal to cover his entire bingo square this April. I am very excited for all of you to get to know a little more about Marty as our April Member Spotlight. 

I asked Marty to tell us about his life before Forward Fitness and this is what he shared.  “I was born in Alton, IL and have two older sisters, with whom I frequently fought. I grew up a nerd. Many of my earliest memories are of watching my dad play Doom on his computer, helping him take apart and put back together that and other computers, and being at my grandpa’s house playing video games with cousins that I’m still close to today. I loved school and in 4th, 6th, and 7th grade I won first place in my district’s math competition. (I wasn’t allowed to go in 5th grade because I had too many detentions.)

I have always been a big guy (I was born at 10lbs 15oz) and have always had sedentary hobbies, so even as a kid I struggled with weight. I played some sports including baseball, soccer, and basketball, but I never excelled at any because I hated running (which I now, oddly enough, really enjoy). I did love swimming, though, and my first jobs were lifeguarding at the local YWCA and Raging Rivers water park.

When I was in my early 20s and was finally starting to grow up, I dropped out of college (I had transferred to 4 different schools and had no idea what to do with my life) and started working at a local pizza place. I realized I needed to start working on my fitness. I used to go from the pizza place I worked at in Bethalto to a track near my apartment in Alton and would just run until I got tired before going home. I lost a lot of weight and fell in love with the clarity and peace I got when going for a run.

After meeting my now wife, Alicia, I started taking my career more seriously and used my love of computers to get a job with Geek Squad. When I started working in-home and driving the Geekmobile most of the day, I started putting back on the weight I had lost from running. I became very sedentary and would eat fast food while on the road. This didn’t improve when I started working overnights in a data center or when I started working in office at MilliporeSigma, where I work today.

Just before the pandemic, Alicia and I made a plan to make our health more of a priority and tried joining Planet Fitness. It definitely wasn’t the right fit for us. Then, shortly after joining, the world shut down. We also tried doing some exercises from home, but without accountability, encouragement, or knowledge on how to build workouts, we didn’t succeed much.” 

Marty had this to say about fitness and personal challenges that he has struggled with. “When it comes to challenges with fitness, I’ve always had a habit of overeating, especially stress eating, but I’m much better about those when I track food and have encouragement and accountability from those around me. I’ve also had a history with workout inconsistency, but Forward Fitness has helped me completely change my attitude towards that. Now I feel weird when I haven’t worked out for two days in a row!

On a personal level, the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to overcome was the loss of my father to suicide when I was 25. It has taken me years to appreciate how that loss has affected me and my family, and it took me a long time to find male role models outside of my family. Losing my dad, especially in that way, taught me to really be grateful for those around me, and to always make sure they know how important they are to me and to others. You never know how someone else may be struggling.”

Marty and Alicia found Forward Fitness when they were looking for a gym “that would be more personal than a ‘big box’ gym, somewhere close so it would be easier to work up motivation to go there regularly. We both recognized how inactive we’d become, and I was experiencing knee pain that had gotten worse over recent years. We got so lucky when we found Forward Fitness because it has provided all of the things we dreamed of in a gym and so much more.”

Before joining Forward Fitness, Marty didn’t make fitness a priority in his life. “I was definitely at a low point when it came to my fitness. But for the past 10 months, Forward Fitness has been a glue that has helped me feel more mentally and physically “together”. Working out as a couple has been so much fun for me and my wife Alicia. I’ve made new friends and really feel a part of a community, something that had been missing in my life before this, especially during the pandemic. I have learned how to appreciate my body and my capabilities, all while feeling better than I have in years.” 

Now Marty has several fitness accomplishments to be proud of. “In recent years, completing the 100-workout challenge and soon, getting an April bingo coverall. My next goal is to get back to doing full pushups (300 pounds is heavy). In the long term, I’d love to go rock climbing again and see where my journey with running takes me, maybe a half marathon or something even greater.”

What advice would Marty give to someone thinking about adding a fitness routine to their life? “Do it. Don’t just consider it. Make it happen no matter what it is, even if it is just starting with walks around the neighborhood. I wish I had started sooner and taking that first step will only make your life better and more fulfilling.”

Here are a few more fun facts about Marty:  His favorite food by a landslide is curry. “South Indian is definitely the best, but North Indian, Thai, and Japanese curries are all delicious as well. Curry Club in Chesterfield has the best curry I’ve ever tasted, but Turmeric on Delmar is an acceptable second when I don’t want to drive 30+ minutes. I also love tie-dye and have more tie-dye shirts than non-tie-dye shirts. Except for my workout shirts, but I hope to dye those soon too! Alicia and I love mini golf. Our last vacation was to Myrtle Beach specifically because it is the “mini golf capitol of the world.” We take a picture every time one of us gets a hole-in-one!”

Share your thoughts