ReinVENT Community: Steven Butler

One day my son and I were talking about sports. I said, “I used to play football before I was your team coach.” He looked at me and said, “But Dad how can you play that? You can’t even run?” I told him I never used to be like this.

Meet Steven Butler, the Latham ReinVENT Challenge Community Member

Steve’s weight gain was due to a common problem: life choices

I played sports growing up, baseball and football were my favorites. At age 16, I joined as a volunteer fire fighter in Defreestville. I kept in good shape, hovering around 200 pounds or so. At the time I got hired, I was around 235 pounds, aced my physical agility test and then fell into a workout slump. Over the next ten years I gained 100 pounds.

My weight gain was due to my hours. I was working two jobs, full-time with the fire department and a part time job at a machine company. I would work 100 to 120 hours a week depending on the week. Work left zero time for my health and wellness. I ended up getting injured on the job, rehab sidelined me for months. Its tough when you’re 350 pounds and trying to workout. It’s not an easy task.

Steve was nominated by his mother who encouraged him to start his weight-loss journey for over a year

My mother joined VENT about a year and a half ago. She had been trying to get me to go with her. I fell into a slump: I didn’t want to exercise, I was going through the day-to-day motions. She’s always been on me about my weight and getting healthy. The toughest part for me to mentally get over was that I used to work out; I let myself down and gained almost 150 pounds.

I went with my mom a few times to VENT as her guest, I liked it but wasn’t ready to join. I knew that I needed more than a membership to change my life. I needed support to make me accountable for making the changes. We were talking about the ReinVENT Challenge, I told her that if I was nominated and picked that I would give the Challenge 120% of all I have. When I got the call that I had been selected to represent the Latham VENT I was shocked! I’m also on the same Challenge team as my Mom, #teamphil

Steve’s weight impacted more than his health, it began to affect his career

As a fireman I do everything from driving the fire truck, grabbing the hose line, breaking down doors to putting out the fire. On any given day I could be doing anything, running the pump, cutting roofs, extinguishing the fire, doing a search… it depends on the call. With an extra 80 pounds of gear on, running up and down stairs, my body tires out faster pushing 350 pounds.

As the Latham ReinVENT Community Challenge member, Steve’s workouts focus on exercises that help him serve his community

I’m an 11 year veteran with the Rennsselaer Fire Department who has been out of service three times with back injuries. Firefighters are at an increased chance of back injury because most of the time we are bent over picking up heavy hoses, fire fighting equipment, debris, you name it we are on it. Our bodies are in odd positions and we have to make snap decisions in emergency situations. This was something discussed in my E3 Experience before I started the Challenge.

My trainer, Phil, knows my history, how I use my body everyday, what my limitations are – he gives me modifications on planking, push-ups, crab walks and bear crawls so that pressure isn’t on my shoulders or back. He can help me before I struggle and hurt myself. I like that Phil has a hard edge as a football player! He knows how to motivate me and push me to keep coming back for more training outside of my team workouts.

In my personal training sessions with Phil two exercises he includes are kettle bell swings and squats. I’ve found that kettle bell swings help with strengthening my core and back. The squats give me power to push through legs. The big thing I have learned in my personal training sessions is proper form. Phil has taught me how to mentally prepare my body to move the weight before I touch it.

As a ReinVENT Challenge participant, Steve also has access to NXT sessions like STRIKE and BOOTCAMP

I did my first BOOTCAMP with my team and loved it. The rope slams help me with grip strength. I think of them like grabbing hose lines and pulling them! I’m the new kid on the team and I like how we cheer each other on and workout together. My team knows that I’m the Latham Community Member. Before I met them, they knew me. I’m friends with my team members on Facebook, we are taking sessions together and I’m looking forward to the Team Challenge events!

Written by: Michael Arce, VENT Fitness, Marketing Manager