Talking ’bout a resolution? Sarah Hinson weighs in on three Savannahians who’ve revolutionized their bodies—and their lives. Photography by Teresa Earnest
“I used to say I was ‘fat and happy,’ but it was far from true!” says Andi Missroon, a self-proclaimed “couch potato.”
The 46-year old wife and mother was content with an active social life—just not the trips, falls and inactivity affiliated with being overweight. After suffering from several injuries in 2010 at a weight of 230 lbs., including a hip contusion and plantar fasciitis—a strain in the arch of her foot—Missroon began to consider her future quality of life. She decided that being overweight was too much of a risk. She wanted to stop falling down, and eventually run a half-marathon. So she opted for “fit and happy” instead, and called up Drew Edmonds of Train Me 24/7 in November 2010.
Drew and his wife, Shazi, own the fitness center and have worked with the likes of celebrity chef Paula Deen and Ruby Gettinger from the Style Network’s Ruby. He and his trainers offer comprehensive one-on-one sessions catered to the needs and goals of each client. They recently partnered with West Rehab & Sports Medicine to combine the efforts of both groups’ fitness and nutrition experts and physical therapists.
Missroon stands out, even among celebrity clientele, due to her level of dedication and dramatic transformation.
“Working with Andi has been one of the highlights of my 16-year personal training career,” Edmonds says. “We struggled through tears, complaints, vent sessions and laughter to reach each and every goal. Although we continue to assign new achievements for the future, it is impossible to look back at her progress and accomplishments and feel anything but proud.”
After working out with Edmonds two to three days a week for three years, focusing on building her core strength and increasing her resting metabolic rate to burn more calories, Missroon has lost more than 60 lbs. She competes in half marathons and triathlons. Once a carryout-food junkie, she is now an advocate of the Paleo diet—a trending diet plan consisting of foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors might have consumed, such as grass-fed beef, seafood, nuts, seeds and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Missroon continues to serve as an example to others with similar aspirations.
“I would say she’s inspired about 20 of her friends,” Edmonds says. “When someone has such a positive change, it’s like a catalyst. People will want to be a part of it.”
Missroon credits Edmonds with being the cornerstone of her transformation, along with her own critical lifestyle changes. Thanks to their combined efforts, the future is bright for this triathlete.
“When I look ahead I see a whole different future for myself and my family,” Missroon says. “I don’t ever plan to give that up!”
The Heart of an Athlete
When Les Vann, general manager of the television station WJCL, came to Savannah in January 2013, finding a personal trainer was at the top of his to-do list. Two years after discovering that he had an 85 percent blockage in one of his arteries, Vann was the heaviest he’s ever been at 245 lbs. After stent placement surgery and cardiac rehab, he started working with a personal trainer in Cincinnati, where he lived at the time.
“I really needed the discipline and encouragement,” Vann says. “Having a trainer makes you keep the commitment to get work done.”
By March 2013 he was strength training with Julie Ralston at Spine & Sport two to three times per week. At this point, he was down to 202 lbs.
With the addition of an exercise regimen came the removal of some of his favorite foods.
“Like a lot of Midwesterners, I’m a filet-mignon-and-potato kind of guy,” Vann says. “Now I’ve cut out starches and most red meat. I eat lots of vegetables and drink lots of water.”
Despite the sacrifices, it’s been well worth the effort. Vann is just about to hit his next goal of 185 lbs.
“I really needed the discipline and encouragement,” Vann says. “Having a trainer makes you keep the commitment to get work done.
The trainer says that with the weight loss Vann’s endurance has improved tremendously.
“He has begun training for a 5K and is handling the running sessions exceptionally well,” Ralston says.
Vann says he has many motivators—not just the health scare back in 2009 or Ralston’s constant encouragement, but also his baby granddaughter. Like Missroon, he wants to be there for his family’s future.
And one of the biggest perks?
“People have noticed and made comments and compliments,” Vann says.
Losing to Win
Marc Dorce and his wife, Hanna, began visiting Crossfit Hyperformance at the beginning of last year. Dorce, a 32-year-old pharmacy technician, was running regularly but was still dependent on an inhaler. He initially started Crossfit to support his wife’s efforts to lose weight, but he soon found his own incentive.
“In Crossfit, you work to make your strengths stronger and neutralize your weaknesses by attacking them,” Dorce’s trainer, Jennifer McKenzie, explains. “Marc stands out as a quiet storm by constantly addressing his weak areas and progressively mastering new skill after new skill.”
McKenzie adds that Dorce is not afraid to push himself in a workout as he begins to feel comfortable with feeling uncomfortable—another goal in Crossfit, a high-intensity fitness regimen of “constantly varied functional movements.”
Dorce has lost 20 lbs. in the past year, gaining back about half of the weight in muscle. He started out strong, entering the Whole Life Challenge in February—an 8-week lifestyle boot camp that includes nutritional changes and exercise—along with Hanna and 80 other members of Crossfit Hyperformance. He won the award for highest body transformation among the men, and Hanna came in second for the women.
“Doing this with someone close to you is really helpful,” Dorce says. “My wife can deadlift more than me,” he admits, “so that really gets me motivated.”
Dorce’s new goals are more fitness-oriented than weight-loss driven. He wants to be able to do 10 pull-ups and complete the rope climb at the gym. But the most exciting results so far, he says, are everyday differences.
“Like, when I accidentally leave the door open and it’s raining, and I have to run back and close the door,” he says. “I don’t get winded anymore.”
McKenzie celebrates Dorce’s victories—and his inspiring attitude.
“Marc is a testament to the changes that can happen when you continually push the limits a little bit at a time,” she explains.
But Dorce is quick to give the credit to his Crossfit team and trainer.
“You walk in and someone is there to cheer you on,” Dorce says. “It’s not really about competition there—it’s about community.”