Diagnosis leads to transformation: Q&A with Jeffery Woods

Jeffery Woods pictured with his family. Left to right: His daughter Laci, Woods, his wife Racquel and son Clayton.

WHEN JEFFERY WOODS’ WIFE SURPRISED him an expensive T-shirt he said, “I put it on, it looked horrible and I felt so bad”. Instead of returning the shirt, he hung it in his closet as motivation to get back into shape. Over the course of one year, the 42-year-old father of two was able to transform from a flabby 245 pounds back to the lean 187-pound athletic build he had as a high school athlete. The married 42-year-old father of two answers questions about his new lifestyle.

Who is Jeffery Woods?

I am happily married to my wife Racquel and we have two children named Laci and Clayton. Laci is a se- nior in High School and Clayton is a 1st grader. Throughout the last couple of years I have managed to work full time, support a family and complete doctor- ate in Organizational Leadership. This surely could not have been done if I did not exercise daily and maintain great eating habits. The exercise and proper diet provided me with the fuel to keep going.

How did your health start to take a turn for the worse or was it always generally poor?

Well, couple with the diagnosis of CardicSarcoidosis about 15 years ago, prednisone was prescribed and the battle began to fight the bulge. As you can see in the pics, I went from a size 32 to a 38 in no time. Prior to my illness I was al- ways fit and successfully completed the Marine Corp Marathon in 4:28. The following year as I was training for my 2nd Marathon and the JFK 50 miler I passed out during an or- ganized Flag Football Game. I will spare you the long diatribe, but it is a good story because I ended up finishing the game, Neverthe- less, fast forward 15+ years and at 12:00 Noon today, in celebration of my fitness accomplishments I am registering for the Marine Corp Marathon. In summary, I was fit once before and experienced a life altering obstacle which did not kill me, but motivate me to enjoy everyday of my life.

How bad did it get before you made a change?

My level of fitness was so bad it impacted me physically, mentally and socially. I refused to go to public pools because I was so embarrassed about my image. This saddens me to say, but I felt so bad about my image, I missed the opportunity to take my daughter to the public pools. In addition, I laughed at myself at how out of shape I was as I walked up the stairs and was out of breath.

What was the breaking point or epiphany that made you change?

Honestly, my wife gave me a really nice T-shirt and when I put it on, it looked horrible! I felt so bad because it was an expensive T-shirt and she said “I can take it back” and I said no. I hung the T- shirt up in my closet and it wearing it in public became part of my mo- tivation to get back into shape.

What fitness regimen do you use?

I utilized insanity workouts five times per week, I run 13 miles every Saturday, and I do a casual 40-mile bike ride on Sundays. I have continued this routine over the last year.What have you done to ensure maintenance of this fitness level, or are you still moving toward a goal?I continue to follow my exercise plan and watch the diet. Typically I do my weights two days a week and supplement my strength training with Push-ups, Pull-ups and Sit Ups. In addition, I will use workouts that are shared in the magazine which provide diversity in my exercise routine. I have a goal this year which is to complete my fourth marathon in 4 hours which is what my time was over 15 years ago.

What’s the single most important piece of advice you now would give?

Watch the DIET! This is key. If you have a limited amount of time to exercise, watch the calories and processed foods and enriched products. And lastly, we all face choices and exercising and proper eating habits should not be one. As the brain needs oxygen, our bodies need the right fuel and physical ac- tivity in order to enjoy life.

How did you celebrate reaching your goal?

I have a tattoo which I got af- ter I achieved my fitness goal. It is called Ichi-go Ichi-e and is used in Japanese tea ceremonies symbol- izing for us to enjoy every encoun- ter life presents, as we will never have it again. This is my mantra now to maximize my life and it first starts with being physically, men- tally and spiritually fit. I owe this feeling of “utopia” to fitness and a strong desire to have the best life I can possibly have

By Cameron James 

City News Manger