Tonal member Robert Mahaney hopes his life-changing journey inspires others, especially his daughters.
By Robert Mahaney as told to Karen Iorio Adelson
Late last year, my health hit rock bottom.
I weighed 361 pounds and suffered from acid reflux and sleep apnea. I’d been diabetic for over a decade, but my blood sugar count reached almost 500 mg/dL, which is extremely dangerous. I have two daughters, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be around for them. There was no way I was going to live much longer if I didn’t make a change.
That’s when I ordered Tonal. Before my Tonal arrived, I’d never lifted weights in my life. As a bigger person, going to the gym was so intimidating. It felt like everyone else was already fit and knew what they were doing. I’d try to learn how to do an exercise or use a machine and someone would always just be waiting for me to be done.
Tonal was a totally different experience. I got to work out in private but still benefit from the guidance of a coach. The Starting Out With Tonal program made it easy to get comfortable and acclimated to the equipment.
I love the beginner programs because they don’t overwhelm you. The coaches don’t work you so hard that it breaks your confidence. Instead, they build up your confidence. By the time you move on to the next program, you’ve built up your strength and endurance so you’re ready to take on the next challenge. Tonal is the best investment I’ve ever made in my life.
Since starting with Tonal, I’ve lost nearly 100 pounds, and my blood sugar is so much lower. I’m even off of insulin and metformin and don’t have to sleep with a CPAP machine anymore. A lot of this has to do with changing my diet, but Tonal made me want to change my diet. I didn’t want to do all those workouts and not see the results.
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The support of the Official Tonal Community on Facebook has been huge for me. Whenever I post in the group, people send me encouraging messages. They make me believe I can reach my next goal: raising my strength score to 1,000 and joining the “comma club.”
Activities that used to feel like work, such as walking or taking my daughters to the zoo, are so much easier. Now, I can enjoy these moments. Every day, I go for a walk on a hilly trail—something that used to feel impossible for me—and I see some of the same people out on the trail day after day. A few have stopped me to say they’re impressed with how far I’ve come, which feels good.
I work for an electric company, but my true passion is music. It’s my therapy. When I’m working through something, I’ll go to the studio and put it into a song. I recently performed for the first time since losing weight, and I was able to move around so much more on stage. It’s made me a better showman.
I also sell clothing to promote my music. In the past, I’ve always had other people model the clothes; but the next time I do a photoshoot, I’m going to wear them. I’ve gone from a 5XL to a 1XL and can finally buy clothes in stores, which I haven’t done in years.
Today, I want to use my fitness journey to inspire others struggling with obesity and diabetes and show them they can save their lives.
I also want to set an example for my daughters, teaching them that if they set out to do something, they have to stick with it. This came up recently when my older daughter made the volleyball team at school. I told her making the team was just the beginning—she has to work even harder to succeed. But now, I have the energy to be there with her every step of the way.