For Men’s Health Month, we connected with BeeJay Haddad, a District Manager for one of UFC GYM’s franchise locations: UFC GYM Orland Park
BeeJay’s health and fitness transformation journey is an inspiring story! Keep reading to learn more about his path to losing over 100 pounds.
UFC GYM: What made you start your fitness journey?
BH: My journey started about 6 years ago at 300 pounds. I was a club promoter – hosting and late nights were my job. This led to very unhealthy habits such as late-night eating, alcohol and smoking.
In my early 30's I was not happy who I saw in the mirror. I definitely wasn't happy who I saw in pictures. One day it just hit me after seeing a picture of myself – I just looked very unhealthy and overweight.
I always thought myself to be bigger, but never "out of shape". The very next day I was heading out to work, I put a shirt on that was always a little bigger, as I was buttoning it up, I couldn't button it as before. This was disheartening but I still went on my way to work.
The next morning, I decided to step on the scale, now mind you I haven't been on a scale since near since high school for wrestling. As I went to the dreaded scale, I was thinking I was 260 maybe 270. This isn't a spoiler, but it was shocking to see myself at 300 pounds.
What was I to do? Where do I even begin? What is my future? How did I let myself go this much? All of these questions ran thru my head. I was embarrassed, I immediately knew I had to change to see any type of future and positivity in my life.
UFC GYM: What goals did you set for yourself and what challenges did you face throughout your journey to a healthier lifestyle?
BH: I made a goal for 2 months no drinking so I can have ZERO excuses to miss the gym. The start was rough, I lost so much strength and stamina. I was feeling weak, I was still feeling embarrassed. I had to push through it and trust the process that brighter days were ahead.
In a few weeks I developed a better sleep schedule, workout routine, and started putting healthy foods in my body and the biggest thing was NO DRINKING and BOOM, just like that my mind started believing. It's funny what happens to the mind and body once you believe!
Everything around me started to just get better, overall quality of life. I'm talking about baby steps, not an overnight miracle. Once 2 months was over, I lost 60 pounds, and 3 more months go by and I'm still at 60 pounds. Now where do I go? Is this the best I can get myself to do?
UFC GYM: How did you get involved with UFC GYM?
BH: After my plateau, I remembered a friend who worked for UFC GYM that always encouraged me to come in. I never did because I thought I was just too old for MMA. However, my workout partner said let's go and try it. So of course, we did.
My first class was with Coach Derrick and it was a DUT/HIIT class. I was nervous beyond belief walking in, but I knew I needed another level of challenges. Joe and I completed our first UFC GYM class and I was hooked!
My weight loss journey continued in those months after starting at the gym and I lost another 20 pounds.
UFC GYM: What led you from your first class to a career with UFC GYM?
BH: The same friend who worked for the gym told me a spot for sales manager or GM will be open at the Orland location and that I should give it a try. For about 1 month I said no, not because I didn't want to, but because I was scared of the unknown of leaving my company and industry.
I started to cut my promotion company days down, started to cut venues down and figuring out how to jungle both at the same time. In doing that I realized both jobs were very similar. At the end of the day, it's hospitality, it's being good with people, it's about helping others and meeting new people. After 2 or 3 months of working and reading all the material there was to train my mind on the UFC GYM culture, I was offered the general manager position. This was truly the start of my life!
UFC GYM: Any final advice?
BH: This is my story and I hope my story finds someone who needs it and helps change their fight, in a positive way. I also want you to know that it's never too late to start.
I also want to share what I call my "Big 3" from my fitness journey:
I was able to reduce my weight from 300 pounds to 200 pounds and lower my body fat from 36.8% to 11.4% thru the motivation and experience of my coaches.
I was able to truly meet the love of my life Cindy, who now is my wife. Cindy and I worked different UFC GYM locations and it's this company that brought us together. She changed my life even more than I ever did.
Recently, Cindy and I had a UFC GYM baby. His name is Saint and he is our greatest accomplishment and blessing.
Everything I have or did to this point in my life was all because of that shirt that didn't fit. Was because I decided I needed to change! Was because of UFC GYM!
UFC GYM Orland Park, Illinois is located at 66 Orland Square Drive, Orland Park, IL 60462
Learn More About UFC GYM Orland Park, Illinois
Explore the UFC GYM Orland Park, Illinois class schedule
Request a Pass or Join Orland Park, Illinois
Interested in exploring career opportunities with UFC GYM? Visit ufcgym.com/careers
Interested in learning more about franchising opportunities with UFC GYM and owning your own fitness facility? Visit ufcgymfranchise.com