Lifelong East Boston resident Christopher Babin was only 32 when he thought his world had ended.
Babin’s fiancé passed away due to complications with epilepsy shortly after their five-year anniversary, on Jan. 11, 2017.
Weighing in at 300 pounds due to working late hours and overeating while on the job as a chef for a decade, Babin knew he had to make a change and turned this time of tragedy into a time of hope and reinvention.
In April 2017, he joined the Planet Fitness in East Boston. He said he was overwhelmed at first and didn’t quite know what to do, but even “being so big,” he felt comfortable at Planet Fitness, which always encourages a judgment free environment. Babin began by walking on the treadmill, gradually increasing from two miles to four miles. He then moved up to the elliptical and pushed his mileage up to six by his third month at the gym. He motivated himself to consistently go to the gym four days a week always reminding himself that, “if you can put your shoes on, you can go to the gym.”
Babin had been living with his fiancé’s family so that they could support each other through this time of loss and as a next step, Babin realized he had to get out of the kitchen to stay healthy – he had been working as a chef at the Hilton Garden Inn in East Boston since 2015 and left in July 2017; he was working at another restaurant as well and then left that job in Aug. 2017. Babin wanted to get a job with less ups and downs and a more consistent schedule to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
While he continued to do some consulting with friends in the food and restaurant business, it was then that Babin’s whole life – and dreams for a new career – became focused on going to the gym and working out. In Nov. 2017, Babin did something he never thought he would: ran his first five-mile road race in about 52 minutes, finishing in the top 30 in his age group, thanks to his training at Planet Fitness. He hopes to make this race an annual tradition. He was looking for the next challenge so by Dec. 2017, Babin added weights and strength training to his routine with the help and guidance of Planet Fitness trainer Deon Brown.
Babin continued his full body workouts four days a week with six miles on the elliptical for 30 minutes and 30 minutes of strength training. By April 27, 2018, a year after he first joined Planet Fitness, Babin had lost an astounding 110 pounds. He gained a slight amount back and now weighs in at a healthy 200 pounds.
Babin’s personal transformation got him thinking, “If I can do this on my own, I can help others do this. I try to strive to be a better person every day.”
He decided to apply for a position at Planet Fitness, and in May, he got a call from Brown who informed him a trainer was leaving and a position was open.
Babin is now completing his certification and working as a personal trainer at the same club that inspired him to lose weight and start fresh after the incredibly tragic loss of his fiancé.
He also hopes that more and more members will share their stories.
“At Planet Fitness, every average person who wants to do a little bit of everything is welcome,” he said.