A Waco man recently won the National D1 Sports Training Facility Athlete of the Year Award.
D1 is a facility that offers custom sports training programs and boot camp workouts.
Byron Jackson, 39, was chosen out of more than 10-thousand D1 members from across the country for the award.
He started working out at D1 Waco in October 2015 when his son was two years old.
At the time, he weighed 350 pounds and felt the need to make a change. He was taking blood pressure and cholesterol medication, smoking cigarettes and any time he traveled on an airplane had to get a seat belt extension.
He changed his diet from greasy, fried foods to more protein, fruits and vegetables.
Jackson said he wanted to help coach his son's T-Ball team.
"I thought there's no way I can help coach and run around with these kids at 300 plus pounds," Jackson said. "That was another big motivating factor to be able to see him and play with him and run and be able to do all the things he wanted me to do."
Over the course of two years, Jackson lost 120 pounds. He currently weighs 230 pounds.
He said the process was not easy.
"My first day at D1 I remember we had to do push ups and I thought God I haven't done push ups and 20 years. I couldn't even do a push up. I thought to myself you really are out of shape. You've got to get it together and push yourself through this," Jackson said. "The coaches at D1 make you feel so welcome and do your best and push you motivate you, inspire you and make you a better person."
The change affected more than just his appearance. It's changed all aspects of his life.
"Every body sees me and they're like golly I can't believe this man how'd you do this? I said, it's simple. Just work out and eat right and it'll happen," Jackson said.
Nearly two years later, he and his wife Brooke look back at pictures and can't believe the difference.
"Back then I thought I looked good then," Byron Jackson said. "I didn't take any pills or any surgery or anything. I did this all on my own.//To this day I'm in better shape than I was when I was in high school."
The change has affected all areas of his life.
"I think our relationship is much stronger, " Brooke Jackson said. "I'm just very proud of him. I love him."
Jackson was awarded the 2017 D1 National Athlete of the Year Award.
D1 Waco General Manager Kevin Engelbrecht said Jackson represents the principles of the program.
"We have 12 character words on our wall and you know Byron's story one by one selectively ripped those words off the wall and sprinkled them into the lives of other people," Engelbrecht said.
Today, Byron is helping coach his son's t-ball team for the second year in a row. He's able to run several miles at a time, ride his mountain bike at Cameron Park, and play catch with his son.
He wants to encourage people who want to make a change.
"Believe in yourself, trust yourself and mind over matter. make your mind up you can do anything. with that and prayer, you're pretty much unstoppable."
For more information about D1 Waco, click here.
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