John York and his fellow K9 Officers
A Resolution for Life
After years of failed resolutions and a fast-food lifestyle, John York and seven K9 officers took on the Challenge together… and won.
John York is on a personal mission to fight the aging process – or to slow it down, at least. “I’m approaching middle age,” says the 46-year-old K9 handler at La Vista Police Department in Nebraska. “So mostly, it’s about trying to maintain muscle mass and keep my strength and energy level up for my profession.”
York’s Body-for-LIFE® journey started with an oh-so-familiar New Year’s resolution: to live a healthy lifestyle. “Like most people, I’ve tried resolutions before,” he admits. “I wanted to make a change, but this time I knew I needed support to succeed.”
So in January 2008, he called on a little help from his work buddies. York recruited seven fellow K9 unit police officers to join his group and accept the Body-for-LIFE Challenge. “Without them, I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it,” he says. “But there’s nothing better than good old-fashioned peer pressure. None of us would let any excuses fly.”
What did fly by were the weeks. Before they knew it, York and his teammates had dropped a combined total of 228.5 pounds and lost nearly 49% body fat. In addition to beginning the new year looking and feeling great, the officers were named 2008 Body-for-LIFE large group category Champions.
Good guys always win
Going into the Challenge, York was well informed and exceptionally inspired. “Nick Boswell, an officer at a neighboring department, turned me on to the Program,” York says. “He and a group of guys from the Papillion Police Department won the large group category in 2006.”
But York’s team faced a challenge the Papillion Department did not: proximity. The 2008 Champions were stationed at several departments throughout western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. “It was tricky to stay in communication with everyone,” says York, explaining that his teammates only saw each other about once a week. To stay on track, the officers sent out emails with advice and tips and used the Body-for-LIFE website to plan workouts and meals.
“I owe everyone in my group a great deal of gratitude. We were each other’s motivation to keep going,” York says appreciatively. “None of us wanted to face another K9 handler and say, ‘You know, I ate a cheeseburger the other day.’”
Fed up with fads
Before Body-for-LIFE, York’s nutrition plan was falling short. “I was on the fast-food and convenience store diet,” he says, adding that several botched attempts to curb his junk food habit and lose weight left him frustrated. “Sometimes I would try these diets everyone was jumping on, and either my body didn’t feel right or I just felt really deprived.”
Body-for-LIFE, on the other hand, focuses on keeping the body satiated and energized with six small meals a day – one every two to three hours. “I didn’t have a steady eating schedule before,” York says. “I would gorge and then go a long time without food. I noticed a difference in my energy level at week one just from eating better.”
What’s more, the Program includes a Free Day. Once a week, York can eat anything he craves. “During the Challenge, knowing my Free Day was just around the corner helped a lot,” he confesses. “And after about the fourth week, I didn’t even really use it anymore.”
Keeping up with the K9s
Besides shedding 20 pounds and 7% body fat during the Challenge, York gained a considerable amount of strength. Most notably, his bench press improved from 305 pounds to 335 pounds in just 12 weeks.
“Canine training and handling is physically demanding,” explains York, who credits Body-for-LIFE with helping him improve both his strength and cardiovascular fitness. “So many programs talk about this exercise or that exercise but don’t get into the benefits of interval training. It is the single most differentiating factor of this Program,” he stresses.
“Now my overall goal is to never be out-of-shape again, to never let myself go,” the officer says. With Body-for-LIFE as his weapon, York’s battle against the aging process is one he seems to be winning.
York eats six small meals a day, incorporating a variety of items from the Body-for-LIFE authorized foods list into his menu. “In 12 weeks, I developed a taste for things I’d never liked before, like sweet potatoes and salads. I eat them all the time now,” he says.
1½ cups Cheerios + 1 cup skim milk
3 to 4 slices deli turkey
1 cup low-fat yogurt
ZonePerfect® nutrition bar
Grilled chicken breast
Salad with cherry tomatoes and drizzle of dressing
1 cup almonds
*Individual results will vary