CrossFit Coach Helps Greg Upchurch Shed 140 Pounds, Put Diabetes into Remission During COVID

May 4, 2021 by
Courtesy of Greg Upchurch
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It was March 2020. Greg Upchurch was tired. Tired of being “morbidly obese and and unattractive person all round,“ he said. Tired of living his life feeling angry and bitter all the time.

Upchurch, a Type-2 diabetic at the time, wasn’t sure who to turn to, but he knew his neighbor Bubba Brocard owned a gym, so he decided to see if Brocard could help him get healthy.  “Turns out, he could,” Upchurch said. 

The details: Upchurch joined Brocard’s gym, CrossFit 120 in Marietta, GA, the day before his birthday last March. A day later, on his birthday, the gym closed due to COVID-19. At the time, he weighed 375 pounds at 6-foot-2. 

  • “I wanted to spend my 49th year getting back into shape…I just had to make a lifestyle change, a dramatic one,” he said of his mentality at the time. And he wasn’t going to let a pandemic and a closed gym stop him. 
  • Upchurch immediately joined a 24-week nutrition challenge Brocard was running and started doing daily CrossFit workouts. It helped that Georgia never really went into a total lockdown, so the gym opened back up fairly quickly, he explained. 
  • “And another blessing of COVID for me is that I travel for work…50,000 miles a year driving. But for the first three or four months of (the pandemic) I wasn’t on the road so I was able to hit the gym. I don’t think I missed a day,” he said. 
  • Six months later, Upchurch had dropped 140 pounds. “When you have a lot to lose, it comes off pretty quickly,” he explained.

Today: Not only has Upchurch shed a ton of weight, he has also put his diabetes into remission, as per his 4.9 A1C (average blood glucose) level, which is considered well within the normal range. 

  • He can do things he never would have dreamed of doing a year ago. “Um, like, walking. Seriously. I was carrying 140 extra pounds and my knees were shot and I hadn’t run in, gosh, probably 10, 15 years. Not even a jog to the mailbox. And now I can run. We’ll run 500 meters in warm-up, and I’m not the fastest, but I can do it,” Upchurch said.
  • Further, Upchurch had an asthma condition that has completely fixed itself in recent months. “Quite honestly, I think it was my belly pushing against my lungs, so I had a really short wind. Now I can do stuff and not get winded.
  • “I’m just totally different, every facet of my life. I’m even dating again. It was kind of hard to attract someone when I was 200 pounds overweight, so that has been huge,” he said, adding that his girlfriend saw a testimonial Upchurch wrote for CrossFit 120 and is now a member of the gym. “It’s just night and day. I had no self-esteem. I was angry and bitter. I don’t have those feelings anymore. I’m enjoying life,” he said. 

One big thing: Upchurch insists he never would have been able to lose the weight and get fit if it weren’t for Brocard. 

  • “I essentially relied on Bubba completely. I didn’t eat anything without his permission and if he told me not to eat something, I didn’t,” Upchurch said. 
  • “He’s a great coach, first and foremost. When I started I was concerned about my knees, but we started at a really remedial level, and as I became fitter he started challenging me and pushing me, “ he added. 

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The big picture: To those who might be in a place where he was a year ago, Upchurch is adamant that it’s possible to transform, but it’s not possible without asking for help.

  • “The biggest thing, honestly, is that it can be done. You can tell yourself all the excuses in the world to not get started but it can happen. I still have some work to do, but I can run in circles around the me from a year ago,” he said.
  • If you’re struggling from physical, mental or emotional ailments, ask for help, Upchurch insisted. “Bubba was my neighbor. All I knew about him was that he owned a gym, but I asked him if he could help me,” he continued.

The best part is, Upchurch is confident the lifestyle changes he has made are here to stay this time.

  • “I have experienced life the other way, and I didn’t enjoy it. Someone last week told me that staying fit is hard, and staying unfit is hard. Choose your hard. I would much rather choose staying fit,” he said.

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