Dan Villanueva, Borgess Health & Fitness Center Weight Loss

Dan Villanueva lost 80 pounds over a six-month period, but for him it's not the number that counts.

The 37-year-old father of two young children says it's all about the lifestyle.

"I want to get down on the floor and play with my kids," said Dan, operations manager for the Target Distribution Center in Galesburg. "I want to get in a kayak and not kill myself. I want go on the rides at Cedar Point with my kids.

And now all those things are a reality thanks to his own motivation and guidance from a personal trainer at the Borgess Health and Fitness Center.

Dan meets three times a week with Steve Ball, a fitness specialist and personal trainer who has helped him trim the pounds through exercise and diet.

"The motivation has been up to me," Dan said. "But what makes this a success was Steve's guidance. I tend to over-think things -- I look for the best diet, the best exercise plan. But Steve helped me with personal growth by getting me to trust someone else. I work out and follow what he says.

"That's why it has worked so well -- tremendously well."

A native of Muskegon, Dan graduated in 1993 from Muskegon Catholic High School where he played football and other sports. He was awarded a U.S. Air Force scholarship to attend Notre Dame University where he graduated in 1997 with a degree in electrical engineering.

Over the next half-decade he was stationed at several U.S. bases and was discharged in 2002 while living with his wife Nicole in Dayton, Ohio. He work briefly as a contractor for the military and became a store manager for Home Depot in an effort to improve his leadership skills.

"Nicole got pregnant in 2006 and I didn't want to continue working all those hours," he said. "We transitioned to Kalamazoo where I started working for Target."

Dan worked out while in the military but after discharge he started gaining weight. He was busier both at work and at home as daughter Ella and son Lucas came along.

Within a decade he weighed 316 pounds and started having health problems -- a modest rise in blood pressure, joint pain, liver problems and a diagnosis of pre-diabetes.

Convinced he needed assistance to trim the pounds, he joined the Borgess Health and Fitness Center in November 2011 and teamed-up with Steve,

"I give a lot of credit to Dan," Steve said. "If you want to change your lifestyle and lose the weight you need personal motivation and a drive for success. As long as you are motivated, you will succeed. I see Dan for 30 minutes on those days when he is here and the rest is up to him. I've never worked with anybody who is so motivated."

Having played sports when he was younger, Dan knew what to expect from an exercise regimen. Still, after a decade away from routine workouts, "it was pretty tough to get back into it," he said.

"I'm not stuck in over-thinking anymore," he said. "Borgess and Steve have the resources to help you with your goals, to push you harder than you push yourself. The trainers adapt their approach to the person they are helping.

"After three months at the fitness center, people would tell me, 'Hey, you are doing great.' After six months and the weight loss they would say, 'What on earth is going on?' "

Dan has become the family role model. Nicole is getting into shape and when he gets on the floor to do pushups, Ella gets down with him and does her own.

"I can't say enough about Dan's motivation," Steve said. His success is a combination of what I tell him and him taking it to heart and doing the work."

Are you interested in learning more about Borgess Health & Fitness Center? Visit their website at fitness.borgess.com.

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