Meet Our Members: Gabriel Morales
All his life, Gabriel Morales struggled with his weight. Although he knew he needed to make a change at some point, which moment never seemed to arrive — until September 1st, 2009.
The date will forever stick in his memory, because it was the day that the 29-year-old looked in the mirror and started crying. He was 370 pounds, and every one of them was weighing him down.
"I was tired of being overweight," he remembers. "I said it's enough. I have to do something about it."
At first, he hesitated to ask for help. Morales didn't even want to join a gym, because he thought other members would stare and make fun of him. But he was motivated, particularly by his grandmother, who'd always suggested that he take better control of his health.
Starting a New Course
After a few years of working to lose weight on his own, Morales ran a 2K in 2011 to help raise funds after the 9/11 attacks.
His local UFC GYM was one of the sponsors, and he was impressed by how people from the gym were greeting runners at the finish line. The very next day, he joined.
"Ever since then, it's become more like a home, and like a second family," he says. "Everybody there has seen me grow, and been supportive, and I'm so grateful."
When the opportunity came up to work at the gym, he jumped on it, and has been very happy to deepen his involvement with UFC GYM, and to help members reach their own goals.
With hard work, Morales ended up losing nearly 100 pounds, and gaining considerable strength and endurance along the way.
One major result that Morales didn't anticipate was tied to one of his biggest cheerleaders, his grandmother. She'd always been encouraging about his weight loss, but when he first started at the gym, she became ill. Over the next eight months, her health deteriorated and she passed away.
"I'm just happy that she got to see me lose weight," he says. She was very proud of what he'd accomplished, and so was he — after decades of being overweight, he could look in the mirror again and finally like the person looking back at him.
"Through the process, I realized I was weak, but now I'm strong," he says. "That's what the UFC GYM has done for me. It's helped change my life."
Ready to begin or rewrite your own fitness story? Pick up a UFC Gym Free Pass to get started.