MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When Michael Thomas' doctor told him he would have to have back surgery the former athlete said he knew he had to make changes.
"I was 440 pounds, I had sleep apnea and I was taking 14 different meds and all of this stuff."
Thomas isn't a certified fitness expert but he said his desire to live a healthier life has led him to inspiring others.
"I call it the gift that keeps on giving."
He didn't go out and join a gym. He did something simpler and free.
"I started walking. I walked a mile a day. A mile turned into two. Don't get me wrong it was tough but I had to do it."
He eventually started riding a bike on the Greenline and doing resistance training during his morning walks. Once he started getting results, he started his Building Healthy Bodies Facebook group.
"I started posting my workouts and the next thing I knew it went from 500 to 1,300 members. I was like 'Whoa, what's going on?'"
He said he routinely posts healthy recipes and any fitness tips he finds.
He said it's also turned into a community effort.
"People post their workouts. They're over 50. Some of them are 70 years old and they're getting ripped. They're getting is shape."
Along with sharing and documenting their journeys, group members are encouraged to show off their results.
"On Fridays and Saturdays when you get ready to go out we tell them to post it. Show your work. We build attitudes too."
Thomas said he's come a long way, but he still has fitness goals he's working to reach.
"I lost 145 pounds. I'm 280 pounds and I'm trying to get lean as possible. I want to be the best 50 year old you've ever seen."
He said his beast mentality and his group of workout warriors will help him get there.