In 2012, when Kristian Turner’s friends decided to do a Shaun T Insanity workout challenge. In preparing to join them, he stepped on the scale. “I saw 256 pounds. I will never forget that number. I said, ‘OK, this is the last day the scale is ever going to say this.’”
He hadn’t intended to lose 100 pounds at the time—“I was in the house sweating and doing these push-ups and high knees,” he says of some of the moves in the workout. “Every time I got on the scale and saw progress, ‘I said I’m going to keep this up.’ I didn’t know I was trying to get to the level I am at now. I just knew I didn’t want to be where I was.”
At the time, Turner, now 34 and a musician, real estate broker and photographer, didn’t think a lot about food and exercise. “I was going to the club every night, having mixed drinks, and eating double cheeseburgers.”
Instead of ruling out the burgers, Turner turned to something else. “I thought, I’ll go pescatarian. I’m going to eat fish so I won’t feel bad about not eating cheeseburgers. Because that’s not what we’re doing right now,” he says. He gradually changed his diet away from foods like fried chicken and burgers and into a more Mediterranean style of eating. “Right now, I’m big on salmon, sweet potatoes, and kale,” he says.
From a half a block of running to a half marathon
Turner didn’t just want to do body weight exercises or lift weights in the gym. “I wanted to have my conditioning up as well as my breathing,” he says. So he started to run. It wasn’t easy. “At first, I was struggling and I’d run from this corner to the next and catch my breath,” he says. One block turned into two which turned into 3, 4, 8 miles.
When Turner’s mother passed away in 2015, a friend didn’t want him to lose motivation and called him up to go for a run. “That was the first day I fell in love with running. I felt a new energy that hit my body and helped me get away from the pain,” Turner says. “Now, if anything happens, I go run and I feel better.”
Feeling better and better inspired Turner to keep fine tuning his workouts and food plan and get from 220 pounds to the 140s where he is now. “My body knows there are certain things I eat and feel good after. Now I do more listening to my body than when I was young,” he says. “Your body tells you everything you need to know.”
On September 26, Turner is going to run his first half marathon race, the Hoka One One Chicago Half Marathon/5K owned and produced by Life Time. And he’s running it with his dad, who has completed numerous marathons. The two have run together a few times—“the first time I ran with him was about 9 miles and I wasn’t up to 9-mile level and he kind of dusted me. A year later, we ran about 12 and he couldn’t keep up with me,” he says. His goal for Sunday isn’t a particular time or pace: “It’s that I completed my first half marathon with my father.”
Turner likes to say that if you’re going to start to change your life, you have to change your life. That’s what he tells himself, and it’s what he tells others who look to him for inspiration. “You are either going to create the life you want, or the life you have is going to be created by someone else. I created my life—and it’s not created fully. I’m building me a book right now,” he says. “Sunday is going to be a beautiful page. I can’t wait.”