Interview with Sole Inspirer - John Gerst

Let’s meet John Gerst. John is a husband, father, friend and a humble servant of God. What you don’t know is that John once tipped the scale at 352 pounds. With the help of his family, faith, doctor, healthy eating habits and physical fitness activities, John lost 125 pounds.


SI | John tell the readers a little about yourself.

John | My name is John and I’m 44 years old.  I’m originally from Long Island, New York.  My beautiful wife name is DeNise and I’ve been married for 18 years. We have a wonderful son and his name is Charles.

SI | Can you tell the readers a little about your health and fitness journey?

John | 5 Years ago, I went to the doctor for what I thought was a bad cold or a sinus infection.  When I got on the scale to get weighed, the scale said 352 lbs.  When I went back to see the doctor, she didn’t care about my cold or sinus infection, all she cared about was my weight.  She said I had to lose some weight to stay healthy.  At the time, my son was 5 years old.  I realized then, I wanted to be around for my son, so that jump-started my health and fitness journey. I went to a weight loss doctor and the doctor suggested I have surgery. I have nothing against surgery, but I wanted to lose weight the old fashion way.

SI | So what did the journey (old fashion way) look like for you? 

John | I Included my family in this journey. We started eating healthier meals, counting carbs and calories.  I learned what a serving size was, as previously I was eating a serving size for 4 to 5 people.  My biggest support system is my family and I couldn’t have lost 125 lbs. without them. It’s 5 years later and we are still going strong, living a healthy lifestyle.

SI | WOW, that’s amazing - 125 lbs.  What keeps you going?

John | To tell you the truth, results are addictive.  So much about you changes.  It’s a journey.  Your company changes and your circle changes.  5 years ago, if you told me I would get up and work out at 5am, I would have said you were crazy.  In 2015, I talked my wife into doing the 5k Turkey Trot with me on vacation.  When I finished my 5K, I felt like I ran the Olympics. I couldn’t believe it and my accomplishment.  

SI | So you brought your family with you on the journey?

John | Yes, they wanted to support daddy.  DeNise even found her love for running and she went on to run her first marathon.  It’s so much better when the family is along on the journey.  I’m a family guy and it’s a wonderful thing to have them by my side. 


SI | What are the 3 most important lessons that you’ve learned embarking on this journey?

John | I would say the first one is your FAITH. It stretches your faith so much.  When I started this journey, I had to give it to GOD. The weight loss on the outside is cool, but it was just a manifestation of what HE was doing on the inside.  HE was teaching John so much about John.  I wish I could show the world what HE has done on the inside.  The second is having your FAMILY with you on this journey.  The bible tells us that Iron sharpens Iron.  Sharing those goals with people who are not going to derail you from your goal is important.  Third is to stay FOCUSED on the goal and don’t quit. My goals keep me up at night.  You have to stay focused.  

SI | What advice would you give to someone having a hard time finding their get up and go?

John | Focus on your goals every day.  Even though I’ve lost 125 lbs., I focus on new goals every day. My goals drive me to be a better person. They take on a human life of their own. I speak to my race times; I speak to my training.  I’m always talking to myself because I want those goals to be so real that I have to achieve them.  

SI | John I’ve seen on your social media post that you are now doing triathlons.  What inspired that?

John | To be honest, my weight loss doctor inspired me. My doctor is a cyclist.  I told my doctor that I went from running 5ks to 10ks to doing my 1st half marathon and he said you have to do a triathlon.  I told him I hadn’t rode a bike since I was 10.  He said JOHN….. YOU have to do a triathlon.  I started back swimming, found a bike and it all evolved from there. I started with a sprint triathlon then worked my way up to an Olympic distance and now God has blessed and allowed me to complete three half ironman distances (70.3 miles).  

Attachment-1 (1).jpeg

SI | That’s amazing! Congratulations John.  What would you say is your super power?

John | I would say Christ on the inside. I wear Philippians 4:13 on my arm as a band twice.  When I have bad training days, I look down at my arm. If you look at these bands, they are old and warn out, but I won’t take them off. 

SI | John, one thing that I’ve noticed on your social media post is that you always reference a scripture every morning tied to a story referencing your family or something you’ve seen.  What inspired you to share these posts every day?  

John | To tell you the truth, it all started as me staying accountable to the word.  You can get lazy spiritually quick. Your schedule gets busy and you can make time for everything else, except GOD.  I went on social media to hold myself accountable first.  If I read a scripture and a story behind it every morning, it was my way of holding myself accountable before I started my day.  Then I found people really started to enjoy them, and would look for them every morning, so I kept them going.

SI | John I definitely look forward to reading them.  Thank you for sharing and thank you for inspiring myself and others. Your journey is definitely one of hope, love and courage.