Weslee Meador, Facilities Manager at Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation (LWCC), a Cooper Wellness Strategies client, credits the wellness staff at his workplace in helping him change his life for the better. He reflects how the onsite LWCC staff, Jeff Barbera, Fitness Manager, and Landon Chastant, Fitness Specialist, gave him the support and tools needed to accomplish a longtime goal and lifetime dream.
I started working at LWCC in October 2018, weighing in at 235 lbs. and sporting size 38 waist pants. I was headed in a direction all too familiar to my family of poor health—including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. I decided my family and I deserved better than that. Prior to coming to LWCC I started improving my health, thanks to more nutritious eating and somewhat of an exercise regimen. When interviewing for my current role, one of the main draws was the onsite exercise facility and wellness programs offered. I was impressed with the company’s dedication to their employees with the wellness program. I expected the typical corporate gym, but maybe a bit nicer with a shower. Essentially, I expected Vienna sausage but what I got was Filet Mignon (or a rare Ribeye in my personal taste). I was pleasantly surprised by the expansive facility and expert knowledge of the fitness staff to help employees reach their health and fitness goals.
Jeff and Landon took my health and fitness goals and elevated them to a whole new level I didn’t know was possible. I told them my ultimate goal was to go from “Dad bod” to “Ninja Dad” and be taken seriously when I applied to compete on “American Ninja Warrior.” Unlike many others, they listened and didn’t guffaw or discourage. They nodded and agreed enthusiastically, “Let’s do this!” At the time, I was following what I thought was a solid diet and exercise program. I shared this with Jeff and Landon, and they worked that into a customized program fitting perfectly within my goals. I had the drive and determination and they gave me the direction to make my dream happen.
Since 2018, I have worked out at least two days per week including a mixture of body weight training and calisthenics, ninja training on my own and cardio, functional training and weight training with Cooper.
Pre-COVID, I weighed 205 pounds and had approximately 12% body fat.
Fast forward to January 2021—I submitted my application to “American Ninja Warrior” again, expecting to be rejected for the third time. Like many, I had slipped in my training and accountability, thanks to COVID and its debilitating effects on gyms, families, jobs and people. My weight had crept back up to 216 when I got the call on January 8 that I was selected to compete this year among 400 competitors. I’d finally made it! I met with Landon and Jeff immediately to evaluate where I was and where I wanted to be in 11 weeks by the end of March—lean, strong and ready to compete in the ultimate obstacle course challenge. Once again, they gave me the blueprints and I went to work. Jeff and Landon supported me with a custom workout plan and made tweaks as I progressed helping me reach my top fitness level. I weighed in at the competition in March at 200 lbs. I’m proud to say I advanced beyond half the competition field in my “American Ninja Warrior” debut—what is hopefully the first of many opportunities to compete in this grueling challenge!
I strive to be a humble man, and as such, I know I owe my success to those around me, especially the Cooper Wellness Strategies employees here at LWCC, Jeff and Landon. I invited them both to sit on my virtual sideline during the “American Ninja Warrior” taping—so if my footage airs, you’ll see Jeff’s smiling grin in the background of my run! I wish I could tell you more about my shot on the show—let’s say that I did better than I expected but didn’t get all the results I wanted. You can see the results in this season of “American Ninja Warrior,” and I’m so thankful for two of the finest Cooper teammates right here at LWCC.
To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ services, including designing and managing corporate fitness programs, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.