"The workouts, the facility, the people…it’s become a part of who I am."
My name is Wade Leaphart and this is my story…
I’m 46 years old, 6’1" and just shy of 150. I’ve always been physically active…ski, pick-up sports, hike, work 14 hour shifts on my feet, could walk 18 holes…basically able to do just about whatever I wanted. I was never conscious about the food I ate and the amount of alcohol I consumed. But after years of cheating death and 4 kids later, I up and decided to quit drinking in November 2016. All of a sudden, my hobbies were sitting in a camp chair watching my kids play sports, staring at my iPhone, binge-watching TV, an occasional home improvement project and work. Mentally I was in a weird spot and physically I was...not very physical. It got to where I'd go out to cut the grass and about halfway thru I had to stop - ”whew, boy...time for a Mountain Dew!” I didn’t think much about it though and probably like most humans, I fully intended to get myself in shape…or did I? I’d never worked out in my life. By that I mean structured exercise. No clue where to begin with that.
I first learned about Novant Health Sports & Performance Medicine powered by EXOS (NHEXOS) through my job (Executive Vice President of Marketing & Partnerships for the Charlotte Independence). Beth Parsons and I built a partnership between the two organizations that ultimately led to Novant Health becoming the team’s presenting sponsor and Official Healthcare Provider. As part of that deal, NHEXOS became the team’s official Strength & Conditioning partner. An awesome partnership all-around. When the Arboretum location opened, we were there for the Grand Opening to help celebrate. As the event was wrapping up, Beth told me I should check it out…you know, so I’d have first-hand knowledge…and wanted to set me up with a month. Looking back, as skeptical as I was, that was a game changing moment in my life.
Overwhelmed, to say the least, and way outside of my comfort zone, I showed up to NHEXOS for my 1st day. I don’t recall the official name for it but they do a check-in test, sort of a benchmarking…functional movements, push ups, pull ups, etc. Guess how many push ups I did? Actual, proper push ups. 3. Pull ups? ZERO. Not exactly a confidence booster. They were very nice, welcoming and supportive, but still…I couldn’t do a single pull up. After that, we jumped right into the training session and in no time, I was seeing stars, totally winded, but I somehow survived. What did I get myself into?? I was ready to pull the chute - but let’s face it, I couldn’t wimp out on Beth and it being linked to the Independence partnership! Those first few weeks were a battle…I can’t remember ever being that sore…but after a few weeks, I could tell a difference — confidence, strength, stamina, desire to eat better, sleeping better, good mood (most of the time), less sore.
I’ve now been training at NHEXOS for about a year and a half. On average, I’m in 3-4 days a week. The workouts, the facility, the people…it’s become a part of who I am. Mentally and physically, I feel better than I can remember. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m constantly humbled, and winded, and bent over, and on the floor but without a doubt, this is the strongest and most defined I’ve ever been. I actually look forward to going and pushing myself to the limit with the guidance and encouragement of the staff and motivation from 9am regulars like Darin, Jenn and Shirley. I’m also eating better on a consistent basis. Having someone like Taryn (their Performance Dietitian) is a huge resource but there’s something about NHEXOS that makes you want to be better.
Little did I know that Beth’s encouragement to try and ultimately join, NHEXOS would have such a positive impact on my life. I am so thankful.
Anyways, why am I sharing this? Maybe you need a new hobby besides boozing. Maybe you’re already in shape but looking for something different. Maybe you’ve been thinking about joining a gym (it’s never too late by the way). Give NHEXOS a try.
Hope to see you there.
EXOS has a history of training and feeding world-class athletes. In Charlotte, EXOS has partnered with Novant Health to bring the same high-level knowledge to the general population. To meet with our Performance Dietitian or take a Strength Coach-led workout class, click here.