(Est Read Time: 3-Minutes)
Meet Chris Tillett, a 34-year-old utility worker at TECO People’s Gas in Florida. Chris currently looks like the picture of health so much that his coworkers often refer to him as the “fit guy.” His exuberance and positive energy are sensed by everyone who interacts with Chris. However, if you had known Chris 5 years ago, you would know that this wasn’t always the case. In fact, you would hardly recognize the Chris who stands before you today.
After getting married at age 21 and beginning a full-time job, he became less active and began to put on weight. Like many of us, the demands of work and personal life left him with little time to focus on his own health. There just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to take care of his body. He developed severe back and knee pain that limited his ability to play basketball, which led to even less daily activity and worse eating habits. In a matter of a few years he went from 180 pounds to 230 lbs.
“I felt horrible with how I looked with the added weight and was still suffering with back pain. I tried a few workout programs with my friends and lost a few pounds but my back would just get worse and I would stop.”
Unfortunately, Chris’s struggles only intensified from there. On a summer day, a friend asked him to play basketball. Five minutes into the game, it happened. Chris tore his ACL. Out of shape and debilitated by pain and injury, Chris decided it was time to make a change. He underwent surgery to repair his ACL. After recovering from a challenging surgery that involved a life-threatening blood clot, he hit the rehabilitation hard, getting down to 195lbs.
After 5 months completely off of work, Chris was finally able to return to his physically demanding job as a utility technician. Though his journey over the next months was challenging and filled with ups and downs of returning to old habits, he eventually stuck to the plan for good thanks in large part to his wife, Benita, and her decision to live a healthier lifestyle. Together, they were able to transform their lives and enjoy the benefits of a pain-free and healthy life.
Vimocity first met Chris in 2017 through our partnership with TECO People’s Gas. We were immediately inspired by Chris’s transformation story and his passion for helping his coworkers stay injury-free and prevent the type of pain that derailed his life. His passion and strong rapport with his coworkers made him a natural leader of a program that was designed to prevent PGS employees’ bodies from breaking down so that they can enjoy a high quality of life.
“ Vimocity was introduced to us and my manager asked me to be an ambassador for the program at our location and I of course accepted. I really enjoyed the PGS Athlete program because I agreed with all of the rolling and movements that are a part of it. I already was doing most of them as a part of my training program outside of work. So it was easy to lead the movements with my office.”
Chris even learned a few new ways to keep his body injury-free through the Vimocity training. For a utility worker who wears “ big heavy steel toe safety boots” for the majority of the day, he’s found that using the massage roller to roll out muscle knots in the bottom of his foot has been a game changer. He takes a few minutes every week to roll out not only the bottoms of his feet, but also his legs, which relieves soreness that used to be just an accepted part of his daily life.
“The Vimocity program can really have a positive effect on PGS’s overall safety in the now and in the future because we will be in less pain and less stiff as team members as we work leading us to be able to focus on the task at hand instead of the pain or stiffness in our bodies.”
All of us at Vimocity have been inspired by Chris’s transformation story and continue to be impressed with his dedication to keeping other Teco Peoples Gas members safe on and off the job. For Chris, he experienced first hand that even a few minutes a day can have lasting benefits at work and personal life.
“It is such a win-win situation, Teco is paying you & even giving you the tools to do a little body maintenance which will lead to you feeling better in the long run even after your career is over.”
Chris’s journey has been hard, but he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s never felt better in his life. Building new habits of body maintenance and movement health isn’t always easy, but like any other journey, the first step is just doing something to get started. It can even be as simple as using the massage roller for 1 minute a day while watching TV and slowly building from there. Chris is a perfect example of how getting out of pain can lead to an upward spiral of health and happiness.