Two Friends Challenge Each Other to Lose 40 Pounds

We are often referred to as a “fighters gym” but thats only a very small percentage of how our members benefit, and what they can achieve. Here you see an ongoing success story of two gym members, Joe and Justin, not only getting in better shape but living an overall better life based off their experiences at The Arena. Yes we build fighters but ultimately we are building healthier and happier all around people.


Joe O’Connell:
So I started coming here about four and a half years ago. I started off with boxing, but the last three, four years, I really got into Jiu Jitsu and primarily did that until I got hurt in October. And then kind of went back to the fitness aspect of this, and boxing.

I’m a personal trainer. I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I got into it because I was 308 pounds after I stopped playing football. Weight loss has always been an up and down thing for me. I’ve got all the way down to about 225 and I’ve been sitting there for a long time. So in February, I decided to take things up to the next level and propose with my buddy, Justin, to see if we can get down to 185.

Justin Wilson:
Joe and I were making fun of each other for being fat. And he was like, “Step on the scale, where are you at right now?” And I stepped on and I was like 232. Then we’re like, “All right, well, what’s a good obtainable, but would challenge us?” And we decided on 185. So from 232 down to 195 right now, is where I’m at. We got 10 pounds left to go.

At first, he was seeing it as a challenge. Dude was wearing sweatsuits, running extra miles, everything. And I’m like, “Bro, we’re in it for the longevity and the health of it.”, because I’m 40 years old and I don’t want to cut weight. I want to lose weight and keep it off and to maintain a good, healthy lifestyle.

Joe O’Connell:
I first decided to do this because I wanted to beat him. I wanted to challenge to beat Justin to 185. But now it’s turned into, we’re supporting each other in this journey. We keep each other in line and keep each other accountable for our goals. Definitely a beneficial thing. So I’ve been working out with the strength and conditioning coach, Jason, four days a week doing his workouts. And then, I do boxing with Joe Vargas from 10 to 11.

Justin Wilson:
What I’ve been doing, personally, is, cut out alcohol and I train back-to-back classes. So I’ll do Jiu Jitsu and then I’ll do the No Gi class. The more you train, the more you really become aware of how you feel and what you put in your body. And so just naturally, I’ve really cut out junk food, fast food, stuff like that. It wasn’t because I was like, “Oh, I’m on a diet. I have to do this.” It was because, I felt bad. I would eat it and I wouldn’t feel good.

Joe O’Connell:
I got a meal prep company and I do two meals with them, and not snacking outside those two meals, and making a healthy dinner. I stopped drinking. It’s making these lifestyle changes, these small changes, that make a big difference, I’m learning.

Justin Wilson:
Being a veteran, your tribe is a big deal. When you leave the service, I didn’t find my tribe or my group of people until I started training Jiu Jitsu. It’s improved my life in every facet.

Joe O’Connell:
Having Justin with me is excellent because we keep each other accountable. I’m down 30 pounds, I got 10 more to go, and I just got to keep working hard. It’s challenging, but I like the challenge and I like working hard and The Arena helped me do this. It’s been fantastic.

About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

Our Address

3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110 USA