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Boot camper in the spotlight: A farewell tribute to Tom Thursby

Boot camper in the spotlight: A farewell tribute to Tom Thursby

By ALEXANDRA LUNDAHL

LARGO – Tom Thursby had just finished a hard, two-year divorce only to immediately see his 21-year-old son die. He hadn’t left the couch since then and knew he needed to get out and be active again. Thursby, 61, was having a hard time motivating himself to run, so he went online to find a personal trainer. Instead, he stumbled upon Total Body Results’ boot camps. He signed up right on the spot.

“I had never done anything like this before,” Thursby said. “…I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I would die when I first came here. I hadn’t done anything since my son passed away. I was just a couch guy.”

His very first day, Thursby said he quit halfway through and didn’t plan on ever coming back. Boot camp was HARD!

“But just slowly from day one on, I just began to feel such a difference in my muscles and my body that it’s become something I want to do forever,” Thursby said. “And Julia is so good and encouraging, and you can just see how she lives the whole thing. I’ll tell you one thing, the exercise was great, but one thing that really made a big difference for me was the grocery store tour. Because you always read about this stuff, but it really came together then.”

Since the tour, Thursby has completely changed his eating habits. He now eats about 90 percent whole foods and 70 percent organic foods. This is a change he’s made for life, he said.

Thursby lost between six and eight pounds during the Belly Blast Challenge, and about 12 pounds in the three months that he has participated in boot camp. His pants fit better, and he has dropped from a size 36 to a 34. He has been truly inspired by Julia Zammito and the way she eats and breathes boot camp.

“I saw it in Julia and how she lives it,” Thursby said. “It’s not just words that you hear, but it’s something you can see, too.”

But as wonderful as the physical results have been, perhaps what touched Thursby the most was the emotional impact it has had.

“You know, the other thing about class is the people in it,” Thursby said. “It came in a time in my life where I had just lost my son. So I really needed to have the energy I guess that I got here. Everybody has been so wonderful that it’s just been something that I needed in my life to lift not only my body but my mind and my spirit. God is an important part of my life, and it’s just like God put this class and the people in it in front of me because he knew I needed it. I had just gone through a hard two-year divorce and then right after that, I lost my son. He was only 21. So that was truly a hard thing to go through. But this has made a big difference in my healing and my grief process. This has made a big difference for me. I live alone, so when I go home I’m alone, but coming here just gives me such a lift for the day, the night, the week.”

Thursby’s last day at boot camp was April 27, 2011. His company won a three-year project to construct a highway in Fort Myers. He will be gone for at least three years, but he hopes to come back. He loves it here. He was born in Bradenton and has lived in this area his entire life. But even though he is moving away, he is taking boot camp with him.

“I’m going to continue doing some sort of boot camp,” Thursby said. “I’ve already looked into a couple down there. I have one picked out. Of course, none can compare to this one. But I’m taking that with me in that I’m going to keep doing this. I’m not going to stop. Even on days without boot camp, I run and walk two other days a week, so I’m going to keep my miles up. I plan on doing a half marathon by the end of the year, too.”

Boot camp has changed Thursby’s life and added to it in a way that he will never forget.

“I’m going to take the whole spirit and attitude with me of what I saw with everyone,” Thursby said. “It’s just great. Julia is great.”

Goodbye, Tom! We will miss you.

7 Comments

  • Michelle says:

    Wow Tom! I never knew what went on just before you started coming but, I can tell you that it has always been a please seeing you and that great smile of yours at boot camp! I know how much I will miss seeing you and know that it’s never goodbye but instead I’ll see you soon!! Keep up the hard work and keep in touch!!

    Wishing you the best in your new journey!!

  • Kathy says:

    Tom…what an inspiration to us all. Keep smiling and exercise and have a happy and safe time in Fort Myers.

  • Sandy says:

    It’s been a pleasure and an honor to know you Tom. You’ve come a long way, baby! Keep it up. I”ll miss you. Best of luck……….and keep in touch.
    Sandy

  • Kristy says:

    Tom….Thank you for being so supportive on me and my mom, we may have inspired you, but keep in mind you too have inspired US….You will be so missed….I’ll see ya on Facebook, my friend. So Glad we met!!!!!! xoxoxoxox

  • Kay & Cecil Thursby says:

    The last time Tommy visited us, we couldn’t believe how much he had changed! He looked 10 years younger. His face looked brighter and happier. When he told us he was in “boot camp”, we were sure he would kill himself with working so hard, going through the grief of the loss of our wonderful Taylor, and now not just exercising, but BOOT CAMP! Well, we sure was wrong. His wonderful faith in God and getting to know new friends and working out were exactly what he needed!! We’re proud of you BRO!!!!!!!!! and love you too.

  • Cindy says:

    I have known Tom for several years and he is and has always been a great friend and inspiration to me. I shared some of those down times with Tom and it was so hard seeing my friend change to a person I never knew and his lack of loving life. So to see Tom back to his old self, feeling good and happy is such a blessing! Just a note Tommy – those biceps are looking really great!

    Love ya! Cin

  • Patsy Thursby Smith says:

    I’m so proud of my “little” brother! Having been through so much and yet to continue to accomplish more and more. I was very concerned when you initially mentioned your involvement in boot camp because I just didn’t see how you could push yourself like that, but here you are looking better than you have in years and feeling so healthy. I know you will miss this group as you relocate, but know you’ll continue on your path to great mental and physical health. You are amazing. Love you, Patsy

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