Beating the Odds: How Fit Father David Beat Spinal Stenosis and a Genetic Heart Condition to Get Fitter and Stronger!

Written by: Dr. Anthony Balduzzi,

Men's Health Doctor & Founder
The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Written by: Dr. Anthony Balduzzi,

Men's Health Doctor & Founder
The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Beating the Odds

Beating the odds isn't easy but it can be done! And one Fit Father overcame a lot to do just that — and then some!

David is a 45-year-old father of two who has lost over 40 pounds on the Fit Father Project.

That alone is a fantastic transformation, but what's genuinely profound about David's story is that he changed his health and fitness in spite of so much. 

David suffers from spinal stenosis, which causes muscle spasms and tons of back pain. 

He also has a genetic heart condition that led to him having open-heart surgery in his 30s. 

This is some serious stuff that David had to work through!

But, David's determination and resilience are much bigger than his medical issues, and with the help of the Fit Father Project, he overcame it all, beating the odds that seemed insurmountable. 

Listen to David's Story on the Fit Father Project Podcast:

A Lifetime of Setbacks and Roadblocks

Even at a young age, David's back always felt uncomfortable, and he couldn't sit continuously or comfortably. 

“By age 20, I started having serious back spasms. I visited some doctors, and they did MRIs.” 

The doctors found out that David had spinal stenosis. It was genetic; several members of his family suffered from the same disease.

“The nerves were bent, smashed, and crushed. When I worked out, I had a lot of pain. I had close to a dozen epidural shots because the pain got so intense and so out of control, I didn't know what to do.”

Nevertheless, David continued working out but kept facing problems with spinal stenosis.

One day while working out, David passed out. His heart stopped working.

Thankfully, his trainer was CPR-certified and brought him back to life.

He was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with damaged heart valves.

David was told that he had a 50% chance of dying two years after his diagnosis if he did not get proper treatment.

He was advised to undergo heart surgery and get a mechanical valve. 

Within one year of the surgery, David went into a state of depression and started having panic attacks.

“I took a lot of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication, which was terrible for me. It ended up not working at all.”

He was facing severe side effects from the medicine, even decreased libido.

The medications were putting tremendous strain on his marriage. As a result, he stopped working out. 

David started to do different things to relieve his mind. He started overeating, self-medicating, consuming alcohol, and gaining weight.

In 2019, David took a float trip with his friends. He weighed 240 pounds then. He was trying his luck with a backflip on a rope swing on the water when he fell right in. 

“It was like a sack of potatoes going into the water. I couldn't even pull myself up. I could barely hang on at the time.”

It was a devastating realization for him.

David shares his story of overcoming a genetic heart condition and spinal stenosis to lose weight!

Changing His Life and Beating the Odds

In December 2019, David decided to get rid of the extra weight on his body.

He was working out as much as possible and trying to maintain a calorie deficit.

However, he soon gave up.

“I gave up because I always do. Something happens, and I say, forget it. And then I go right back up to 220 or worse, 230 pounds.”

That's when he found the Fit Father Project.

“I was like, OK, wow, this is interesting. You didn't just show exercises. You talked about why they're important and what's backing these exercises and why they're so good.”

After that, he subscribed to the Fit Father Project newsletter.

After reading the newsletters, David realized where he was going wrong.

“I realized where my error was. It's so simple. It's sustainability — a sustainable diet. And I had never even thought about diets that way. “

He even changed his mindset from ‘stop thinking about losing weight temporarily' or ‘just losing weight' to ‘living a healthier life.'

“I was losing weight, but I was defaulting to childhood overeating habits. I was not changing those eating habits and making those choices. So eventually, I was setting myself up for failure every time because I wasn't really changing anything.”

“I changed everything and discovered that I could eat healthy AND delicious food!”

A sustainable and healthy diet helped David lose weight; he was down to 175 pounds in about 10 months.

He's also working out smarter, especially considering his back issues. 

According to him, if someone works out all day, they're probably doing it wrong.

“You need to rethink what you're doing in your workouts because you shouldn't have to be doing that.”

David urges fitness enthusiasts to determine the right way to exercise and ensure they're making it time-efficient.

He also advises finding the proper exercise and tailoring the workout plans per one's body and needs — something he learned from the Fit Father Project.

So what would David say to someone looking to join the Fit Father Project?

“Don't underestimate starting small. We always want to do big things. It's what we're taught and supposed to do. Go big or go home. You have to be consistent. Don't look at the months you'll take to achieve your fitness goals. Think about what you want to be a year from now and work accordingly. Your capacity incrementally builds, and then your trust and faith. So you're slowly building up versus the extreme approach where you're all or nothing.”

beating the odds

3 Key Takeaways From David's Journey

To summarize, here are three key lessons you can learn from David’s successful health and fitness journey:

Lesson 1: You Can Beat Any Adversity If You Are Determined and Have Faith in Your Abilities

Adversity is one of the most potent forces in life.

It can bring out your best or worst.

After all, it is up to you.

Adversity plays a vital role in growth, so be determined and have faith in yourself.

You need to be ready both physically and mentally.

If you're not there physically, you can't be there mentally and vice versa. 

Lesson 2: A Balanced Nutrition and Workout Regime Is the Key to Success

Physical activity is indeed essential to living a healthy and fit life.

However, proper nutrition is also vital; it is imperative to maximize your health.

Integrating both nutrition and physical activity produces more significant benefits than focusing on one or the other.

Lesson 3: There's No ‘Right Age' to Get Fit

Getting strong and exercising is not only a young man's game.

You can start at any age — 40, 50, 60, and so on.

It's never too late to get in shape and reap the health benefits of physical fitness.

However, choosing the right exercises per your body and requirements is essential. 

What is FF30X?

FF30X is a simple, sustainable, and specific weight loss program that is designed especially for busy men over 40.

With short metabolic training workouts, an easy-to-follow meal plan, and an accountability team that is there for you at every step, FF30X can help you lose 30, 40, or even 50+ lbs — even if you’ve never picked up a weight in your life. 

Click here to see what you get when you join the FF30X program today!

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Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, NMD
Men's Health Doctor & Founder
The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Founder Fit Father Project, Founder Fit Mother Project

After watching his own Dad lose his health and pass away at the young age of 42, Dr. Balduzzi founded The Fit Father Project and Fit Mother Project to help busy dads and moms get and stay healthy for their families.

Dr. Anthony Balduzzi holds dual degrees in Psychology & Nutrition from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, and is also a former national champion bodybuilder. He’s is most proud of the fact that he’s helped over 40,000 families in over 100 countries lose weight and get healthy for life.

*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on beating the odds.

Written by: Dr. Anthony Balduzzi,

Men's Health Doctor & Founder
The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Fit Father Project Fact-Checking Standards

Our Fit Father Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Father Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Father Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
  2. In nearly all of our articles, we link to published research studies from the most respected peer-reviewed medical & health journals.
  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality. – The Fit Father Project Team


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