Dan Chatten | The Fitness Asylum

Dan Chatten

I grew up in Cambridge and now live in Shrewsbury. I married my high school sweet heart, and we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary in September. I have 3 wonderful and confident children, Erin (28), Stephen(24) and Kevin(21). I have worked in IT for over 30 years. The last 22 years for Fidelity Investments.

So what brought me to Fitness Asylum ? I saw the amazing transformation of my friends Cathy and Danielle Brossi, Bob Clarke, and I wanted to be part of that. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2014, and although cycling kept me in good cardio shape, I felt that’ll I needed to mix in strength training, and most important – incorporate better eating habits to keep my T2 in check and reduce my weight. I walked into my first bootcamp at Summer Street with 20+ ladies. I had that “OMG” feeling. It was intimidating at first, but it only took a few bootcamps to feel right at home. Angelica, Michelle, the Kerr’s, and Gail were awesome! They took the time to guide me, teach me proper form, and even people doing the bootcamps made me feel very welcomed. I felt an early confidence. I was stretching on a wall at my third bootcamp, and Michelle said, “Dan, why don’t you team up with Liz.” I looked up, Liz wheeling her gallon of water, ripped, flexing, and I immediately cowered into a mental fetal position – I know that I am going to die. Actually, it was a blast ! In the end, I was hooked, sore, and hated Burpees more than ever.

I completed the fall challenge in the best shape of my life. No, not the last 10 or 20 years – my entire adult life. I had discussed right shoulder surgery with my orthopedic doctor in 2014, and when I completed the fall challenge in 2015, I had no pain at all and full range of motion. I went from being able to do a handful of pushups, to almost being able to do 30-40 without stopping. I joined the AMP group and got pushed to levels that I didn’t know I could reach. My A1c blood glucose levels dropped to pre-diabetic levels, and my doctor even discussed taking me off medication. I was on cloud 9, 10, 11 and 12.

I signed up for the Holiday challenge, Winter Challenge, and Spring and then things went south. I battle with depression and anxiety, and this past spring I got pulled deep into the abyss. I wasn’t able to fight my way out. It impacted every aspect of my life. I had no energy. I had no desire to do anything – no less work out. I went off social media. I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was in the preverbal bubble and I felt trapped. There is no “just get over it”. There is no “just shake it off”. There is no quick fix. I was fortunate to have a woman in my life who loves me, and supported me during this low point. I was fortunate to work for a great company and people who support me. I was fortunate to have the “right people” to talk to, and eventually diagnosis what was happening to me, and we implemented a plan to get back on my feet. It would take time. I had to be patient, but patience is not one of my strengths.

I was feeling better by summer, but I had gained back the 40 pounds. Subway and Pizza will do that to you. No, you don’t lose weight with subway. I was in terrible shape, and my diabetes A1c levels got significantly worse. What the hell had I done? I was in the best place in my life at one point, and now I was back to the real starting line. I definlty wasn’t coming back to FA. I made that decision. I was truly embarrassed. In the mean time, I had so many awesome FA friends who were reaching out, and that made me feel pretty awesome ( FA family!) In August, Dan and Cathy Brossi called me in their car on the way home from a 140 bootcamp. They encouraged me to do the fall challenge. My response was, “Sure, I’ll think about it”, but I honestly had no intension of coming back. Now, I still had to drive by that big ass sign, “FITNESS ASYLUM” on Rt. 140 and I always looked over. Well, I did sign up in the end, and here I am today. And, yes, my first bootcamp, I almost ran to the restroom, and drove the big white bus. It oddly enough felt good… I felt alive for the first time in a while.

Why am I sharing this? It is not easy for us to admit our vulnerabilities. It is not easy for us to admit we struggle. I want people to know that it is OK. You are not alone. Fuck ( I had to get one in), …life is not a cake walk. No matter what age you are. No matter your gender. The challenges in life BUILD and BUILD and BUILD, and for some, you break. It is OK to say that I need help or need to talk. As men, we bottle up and that impacts health and relationships. Woman do talk and share more often, but that is not always going to help you find solutions. I want you to know –Depression, Anxiety, Mood, are all things you can get help for. We get help for everything else, right ? If life has you down – don’t be afraid to take that step to get help and feel better.

Fitness Asylum has been very important in my recovery. FA has been instrumental to help me reboot. I eat better, I work out, I feel better. The challenge helps me stay focused and “accountable” not only to myself, but also all of my #BESSTie teammates. I love the commrotory and social media. It is always hard to say “what if”. I don’t know what I would be doing if I didn’t come back to FA. Maybe I would have taken measures to get myself healthy again, and maybe I would not have. I probably would have placed the bet on .. Subs and pizza. What I can say is that I did take that step and is working for me. I love the fact that FA is truly a non-judgement zone and I learned that first hand this fall. It is so inspiring to see people in all different places in their lives, all working together, all looking to achieve the same end goal. And we are having a blast doing it !! OK, most days.

This is me: I went to the prom with my future wife. I love to cycle ! I am 54. I worked pushing a hokey pokey. I’m a work-a-holic ( trying to fix that ). I hate to lose. I love birds. I cry at sappy movies. I lost my Dad at 18 to cancer. I played high school basketball with NYK Patrick Ewing ( I was better – not sure what the hell happened). I worked concert security and saw 100’s of bands. I miss my dog Zeus. I had a car for 18 years and 300k miles. I love gadgets. I hate mice. I love pizza. I like to clean. I listen to country but I love most music. I have a mentor. I stay up late. My favorite movie is Harold and Maude. I want to retire at 60. I want to cycle across the USA ( Brossi and Chatten). I admire JFK. I like to set goals. I hate Burpees ( did I say that already?). I like physiological thrillers. I have too many T’s. I wear crocs. I have a man cave. I love getting a massage. I like to walk. I want to see the Pyramids. I have skydived. My favorite color is blue. I want to live to 100. I don’t care for mean people. I don’t like conflict. I like Bonnie Friday nights. I am flawed. I will win my battle. This is me.

I don’t know exactly what the Sexy Beast is defined as, but I would hope it is somebody who works hard, shows progress each week, participates in the journey, is kind, and tries to help others be successful. I am proud to be part of this community and a Sexy Beast.

Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. This training is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider before undertaking rigorous physical training.