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Jarvis Googoo’s before photo is winter, 2007. His after photo is this summer, 2012, in in a master class at GoodLife Fitness, where he instructs 'body attack' group classes.

Jarvis Googoo

32, Halifax


My turning point: My best friend had committed suicide in the summer of 2006. This sent me into a depression. Soon, I was 260 pounds, had stopped exercising and was eating junk foods to help cope. My clothes were no longer fitting properly and my law school studies were strained. I knew I had to turn my health around, first emotionally then physically. I started to see a counsellor for depression and I began to feel a bit better. But I looked in the mirror one day, and I saw it: I had totally let my physical health slip away. I had to get back on the fitness wagon and stay with it no matter what.

My method: I joined a gym and did simple weights and cardio machines, cut back on soda, ate several small meals instead of three large ones, and started counting calories. I reduced calories as a whole. Snacks went from muffins, doughnuts, and cookies to apples, bananas, and nectarines. Lunches went from heavy sandwiches, pizza slices, and chili to meal replacement bars, sushi, salads. Supper went from take-out, frozen pizzas, and high calorie canned food to more salads and low-carb, high protein meals. I also switched breakfasts from high sugar cereals to low-sugar ones.

While I made good progress, I eventually plateaued with weight-lifting and running. I needed something different. Then I noticed exercise classes at GoodLife Fitness, and haven't looked back. Classes became a passion. Given my acting background, zeal for classes, and desire to help others with their fitness goals, I became a fitness instructor – this was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It's the highlight of my day. I'm healthy, happy and love helping others.

My kryptonite: Dairy Queen, nachos, and Egg McMuffins. As The Rock says: 'don't cheat yourself; treat yourself,' and these are some good sweet treats.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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