Willie and Angela Gillis have been giving us major life, fitness and relationship goals since their story went viral. The Texas natives decided to dramatically change their lives back in 2011, when their goddaughter was born, and shed the extra pounds that were taking a big toll on their health.
At the time, Willie weighed 492 pounds and was worried he wouldn’t live to see the newborn baby’s fifth birthday. “Willie came to me and said, ‘I don’t want to be this person anymore.’ So I said, ‘If you’re going to do it, I’m going to do it,” recalls Angela. In five years, the Gillises have lost a combined 500 pounds by becoming marathoners. Angela has completed a whopping 34 marathons, and Willie has run more than 30 half marathons.
The journey to the over 1,200 miles run started literally with a few steps: Angela and Willie began by walking at the gym for just 10 minutes, and swapping fast food for home-cooked meals. Eventually walking turned to jogging and Angela joined a local jogging club.
Two years later, Angela signed up for her first marathon, and Willie signed up for his first half-marathon. After training for months, they were saddened to learn that the event has been canceled. But instead of packing it in, they decided to run the 13.1 and 26.2 miles, respectively, on their own.
Since then, they have taken part in numerous races and Angela has set the goal of running a marathon in every state. "There were moments when it was hard, but we were fully committed." Willie said. "From day one, there was no backslide, there was no 'we're not doing this anymore,' or 'we can't do this,' and I think a lot of that is because we were going through it together."
As the Gillises have proven, good health and fitness are possible for anybody. Catch up on why Massy Arias thinks fitness saved her life, with BET Breaks, below:
(Photo: Courtesy of Angela Gillis)