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April Johnson has shared her weight loss story in order to inspire others. Please read it to learn how you can help her reach her goal.


I want to, “LIFT” to, “SUPPORT” Breast Cancer!!!” Guest Post by April Johnson

*Story to air on KY3 10/7/2014

My Weight Loss Journey

April Johnson

April Johnson

Growing up, I was always overweight, even though I was fairly active as youngster in sports like swimming, golf, and basketball. I just never really got a handle on my weight, until September of 2010. That is when I started my weight loss journey. I was not able to exercise at my heaviest (260 lbs), so I ate a 1600 calorie low fat/no fried diet and I walked once a week for 1 hour. Then as I started losing weight, I was able to increase the amount of walks to 2 per week, then 3, then 4, and so on. At the 1 year mark, I had lost 99 lbs, and I hit a personal goal in January of 2012. 103 lbs lost! I was ecstatic at my accomplishment, but I was not physically fit.

I was terrified of gyms, but I knew I had to overcome my fear, to improve my health. So, my friend was able to get me a free trial membership to a local fitness club, and the new chapter of my life began. In April of 2012, I started spin classes, combat cardio, and then ultimately Body Pump. I felt OK in the classrooms, because they would turn the lights down low, so no one could see you. I would run in, right before class, and run out, right afterwards. I worked up the confidence to get on an elliptical towards the end. Of all the classes I took, I really enjoyed Body Pump. It was a high intensity/high rep/low weights, 1 hour class. I told everyone I knew, how much I loved the “lifting weights” class, I was in.

In February 2013, while talking with my younger “fit” coworkers, they mentioned a Bootcamp class they had taken, at a gym that had just opened a new location near our clinic. They talked about the strength building, small class size, and the personal attention you get. They loved it!

So, I decided to face another big fear, and walk into a,”Real gym”, with bright lights, and heavy weights. That is how I came to Strong Gym. I have been a member since mid-Feb 2013 and have been attending the M-W-F night bootcamp class, ever since! I LOVE IT! I LOVE STRONG GYM!!!!

I found out that I love to lift heavy, and train hard, and that I am pretty good at it too.

Power Lifting for a Purpose: Breast Cancer Awareness and Fundraising

power of liftingSo, this brings us to the present, and my next BIG goal. I turned 40 this year, and with that, decided to do something noteworthy. I decided I needed to compete in a power lifting competition this year!

I attended FitCon, and was so excited for all the competitors, but could hardly sit in my chair. I wanted to be up there competing too! But, I still had a hesitation, of being in front of people, the bright lights, and wearing a singlet! I stated to my trainer, Billy Oxendine, that I HAVE to do a competition before the end of the year. He mentioned there would be a few more coming up, and we left it at that. Then, the sign I needed arrived!

The Beards and Bows competition flier was posted, and I knew it was the competition I was supposed to be a part of. It was not only a competition, but a fundraiser for breast cancer!

My grandmother, on my father’s side, passed away from breast cancer at the age of 48. I never got to meet her. I know she was a nurse, and was diagnosed around my age, and battled it the best she could. Sadly, she lost her life to it. My father has been very vigilant about me being screened and checked. So, from the age of 27, I have had mammograms and yearly check-ups. Plus I have had the genetic testing for BRCA1 & BRCA2. I am fortunate to be negative for both markers, and have had clean mammograms, so far.

Beards and Bows, being a powerlifting meet, and a fundraiser for breast cancer, was the sign I had been waiting for. It was clear to me, that this was the contest I was supposed to do.

Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks: BCFO designation

Goal: $2500 in donations for the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks

For every donation I receive, I will allow the donor to write their name, or the name of a loved one affected by breast cancer, on my singlet. I want to fill it up with names, front and back. This way I will not be lifting by myself, or for myself, but I will have the help and support of all of the people listed on my singlet.

How to Donate

  1. Write Checks to:
    • Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks (memo line: April Johnson fundraising)
    • Please include a note with your loved one’s name to be written on the singlet (or you may email with your loved one’s name).
  2. Please mail (or drop off) checks to:
    • Loehr Health Center
    • 3021 E. Sunshine
    • Springfield, MO 65804

OR Donate in person at the Grand Opening of Loehr Health Center on October 17th from 11:00AM-7:00PM (more details here) and sign my singlet with your loved one’s name.

Thank you for your support,


If you are looking for charities or organizations to donate to please call the office of Loehr Health Center. We will place you in touch with someone at BCFO.