Cancer survivor’s story about weight loss is a true inspiration

Cancer survivor’s story about weight loss is a true inspiration
Photo courtesy of Planet Fitness

A cancer survivor who lost nearly half of his weight is living proof that with the right motivation, everything is possible.

Steve Martin, a 23-year old has lost 230 pounds in the last three years.

The challenge began for Steve, who was born and raised in the Bronx, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 14 in 2006.

A short time later he had to have part of a leg amputated and undergo lung surgery, before being diagnosed with cancer again in 2007 and 2011.

He became depressed and turned to food as a coping mechanism.

After the third diagnosis, weighing in at about 465 pounds, Martin knew that he had to make major changes in his life.

“That time period was very rough,” said Martin. “I was obese, depressed and I was ready to let all of my hopes and dreams go.”

Opportunity knocked for Martin when a Planet Fitness opened in his neighborhood in the beginning of 2012.

Without hesitation, he signed up for a membership and quickly began working with the gym’s various trainers, who helped him lose at least 25 pounds in his first three months.

Following a brief plateau, Martin made more changes to his routine – improving his diet and increasing his workouts.

At one point, he ran 7.5 miles each day as part of his workout routine, which also paid dividends.

After three years-at Planet Fitness, Martin had lost a total of 230 pounds – nearly half of the 465 pounds that he weighed initially. Martin says that his motivation behind his weight loss, aside from his battles with cancer and a partial leg amputation, was when he initially heard about Planet Fitness’ judgment-free environment and was welcomed with open arms by the gym’s staff when he joined.

“Before I signed up (to Planet Fitness), I wasn’t really living – I just existed,” said Martin, who will be senior at Monroe College in New Rochelle this upcoming fall and can now pursue his career dreams of being a snowboarder and an actor.

“I had joined gyms and fitness centers before, but I never really stuck with them or my workout routines like I did at Planet Fitness. The trainers that I have worked with over the past few years, who each helped me improve myself and made me feel comfortable in my own skin, now also celebrate my success with me – and that is a great thing.

“Steve looks absolutely fantastic,” said Valerie Gerace, operations coordinator of Planet Fitness for the past eight years. “He has definitely worked hard to reach this accomplishment, and what he has accomplished is truly amazing.”

Martin’s success story now stands as an example for other individuals who are suffering with weight issues in the Bronx – a county that ranks among the highest in obesity in New York state.

“I would tell anybody who is going through what I went through to think positive and make positive (even if they are small) changes in their life – whether that change is joining a new gym, dieting, exercising or even setting goals,” said Martin. “Every positive step will lead them in the right direction and away from obesity.”

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at