MESA, AZ - Every episode of "Extreme Weight Loss" is an inspiration and Tuesday night, you saw Ryan Sawlsville overcome a disability, while also working to lose at least half of his 410 pound frame.
Turns out, he surpassed his goal thanks to a trainer in the Valley. In fact, the contestants on "Extreme Weight Loss" end up spending a lot of time in our state.
In the year-long extreme makeover transformation, boot camp in Arizona may be the worst part. It involves several hours of cardio from dusk until dawn. Many of their days start at The Cell, a cross-fit gym in Mesa, with Transformation Specialist, Ammon Woods.
When Ryan first walked into The Cell, with just one arm, Ammon knew he too would be challenged as his trainer.
"If someone trips on a box jump, they can usually catch themselves. But he could go down and it could be ugly," Ammon says.
But, Ryan tried everything Ammon threw at him, never letting his disability get in the way of his goal.
"I would say, let's do this a little bit differently and he'd say 'I can do it, I can try it,'" remembers Ammon.
Halfway through the season, Ryan set a difficult, personal goal: a one-arm pushup. But, training him to accomplish that feat is a lot trickier than you'd think.
"We didn't want to overdevelop that one side because it would start to pull to him and he'd start to have some hunch problems. So we had to be careful about overworking some of the muscles," says Ammon.
And after months of pouring his heart and soul into just one pushup, Ryan was successful.
"After that he was like, 'ok, what's next? I want to try to do a one-arm pull-up,'" jokes Ammon.
It's that drive and perseverance that inspired other cross-fitters at The Cell.
"I really looked up to the guy," says Chris Kaetor, who trains at The Cell.
On Ryan's last day in the Valley, Kaetor was one of dozens of people who took on Ammon's challenge: a one-arm, one-hour workout.
"If this guy can go through all of these different exercises, there should be no excuse why anyone with two arms and two legs can't do the same thing," says Kaetor.
During Ryan's big reveal on "Extreme Weight Loss," Ammon was there, standing with his family, sporting his immense success.
"Watching him walk in, the crowd went nuts and seeing that final number on the scale," Ammon says, "It was pretty emotional because I've seen how hard he works."
As far as that one arm pull-up is concerned, Ammon says it will take another couple of months of training before he'll be able to do it. But he has no doubt whatsoever he'll accomplish that goal.
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