From Struggles to Strength: Inspiring Fitness Journey Earns Resident National Recognition

From Chubby to Champion: Inspiring Fitness Journey Earns Man National Recognition

Gabriel Dunkin’s before and after transformation. {courtesy}

By Bryan Boggiano

Gabriel Dunkin’s successful fitness transformation not only caught the attention of those close to him but also garnered national recognition.

In June, EoS Fitness declared Dunkin their gym-level “Submit Your Fit” Contest winner for their Coral Springs location.

The contest spotlights stories of how members transformed and embraced fitness to improve their quality of life, according to a press release. 

“True fitness is about enhancing overall wellness – mentally, physically, and emotionally, and our annual ‘Submit Your Fit’ contest is a testament to how that is different for every individual,” said Shilpi Sullivan, chief marketing officer, in a press release. 

Following his transformation, Coral Springs Talk caught up with Dunkin, 25, who discussed his journey and advised others in a similar situation.

As a kid, Dunkin, of Coral Springs, said he was chubby, which caused his peers to mock him for his weight. 

When he started at Coral Springs High School in 2012, he thought he would make a change. 

Dunkin joined the school’s football team and seemed on the right track. It took one injury to end his high school football career. 

“After that injury, I just lost myself,” he said. 

After graduating in 2016, he tried to pursue a career in football while studying architecture at Broward College and FAU. At his heaviest, Dunkin was 5’8 and 296 pounds. He said a stomach virus in 2018 brought him down to 260, but he did not lose any additional weight due to an illness. 

From there, he decided to make a change. 

Dunkin cut out sweets from his diet, which he said was his most challenging dietary change. He also incorporated low-calorie, low-fat, and high-protein meals. He also started high-strength workouts. 

At first, Dunkin said progress did not come easy. He would get discouraged, but he kept pushing. For the first two weeks, he said, working out became a habit, then it became a lifestyle.

Dunkin challenged himself to go further and go harder, or as he said, to do “one more.”

By 2019, he noticed significant changes. His weight dropped to 187 pounds, and he became satisfied with his appearance and overall health. 

He also created his own fitness channel on YouTube, where he documented his body transformation journey and inspired others to change their lives.

The comments he received from his viewers, Dunkin said, inspired him to keep going, even on days when he felt down.

“I cannot let them down,” he said. “They’re looking at me for motivation and inspiration, and I must keep going.” 

In 2022, Dunkin joined the new Coral Springs EoS location, which had just opened at 2322 Royal Palm Blvd. He said he was looking for a gym close to his home, accessible, and has a lot to offer.

That year, he became aware of the Submit Your Fit contest through his email and submitted his story. In June, EoS announced Dunkin as their gym-level winner.

“It’s nice for my story to get out there because now, it can touch some people,” he said. “Having friends call me, it’s mind-blowing.”

While Dunkin never envisioned being a role model, he hopes the spotlight he gained can help him reach and inspire more people.

“If I could be [other people’s] inspiration, their motivation, their proof to change their life just by changing a few life habits, this is the best chance I could get,” he said.

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Bryan Boggiano

Bryan Boggiano
Bryan has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and earned his masters in geosciences from Florida International University, where he focused in atmospheric sciences. His interests include weather, entertainment, and municipal government.

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