Step’s Journey

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Big guy says to the other big guy…

I’m a big guy.  I stand 6’4” and weigh anywhere from 285 to 305 lbs depending on what I ate that day.  My life’s drive at this junction starts as a ‘GymRat’ at 8AM, 5 days per week at the Anytime Fitness in the North Valleys of Reno, Nevada.  I couldn’t tell you the difference from a pull-up and a chin-up, but I’m a firm believer in getting up and going because just like everything else in life, things miraculously just come together.

I sit on the board for a local Reno non-profit called Note-Ables Music Therapy Services.  Years ago when first starting Make Your Momentum, I found the NMTS and asked to be involved.  I love kids, I love Reno, I love music.  I love that the NMTS takes all the things I love and brings them together for those living with disabilities.

Being on a non-profit board, you have to be involved.  This sometimes means being on the other side of town on a Monday morning at 7:30AM for a fundraising breakfast event.  The important thing about the breakfast is that it introduced NMTS to an array of potential new volunteers, donors and believers to music therapy.  In short, I was very happy to attend to support and spread the NMTS gospel.  During this event, I saw NMTS patron Stephon at the front table with his mom.
I knew this was the perfect moment to get something off of my chest.

A little background…

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Stephon ‘Step’ Joseph VanDyke Jr. was born in Ogden, Utah on March 8th, 1989.  Step was born with autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects one in 68 kids today.  When Step was 14, he suffered severe damage to the frontal lobe, left and right parietal and occipital parts of his brain through a football injury.  This injury only worsened his learning disabilities.  Step graduated from Reed High School in 2007 and now lives in a group home in downtown Reno.  Step is currently 26 years old and weighs 440 lbs.  His primary care physician says if things don’t change immediately, Step might not make it to his 30th birthday.

I personally know Step, he is by far the kindest young man I’ve ever come across.  He attends the NMTS three days per week; participating in dance, singing and drum therapy classes.  When we asked Step why he loves the Note-Ables, he said “The Note-Ables bring out the GOLD in me!”  Step doesn’t consider himself to be disabled.  In fact, his passion is to give back to those with disabilities by teaching kids with Down syndrome how to bowl on Tuesday mornings through the Center of Independent Living.  His right now goal is to learn sign language in order to better assist his friends living with disabilities.

Back to the story…

I introduced myself to Stephon’s mom, Barbara, and asked if I could speak to her son openly about his weight.  She gave me the green-light.  I turned to Stephon and said, ‘we need to get in shape big boy!’ I knew this would resonate and inspire rather than deflate, especially coming from another ‘big boy’ himself.  He gave me a big smile.  I haven’t seen such a genuine smile in a very long time.  I haven’t heard such a soft voice sound so convicting when he said ‘YES!’.  Truth is, he didn’t have to say anything because his eyes said it all.  I’m convinced Stephon’s been waiting for some big boy to come along and ask him this whole time.

I knew we had a new project, another person committed to living the MYM mantra of ‘Dreaming Big’ and ‘Pushing Hard!’  The only thing left to do was coordinate the steps for Stephon to make his momentum and take back his health.

Meet the crew…

I’m grateful to know some pretty astonishing people in all facets of life.  This particular group of people happen to be an isolated team that operate out of the Anytime Fitness in the North Valleys (Reno NV).

My good friend Mandi Monticelli herself is on a journey to reclaim her health.  I see this girl at the gym everyday rockin’ that Desire+Drive doing that whole pick up the rope, slam down the rope routine.  Atta girl, Mandi!  I’m proud of this girl, she’s dedicated.  So dedicated that she now mentors her own support group of folks Saturday mornings at Anytime Fitness.  MENTOR (Check!)


There’s also this powerhouse couple I know named the Borden’s.  Without question the most giving and kind-hearted people I know.  I was telling Brandon about our upcoming project to get Stephon in shape and he gave Step a free membership to Anytime Fitness, on the spot, no questions asked.  We’re extremely grateful Borden family, thank you!  GYM MEMBERSHIP (Check!)


Since going to Anytime Fitness for quite some time now, I’ve got to know the training staff on personal level.  Matter of fact, you can find pictures of these friends all over the Make Your Momentum webpage.  We talk about everything in the morning; from Ben Roethlisberger to obsessions with peanut butter, this team of trained professionals is a one-stop-shop for a dietary plan to workout regime.  I’ve asked my friends Justin Cutler, Rachel Koester and Troy Horner to be a part of this young man’s journey.  TRAINERS (Check!)

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The gameplan…

Here at MYM, we don’t have a lot of free capital.  Truth is, we spend a lot of time and money actually getting our brand’s message out into the universe in hopes of impacting lives to move in a more positive direction.  That doesn’t stop us from wanting to get involved.

Think about this for a moment; the universe actually encourages us to make momentum.  As gravity holds us grounded, the effort we put forth to even take a step forward is momentum.  By simply walking, we are making our own momentum.  It’s only fitting that we got involved with a young man named Step to take the appropriate steps forward to make his momentum, right?  Right!

We’ve made a custom Anytime Fitness branded MYM Performance Shirt called “The Step” to help our young friend through his life-long journey.  100% of the proceeds will go back to local Reno, local trainers, local Anytime Fitness to keep Step’s regime alive.  We’re not looking for a handout.  We simply ask that if you’re in need of an amazing performance shirt you can bleed, sweat and cry in, we have exactly what you’re looking for.  Knowing the profits are changing lives is simply the bonus.

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Hoping you’re MYM’n 24/7,
Big Chuck
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Make Your Momentum is a lifestyle attitude that has been embraced by so many people, from different walks of life.  Many of you have gotten behind this movement, and have begun to make momentum in your own lives and cities as well.

You are individuals who live inspired to create music, art, and authentic, meaningful lives in the community.

People who are setting goals and pressing forward until the job is done.    Athletes, who are daily defying odds and personal records.  Regular people, who have made up their minds to succeed.

And with each achievement, the momentum is magnified all around you, and others can NOT HELP but be inspired.

It is because of this occurrence, we have had the pleasure of witnessing TRUE momentum in action!

One of the best places to catch someone rocking an MYM tee is at the gym.  Most of us spend hard earned money on workout attire so that once you set your mind on your fitness goals, you can feel good and look good while smashing them!

For some with a lot of weight to lose and limited clothing options, feeling good and confident enough to step foot into a gym is a luxury that seems out of reach.anytime sparks

We are proud to announce that Make Your Momentum and Anytime Fitness of Sparks and North Valleys have teamed up for something special!

Because of the momentum made by a current Anytime Fitness member, who wore an MYM shirt every day to help her keep going, we have launche
d a new line of “Push Beyond Your Means” tees.   This member, not only made up her mind to keep going, she’s lost 50lbs and counting.

“Push beyond your means” is a mantra to those who press forward despite the excuses, or pain or lack of resources.  This shirt is for those who are going that extra minute and extra mile.  It’s about focusing on what you CAN do, instead of what you can’t yet do.

We are inspired by those who have been staring up at a huge mountain to climb to lose weight and gain back their health.  They have felt the FEAR…and have started anyway.

This is our way of saluting them.

The best part?

With each PBYM tee that is purchased, Make Your Momentum will donate 100% towards a revolving scholarship account with Anytime Fitness Sparks/North Valleys, for memberships for those who may not be able to join and/or personal training sessions to get them started.

They will be available in ALL sizes, so that everyone can have the opportunity to feel confident enough to walk into a gym, and claim their life back!  Would you join in supporting this movement?