We wanted to share this amazing story from one of our readers. Amy Sparks from Florida recently left this comment on our article about the “Pickleball Health Benefits” and felt we had to hear more about her story. Don’t miss the before and after pics below!!
I’m not in my 50s or older but I have been playing for a few years. I use to weigh 265…I now weigh 160. I move faster, my hand eye coordination is superb, my mental focus has increased, gained muscle mass.I would say through my own experience pickleball is a fantastic sport to get or stay healthy! I will say I began to eat healthier on my pickleball journey. The sport got me motivated to eat better, get healthy, and show the guys it’s not just a Male sport.
We reached out to Amy to hear more about her impressive weight loss and how she included pickleball as part of her success. First of all, we wanted to send out a huge congratulations to Amy on losing over 100 pounds and thank her for being willing to share her story! We hope this story might help motivate others to start playing pickleball.
Here is more from Amy on her pickleball journey and the impact it has had on her life (August 2018).
When did you start playing pickleball?
Amy: I started playing in 2012.
Did you have any experience playing other sports (tennis, etc)?
Amy: I did not have any racquet experience prior to falling in love with pickleball, other than in high school PE class. And I wasn’t very good at it!
How often do you play per week?
Amy: I usually play 6 days a week 3 hours a day. I live in Florida. Great for the tan!
Do you play more often now compared to the beginning (Do you notice that you have more stamina and physical ability)?
Amy: My stamina is amazing compared to when I played before. I can now see muscles in my arms and legs. It has been cool to watch my muscles develop into something strong instead of well…not strong. Before, I could only last about an hour. Short shots were the worst for me due to the extra weight. Once my waistline reduced, the folks I played against were in awe of how well my game improved and those missed short shots were a thing of the past.
Do you have a preference between indoors vs outdoors? Do you play singles or doubles?
Amy: I use to play indoors until we moved to Southern Florida. It was a sight to behold getting used to playing in the wind. Now, I wouldn’t want to go back to indoor play. I have only played doubles but have been considering dipping my toe in singles.
Do you play competitively, any tournaments, medals, etc?
Amy: Pre weight loss, I played in a tournament where I was annihilated. My stamina was just not there. I grew tired easily. Post weight loss, I have won bronze in women’s and silver in mixed doubles.
How much weight have you lost?
Amy: When I started my weight loss journey, I weighed 268 pounds. I now weigh 156. I have lost 112 pounds.
Have there been any other noticeable benefits to your health?
Amy: Becoming healthier has given me so much strength. I can now smash with somewhat the best of them. I do not run out of gas midway. I have more agility, a much-needed ability to dodge the body shots. Lol.
I love that I can play the sport I love without limitation. I successfully hit my first around the net shot! I was so ecstatic, I couldn’t help bouncing up and down mid-game.
How has pickleball impacted your life in any other ways?
Amy: My life has been rough as I’m sure most others can relate. I was bullied most of my childhood due to my weight. I also lived on a poor farm. Kids were mean. I lost a lot of my confidence and had been dealing with depression on and off. Losing the weight, eating healthy, and staying active playing pickleball has given me my confidence back. My inner self has finally kicked down the walls.
Pickleball has done so much for my life. It got me moving in the right direction. I have met so many good people and gained an extended family.
Just after interviewing Amy, she told us that she went on to win undefeated in a random draw doubles women’s tournament AND she got sponsored by a pickleball paddle company called Big Teeth.
“I never dreamed this would happen”.