Imagine you're sitting on your couch, working toward the bottom of a bag of potato chips when a fitness center ad comes on the TV. Quick edits and high-contrast photography show beautiful twenty-somethings with single-digit body-fat percentages pumping, pressing, pulling, and preening. Their abs and pecs and delts are glistening with sweat and their gorgeous faces are rapt with motivation and energy. The ad undoubtedly finishes with a web address and phone number and some sort of call-to-action discount. Maybe you call, maybe you visit the URL, or maybe you just close the bag of chips (or finish it, out of spite).

But now imagine watching this ad while weighing nearly 500 pounds. It would be like witnessing the moon landing or seeing a Hubble telescope image—a beautiful sight, indeed, but something from another world. It's something that seems disconnected, far away, almost alien to you.

You'll never see Marcus Miller in a traditional gym advertisement. Even though he no longer weighs 500 pounds and has lost over 150 pounds in the last year, he still tips the scale at 350. The thought of six-pack abs and shredded biceps aren't what motivates Marcus; they're not even on his radar. “When you're almost 500 pounds, you have to celebrate the fact that you just made it inside a gym,” says Marcus. “It's not even what you do when you're there; you have to break it down to ...

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