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Kale is half the man he used to be

Posted on December 23, 2013 by Taber Times

t has been a friendship between Kale Renner and Joel Mills that has literally been forged stronger with blood, sweat and tears.

Not too long ago Renner was finding himself at over 420 pounds with little to no energy and was finding it difficult to do the little things many of us find easy.

“At my worst I was finding myself not being able to do much activity wise. I’d have trouble walking around the block, I’d be exhausted, my back would hurt and my body would ache,” said Renner. “Just the things everyone would normally do I was having trouble with.”

Loved ones of Renner with his family and friends were getting concerned for the health of the gentle giant, who would go through an eight-pack of Coke or Pepsi every couple of days. It got to the point where water was foreign to him along with any remotely healthy meal, as fast food was the staple and fruits and vegetables were nearly unheard of.

Seeing that concern of loved ones and fears for his own health, Kale knew it was time to make a change.

The journey to better fitness has not been one without its trials and tribulations as numerous temptations and hardships along the way made Renner want to stray from his ultimate goal at times.

“I wanted to go out with friends and I had to make really smart choices that I didn’t usually do. I had to give up some things all together like pop where I was going through withdrawals,” said Renner. “At times I was literally shaking because I wasn’t taking in as much caffeine as I used to.”

Kale tried to go it alone with a diet plan from Jenny Craig. It proved successful where the Taberite was able to drop 100 pounds, but he seemed to plateau. That is when childhood friend Joel Mills came along. Feeling homesick for his Taber roots, he returned home with a vision to start a gym much like the one he was doing personal training for in California in which Renner’s drive to a healthier tomorrow seemed like a perfect match.

“He showed me more weight could be dropped and it skyrocketed from there,” said Renner. “If I was going to do it, I had to be all the way in. I had to be dedicated with the diet and working out. It had to be done, I had let myself go so much to that point, I had to re-dedicate myself for my health. I could see some results and I could see them constantly happening so it was good motivation seeing a drop (in weight) every week.”

The most Mills ever saw someone drop as a trainer back in Los Angeles was 100 pounds in a two-year journey. It shows exactly how huge of an accomplishment the 194 pounds Kale has lost as of mid December in which he is still shedding the pounds.

“I don’t think people realize the magnitude of this accomplishment. I’ve never been there and have had to walk in his shoes, but it has to be one of the most difficult things you can do,” said Mills. “Imagine coming to the gym and doing a workout which is hard enough as it is. Then imagine piggybacking yourself while you do it. He’s basically lost another human being (in weight).”

Kale and Joel had been friends even before they reached grade school as five year olds. Best friends who did everything together back in the day, where Joel lived right beside Kale’s grandparents, it strengthened the friendship even further in their formative years.

“If you tallied up the amount of food I had and the food bill at the Renners, it’d probably be in the tens of thousands of dollars,” said Mills with a chuckle.

Joel would go to the Renner household and train Kale in their basement or garage before his gym was opened to lay the foundation to help Kale reach his goal.

“It’s long hours and physically taxing, but I love it. I just want to help as many people as I can. It can be a matter of dropping 20 pounds and feeling better looking at yourself in the mirror, or it can be a matter of life and death in changing your whole lifestyle,” said Mills.

Food was once Kale’s vice, but now it is exercise as the feeling of euphoria are practically the same when he compared rituals.

“Food would give me that extra little boost during the day and now I’m at the point where if I don’t workout or go for a run, my body doesn’t feel like it is being fulfilled at that point. I need to do something,” said Renner.

“That’s the cool thing about exercise where it works the same for everybody. If you keep at it for long enough, somewhere along the way it stops being unpleasurable and it starts being super pleasurable,” added Mills. “Before it would be something you don’t look forward to at all and now you can’t live without it.”

Renner tries to get in 20 minutes of fitness everyday in which he also has one-hour personal training sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to double up training.

Kale is forever grateful to the structure Jenny Craig and his good friend Joel has been able to give him. The Taberite has already surpassed his personal goal for weight loss, but will continue to drop the pounds to see how far he can go before he plateaus. Even just little things like going to bed on time has helped Kale from straying from his fitness plan.

“I was finding that if I was staying up longer than I had to, you just eat because you are watching TV and you’re bored wanting to see what’s in your fridge and in your kitchen,” said Renner. “You eat out of boredom.”

Renner admits at his heavier weights there were some dark times where the weight was not only affecting his physical health, but mental as well where he was not as social.

“The new Kale feels tons better. I’m going to the gym ready to go where I’m not tired. Even waking up is the weirdest change where I’m not waking up tired as if I didn’t get enough sleep,” said Renner. “If anyone wants to go somewhere I’m good. Before I was very isolated in a sense where I was getting in that depressive state where I didn’t want to do anything.”

Renner set a goal of getting down to 230 pounds where just getting close would have made him do cartwheels. Now, getting past that he wants to set a new goal.

“I want to push myself even harder because I know I can,” said Renner.

Mills noted his friend Kale has been a source of inspiration to many clients at Pro Performance Gym, noting he has motivated more people than he has as a personal trainer. The Renner training sessions which started with just family members on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays has grown to where many people are joining in, as many as 16 at a time.

“People push it harder when they see Kale,” said Mills. “In this town of 8,000 people I have had more people have more dramatic weight loss and more dramatic life changes than I ever had in Los Angeles because of Kale.”

Whatever goals a person has in their path to physical fitness or are making New Year’s resolutions, Renner stresses to be patient. A person’s body is not going to change overnight.

“Your body changes eventually, but it needs to get used to it. You just have to believe it’s all for the better,” said Renner.

It is a daunting thing Renner has done which Mills acknowledges as a trainer not everyone can do. But, on some level, where increased efforts are made, everyone can live a healthier lifestyle both mentally and physically.

“Everyone has room for some sort of improvement. People get discouraged because they don’t think they can do it. Just coming to the gym you are mentally preparing yourself to improve yourself,” said Mills. “People look at it as something that is unattainable, but it doesn’t even have to be coming to the gym. It can be getting on your treadmill or bike. Taking that walk around the block. Just look at small accomplishments every day where they can become big ones.”

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