I was born at Glendale Hospital and grew up in Pacoima CA. I was raised by a great man, my father, George M. Chavez I. He raised me to have great work ethic and to treat others with respect and dignity. I owe all of who I am today to my father who has supported me in EVERY thing I showed interest in. I went through a phase where I liked baseball cards and he went berserk collecting them with me. I went on to building computers, and low and behold we hit each and every computer convention known to man in the LA area looking for the perfect deal. He has shown me how to be a father and how to support my children with enthusiasm and passion. I eventually grew up to meet a remarkable woman that has been by my side since the age of 16 that I am blessed to call my wife to this day. I currently live in Sylmar, CA but grew up in Pacoima, California. I am the Lead Audio Tech at Real Life Church Valencia CA
I am most proud of my amazing family. My remarkable wife that has been my biggest supporter and an amazing magnet teacher, and our two beautiful daughters that never cease to amaze me. My 13-year-old daughter loves to act and just finished being in the production of the Lion King, and my 8 years old just appeared in her first Target commercial. There are so many things in my life that I am proud of, but the thing I’m most proud of is my fitness journey.
This journey began about eight years ago when I hit an all-time low in my life. My health was going downhill fast as I was reaching an unmanageable weight due to laziness, depression, and bad habits. I was also in a bad work situation. I got a job that made unbelievable money but the hours were horrible to the point where I was almost non-existent to my family.
After 4 years at this job I finally left because I was so depressed and lost. I realized that no amount of money in the world could replace the warm embrace of my wife and little girls. I would find myself on the couch not budging while my baby girls would ask me to play with them outside. I would say no every time because I was tired, lazy, and most of all had an extremely low sense of self-worth and I knew that I would get winded just by going down the stairs and felt my family looked at me like a failure because of it.
I was over 260 pounds, couldn’t climb stairs without getting winded, and was diagnosed with sleep apnea all at the age of 34! I felt like a failure and an embarrassment to my wife as I lay next to her every night with a machine helping me to breathe because of my weight. I went to the doctor shortly after that and he put things in perspective for me by telling me that I was officially obese and needed to do something about it immediately.
Hearing that was pretty much the turning point in my life and at that moment I decided to take action to get my life and family back. I am a strong believer in God so I prayed for strength and direction to help me get started and to stay on track. The next day I saw that a gym was having their grand opening in two weeks from that point, and it was right down the street from my place of work at the time in Burbank, CA! Talk about an answer to prayer and a direct message so I immediately signed up and prepared for the next two week for the beginning of a new beginning.
Two weeks later, I began the first of three sessions with a personal trainer. I wish I can say it was an amazing experience with the Rocky theme playing in the background, and people cheering me on in the background but it was not like that at all. I quickly realized how out of shape I was as I fought the urge to puke all over the trainer and not to mention punch him in his chiseled face for the torture! But on the serious note, my trainer Matt Pick was very supportive and helped me with my new lifestyle. I took the sessions of training seriously, writing down every move we did. I studied them, and made a workout regimen out of it, which included weightlifting, cardio, and high-intensity interval training. I was determined to make a change to better my life and to be an example to my kids and kept the saying in my mind that “mind over matter makes a Pooh Un-fatter – Winnie the Pooh”. Roughly six months later I had lost 75 pounds.
Now I have run multiple 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons with the help of the amazing friends that I had met along the way. I found what worked best for me is that if I kept setting short-term goals; I was able to accomplish mini-milestone victories along the way. My mentors Anton, Susan, and Eric helped me tremendously by training, guiding, and pushing me along the way.
The day had finally come to finally run my first full marathon. Unlike my first day at the gym this day was amazing and very emotional, there WAS theme music playing in the background, and there were CROWDS of people cheering me on. I felt like I was accomplishing one of the biggest milestones in my life as I passed people holding up signs saying you CAN do it.
As I reached the finish line I couldn’t help but break out in tears as I heard my family call my name, I quickly went over to hug them, as they were my biggest support system and ultimate goal.
Seeing and embracing them at the finish line made the pain, sweat, frustration, and agony disappear. Since then I went on to run another Full marathon, Tough Mudders, Spartan Races, two Ragnar 200 mile relays (one as an Ultra team), and a few more races. Here is a great video of one of the Ragnar races.
Like I said before, I wanted to do this for myself but more importantly to be an example for my kids, and that day came when my girls unprompted asked me to run with them, and if they can run a race with me. The amount of joy and pride could not be put into words because this moment was the moment I prayed about and worked so hard for. We since have had some fun by participating in a mud run, a few 5k’s and my oldest even did a super half marathon with me because we got lost. We ended up doing 16 miles that day and she is the one that wanted to finish and keep going and for that, I couldn’t have been any more proud of her. My family and I continue to this day to try to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active, eating healthy, and being a team.
After going through the struggles growing up with weight issues, I am very passionate about being an example to my growing children about health physically and mentally. I strive to be a living example to my children to instill good habits without saying a word. I strongly believe we lead by example and lead with our actions, not with our tongues.
I am a person who likes to sit in the back of the room and watch other people. Along my journey, people have approached me to ask how I’m making changes or even to help them get started. I felt that if I was able to help just one person I was happy to do that. but many have asked for advice and guidance along the way and I think I owe that all to leading by example and not by your tongue.
My Family is my life, seeing my daughters grow up and accomplish different things every day makes me so proud to be a father that is present in his family’s life. Watching my wife teach and have so much passion for the future of America is one of the highlights of my day when I have the chance to see it. My wife and I tell our children that we are rich…. Not because we have lots of money which we don’t, but because we have each other, kind hearts, and the ability to help others in need as best as we can whenever we can. Today I encounter acts that my girls do like randomly ask me to buy a sandwich for a person on the street on their own because they have such a kind heart and it breaks for the people less fortunate than us. And that is what makes me proud of the life that I am living.
Catch Tommy here on Instagram: @ThomasJChavez
Here are the answers to Tommy’s Bonus Questions:
How important is music in your life?
Music is a HUGE part of my life and I think it’s important on many levels. I think that everything should have a theme song to from doing laundry, cleaning the house, working out, or even going to bed. Everything is better with a theme song.
What is your favorite Inspirational quote?
“Mind over Matter Makes a Pooh Un-Fatter” – Pooh Bear
What is your favorite physical feature on your own body?
My dimples, I have two deep suckers. #datdimpledoe
Give money to the beggar on the street or tell them to “Get a job!” Which one are you?
This one is a tough question. I have a heart for the homeless and have had many instances trying to help them. Yes, many are there of their own accord but many also need help and are genuinely seeking help. I think if we use discretion and discernment we should do what we can to help someone in need by showing them options, taking them to get a haircut, and shower, or simply giving them a laundry card. If I were out on the street asking for help I would love someone to assist any way possible.
What is one attribute you got from your Dad?
How has it been a benefit to your life? One attribute I got from my dad was to work hard at everything you do and always give it your all. Always finish the tasks you set out to do whether it is a small project, or playing on a team. If you start something finish it! I find myself doing this every day and telling my kids the same things. Ballet, for example, one of the girls wanted to drop out of ballet after joining but she finished after all and finished the commitment she signed up for and that’s all I ask.
Do you believe in God?
I am a strong believer in God, but to be more specific I am a believer in Jesus Christ that has died on the cross for my sins and for those that choose to accept Him as theirs. I believe that He has had his Angeles protecting me and my family throughout our life and owe everything to Him. My relationship with Him has not been a perfect one but He is merciful and just and continues to call me His own.
What makes you laugh?
Watching my family be silly while we are on vacation, watching tv, or just messing around. They are the funniest people I know and they constantly make me laugh.
What is one thing you would like to learn before you die?
I would LOVE to learn to play the bass guitar. Ever since I was a little boy I have had the desire to play bass because it is so beefy and it sounds amazing. Plus it looks pretty cool.
What was your favorite Halloween costume? Share a picture?
My buddy and I made own Lego Man costumes. This was way before the movie came out and it was a hit with the kids.
What was the first album, cd, download you owned?
One of my phases I went through was being a DJ. Again my dad supported me by going all out to support my passion. We didn’t have very much money to be spending on tons of music so we found a place that discarded demo CDs which most of them worked. I remember very well that my very first CD was R.E.M. and it sounded amazing considering I was accustom to playing vinyl.
Do you think you think it’s possible to have your dream job?
Yup, I have my dream job right now.
What is your favorite time period?
Psssh 80’s Duuuuh
Do you love your job? Why?
I absolutely love my job because the people there are amazing and working with the equipment I get to is unlike working to me, its like I get to play all day long.
If this was your last day on earth, what would you do?
Spend it with my family.
What do you think is the key to a healthy relationship?
Communication and being open with one another no matter the subject.
What is your most prized material possession?
My ’07 Harley Davidson Street Glide
Tell me about a time you were bullied.
I was bullied in a school bus once and it ended up in a fight. He kept hitting my head while I was trying to rest and I finally stood up to this huge guy. He never messed with me again after that.
What is the strangest food or food combination you enjoy eating?
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich… Oh yeah, it has to have Tapatio hot sauce in it too! Try it you’ll be amazed.
What is your favorite tree? Why?
Weeping Willow because you can sit under it and be completely surrounded and engulfed by it. It looks peaceful too.
What do you think is the biggest of waste of money?
BOTTLED WATER, but I still buy it.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Making an impact on people’s lives.
Besides dying in your sleep, which way would you want to go?
I wouldn’t mind passing on the surgery table. this way I’m already knocked out and already halfway there.
What is something that scares you?
Not being able to be there for my family.
A breakfast you could eat every day?
Eggs over easy mixed in with hash browns! Oh Man!