September 23, 2016
Transformations Series: Tom Keyburn
Some fitness transformations are slightly more severe than others. In the case of Tom Keyburn, a motorcycle accident that landed him in the hospital revealed something much scarier lurking in the shadows: prostate cancer. At 49 years old, Tom had to make some serious changes to his life if he wanted a chance at survival. Tom is 55 now, but the past few years have been some of the most instrumental of his entire life. When he looks back on it all, even though his life seemingly changed on the fateful day of the accident, it still took some tough love to get him to really turn his lifestyle around. The journey began on Halloween in 2009. Tom decided to drive his motorcycle to work that day, but he never made it in. Instead, he woke up in an ambulance with 8 broken ribs, a broken shoulder, and what the doctors call a minor traumatic brain injury. As he was recovering from those injuries, his doctor gave him a physical. The PSA test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer – his results came back a little high, so a biopsy was done. That came back positive. 4 months later, Tom successfully underwent surgery to remove the cancer, but still didn't spend too much time worrying about his health. He would go to the gym for a few weeks, then stop for a few weeks – with nothing getting in the way of his precious Happy Hours, BBQs, and other related activities. After months of living like this, his doctor said the words that finally hit home: "You are going to die soon. You survived a motorcycle accident, you survived cancer, and you are going to die because of what you eat and how much you drink." That was it. He walked to his car, closed the door, and made the decision that he wasn't going to die. But something else happened too. He realized that if God saved him from all his accidents, maybe he did have a plan for Tom after all. A friend of his was running a boot camp at the time; Tom started going 3 days a week. "The first day was eye-opening. I almost died right then," he described. He continued going to the boot camp, supplementing it with trips to the gym. Other changes happened too; he quit eating fast food every day, and a nutrition shop just happened to open next door his workplace, so he began to explore supplements. It was at this shop that he spotted his very first 6 Pack Bag.
As Tom's weight began to drop, it wasn't only his body that changed – his mindset changed too. His customers and employees were all telling him how good he looked, and everyone had the same question: "How did you do it?" His typical response was, quite simply, was to point to his improved diet. Eventually, at 52 years, Tom made his physique competition debut – and was quickly hooked. "I love the meal prep diet," he explained. "I love the fact that I only compete against me." Fast-forward three years, and Tom is still killing it in competitions and living his best life. He currently follows a clean eating macro program, and he's in contest prep for a show for a natural, drug-tested bodybuilding competition. The key to his success is the fact that he cooks all his meals ahead of time, with portions weighed out and ready to go.
"I was so happy ... to be able to keep my snacks, lunch, and dinner all in one bag. I have brought my 6 Pack Bag to work every day for the past 3 years."
Apart from sticking to a clean diet and prepping for competitions, one of Tom's most important goals these days is to continue to share his story. "Cancer didn't beat me – it actually saved my life," Tom said. Now, he talks to anyone and everyone about men's health. His dream is to have a big blue bus out at events, offering free PSA blood tests for men. "Early detection can beat this cancer," Tom explained. "Just think. 1-7 men will get prostate cancer, so if there are 50,000 people at a sporting event or concert, and I get just 10% to take a test, how many men can we save?" Tom is just a regular guy who ate junk food, drank too many beers, and didn't take care of his body. One day, he almost lost it all. Now, he loves his healthy, fitness-centric lifestyle. He loves how he feels – and, with a wink, points out that being single doesn't hurt him at pool parties during the summer!
"With my 6 Pack, I can keep my supplements and all the meals in one place."
It's true, and Tom's success story is living proof, all the more inspiring for the fact that he is so steadfastly focused on spreading awareness of prostate cancer – especially relevant this month, as September is Prostate Awareness Month – and the benefits of early detection. If these words can help save even just one life, it has all been worth it. As if Tom's story wasn't motivating enough (we're not sure if that's possible), find even more inspiration to change your life in our entire collection of Transformations Stories.
"Anyone can make a change. I did at 52 years old. So can you."