As the Director of Curriculum for Varsity Spirit, Josh McCurdy spends most of his time surrounded by athletes and coaches. But it wasn’t until he neared his 40th birthday that he kicked his own fitness journey into gear. “I decided that by the time I turned 40 years old, I wanted to be in the best shape of my life.”

Growing up in Idaho, Josh was an elite gymnast and participated in basketball and track in high school. By the time he was done with college at Morehead State University in Kentucky, he would have four national cheer championship titles under his belt. And despite his accolades, Josh had managed to never set foot inside a traditional gym. 

“To this day, I couldn’t walk into one and know what to do or feel comfortable standing there for an hour lifting weights,” he says.

For someone who is used to traveling 260 days out of the year for work, being forced to slow down and stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic gave Josh an opportunity to try out a new routine. He joined Shred415, a gym that packs cardio and strength training into a high-intensity 45-minute class. Since joining in May 2019, he’s lost 30 pounds.

“It took me all of this time to figure out that group fitness classes are the way of life for me. These workouts make me feel like I’m back on the team again,” Josh says.

Knowing what motivates him was a crucial part of being successful. Feeding off that energy and excitement, he has attended 265 classes since he started working out at Shred415 a year ago. Even though he lost four pants sizes—it’s being happier and having more energy, the mental side of things, that makes the biggest difference in his life. “Exercise is such a stress reliever. I can get on the treadmill and run out all the thoughts that are going through my head,” he says.

For Josh, working out and making smart food decisions create a cycle that propels itself. Exercising early makes him want to eat better the rest of the day. When he was first starting out, he might have tossed the top half of his hamburger bun, but now he enjoys that burger without a bun at all. As he’s seen the results of his work and dedication, he couldn’t fathom quitting.

“Once I saw a picture of myself, that is when this took off full speed. You’ve got to work out enough so you notice changes,” he says. “It’s just a mindset and once you push past the first few weeks of it feeling harder than you thought it was going to be, you start to look for that feeling each day.”

In addition to being the director of curriculum for Varsity, Josh also leads the Junior US National Team and the brand’s choreography company, V!ROC. Making time for his health can be challenging, but finding an exercise program he truly enjoys was the key. 

As work has ramped back up and travel becomes a part of his life again, Josh is still committed to maintaining the body he’s earned.  “With anything you do in life, if you want something bad enough you are going to find the time to do it,” he explains. “We make sacrifices for everything that we truly want in our lives, so it’s picking which sacrifices you’re going to really go after.”

Josh credits the encouragement from his Shred415 instructors and the others in his fitness class for helping to turn his exercise routine into a sustainable lifestyle. “It’s this whole community of people who are all shapes and sizes and ages and everybody is so motivating. That’s been a huge part of helping me continue to keep doing it.”

By Kelsey J. Lawrence

Photo by Tindall Stephens