Alums’ weight-loss story featured on ESPN3

HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University alumni Josh and Heather Barkley of Ossian, Ind., were recently featured on ESPN3 for their immense weight loss through the CrossFit program.

After a doctor told him that he should consider bariatric surgery, Josh, a 2010 adult-degree graduate, decided it was time to start shedding some of his 375 pounds.

"He said it was like a light bulb went off in his head, and he thought, 'I did this to myself. I need to fix this myself,'" said his wife, Heather, a 2010 master's degree graduate and the coordinator for graduate and adult program marketing at HU.

After losing a combined 165 pounds in a year by following the fitness program and paleo diet, the Barkleys' story found its way to national television in May when they were featured at the Reebok CrossFit Games by ESPN3. See the video online at

Their story began when Josh contacted the owner of Fort Wayne Strength and Conditioning, Justin Springer, who had attended the same high school as Josh. Together, they worked on developing a workout routine that Josh could do at his weight.

Josh started the Guerrilla CrossFit program solo, but Heather then joined him six months later.

"For both of us, the Paleo/CrossFit lifestyle became a response to a three-year battle with infertility," Heather said. "I truly have come to understand how God created us to be holistic beings. If we take care of ourselves physically, the spiritual and mental aspects of ourselves also benefit."

The couple credits their happier marriage and healthier lifestyle to CrossFit and paleo diet, and hope the changes in their lifestyle will lead to a family in the future.

"At first, I was thrilled the changes worked well for him but didn't see a need to transition myself," she said. "I initially planned to try it short-term because of a six-week fitness challenge we did through our gym. I felt so much better and stronger after that experience; it just made sense to make it a long-term change."