Margaret Maddox Y member Nelson Young
Margaret Maddox Y member Nelson Young
Margaret Maddox Y member Nelson Young

Nelson Young always brings his boxing gloves to the Margaret Maddox Family YMCA and can often be seen boxing on the Wellness Floor—sometimes with a bag, sometimes in the air.

“I love boxing,” he says with a smile. “It’s a great workout and gets everything going. Plus Muhammad Ali is my idol; I try to be like him.”

The former high school football player and track star says that he does a bit of everything around the center when working out: strength training, bikes, treadmills and sauna. Nelson first joined the Maddox Y six years ago and visits the center at least four times per week. Because of his commitment, he has lost 80 pounds on his road to a healthier lifestyle.

Member Nelson young in his youth
Young played tackle football in his youth.

“Watching Nelson’s wellness journey has truly been inspiring,” says Senior Program Director Scott Kirby. “When he walks through the center, everyone gives him a high five or a handshake. Nelson is like the ‘Cheers member’ on the wellness floor: everyone knows his name.”

The Beginning of the Journey

Once a talented chef, Nelson enjoyed tasting the food he and others prepared. Because of this and a lack of exercise, his weight reached 240 pounds, which caused obstructive sleep apnea.

His doctor told him he had to do two things to improve his condition: wear his CPAP mask and lose weight.

“My plan for exercising was to walk up and down Gallatin Road,” the East Nashville native explains. “But one day a car pulled in front of me and almost hit me. I decided I needed a safer place to exercise.”

And that led Nelson to the Margaret Maddox Y.

He reflects on his journey: “I feel great now. Everything has worked out just the way it was supposed to. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go.”