(KUTV) At 52 years old, Melanie Youngchild is physically doing things she never could have imagined.
But it didn't come without a lot of hard work and a tragic experience that served as a wake up call.
Youngchild has an enthusiasm for life and a love for the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But she hasn't always felt that way.
She once weighed 278 pounds and wore size 26 pants.
"I just didn't want to live like that anymore," Youngchild said.
So she went to a place she had never been before--the gym.
And what got her there was something that happened on August 17, 2007.
"That was a tough day," she said.
That day, Youngchild lost her best friend, Candice Floyd, who was just 47 years old.
"She can't be replaced," Youngchild said. "She left two amazing kids behind and a husband."
Like Youngchild, Floyd was also overweight and had congestive heart failure.
Youngchild was going through her own depression and serious health struggles with her weight.
"I just knew that if I didn't do something, I was going to join her sooner than I needed to," Youngchild said.
That's when she met "Big John," a 6'2", 270-pound body transformation coach.
"What she could do was walk on the treadmill and she was good at waking and that was about it," said "Big John."
The results were slow, but Youngchild didn't quit. She worked out for days, months, and then years.
Youngchild eventually dropped 125 pounds and 16 pant sizes.
And just this past summer, Youngchild won a nutritional challenge, competing with more than 100 people.
"I feel like 20 years younger," she said.
Youngchild is so dedicated she comes to the gym five days a week, arriving at 4:15 am, and works out for an hour and a half a day.
"When I'm here, this is my home now," she said.
She has now gone parasailing, climbed mountains, participated in "mud runs," and more.
"I've gone on every roller coaster, even if it scares me because I fit, I'm going," she laughed.
Youngchild, who once thought her life was not worth living, now has a new lease on life.
"It's so worth it," she said. "So if you are out there, do it."
Youngchild credits her success with a change in attitude and a great trainer--and she really had to want it.