COVID journey inspired Lockport man to lose 200 pounds

LOCKPORT, NY (WKBW) – A Lockport man’s near-death COVID journey inspired him to lose 200 pounds.

Doctors say obesity remains a major risk factor for severe COVID cases.

In fact, studies say you’re 46% more likely to have a serious illness.

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Ben Fresch shares his weight loss journey.

“My lips were blue and I just knew something was wrong. My heart beats really fast,” Ben Fresch describes.

In December 2020, Ben Fresch said he realized he needed to go to the hospital, fearing he had COVID.

“It was December 5, 2020, I will never forget that morning. I don’t want to get out of bed. I broke out in a cold sweat and everything just felt so relieved,” recalls Fresch. “It felt like a truck was sitting on my chest.”

Fresch tested positive for COVID at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst.

At 430 pounds, doctors told him his heart would stop.


Photo courtesy of Ben Fresch

Ben Fresch before weight loss.

“I remember sitting there crying to God and just saying, God, this can’t be happening,” Fresch reflected. “They were preparing me for my heart to stop and they told me that could be the end.”

But Fresch survived COIVD after a lengthy hospital stay, and that’s when his incredible health journey began.

The 28-year-old said he had struggled his whole life with weight, so he lost 60 pounds for the first time and stopped eating sugar.

“I haven’t eaten sugar yet. I don’t miss it,” Fresch laughs.

Fresch sought the help of personal trainer and nutritionist Zack Finney, also of Lockport, to help him lose more weight and get back in shape with strength training.



Personal trainer and registered dietitian Zack Finney.

“I think that’s probably one of the more important things that he’s doing initially and then coming to me after he’s lost about 60 pounds or so,” Finney said.

Right on the eve of the new year, Fresch lost 200 pounds and last fall he even ran a half marathon.


Photo provided by Ben Fresch.

Ben Fresch’s Transformation.

“It’s just about constantly working out a little more and a little more every time you go to the gym and so that’s just the goal – that’s what we did from the beginning and that’s what we’re going to continue. keep doing,” Finney.

And he kept going. Fresch says he wants to lose about 30 pounds more, but will continue to work out.

Finney commented: “Witnessing his transformation has really inspired me to do more.

Fresch said he also inspired his wife to lose weight.

“So between the two of us – we lost another 320 pounds,” Fresch replied.



Ben Fresch in strength training.

Fresch and Finney say they’re working together to help someone make the transition to a healthy lifestyle. They are offering a month of free personal training and nutrition advice. You can register by clicking here for application on the Fresch website.

Fresch said his fear of dying young from his COVID experience is what led him to make these lifestyle changes.

“But being so close — it does something to you — it shakes you,” Fresch replied.


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