Dave McNeer was trapped in an apartment of a foreign country for half a year with nothing to do except work and work out. The 61-year-old Newton man was already on a streak since late December 2019. If there was ever a point to slack off, it was at the start of the pandemic while on a work trip in Columbia.
Instead, Dave stuck it out and found ways to exercise throughout quarantine and then maintained a vigorous workout schedule when he made it back stateside. It became ingrained in his daily routine. On Sept. 25, he hit a huge milestone: 1,000 consecutive days of exercising.
“I feel good,” Dave told Newton News a few days after reaching his milestone. “The great thing is I’ll tell people about this and they’ll say, ‘You really did that?’ Yeah! ‘Oh I would love to do something like that.’ Well, you can do something like that. ‘How do I do it?’ Well, how did I do it? One single day at a time.”
To celebrate the achievement, he and his family made T-shirts with a catchy slogan: Day 1K - Sept. 25, 2022. Every. Damn. Day.
On the back of the shirt is a long thank you letter to all the people who supported Dave throughout his journey. He thanks God, his family, the workout coaches and groups and his co-workers at Maxim Advertising for being with him and helping him every step of the way.
Of course, Dave was not the only one to sport the custom apparel. Family members, friends and workout buddies all donned the shirts and shared their photos and videos with him. They, too, were supportive of his healthy habit and were proud to see him get in shape and reach such an important milestone.
Renee Juett Lozano, a cousin from Milsboro, Del., said, “Once he gets an idea in his head, you can be sure he will take you along for the ride! You are an inspiration! You have shown that anyone can change their lifestyle with exercise, and it all started with walking.”
Steve McNeer, a cousin from Gardner, Kan., said he and his wife have come to admire Dave’s commitment to his goal. Even on the days when he was visiting their home in Kansas, Dave was working out outdoors in 90-plus-degree temperatures. Dave was not going to let that streak break.
Linda McNeer, a cousin from Tampa, Fla., said, “I am so proud of … Dave and his total commitment to living his best and healthiest life possible. Working out every day is just part of his dedication. He also changed his diet to meet his lifestyle goals. Dave actually looks more fit now than he did 20 years ago!”
Keeping his streak was made easier through his Apple Watch, which allows Dave to track his progress and meet goals. The colored rings — red, blue and green — track his burned calories, brisk activity and how many times a day he has stood and moved for at least one minute per hour.
Closing those rings is extremely important to Dave. They keep him motivated and accountable. The added statistics the watch provides is just icing on the cake and sometimes encourage him to step up his exercising routines. For now, Dave averages 9.7 miles a day and 149 minutes of exercise a day.
Oftentimes his family members compete with him on his Apple Watch, which only motivates him further. Sometimes he needs that extra bit of encouragement. There are bad days. Dave calls them the “damn days,” referencing the slogan on his shirt. Those are the busy days, the stressful days.
“Those days where I have to exercise at 7 or 8 o’clock at night and I haven’t closed my rings,” Dave said. “The damn days are the days you don’t get it done early and you gotta work out at night or you gotta travel. Once you get the mindset it’s not hard. I really don’t believe that I’ll stop.”
Dave already knows the date for the next milestone: June 21, 2025.
By then he will have reached 2,000 consecutive days of exercise. It seems like a difficult feat, but Dave believes he can do it.
“How do climb a mountain? One step at a time,” Dave said. “How do you get to 1,000? One day at a time.”
Newton News coordinated with Dave’s relatives to share their thoughts on his 1,000-day accomplishment. Here is what family members had to say:
“What can I say about ol’ Dave? I have been following his health journey since his first fitness tracking device many years ago. Who knew it would lead to an exercise challenge of 1,000 days straight? Once he gets an idea in his head, you can be sure he will take you along for the ride! You are an inspiration! You have shown that anyone can change their lifestyle with exercise, and it all started with walking. I know it won’t stop at 1,000, so keep reaching for your goals, one step at a time! May God bless you always!” -Renee Juett Lozano, cousin of Dave McNeer, of Milsboro, Del.
“Dave, Mina and I have come to admire your commitment to a goal when you set one. Even on the days when you were at our home in Gardner, Kan., you were working out (outdoors) in 90+ degree temperatures, not missing a beat. Your attention to a commitment is nothing short of amazing. We will be with you as you continue your journey to 2,000 days and beyond. God bless you, brother.” -Steve McNeer, cousin of Dave McNeer, and Mina McNeer, of Gardner, Kan.
“I am so proud of my cousin Dave and his total commitment to living his best and healthiest life possible. Working out every day is just part of his dedication. He also changed his diet to meet his lifestyle goals. Dave actually looks more fit now than he did 20 years ago! Way to go, Dave! Keep it up as you start start the next challenge of 2K.” -Linda McNeer Miller, cousin of Dave McNeer, of Tampa, Fla.
“I’m sure the last 1,000 days will improve your quality of life for the next 1,000 and beyond! Your positivity and dedication (during both the tough times and the good times) is admirable. I’m so proud of you. Love you!” -Ashley McNeer, daughter of Dave McNeer, of Miami, Fla.
“It comes as no surprise to me that you have made it to ‘day 1k!’ I have watched you with excitement and admiration these past couple of years and I am so proud of your hard work and dedication to leading an active lifestyle. Your commitment to improving your health is an inspiration to all of us and I hope you realize how great a gift that is to the people who love you. It’s so important to reject the idea that ‘self-care is selfish.’ In my opinion, it is one of the most selfless things you can do. I know it hasn’t always been easy to find the time or the energy to work out ‘every damn day,’ but you have shown us that it is possible if you make it a priority. Keep it up Dadyo, I love you!” -Andrea McNeer, daughter of Dave McNeer, of Minneapolis, Minn.
“It’s been great being part of Dave’s journey to 1,000. He text and shared constantly how he’s doing and wondering if we closed our rings for the day or if we did a workout as he liked to motivate us. We have a team competition every now and then on Challenges on Apple Watch and compete closing all our rings as a team and see how high you score against other teams in the world. Our team name is BSLB and we scored in the top 20 once against 3,000-5,000 other teams. I want to wish Dave a huge congratulations on his first goal of 1,000 days straight. On to 2,000.” -Sean Juett, cousin of Dave McNeer, of Bennington, Neb.