WHAT MADE YOU MAKE A CHANGE?
“5 years ago – I’m 23 now, almost 24- I escaped. I left myself, behind. It was a decision that changed the course of my life. I was 18 and fresh out of high school, where I had excelled academically and utterly failed socially.
I had made essentially no friends, except for the school’s resident “redneck”- at over 6 feet tall, weighing approximately 320 pounds and donning camo, a cowboy hat, and boots almost every day, he rocked the aesthetic; he stood out. The only thing we had in common was that I too, was in the 300 club and stood out. When I graduated, I was in the 400 club. I was definitely the heaviest kid in school. I always had been.
Yet, it never had been a conscious thought, nor had I ever attributed my weight as a reason for a sort of continual isolation; for my being “single and unwilling to mingle.” College proved to be a revelation; however, it wasn’t the educational awakening that it is for most as I had the academic thing down at that point. Rather, it was a social awakening for me.
Being a “successful” college student didn’t mean only doing well on homework and tests, it meant having to interact with others both in class and out. I had to ask people for their phone numbers to coordinate group projects, or in case I needed clarification on an assignment, have coffee with classmates in between classes and discuss history, or philosophy, or whatever, because that’s what college students did. And, I had to talk to girls. No, I had to talk to women. Suddenly, I was aware of my weight. I knew I stood out. I felt alienated by it, and didn’t want to feel alone.
But I had been “fluffy,” “big-boned,” and “tons of fun” for a long time. It was, who I was. I had difficulty questioning what was effectively my identity. No one wants to admit that they’re wrong, and I had been wrong for what felt like my whole life. So, I didn’t.
The final push that fashioned the reflection I’m staring at of my 200-pound self, bathed in sweat, reaching for a pair of dumbbells at my feet and looking for that torturous last set, came with a hospital visit.
I was well into my second semester at community college, and I found myself in the local emergency room being treated for a bout of sickness unrelated to my weight. A doctor walked into my room, asked me the usual questions about why I was in, when I had started feeling sick, etc.
Fortunately for me, he didn’t stop there. He gave me an ultimatum, which I had been unable to give myself.
With concern and a touch of brashness, he said, “There is no reason why someone your age should be in the kind of shape you’re in. If you don’t do something to lose some weight, you’re going to die.”
At that moment, I saw myself; I had left myself and observed the morbidly obese young adult that was me.
I understood I was dying. I vowed to not be that person anymore. It was my promise to escape death.”
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM MAKING A CHANGE?
One year later, I was 150 pounds.
Doctors, and everyone else I knew, were astonished. Through extreme diet and unhealthy amounts of cardio, I had lost almost two of me.
I was skinny, and it landed me in the hospital once more.
The promise I had made to myself, though effective in that it propelled me through a year of salads and two-a-day gym sessions, had also taken my heart to its limits.
At merely 28 beats per minute, doctors couldn’t guarantee that if I walked out of the emergency room, my heart wouldn’t stop.
I spent a week in the hospital laying in bed and eating nearly 4,000 calories per day. I wasn’t running away from myself anymore, I was trying to get myself back.
I took a year off from the gym and focused on school and becoming healthier.
Almost 3 years later and I’ve graduated from UC Berkeley, have an apartment with my girlfriend of 2.5 years, have a job at GNC, and am attending UCLA.
I’ve found myself in a passion for fitness, as opposed to a quest for less, which had reduced me to almost nothing.
And so I’m looking at a reflection of myself in the mirror at my gym as my hands tremble after letting go of a pair of dumbbells, which have become my pen.
I have found value in building myself up. I am finding myself in rebuilding me.”
“When I was 400lbs, I ate primarily processed foods, like chips, cookies, pop tarts, candy, frozen pizzas, etc. Essentially, my diet consisted of junk, and not only was everything I ate horrible for me, I ate much too much of it; I overate consistently.”
Now my diet is based around cleaner foods like ground turkey, chicken breast, fish, and potatoes (though I do enjoy a weekly cheat meal or two).
MEAL 1 | BREAKFAST
120g Oats, 1 cup egg whites, 2 omega-3 whole eggs, 1 tbsp peanut butter
MEAL 2 |MID-MORNING
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese, 1 cup berries
MEAL 3 | LUNCH
2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 bread, 6 oz turkey breast, leaf spinach, ½ tomato, mustard
1 small sweet potato (150g), measured uncooked
MEAL 4 | PRE-WORKOUT SHAKE
1 scoop Impact Whey Isolate, ½ large banana, 4 strawberries,
MEAL 5 | POST-WORKOUT
50g fast-digesting carb* e.g. Dextrose
1 ½ scoops Impact Whey Isolate
MEAL 6 | DINNER
8oz lean pork chop, 1 tbsp coconut oil,
400g acorn squash, uncooked, 340g green veggies
MEAL 6 | LATE-NIGHT SNACK
8 oz nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp sugar-free chocolate syrup, 10 almonds, crushed
DAY 1 | Chest & Shoulders
DAY 2 | Rest Day
DAY 3 | Back Training
DAY 4 | Arms Training
DAY 5 | Legs & Core Training
DAY 6 | Rest Day
DAY 7 | Rest Day
|CHEST & SHOULDERS||Sets||Reps||Rest (secs)|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||8||5||60-180|
|Incline Dumbbell Flyes||8||5||60-180|
|Incline Barbell Press||8||5||60-180|
|Flat Dumbbell Press||8||5||60-180|
|Lateral Dumbbell Raises||8||10-20||30-90|
|BACK TRAINING||Sets||Reps||Rest (secs)|
DAY 4 | Arm Training |
|ARM TRAINING||Sets||Reps||Rest (secs)|
|Standing Barbell Curls||8||5||60-180|
|Machine Preacher Curls||8||5||60-180|
DAY 5 | Legs & Core
|LEGS & CORE TRAINING||Sets||Reps||Rest (secs)|
|Straight Leg Deadlifts||8||5||60-180|
|Ab Crunches||–||200||Pause when needed|
DAILY SUPPLEMENTATION |
✓ MYPRE Pre-workout to get pumped for the gym |