Everyone meet John:
HERE IS JOHN'S STORY:
You never realize you have a problem until it’s past the point of being evident to everyone around you. I think back to where the weight gain started, and I can pinpoint it. Managing for a movie rental place nearly nine years ago was the definite beginning. Double quarter-pounders with cheese were a staple meal at least 3 times a week. But before even this, I had never been athletic, nor into exercise. Good eating habits had never been emphasized in my childhood. I simply took for granted my teenage metabolism and kind of figured I’d always be thin.
It wasn’t long before apathy, laziness and an increase in alcohol consumption really started slowing down my metabolism. As an unmarried male (at that time) in his early 20’s, entertainment and social drinking trumped any thought of healthy eating. Exercise never crossed my mind back then. As the years ticked away, my body started saving up those little bits of excess consumption. Becoming a creature of habit, I got into the easy schedule of wake up, go to work, go home, sit and play Xbox or watch tv, throw something frozen in the oven or get take out, sleep and repeat. The whole time I would only be eating twice a day, at most.
The “AH-HA!” hit me in mid October, 2011. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a warm day, AC was blowing and I had just gotten home from work and needed a shower. Since the weather was so nice, my shower wasn’t scorching hot, as per usual. When I got out, the bathroom mirror had no mist on it. And that was the moment. No clothes to hide the love handles, or the dimples on my thighs and butt. An obvious crease has started below my developing gut. Man boobs were lacking, but it wouldn’t take long. It was a sight that made me very sad and I knew the only way to change it was to work on it. I had no idea where to start.
That same week, like an answer to my prayers, I see this article on Yahoo News about some personal trainer who had ditched his workout routine and healthy eating to intentionally pack on weight just so he could lose it again. At first I figured it was this huge publicity stunt. In the article it said Drew would be offering up the same information about healthy eating and exercise for free on his website once he started the journey back to being fit. Now, when you live on a tiny budget, the word ‘free’ is incredibly appealing, especially for information from a personal trainer.
So I started the journey with Drew in November, 2011. Shortly after, I gave up. I think I lasted almost two whole weeks. I wanted the results but I really didn’t want to work for them. Not hard, anyway. So, the holidays came and went. Near the end of January I found myself again looking in that wretched mirror, grimacing at the fat on my body. I had bought a scale. My weight was 188.8 lbs (I’m 5’9” with minimal muscle mass.) That’s when I made the decision to do things the right way. I finally started and stuck with the 26 week routine. Floor exercises for a month then off to join a gym. I remember how I would go into the gym and keep my head down, not looking at or talking to anyone.
Any mat work would be done in a corner, somewhere not very busy. I knew that if I kept my eyes off others, I wouldn’t see them smirking or laughing. “Headphones in, music up, and keep on going,” was my mantra. Then the best possible surprise happened. I started to grow confidence. Every week that passed, every completed day of pulses or 3 & 1 count just made me realize I was driving ever onward, becoming the best possible version of me I could become. It felt great to be invited to dinner with in-laws and be complimented on my physique, then order something reasonable off the menu. It was nice to put on a medium sized shirt again, and start to see actually muscle under it.
A gym membership is worth its weight in gold, not just for the diverse equipment, but also for the feeling of victory just by walking in the front door. There’s the satisfaction of wanting to give up but pushing through those last minutes of mountain climbers or burpees. Let’s not forget the walk to the car after a good workout and feeling like you just won the “I’m So Awesome!” award. The single best moment you will ever experience at the gym is the first time someone comes over to you and asks what you did to get in shape. Of course most of them hate the answer, but it still feels great to know you’ve inspired someone enough to start asking those all too important questions. You started the wheels turning in their head.
The lifestyle change also made me more active overall. I even started participating in this nutty sport called skydiving. The confidence achieved in overcoming your person hurdles, mental and physical, can be spread through every aspect in your life. It helps in romantic situations, too. As the new habits became more routine, it taught my wife and I some very valuable lessons. Shopping with a list makes healthy eating actually cheaper than what we ate before. We learned that it was good for the fridge to be nearly empty on grocery day, and to shop once a week to keep fresh foods in the house. Planning an entire week of meals eliminates the guesswork and never allows for the last minute dine-out. And cheat meals are typically rather sensible anymore.