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I’m Glad That I Use To Be Fat And Out Of Shape: Although I Was Not Happy Or Jolly

Evolve Blog Before After Glad I was fat

I just thought of something.  It’s kind of funny to me, because this has never crossed my mind before.   And I only thought that it was strange that I hadn’t thought of it before.  So here it is:  What if I started training the way that I am now, when I got out of college?   That would have meant that I never stopped working out, but that I took what I now know about training and nutrition and implemented it.  What if I started living a healthy lifestyle back then?  If I had continued to be active and made some changes to my training so that I would meet my current goals earlier, than who knows what kind of shape I would have been in for the last 26 years.  Who knows what I would be doing.  I’m sure it would have had quite an impact on my life.  But no matter what, I would not want to go back and change it.  I’m actually glad that I didn’t live a healthy lifestyle my entire life.  Being fat and out of shape was something that I needed.  Maybe it sounds strange to you that I would say that.  You might wonder why, I’m glad that at one time I was so out of shape that a doctor told me that I was going to pop.  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I overcame certain challenges to get to the point in my life that I am at right now.  It wasn’t easy.  In doing this I was able to strengthen my mind.  I was able to learn how to control myself.  I am also able to put myself in other people’s shoes and understand what they are feeling and I know what they will have to go through to reach their goals.   At one time I was in someone else’s shoes.  Sometimes it seems like it was a dream.  I remember the person that I was but it doesn’t seem real to me.  I have learned so much more in these last 3 years then I have during the rest of my life.  The reason for it is only because of what I put myself through to get here.  A lot of the things that I have learned are about myself and it helps me relate to other people.  From my point of view, most of the things that I learned, could only be learned coming from a miserable place.  What I mean by that is that I had mentally put myself in a place that was full of misery (lack of goals, drive, determination and confidence.  And an abundance of depression and negative thoughts.)  I was able to dig myself out and end up on the polar opposite side.
If I hadn’t faced any of these challenges, than I probably wouldn’t appreciate what it took to get there.  More than likely I would be a cocky prick, who may understand what hard work is, but doesn’t realize what people go through when facing tougher challenges or for that matter any challenges.  I would probably take the things that I had for granted and feel entitled.  I still don’t have everything figured out and I am constantly learning.  I am also increasing my goals.  If I ever become satisfied I might just fall back into my old ways.  I need something to drive me.  One of those things is passing on what I have learned to others.  It’s only fair, because I constantly get knowledge, motivation and inspiration from others.

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Nutritional Guidelines That I Followed During My Transformation

The most important thing about my transformation was and still is mostly psychological.  It is all about controlling my own mind.  I have to make choices and they include not eating processed foods, sugar, drinking alcohol.  It also means that I  will make sure that I eat 6 healthy meals a day.

More Self Control.  Know when to say when.
Portion control is something that people have a great deal of trouble with and I was no exception.  When people eat out the portions are typically huge.  An easy way to figure out a good portion is to look at the palm of your open hand and that is what your protein portion should be.  Your fist would be your carbs and for vegetables that would also be your fist.

I don’t really like to refer to what I eat as a diet, because I believe that the word diet comes with a negative connotation.  People try diets.  People do diets for a set amount of time and in some cases an undefined period of time.  Low carb no carb, grapefruit, 30 day diet.  These are diets that you can’t stick with.  I guess you get on them and lose some weight and go back to your old ways.  You are setting yourself up to fail.  Planning is a great idea, however, I don’t like to plan to fail.  If it happens, I’ll learn from it but I don’t want it predetermined.  In 1998 when I did the Body for Life and got my body fat into the single digits, I was on a diet that I couldn’t stick with. It was pretty much a bodybuilder diet.  All of my food was bland.  If I wanted to get crazy and spice things up, than I would put spicy mustard on my bland chicken.  In some cases I would also cut my carbs.  You do cut fat, but you also burn muscle and you feel like crap.  I stuck with it for a long time. Eventually, I failed.

My new program had to include a nutrition plan that I could stick with for life.  I had to enjoy my food.  Based on my past history this would have been impossible.  I didn’t think that I could find something that was good for you that also tastes good on a daily basis.  I learned enough from the turkey baster diet to start looking into organic vegetables and fruits and free range chicken and eggs and grass feed beef.  Plus seafood.  First of all this way of eating tastes so much better than the crap I was buying prior to my transportation.  I already knew that processed foods were not good but still had to have the self control to avoid those foods.  I got rid of all of the food that I no longer allowed my self to eat.  I cleaned out my cabinets and it all went to a food drive.   Instead of getting sauce out of a bottle or can, I started to make my own with organic tomatoes and other organic vegetables.

The following are the guidelines that I set up for my transformation and that I continue to follow:

It provides more of a view of what to eat and what not to eat. I did make changes throughout my transformation but most of it was early on.  I still make changes occasionally.   I started screwing around with a different diet and dropped it close to the start of the program because I looked at it and realized that I could not do it for life.  I didn’t think that I could do it for another day.  Oh, I guess I couldn’t.  The nutrition program that I ended up following is awesome.  The food is great and I can do it for life. I don’t feel like I need a cheat meal and I am not anxious. I have been ripped before and ate bland food and it doesn’t work as a life style. You always want to cheat. There are lots of options with the way that I eat.

When I finished the first 12 weeks I had started to pay attention to calories for the next 4 weeks, in order to see how many calories I was eating. They ranged between 2500 and 3000.  I eat protein and carbs with every meal and I have 6 meals a day. Protein intake is close to my body weight in grams. I am estimating that I eat around 200 or more grams of protein a day.  Typically, my carbs in my first two meals come from Oatmeal. It ranges between 1/2 a cup and a full cup.  Oatmeal takes a long time to break down and it is low on the glycemic index. The other meals are usually sweet potatoes which break down quickly. Sometimes I replace them with brown rice or quinoa. Carbohydrates are fuel.  These foods will provide you with energy and will help you build and retain muscle.  They also possess many other benefits.  I actually use them in several different recipes.

Carbs
Vegetables – I eat organic vegetables – for the most part I stick with spinach and asparagus, sweet potato and occasional will add other vegetables to food that I make.  There are plenty of choices.
Fruits – Go with organic here also – tomato, avocado, grapefruit, bananas.  I add a number of other fruits to my diet as well.  Tons of choices here also.
Grains: I stay away from grains with the of exception of oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice.
Nuts: They are high in fat and carbs, however they are very nutritious and should be a part of your diet.  Just don’t overdue it.   I probably eat almonds more than any other type of nut. And I do eat peanut butter or almond butter every once in a while.
Protein – I stick with food that doesn’t have hormones or other crap in it. Grass Feed Beef, Bison, Seafood (usually fish), Free Range Chicken and Eggs

The way I define processed is anything man made.  This includes bread and pasta.  Both of which I love.  When people talk about carb loading the day before an event, I don’t consider pasta.  I eat, extra sweet potatoes and oatmeal.

I eat RAW honey and cinnamon 2 to 4 times a day.  Both of these are very beneficial.  If you are going to try it out make sure that you get RAW Honey.  In order for your body to digest it easily it has to be RAW.  Processed honey will cause your blood sugar to spike.

I replaced table salt with Sea Salt because table salt has a negative effect on your body and Sea Salt provides electrolytes and minerals for your body.  It contains some great health benefits.

I take supplements which includes a good protein powder every day.  If I want additional carbs with my protein shake, sometimes I will add half of a baked sweet potato to it.  One way to see if you are taking a good protein powder is to check the label and see how high Cholesterol is on the product.  Good protein will be low in Cholesterol.  Typically it is going to be more expensive.

I also add Metamucil or Psyllium Husks to my regular diet.  It adds needed fiber to your diet and has many benefits including reducing cholesterol.

This is my sample diet on a typical day

I add things to my diet which will help burn fat, lower cholesterol, provide energy, lower blood sugar and other things that play a role in being healthy.  If you take a look at any of the recipes that I put in my blog, you will notice that I put the benefits of the ingredients at the end of the recipe.

Wake up
Make a shake with 3 raw eggs, 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of oatmeal, raw honey, cinnamon  sometimes add protein powder sometimes add a banana or other fruit – add a couple ice cubes

Run within one hour

1 hour after run
3 egg omelet with tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers

cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon and a grapefruit

or
Oatmeal Pancakes
Grapefruit

3 hours later
Almond Coconut Honey Chicken
Tropical Sweet Potato 

Spinach

Prior to workout
Protein Shake with half a sweet potato blended into it

Post workout
I take a recovery product that has carbs and sugar immediately after workout (I stay away from sugar other then post workout)
Protein Shake within 15 minutes of my workout ending

1 hour later
Seared Tuna with Mango and Ginger
Asparagus

3 hours later
Protein Shake

I usually get my carbs from vegetables at night.

Water is an important for health and it will also help fill you up.  Drink 50% of your weight in ounces of water,  plus 16 ounces for each pound that you lose working out.  I try not to drink water 30 minutes before or after I eat.  It can interfere with digestion.

I allow for one cheat meal a week.  However, it usually ends up being once every two weeks.
It could be pizza, pasta, pf changs, a steakhouse where I eat bread, ice cream or something out of the ordinary for me.  It never seems as good as i use to think that it was.  Still tastes good but i eat so many other good things that are good for you.  To tell you the truth I have felt terrible the day following a cheat meal several times.  My body isn’t use to some of the things that I rarely eat and it reacts in a negative way.

Self Control and Will Power are crucial for your diet.  I still go to dinner with friends and I am very careful when ordering out.  There are plenty of temptations when you go, from bread to alcohol.  You have to be strong enough to control your mind.  Also, if you don’t plan on eating something that comes with your meal it is always better to have it removed from your plate before it is brought out.  Remove the temptation.  Plus it’s a waste of food.

Funny thing is that people think that when they are trying to lose weight, they can’t enjoy their food.  That is exactly what I thought because that was my past experience.  Not only are my regular meals good but I eat several things that make me feel like I am cheating, including the Oatmeal Pancakes.  If you love chocolate checkout the recipe in my blog for Coconut Flavored Chocolate.

Planning is another important aspect of the nutrition program.  I wrote down everything that I planned to eat and followed up with what I actually ate during every meal, every day.  I got into such a routine, even though my meals varied that after about week 8 or 9 I stopped writing anything down.

Enjoy your food and make it work for you not against you.  Take advantage of the healthy benefits that these foods provide.  Learn to S.W.I.M. to improve your life.

Training: It doesn’t take as much time as making up the excuse not to do it.

During my transformation I did cardio between 5 and 7 days a week.  Part of the reason that I ran so much was that my dogs Bailey and Riley are my running partners and they pretty much demanded that we went almost every day.  It was also their job to motivate me to run every morning.  I would not say that I am big on running, however, I do love to run outside instead of on a treadmill.  I would rather have some scenery instead of a TV or something else indoors.  My normal running route is through my neighborhood and out to a cornfield surrounded by woods.  The dogs love it because it gives them the opportunity to chase deer, rabbits and other wildlife on a daily basis.  In some cases the wildlife were chasing them.
As far as my workouts went, I did hire Matt McCarthy from Emerge Fitness to help me achieve my goals.  I decided that I wanted to get an outside perspective and wanted to train in a new atmosphere.  Somewhere, where it was all about training.  Listening to someone else was kind of tough for the first couple of weeks because every day I wanted to open my mouth and say let’s do this instead, I realized that I was paying him to put my program together, not to listen to me tell him what I thought I needed. I never said a word.  After working out so long on my own, I must have been getting lazy and was blowing off certain exercises that I should have been doing because I didn’t like them or was having a problem with them. Now I had to do them. I was also cheating myself on certain exercises by using bad form to get through the exercise. On top of that there was the positive reinforcement from the motivational aspect of having someone work with you.  My workouts changed frequently but all of them were High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
I can honestly tell you that I spent less time on my workouts and cardio during my transformation than prior to it.  I currently spend more time around my training.  What I mean by this is that not only do I enjoy it but people have told me that I have been making an impact on their lives by providing them with information involving training and nutrition.  It took me less than 46 years, but I have found my true purpose.

The following is program that I have used and have found very effective.  It is perfect for the person who says that they don’t have time to workout.  It also fits in with the type of training that I do with both weights and cardio which is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  This type of training is very intense (figured that I would point the word intense out.   It’s not like the word is in the name of the method), high reps, low rest, sprints and walks.  HIIT is awesome for conditioning. It helps speed up recovery and burns fat more efficiently.

Bill Phillips created this specific program for Transformation :  5:25   (that’s 5 sets 25 minutes)  I would personally recommend doing at least 3 days of each a week.  Days 1, 3, 5 would be weights (Upper Body on days 1 and 5 and Lower Body on Day 3) and Days 2, 4, 6 would be cardio.

Cardio (Spin, Run, or Bike) 5 Sets
Slower pace for 2 minutes Jog for 2 minutes Sprint for 1 minute (repeat 5 times)
If you are on a bike or do spinning start with low resistance (6-10), increase (10-14) and increase again (14 or higher).
Make sure that you increase your speed each time as well.
During the sprint you want your heart rate up there
140 to 160.  Don’t go higher than 160
Take a pulse when you end the run and then throughout the walk.  You will recover during the walk.  Your heart rate should end up going down below or around 120 during recovery.

Weights (Change your exercises up in future workouts)
You will do a complete circuit before resting.
10 reps per exercise and 1 exercise per body part
5 sets with a 2 minute rest between sets.

Upper Body

Chest  (Dumbbell Press)
Shoulders (Shoulder Press)
Back  (Lat Pull Downs)
Biceps (Preacher Curls)
Triceps (Kickbacks)
Rest
Repeat 4 more times

Lower Body (5 exercises, mix in quads and hamstrings and something for Calf)

(Squats)
(Lunges)
(Stiff Leg Deadlift)
(Step ups)
(Calf Raises)

My Transformation: It Almost Ended Before it Began

My Transformation: It Almost Ended Before it Began

Now I had to figure out when I would begin my new program.  I had a trip to Denver coming up and decided that I would wait until I got back from that trip to begin.  Oh I had a trip the following week and then one right after that.  I’ll figure it out.  I was just making more excuses.

A few days later I notice that Bill Phillips had started a new company.  It’s Bill Phillips Transformation.  This was the same guy who founded EAS and started Body For Life (BFL).  He revolutionized the fitness industry with BFL by helping millions of people transform their lives.  Body For Life and it’s Champions from the first BFL like Porter Freeman were what inspired me the in 1998.  I checked out his new company and saw that he had come up with a new and different program that helps people transformation their bodies and lives while participating in his new challenge.  I decided that I should sign up.  The registration deadline was April 2nd.  Today’s date was April 2nd.  What a coincidence, no more excuses, I’m signing up and starting right away.  I had been stalling and hadn’t really planned anything out.  One of my biggest problems with my nutrition and even working out was travel.  A trip was what was keeping me from starting my new journey.  I had no other choice but to start the next day and plan things out during the first week.

In order to give myself an edge I decided to hire a personal trainer.  I wanted an outside perspective.  I wanted a new atmosphere and I wanted a place that was all about training.  I wanted a performance center.  I checked out a place that I heard about that was actually a little closer to my house than my gym.  It was called Emerge Fitness.  I took a look at the trainers online and liked what I saw as far as experience.  I drove over and met with Matt McCarthy.  We talked for a while and I told him that over the next 12 weeks I wanted to drop from 240 to 200 and I showed him my old before/after pics and said that I wanted to achieve the same goal.  I was thinking that he probably thought that I was full of crap but later he told me that he thought that I could do it, because of my confidence.  I liked what i heard and  I bought 50 sessions so that I would have a full commitment.  If I didn’t get results it would be my fault and I would have wasted $2,500 and would have had nothing to show (more motivation).  Workouts were set up for 4 days a week with a 5th that I would do on my own.  My first workout was the next day.
(I’ll get into my cardio program and nutritional program in a future blog, but my diet was very clean.)

I got through the first 3 workouts and my motivation had climbed.  I left for Denver keeping in mind that I had to be very careful with my program when I traveled.  Traveling had been a major problem for me in the past.  I wouldn’t work out and the entire trip was a cheat day.  I ate anything and everything and drank a lot more alcohol on the road than at home.  Some of my bad habits would make it back home with me upon my return and could last for a couple of days or a couple of weeks.

I landed in Denver  and that night went out with one of my friends/clients Jarvis Green (former Defensive End with the Patriots and Texans).  It was a great dinner I ate two loaves of bread, shared a few appetizers including fried calamari and ate some kind of pasta.  I also had about half a bottle of wine and had a number of beers.  That night back in my room, I felt awful.  I had just done what I promised myself I wouldn’t do.  I already failed.  If I can’t take control of my diet and my training program on the road, than I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish my goals.   I stay weak minded, I had to take control of myself.  I needed something that I could stick with.  I decided to write off that dinner as a cheat meal and the next day I got up and jumped on the tread mill and an hour later had scrambled eggs and oatmeal for breakfast.  The rest of the day I ate very healthy.   I went to dinner again with Jarvis, only this time I left the bread alone and I ate a salad with salmon and balsamic vinegar in it.  I did drink two beers but other than that I was pretty happy with how I had gotten through the night.

The rest of the trip was great and the best part is that I stuck to my nutritional plan and continued with my workouts and cardio.  My failure on this trip made me stronger.  It’s better to screw up early.  I felt like I had made it over the hump.  I finally had a trip that I didn’t come back heavier from.  I actually lost weight out there.  After this trip I knew that I was on the right path.  For the next several weeks, I went on several more trips.  Each one was a challenge, but I passed up drinks at parties and clubs with friends and food that in the past I would have stuffed myself with.  

Identify your biggest problems.  Be honest with yourself.  Face your fears.  Overcome and you will succeed.

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