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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.

Looking Back On My Transformation Was It Really That Hard?

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One day I made the decision to transform my body.  I ended up transforming my life.  I look back on it now and some times think that it really wasn’t all that hard to accomplish.  What makes me think that?  I’ve learned a lot since I surpassed my original goal.  Most of what I have learned has been about myself.  The greatest thing that I learned was being able to take control of my mind.  That truly is the hardest part.  If you can control your mind, you can control how and what you eat.  If you can control your mind, you can also train several days a week.  If you can control your mind, than you can give up what is holding you back.  If you can control your mind you can clearly see your goals and you can reach them.  

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it is easy.  And I am not saying that you can just convince yourself that you will live a healthy lifestyle and have a fit body.  It does take time and if you are like me, you will probably expect more from yourself.   You may have setbacks and you may have to convince yourself that you are strong enough to control your own mind every day.

What was once impossible can now be accomplished once you take control of your mind.  The hard part is being strong enough to be able to take control of your mind.

Training Partners: Rich And How He Changed From a Healthy Lifestyle to a Healthy Lifestyle

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Rich (one of my buddies who has been training with us) tried working out with me and Chase Reynolds (RB – St Louis Rams) a while back and had a big problem hanging with us.  We busted his balls every day after that and he refused to try it again.  This was after he watched us for weeks and decided that, “Oh that’s not so hard.  I can do that.”  He actually showed up at the gym and came over to us and says, “I’m going to workout with you today.”  We said ok and jumped into  a single exercise, which we rarely go with. One solo exercise, not a circuit not a superset.  It was a chest bounce exercise with no weight (We are in a plank position – push up position.  Workout bands around the hands looped through  a squat rack behind us – causing resistance.  Hands are on separate platforms.  We bounce on hands and feet from one end of the platform to the other.  10 bounces each direction.  This is done several times non stop.).  Next we did 4 or 5 rounds of a 4 or 5 station circuit, nonstop.  Rich didn’t like hearing the words nonstop.  When we finished he looked out of it and he said he was going to get some work down.  Chase said, “Are you kidding?  Are you done?”  I said, “Rich, this w as a light workout and we aren’t even a quarter of the way done.”  That simple workout was enough to make him decide that it was not for him.

Well I guess it stirred something in the back of his head, because a few months ago, he started working out with me and the other guys.  This dude has come a long way.  His workouts were pretty similar to what I did before working out the way that we currently train. (Now:  No rest, lots of reps, 4 or more rounds, lots of functional movements, and lots of core.  We beat down the same muscles over and over again in our workouts.  We work a lot with increasing muscle stabilizers and muscle endurance.)  (Before – Mixing heavy weights and also adding some High Intensity Interval Training (nothing like the HIIT that we do now).  Rich decided that he wanted to challenge himself and has been coming in with us and improving every day.  Not bad for another guy in his mid 40’s who never trained this way.  It’s not like he has to train this way.  When asked why he does it, he said, that he wants to be in better shape (he was already in “good shape” based on what he thought) and he likes challenging himself.  Our training has not only gotten him into better shape, but has help him get rid of back, shoulder and elbow pain.  I love finding his weak spots, just to make him suffer.  His suffering will be gone soon, since he is improving every day.

Like I said he really has no reason to train the way that we do and honestly neither do I.  We are around the same age and both of us come from athletic backgrounds.  Both of us also went through our own transformations and both of us like helping other people achieve theirs.  Since he is one of the owners of Excel Training (the gym where I train), he is involved with changing all kinds of people’s lives.  Helping people live healthy lifestyles and kids train to be better athletes.  Now that he is one of my training partners, he joins me in putting college and professional athletes who are half of our age in a form of torture that only helps them improve.  A big part of our workouts are psychological.  Push yourself harder, push yourself further.

Our reason for training this way:  We have the satisfaction of being able to compete on a daily basis with professional athletes (our workouts have a competitive nature tied into them).  We Challenge ourselves every day.  We can prove that if you BELIEVE it, that you can do it.  We take pride in being able to do something a lot of people would walk away from.  We take more pride when one of those people who does walk away comes back and FINISHES WHAT THEY STARTED!!!

When we train, our entire group is constantly motivating each other, but we also talk a lot of crap to each other.  If you come in last in something or you mess up somewhere along the line, you will hear about it.  Rich is probably the most fun person to pick on.  No matter what, I know it motivates him.  I hear my fair share.  

Rich doesn’t know how to read, so if you know him, please don’t tell him that I wrote this.  I will just deny it.

Vanilla Salty Balls with Protein

vanilla protein ballsI have to give credit to my training partner Chase.  He says that if I steal anymore of his ideas, then he will sue me.

6 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
5 Tablespoons Raw Honey
3/4 Cup of Oats
3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seeds
1 Serving of Combat Vanilla Protein (Use whatever you want but I use Muscle Pharm)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl thoroughly.
Take spoonfuls out and roll into balls.
Place on cookie trey and leave in refrigerator for 1 hour or until you eat them

Healthy Benefits:

Raw Honey:
Increases natural energy
Used in treating allergies
Treats colds and sore throats (it coats the throat and reduces irritation)
Used as an acne treatment

Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Lowers Cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease
Makes you feel full longer
May reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
May reduce heart disease
May reduce high blood pressure
Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
May reduce risk for certain cancers

Ground Flax Seed
Helps with digestion and good for cardiovascular system.
Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Provides anti-inflammatory properties

Vanilla Extract
Antioxidant Properties
May fight Cancer
Boost Metabolism
Reduces Anxiety
May fight infections and fever in children
Reduces Nausea

Sea Salt
Alkalizes the Body
Contains Minerals
Good for the Cardiovascular System
Good for the Brain
Good for the Skin
Important for Hydration
Boosts Immune System
Helps maintain Sugar Levels (good for Diabetes)
Prevents Osteoporosis
Prevents Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Reduces Cholesterol
Reduces Inflammation in respiratory system (Good for Asthma)

Inspired By Mom: Where Did You Get Your Drive And Determination?

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Not long after my mom committed to participating in the Senior Olympics, she called me to tell me about her adrenaline rush during her training.  She talked about this amazing feeling that she had while swimming and thinking about her competition.  It’s one thing to go out and get involved in an athletic activity but it’s another to compete or prepare to compete.  When you visualize going up against your competitors and pulling away for the win or reaching your goals it’s amazing how much that can motivate you.  It’s a feeling that I love to get and hearing her talk about it makes me proud of her commitment.  She has always challenged herself.   She was swam mostly in order to stay fit and relax, more than anything.  I’m sure when she first started, it was so that she could get away from 3 rowdy kids (me and my brothers) for a little while.  A couple of years ago she took a Gold in the Maryland Senior Olympics and did it again this last year.  As I write this she is going on her second day of the National Senior Olympics.  Her events are 100, 200 and 500 Freestyle.  The only thing that makes me realize that she is 81, is that when referring to “Freestyle”, she says, “I’m doing the Crawl”.

She came to most of my football games, wrestling matches, swim meets, soccer games and plenty of other stuff.  She even comes to our annual Turkey Bowl sometimes so that she can watch a bunch of old guys run around and pull hamstrings.  She has always been my biggest supporter.  It’s about time, that I came out to see her compete.

I’d have to be an idiot, not to realize that I am who I am today because of her.  I definitely have to acknowledge my dad for instilling hard work and many other things into me, but this blog is about my mom.  Anyway, I remember being asked, “Who are your “Heroes”?”, when I was younger.  I would think about it and come up with some guy who played in the NFL, that I had no connection to, other than watching him play on Sundays.  Watching a talented ball player can definitely build motivation, but if I don’t know someone than they probably won’t be a “hero” to me.  I still may respect them and appreciate what they do.  There are a few people who I actually would consider “Heroes” to me and a couple of them are professional athletes that I personally know.  For me it is about more than what they do on the field.  It’s about how they prepare and commit.  These guys give it their all and then they give the other 10%.  They make a Promise to Fail in order to get better.  But they also promise not to Quit.   They are also the same guys who go out of their way to help others.  It’s not “all about them.”  Well, when it comes to “Heroes” I can’t rank these guys as high as my mom.  Being Inspired and  Motivated by her has strengthened many of my qualities: Dedication, Determination, Persistence,  Heart, Commitment, etc…  She taught me to know what it takes to Win, to Succeed.

She was also ahead of her time when it came to nutrition.  And she has always been fit and active.  My brothers and I grew up playing sports year round as well.  She participated in running, tennis and swimming.  Not only that but she was living a healthy lifestyle before a healthy lifestyle was “IN”.  Most of our meals were home cooked and they almost always  contained a protein and a carbohydrate along with vegetables.  We had a salad with homemade dressing (usually a vinaigrette) with our dinner every night.  Most of our meals were as a family at the table.  Fortunately, my mom is a great cook.  Enjoying good food everyday, is probably why I also learned how to cook great tasting food.

Honestly, based on how I eat now there are a number of things that I do not include within my Nutritional Guidelines , but for the most part we ate very healthy.   We only had sodas in the house when we had a party.  My parents didn’t really have a problem with it, because if we were out we could get it, but they were able to limit it, by not having it readily available.  After dinner we were almost always given homemade cookies and ice cream for dessert. I guess that we sort of had some kind of cheat every day.  I look back and think that it’s kind of funny that our parents never realized that by giving us sugar after we ate dinner, they were basically asking us to go kick the crap out each other until our sugar high came down.  Either that or it was to get us wound up and then tired out so that we would sleep through the night.   Not sure that the second one was the case.  I guess that was a way for us to burn off some excess calories after our meal.  We would go out to dinner occasionally, but I can not think of a time when we ate at McDonalds.  We  did have fast food maybe a handful of times, but McDonalds wasn’t one of them.  (Unless we went with friends, but not my mom or dad)

My mom would also always make us bag lunches for school.  Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches were our typical lunch along with a piece of fruit.  On occasion my dad would make lunch for us, if my mom was not around.  We learned very quickly that it was a big mistake letting him make it.  He would tend to get very creative with his sandwich making ability.  His favorite was a Peanut Butter, Butter and Jelly sandwich.  And no that wasn’t a typo and I didn’t stutter.  He really would add Butter to our Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.  And it would be a huge hunk, which he would place in the middle of the sandwich.  There is nothing like enjoying your Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and then all of a sudden, you bite into it and are surprised by biting into a huge lump of butter.  I like butter but not a huge piece on my peanut butter and butter and jelly sandwich.  I would gag on it.  I literally almost puked.  And as a stupid kid it took me a while to figure out that if dad made lunch open the damn sandwich up and remove the stick of butter that he tried to choke you on.  How the hell would I be surprised by this every time.  It must have happened at least 10 times before I learned.  Either that or it happened once and it was so traumatic that it turned into a few hundred times.  If you want to torture your kids try it out on them.

When I was about 9 years old and my brother David and I went shopping with our mom.  As she was walking down the aisle, picking out healthy food to bring home, we were grabbing all kinds of crap and throwing it in the cart.  As soon as it would land mom would take it out and put it back on the shelf and say, “Additives  and Preservatives.  Additives and Preservatives, that’s all that these are.”  We really didn’t know what those big words  were but had assumed that they were bad.  They sure as hell tasted good.  The words just sounded funny to us.  For the next couple years we would mimic her out of the blue.  “Additives and Preservatives”.  It still comes up once in a while.  Talk about something being etched into your brain.  I guess I’ve got  additives and preservatives carved into my mind.  I can’t walk down certain aisles in a supermarket without thinking about that.  This is a good thing.

All of my friends were impressed by how athletic my mom always was and they would talk about how athletic she was…Actually they still talk that way.   Growing up hearing others talk about her definitely made me proud.  Even prouder that she is still doing it.   As my mom got older she cut out the running and cut back on the tennis, but swimming has been a great exercise for her.  It’s great to see her take it to a competitive and challenging level.  For 20 years I missed out on competition and most physical challenges.  Getting myself back into that is the best thing that I have ever done.  I did that at 45.  Seeing my mom do it in her 80’s (she turns 82 in a few weeks), is amazing.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!

Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls

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chefs chocolate salty ballsMy training partner Chase was in South Park, Colorado and he met Chef.  He got his recipe for Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls.  These things are awesome.

6 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
5 Tablespoons Raw Honey
3/4 Cup of Oats
3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seeds
2 Tablespoons Raw Cacao
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl thoroughly.
Take spoonfuls out and roll into balls.
Place on cookie trey and leave in refrigerator for 1 hour or until you eat them

Healthy Benefits:

Raw Honey:
Increases natural energy
Used in treating allergies
Treats colds and sore throats (it coats the throat and reduces irritation)
Used as an acne treatment

Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Lowers Cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease
Makes you feel full longer
May reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
May reduce heart disease
May reduce high blood pressure
Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
May reduce risk for certain cancers

Ground Flax Seed
Helps with digestion and good for cardiovascular system.
Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Provides anti-inflammatory properties

Raw Cacao (Chocolate)
Known as a Super-Food
Claims to reduce cataracts, improve heart function and alleviate stress
High in antioxidant flavonoids
Claims to reduce free radicals in the body and in turn reducing risk of cancer

Vanilla Extrac
t
Antioxidant Properties
May fight Cancer
Boost Metabolism
Reduces Anxiety
May fight infections and fever in children
Reduces Nausea

Sea Salt
Alkalizes the Body
Contains Minerals
Good for the Cardiovascular System
Good for the Brain
Good for the Skin
Important for Hydration
Boosts Immune System
Helps maintain Sugar Levels (good for Diabetes)
Prevents Osteoporosis
Prevents Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Reduces Cholesterol
Reduces Inflammation in respiratory system (Good for Asthma)

 

Sweet Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken

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chicken apple cider vinegar

2 Chicken Breasts
1/2 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Medium Red Onion
1 Jalapeño
1 Garlic Clove
1 Teaspoon Rosemary
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Sea Salt to Taste
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Raw Honey

Heat Frying Pan on low to medium heat.  Add Olive Oil.
Crush Garlic.  Dice Onions, Tomatoes, Jalapeno. Slice Chicken into bite size pieces.
Add Garlic and Onions to frying pan.  After 5 minutes add chicken, tomatoes and spinach.
Sprinkle with Rosemary, Black Pepper, Salt.
Add Vinegar
Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir Raw Honey in after you finish cooking.
Health Benefits:

Chicken
High in Protein (Builds and repairs Muscle)
Fights Alzheimer’s
Fights Cancer

Red Onions
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Fungal
Anti-Bacterial
Anti-Inflammatory
Fights Cancer
Fights Free Radicals
Fights Colds
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Low Glycemic – Suppresses Blood Sugar Spikes

Tomatoes
Contains antioxidants
Fights Cancer (prostate, cervical, stomach, rectum, breast and mouth)
Lowers Cholesterol
Helps keep digestive system healthy
Detoxify body
Alleviates Type 2 Diabetes
Good for Healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones
Fights urinary tract infections and bladder cancer
Prevents Gallstones

Jalapeno
Fights Cancer
Lowers Blood Pressure
Anti-Inflammatory
Good for the heart
Reduces Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Increases Metabolism.  Helps body burn fat.

Garlic Cloves
Contains Antioxidants
Attacks free radicals
Fights Colds and Flu
Lowers Cholesterol
Acts as a natural antibiotic (bacteria doesn’t grow resistant to it)

Black Pepper
Contains Antioxidants
Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial.
Great for the digestive Tract.
Reduces Gas in the intestines.
Speeds up metabolism.
Supports weight loss.
Fights fat by breaking down the fat cells.
Relief from respiratory problems

Rosemary
Antioxidant.
Anti-Allergic, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Septic.
Helps with Cardiovascular system.
High in Iron.

Olive Oil
Contains Antioxidants
Contains probiotics
Improves Blood Vessel Function
Boosts the immune system
Fights Cancer
Fights Heart Disease
Regulates Blood Pressure
Fights Diabetes
May help fight Obesity
Fights Arthritis
Fights 
osteoporosis

Raw Honey:
Increases natural energy
Used in treating allergies
Treats colds and sore throats (it coats the throat and reduces irritation)

Spinach
Anti-Inflammatory
Antioxidants
High in fiber
Helps with digestion
Fights Cancer
Lowers blood pressure
Good for eyes, skin, bones

Apple Cider Vinegar
Suppresses Glucose being released by the body
Alkalizes the Body
Regulates Blood Pressure
Reduces Cholesterol
High in Minerals
Helps remove toxins from the body
Great for skin
Supports weight loss

Sea Salt
Alkalizes the Body
Contains Minerals
Good for the Cardiovascular System
Good for the Brain
Good for the Skin
Important for Hydration
Boosts Immune System
Helps maintain Sugar Levels (good for Diabetes)
Prevents Osteoporosis
Prevents Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Reduces Cholesterol
Reduces Inflammation in respiratory system (Good for Asthma)

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