Sob story part 2 ;) (Find Your Why)
So my first writing was a little, or a lot of a sad song about me being bullied and having low self esteem and that leading me into fitness. Boo-hoo right? Maybe so, my point is that we all have reasons for starting things. Often times I think it’s more due to pain than pleasure. As promised I will build on my previous story.
So I thought being fat was the end of the world, I wanted out, but in all honesty I did not want to put the work in. Most people don’t and that is why marketers make BILLIONS off selling quick fix schemes. The industry knows our hearts, they know we don’t want to go to the gym and put in countless hours of work. They know we don’t want to count calories and track macros and follow a regimented diet program. They know we want to have our cake and eat it too, literally, and that we wanted to be fit yesterday! Thats for another time though, but as for me at a young age I tried product after product, fad after fad. Only to end in disappointment everytime.
Aside from not wanting to put in the work, I wasn’t really doing it for me. I mean yea I wanted the “look” but I wanted it so people would accept me, so girls would like me. I hated myself and was trying to make everyone else happy, which is like building your house of straw.
One summer I got serious about weight loss when I had a high school crush. We’ll name her, Sarah, for privacy sake. Me and Sarah were friends and my attempts at moving the relationship further were met with the old “you know I don’t see you that way” talks. School let out for the year and I had mentioned to a good friend of mine over and over how I wanted to lose weight, he was a cross country runner and invited me out to their summer training to get in shape. With the girl mostly on my mind I set out, week after week I would wake up at dawn and head to the field. Mile after mile each day I would run, I would get a little faster over time and the weight flew off. Nutrition wise I had no idea of what I was intaking I just took whatever I would normally eat and half it, or less. So a normal meal would be a 4 piece tender and fry instead I would eat 2 tenders and half the fries and eat the rest later. Paired with a lot of pick up basket ball with some neighborhood kids and over the course of 3 months I lost about 60 lbs!
Now that is way too much weight and way too fast and we will find out why. But come time for school, I am feeling slightly disappointed because I had achieved my weight loss goal, I was skinny! But there was one problem.. See all these years I had it in my head that if I just shed the fat on top that I would be ripped like the God’s in the movies and on magazine covers. WRONG! I looked fucking pathetic, the only thing worse than being called big man your whole life is to now being called little man. 160 lbs on a 5'9ish frame does not look good, especially when probably only 130 or so of that was lean mass. I have one picture of me at that time and it is a poor quality picture but to paint an image, I have a decent sized head, I looked like a typical alien. Big head with a skinny slender body. I was “skinny fat.”
School starts and i’m decked out in Hollister because I can actually fit in the shit and half the school is impressed and the other half thinks I have gotten into hardcore drugs. I don’t care because all I can think of is sweet Sarah and we even have a class together, oh my! She notices my progress and says I look great so I am feeling confident when I ask her out, only to get denied AGAIN!? Da Faq? Dazed and confused and feeling like all that running was for nothing I go on with my life.
Around that time I met a friend who played football in high-school and told me I needed the weight room and invited me to the gym with him. We began to lift pretty regularly after my ego was destroyed again at how weak I actually was. I think my 1st set of bench press was with 75lbs or so. I made some “gainz” and per advice from him I started getting into supplements. I became a GNC junkie, spending all my time and money there buying every flashy new latest and greatest supplement to hit the shelves. I took protein by the shovelful and heard “you gotta eat to get big bro” so I began to eat like a starved horse. It wasn’t long before the weight (fat) started to pack back on.
In reality I was rebounding from crash dieting but you couldn’t tell me nothing. “Bulking brah” as all life bulkers with no self restraint in the kitchen say. I was eating everything and anything in sight. I had not changed my habits one bit during my extreme weight loss bout and long story short in a years time I gained 100lbs. I was fat-ter this time. Pair that with someone who still had old mental demons that had not been dealt with and I was crushed. I could not believe what I had become. I was barely working out anymore. My training was beer pong Wednesday through Saturday with constant late night eats and treats. I was depressed because I went through my 1st heart break. My life was a mess.
The beginning of 2012 my health was shit. I had high blood pressure, I was over 100lbs over weight probably 40–50+ percent body fat if I had to guess. And I was going to need back surgery because I had 2 herniated discs at l4 and l5 that was pinching the nerves to my right leg. I don’t know how it happened exactly but my best guess is a result of the rapid weight gain. Prior to surgery I had joined a CrossFit gym because I needed to get my life in order. I had begun to make some progress and was enjoying it whenever I had to go down for surgery. FML.
After rehab I began to get back to CrossFit and my weight slowly came down. I hit about 240, fluctuated up and down there for a while. Then came the 220–230 range, same thing. Then came around the 210 range and I stayed there until the beginning of 2015. Prior to this my nutrition was very hit and miss. I would do paleo, zone, etc etc and fall off after a while and go back up. Find a new diet, wash rinse repeat.
Beginning of 2015 I found Renaissance Periodization, which I will discuss in another post, but to give a brief, a diet/training company that is a Science based approach. Meaning there is a “why” behind everything they do that is backed by what research shows and what has been proven with tried and true studies. A major game changer for me. But I also found something else, a love for this, a love for fitness.
See for all those years of yo-yo diets and fads, trying things that didn’t work. All the one weird tricks, the in home DVD workout sets that are better than anything on the market, the weird supplements and “super foods.” I failed so many times. I have failed at this more than anything in my life. And for a long time I hated what I was doing. I liked working out sometimes but overall I hated fitness and I hated myself. I would hide behind inspirational quotes and check-ins at the gym, but in all honesty I wanted it to end. I craved the day that I would be “fit” so I could stop. I would have made it and I wouldn’t need to work out anymore, I wouldn’t need to monitor my nutrition. I could just go back to sitting my happy ass on the couch stuffing my face with food. Sound familiar?
I viewed fitness and training as a punishment. This was the sentence for me being fat, having to turn away from my favorite foods and having to sweat and strain in the gym. I failed so much because my why was all fucked up. I looked for every excuse not to work out, the sniffles, it was too hot too cold, I want to relax, i’m on vacation. The list was endless, I really did not want it deep down but for some reason I could never walk away.
I feel that this is my destiny if there ever was one and my story I have written here does not nearly cover it all. I have given up on many things in life, but for some reason this has been the constant. I say my fitness journey began at age 12 because I can remember trying since then, it was not always perfect or linear but through everything, fitness has always been what I have kept on pushing for.
My why has changed. The hate blossomed to love, I crave the knowledge. Hour upon hour of podcast, article, seminar, constantly trying to find ways to improve. I love training now, I rarely miss a day and if I do my day is off. I train late, early, on vacation it does not matter. I feel alive in the gym. I feel at home, I invested thousands into a home gym. I am currently in a apartment complex because I recently moved to Austin and I tried several gyms before finding one a half hour away that “felt right.” People look at me like I am mad, “it’s just a gym?” No. I love it more than any other place, I feel alive. I release any worries I may have, where I face my demons. I can laugh, I can cry, I can yell, I can cuss. It is where I express myself. As the weights rise and fall and the blood fills my muscles and my breath becomes shallow, my mind shuts off. I don’t think about what I have to do tomorrow, any debt that I have to pay, the world does not matter anymore. It is me vs me and that is all that exists.
My journey is far from over, in fact it is just beginning. I firmly believe that this is my calling, I know nothing else. I hope those who need help will follow me along this path because when you find your why, your true why. Because make no mistake this is not for everyone, and that is okay. Admit that to yourself and be okay with that because we all are gonna die some day. I may die before someone who is sedentary and eats pizza all day, you don’t HAVE to partake in any of this. So if I could give any advice to someone starting out in fitness, it would be assess your why, because not everyday is easy, but your why is what will keep you going. Not the why of “I want to look better” or “I want my high school body back.” But the real why that is deep down that your conscious mind hasn’t even considered. For me I think it is partially because I am meant to help others, avoid the mistakes I have made and to shut down the mental bullshit that gets in our way. The other part because I believe I am an artist at heart, this is my way to express my inner being. And maybe a part to build up the little boy who was scared and alone all those years and to show him he is stronger than he ever thought.
Anyways, this concludes my intro. I plan on my next writings to be more practical real world advice but I appreciate those that read this. It feels amazing to get this stuff out and I hope it makes a small difference to someone out there.
Until next time, peace.