February 27, 2012 by RobZ
“Lost 101 Pounds in 11 Months”
I had been an athlete for most of my life. I played baseball and football as far back as I can remember. I loved sports, all sports. For that period of time as a kid growing up in middle school, high school and even college it was a major part of who I was. The competition, the camaraderie and the pain (yes, the pain) all drove me to strive to excel in not just sports but everything I did, everyday. I may not have been the most elite athlete, but no one was going to work harder at being the best they could be.
Somewhere between college and my mid to late 30’s, life happened. It’s the quintessential story of being too busy to take care of yourself; career aspirations, family pressures…..blah, blah, blah. For me it didn’t happen right away. After college I still played competitive softball and worked out for many years but the energy levels and passion began to wane and before you know it I was playing but not really knowing why or if I really wanted to. I also picked up one of the worst habits imaginable; I started smoking a couple of years out of college. I had been a tobacco user in the past when I played baseball, so smoking was an easy transition and it it seemed as if everyone smoked where I worked at the time. It had no redeeming value except I was fitting in I guess.
Fast forward several years later and I got to a point where I was no longer that athlete that I once was. I was shell of myself and I knew it. I constantly told myself that I would start working out tomorrow or next week but tomorrow or next week never came. Before I knew it I was not only an unhealthy smoker but my weight had also ballooned to the point of being close to 250 pounds. That wouldn’t be the worst of it.
In late 2007, I had finally gotten tired of constantly being sick, coughing relentlessly and not being able to breath when I laid down at night. I decided I was going to quit smoking. Sounds all well and good but if you don’t have a solid plan for the rest of what is about to happen in your life you are in for a very rude awakening. You see smoking is as much a mental dependency as it is a physical one. The habitual nature of smoking is what drives people crazy and why they eventually succumb to the cravings. Those that don’t revert back to smoking usually find a substitute and all too often it is in the form of food. I quit smoking in early 2008 and all was good with life or so I thought.
By late 2009 I had managed to stop caring about what others thought of me and lived by the motto that I was going to “enjoy life”. Hmmmm, that’s a bit of an oxymoron. Given the direction that I was heading I may have been “enjoying” life but it was becoming clearer by the day that your body can only survive the abuse for so long. By March of 2010 I had gotten up to a weight of just over 300 pounds. What’s funny about that is that while I knew I was overweight I would look at pictures and not notice it. Somehow I had adjusted my paradigm and began to accept it. I had learned to accept myself at 5’ 11’’ and 300+ pounds.
While mentally you may learn to accept yourself that way, physically your body begins to rebel and all kinds of aches and pains set in. It becomes a struggle to just get out of bed in the morning. Ankle joints hurt, knee joints ache, your back is constantly sore, etc. etc. Those day-to-day struggles begin to wear on that mental acceptance and something’s got to give. Either you’re going to go deeper the wrong way or your going to begin to dig yourself out of the hole that you put yourself in. Somewhere between seeing a caricature of myself done by a ‘carnie’ at the Strawberry Festival and seeing long-time co-workers begin to change their lives for the better, I decided it was time for me to make a change. It was time for me to take my life back; to take control of my situation versus letting it control me. So I did. The problem was that I had no idea where to start or what to do.
So I did what I thought would be the most effective way to lose weight and that was to start running and reduce my calorie intake. I put it into the simplest of terms; burn as much or more than I eat. While this is not necessarily the best method, it would prove effective to a point. I would later feel the effects of this method in the form of muscle mass loss.
I ran every day. I started out on a 2-mile path. Initially I could only run for about a ¼ mile and it wasn’t a continuous ¼ mile, but my goal everyday was to complete the 2-miles faster than I did the day before. Nothing was going to stop me; not darkness, not rain, nothing. Everyday I got stronger and faster. Within a month or so I was able to hit the full mile mark without stopping and it seemed as though the barriers were lifted at that point. Within a short period of time of being able to run a full mile, I could run 2 miles, then 3 miles, then 4 miles. I have run as much as 13.5 miles at one time.
My eating was similar in fashion in that I didn’t make any wholesale drastic changes. I wasn’t the kind of person where I could just change to boiled chicken, whole grains and tons of vegetables. Wasn’t going to work for me. So I just adjusted my portions and counted my calories. I tracked everything I ate. I used an app on the iPhone to record my daily progress. As time progressed I began to make better food choices. Before I knew it the weight began to fall off. I dropped 16 pounds in the first 3 weeks and over the next few months I would shed over 89 pounds.
While my story sounds great up to that point it wasn’t until I made a recent discovery in December of 2011. I had just finished my second Tough Mudder event and while my endurance for the event was fine, my strength to overcome the challenging obstacles was not where I thought it should be. I seemed to struggle doing some of what I thought should be relatively routine tasks for someone of my stature. That very next week, I ran across RobZFitness in an ad and gave them a call. I spoke with Rob and decided to go in to see what he had to offer. We did a short fitness test and then sat down to discuss my results. For all the hard work that I had put in up to that point, it became glaringly obvious to me that I still had a lot of work to do to achieve a “healthy” status. You see, somewhere along the way my thought process changed from being about weight loss to being healthy. That’s important because you can lose weight in many different ways but being healthy requires a whole different approach. It requires a balance of eating right, exercising right and, I believe, challenging yourself to go beyond what limits you set for yourself. I decided that day to join with Rob and his team to see if they could help me achieve my final goals. I have not regretted that decision in slightest. My trainers at RobZFitness are awesome. Both Sam Kicak and Taylor Green are not only exceptional trainers but I think they are exceptional people as well. They have their own style of training, which allows for some variety to the workouts but they equally understand the exercises and the work that it takes to achieve the desired fitness results. They will push you past your comfort zone while maintaining the integrity of the exercise. With their help I was able to drop a total of 7 scale pounds, drop 5% body fat, gain 7.5 pounds of lean muscle, drop a full pant size and most importantly feel better than I have in a very long time. All of this was done in my first 5 weeks of joining RobZFitness.
I have since dropped another 5 pounds on the scale to bring my total weight loss since starting my journey of over a year ago to 101 pounds. My journey is long from being over. I’m sure I will adjust my goals as time progresses but I feel as strong as ever and well on my way to being what I will call “healthy”.