I’m asked the question all the time what do I do for training? Well quite frankly I do a lot cause I’ve got a lot of goals on my plate. I’m training for weight loss, triathlons, half marathons, and a good physique. But it wasn’t always that way, it started with losing weight as my main goal. So what did I do to lose weight? How do you stay focused and not get bored? There are always questions regarding what I have been up to regarding training.
So, when I started out years ago with my sole goal being weight loss I knew cardio was going to be the focus. Being an athlete back in high school I had vague background with working out and what types of cardio so I stuck to what I knew. Treadmill, stair mill, and your basic weight training exercises. I woke up in the morning and went to the gym and hit the stair mill for 20 minutes then did a full body workout consisting of squats, bench press, arm curls, triceps press downs, and wide grip pull downs. I didn’t really know much but that wasn’t my goal to know much or be a meat head. I was already the fat guy in the gym and it was really hard to stay focused when I tend to worry about other people in the gym talking about the fat guy on the stair mill on level 3 leaving a sweat pond at the base. I’ve learned that you cannot go to the gym with that mentality cause you only defeat the purpose of going there. The gym is your time, you’re the one sweating and trying to get your body into a healthy working order and no one should ever poke fun of you for doing that. I will cheer on and support anyone that goes into the gym and actually works out towards a goal over someone who goes to the gym to suck up space on a piece of equipment talking on a cell phone or flexing in the mirror admiring the fact that they just bench pressed 330lbs and moved the bar 3 inches before moving it back on the rack.
As I shed weight my goals for training also shifted to less weight loss and more weight lifting to fill out my physique a bit more and I do much more running and swimming for my half marathons and triathlons. I’ve had to do more homework on increasing my knowledge on what to do for what muscle groups, what distances of swimming and running, how to breath properly, the list goes on and I’m still learning! But during this shift so many people have asked me about how can they better their workout or can I help them out with losing weight, or can I make a workout program for them cause I inspired them to lose weight. Which then sparked a change in myself, and working towards becoming a Certified Personal Trainer. I found out that I truly enjoy helping people better themselves.
Now my mentality in the gym when I’m training stays focused on the prize and that’s a better body. Do my workouts get boring at times, sure. Am I a victim of over training at times, you bet! But you have to step back and look at the big picture. All those years of neglect and this is what I have to do to get myself on track again. This is what I have to do and it’s hard work but you know what happens when you do hard work? You’re proud of your accomplishment you’re proud of the finished product. That’s why we workout hard in the gym, we are proud!
We have all seen the infomercials of a miracle pill to weight loss which then makes the velvet ropes part and champagne falls from the heavens. Just pop a pill and it all magically goes away. Well this happens to be the American lifestyle to EVERYTHING. Just look at the amount of pills people take for every little thing in their life. Anxiety, Depression, Blood Pressure, and just about every other symptom out there. I got news for everyone, there is not a magic pill for any of it if you don’t treat the root of the problem. In America there is no money in doing that. If you could take a magic pill for weight loss and magically keep the weight off the company would eventually cease to exist and everyone would then be thin. Weight loss is done through diet, exercise, and happiness.
I’ve tried the pills at one point, I wanted an easy way out, I bought into it. At one point I even looked at gastric bypass surgery. It wasn’t till the realization hit that it’s going to take hard work and change for me to get where I wanted to be. I knew there was going to be ups and down and frankly I wasn’t looking forward to any of it. The first 30-60 days where horrible and I wanted to quit and give up. That is where faith in myself came in and I had to constantly remind me that only I have the strength within me to change. Some people say god gives them strength to overcome their obstacles, but that isn’t true for me. Faith will have to be another blog post at some point.
Starting out I was up at 4:30AM so that I could make it to the gym before the mass of people flocked to 24 Hour Fitness now just so that I could get a workout in but I really didn’t want to be seen there. I was always so critical on myself in that I didn’t want people in there looking at the fat guy trying to workout. I always had the mental picture of me wearing a clown suit with that song that stupid circus music on in the background. It was a hard hurdle to get over mentally. Now getting up that early had the upside of getting tired and sleepy around 8PM at night. It was like I was a child again with my parents having the bed time of 8PM! Oh did my body hurt, in fact it hadn’t hurt this bad since football practice during two-a-days. I would start asking myself was I crazy, maybe I’m going about this the wrong way, or maybe I was just stupid. It seems like it is a daily struggle even at this point. I wake up in the morning and I look at myself in the mirror for any change and I notice that these days I look slimmer but mentally I still see that fat guy. I’ve asked myself why and the answer is simple yet I can’t grasp my mind around it yet. It’s cause I have not reached my body fat % goal yet and as long as I have love handles I will always consider myself as fat. Sure it is no way to think about yourself but lets be honest here. I didn’t get to almost 380lbs by caring about my body right? If I’m going to get down to 6-7% body fat I had to start caring I had to keep an ongoing mental picture. I must maintain focus through it all. Now I weight myself weekly and I check my body fat percentage on a weekly basis. There are some weeks where I gain or lose a tenth of a percentage point of body fat and a couple of pounds here and there. Yes it’s frustrating when you’re trying to lose weight and it doesn’t agree with you. It’s OK for you to feel frustrated it’s part of being human, it sparks change.
The upside to all the hard work is that I wasn’t ashamed of being in the gym anymore. I didn’t feel like I was putting on a clown suit with circus music playing in the background. Recognizing my achievements helped me build confidence and faith in myself that I can do thing. I found myself wanting to do more races, more active stuff on the weekends. I had more energy and desire to do new things. I wanted to do another triathlon but I really didn’t want to do the run. I hate running, I still hate running now I find it incredibly boring and mind numbing. So I talked to Josh and Joanne about getting a relay team together to do the sprint distance. They agreed so we did it and I did the swim. Then before I knew it Joanne talked me into doing the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. I was having fun not just training but I was having fun doing the events. I found myself wanting to be around people who were excited about fitness and wanting to be healthy. Then at some point I saw a friend from high school (Kristen) doing NPC Figure Competitions which helped inspire me. She was a class above me and we began to talk more and more about fitness and competing which was great to have someone that I could not just go to for advice but also bounce idea’s off. One day I let her talk me into doing a Tough Mudder which to this day has been the hardest thing physically and mentally do prepare for and finish. I tried to get a team together of friends that would join the 2 of us but I was only able to get Josh to do it with me. Then a few weeks before the start Kristen had to pull out because she couldn’t get out here from Utah. But at this point I was committed to doing it. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing and I wanted to do all of the obstacles. I had to skip some cause my body just couldn’t do it. It was disheartening but I stayed positive and I’m looking to do one in 2014. I was building a great immediate support system which was great for me. Because I always felt like I was alone with doing this, maybe because I was afraid to reach out or had to much pride to ask for help?
Now during the entire course of ups and downs that are never ending you realize that everyone goes through them. it’s a part of life and there isn’t any way around it. You are going to fall, you are going to fail, and you are going to endure. Your character is built on how you get up, how you learn from failure and how much you can endure before your mind and/or body can no longer take it. So to sum things up there is no magic pill for change because what works for one person will not work for you.
I’ve had several friends tell me I should start a blog based on my lifestyle change from a local drinker and socialite among San Diego’s Pacific Beach to someone who’s passionate about fitness and pushing yourself to achieve what you want. I get asked all the time what happened, what caused you to change your life? The answer is simple, yet complicated and emotional. You always hear the word “Transformation” and most people immediately think it’s your weight loss because that’s what everyone “See’s”. Well this is a story of not just someone who has lost over 60lbs and dropping but someone who has changed their very lifestyle. I am an inspiration and this is my story!
March 2008 to April 2013
It all started back in 2007 now that I think about it. I was in love with a woman and I didn’t really make my feelings known to her when we were out. We had fun together but inside I didn’t feel that I was good enough. I didn’t feel that I looked good enough and I wasn’t confident in myself. I was pushing 320lbs my waist was 50” and I didn’t feel that she found me attractive no matter what she said. Well one day came where she found someone else and we stopped our budding relationship as I call it. After that I ballooned up to almost 380lbs with a waist of almost 60” my body fat was over 40% and I just didn’t care. Now do I blame losing her to my weight gain? Not at all I was already on the way up anyways with my drinking every weekend lifestyle and partying lifestyle. Finally, one day I woke up and I really didn’t like myself in the mirror. I’ve always had a gym membership to 24 hour and I just never used it. Well I finally started going and started seeing some results which always motivates people and myself. I joined nutrisystem cause I couldn’t cook and I didn’t know a thing about eating healthy. I told myself I was going to do a half marathon and I promptly signed up for the Carlsbad Half Marathon that January. Over the course of the next few months I would slim all the way down to 246lbs with a waist of 40” and a body fat was down to 23%. I completed the half marathon in 3:21:00 Minutes. But it’s like they all say that losing weight is the easiest part. I lost the weight to feel better about myself and gain confidence but I didn’t stop the drinking and partying it only increased it. So the next couple of years was a roller coaster of weight loss and gain. I did my first sprint triathlon in 2010 and had a blast.
In the summer of 2011 I was up at 330lbs with a waist of 48” and I don’t even know what my body fat % was I didn’t want to know. I had made a physical transformation but the mental transformation was never there. I was still out drinking every weekend just to feel good about myself and I knew why. I had failed, I had gotten fat again and I had lost my confidence in myself. Drinking washed that away and I was always a pretty happy drunk to be around. Even after 2 DUI’s I was still doing it, I knew it was the wrong thing to do but I did it anyways and I don’t blame anyone else but myself. I made those choices no one forced me to do any of it. Everyone knew me as “Big Chris” cause I was huge. So I started getting back into the gym again casually to help balance things out cause I knew I was getting bigger. Then after coming back from a trip to Japan I decided to make the transformation. I had gone out one Sunday and I woke up Monday not knowing how I got home (thankfully I didn’t drive since I live close to the bars around Pacific Beach) not knowing how I spent almost 300 bucks a weekend and how did I end up with all these scrapes on the arms and legs. That week I stopped going out drinking looked at getting into the gym on a more active level like every day Monday through Sunday. I had ordered my meals from Bistro MD since my friend had recommended them. They were pretty tasty and I still hadn’t learned a thing about cooking or eating healthy. During that time I happened to start dating again and I had signed up for another triathlon but this time it was a relay where I did the swim and my friends did the bike and the run. It felt good to be competing in something again. Then that December I did the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas with my friend Joanne. We trained every week for it and I felt really good about it. I finished it in 3:07:00 which was still a personal best for me but at mile 9 I started to cramp up and I couldn’t really recover so the last 3 miles was walked. Now in December my waist was down to a 40” I weight 285lbs and my body fat was 23% but yet I still felt fat in fact I feel fat while I write this blog for the first time. I was still getting the Bistro MD meals, I had stopped drinking over the weekends people are telling me how great I look and how proud of me they are. I’ve started my transformation path. Currently on April 26th, 2013 I’m 268lbs my waist is 38” and my body fat is 20%
I’m going to try to update this blog once a week with the highs and the lows of this change cause it’s not as easy as it might appear.