Tag Archives: weightlifting

Starting the New Year

Well, 2014 was a blast of the year.  For the most part I’m 2 years into my lifestyle change from a fat bar hopper to a competitive triathlete.  I’ve been able to inspire those around me to achieve what they didn’t they could.  Been dating a great gal, and I finished my first ever Ironman.  I’ve been able to keep the weight off for the most part, I did put some back on after the Ironman and holiday season.  That’s how it goes though when you’re training 16-20 hours a week and eating 6-8K calories a day to almost nothing for a month.

So what do I have in store for 2015?  Well, I’m agreeing to another race a month of some form.  So that mean’s that once a month I’ll be doing anything from a 5K to an Ironman.  Swim, Bike, or Run race of some type.  I’ve got my first half Ironman in St. George, UT on May 2nd and a full Ironman 140.6 in Louisville, KY on October 11th.  On top of that I’m the proud Ambassador of SunRype!  SunRype is a fruit drink and snack company that uses 100% fruits and juice in their products.   I’m super excited to represent them in 2015 and hopefully longer.

Weight goal wise I’ve slacked a bit.  I’m not under that 220lb mark that I wanted to so this year, so I’ll be trying to get under that mark.  I’ve had quite a few people talk to me about becoming a life coach which I’m looking into along with finally getting my personal training certification.  Then look into what I need to do to become a life coach and possible pursue it a bit more when I’m not on my day job.

Advertisements

Giving Back, Looking Ahead

Here are some pictures from my first triathlon back in 2010.  My how times have changed.

150274_493969203273_1865003_n68717_493969043273_6607394_n73941_493969163273_2751193_n

It’s hard to believe that it was 4 years ago I tried my first triathlon and I just had the basics.  I had desire, motivation, and excitement.  I remember this race like it was yesterday.  I remember worrying about everyone looking at me like who’s this fat guy in no wetsuit.  I felt like a beginner swimming in a sea of seasoned triathletes.  I was intimidated.  Those feelings helped spur me into volunteering for the Tri Club’s Beginner Open Water Swim (BOWS) group.  It’s beginning triathletes who are new to open water swimming and/or triathlon.  It’s been very rewarding every time I’m out there and can’t wait as the years go by..   Arnold once said that one of the secrets to success is to always find a way to give back.  He’s right, I can’t wait to see this group complete their first or any triathlon.

I’ve started following more people trying to lose weight on Facebook while sharing my story and how I’ve kept it off.  This has been a great way to inspire others that no matter how hard it seems, it’s possible.

Looking Ahead:
As I move towards that Ironman staring me in the face in November time is flying by!  Before I know it I will be on flights to different cities and racing across the United States.  It’s like a dream but it’s something that I’ve earned and worked hard for.  Life is short so you have to enjoy it.  I’ve begun looking at races for 2015 starting with IMOO in Wisconsin come September and who knows what else.  I’ll be doing another 70.3 just not sure which one.  I’m always looking ahead, but enjoying what’s in front of me.   I know I haven’t even completed my first full Ironman why on earth would I do another?  Well cause I want to.  It’s important to have personal goals and not to get too caught up with waking up every morning to just go slave away at work and then come home to exhaustion every day.  You have to wake up everyday and want to live.  We’re all stuck working but work should support how you want to live and not the other way around.  So go out and work to live, not live to work.

Looking Back at My Weight Loss Journey

Pic_20144816441

It’s hard for me to look at those pictures of me when I was for lack of better words “Fat”.  I had grown to accept that I was going to be fat for the rest of my life.  I had given up on myself.  It’s been a year since I started this blog and I started with me basically coming clean with where I started and what got me going.  It’s been 5 years since I started my weight loss journey.  When I wrote that first blog entry found here I didn’t know if I would be writing it still or that I would become a 70.3 Ironman.  I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to keep the weight off.  It’s been a true lifestyle change and that part I do know.  So how did I do it?  Did I go on some special diet?  Did I go on some brand new exercise diet that the experts hailed as the next best this?

How I did it?
Diet and exercise right, isn’t that what everyone says?  First thing I did was quit drinking.  This was a crutch that I was using to make me feel better about myself.  Then I started eating more cleanly.  While I quit drinking cold turkey I didn’t quit eating crap cold turkey.  It took about 2 months to get completely clean of all the crap.  Now I still have my day a month now where I’ll have a whole medium sized bag of Peanut Butter M&M’s.  I have also noticed that I really have no desire to drink booze.  I can have a beer or glass of whine, and even a cocktail without feeling the “Need” to drink to get drunk.  I also started going to the gym and doing more strength training with very little cardio except for that 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill that progressed into jogging.  The single most important thing though is the mindset of needing to do whatever it takes.  I needed to do whatever it takes to get to where I need to be.

Did I go on some special diet?
Yes, it’s called eating!  The one thing I heard and still hear is people saying don’t eat more than this many calories and it was typically under 1800 calories.   This is disastrous to your metabolism and only makes weight loss harder.  I started eating lots of fruits as snacks and found that I eat all day long.  I also can go out and have just 1 glass of wine or a cocktail and not want to keep drinking till I blackout.  Eating is fueling your body for whatever function you need it to do.  It’s not some glorious experience that’s going to change your life forever so stop treating it like one.  Eat to perform and be your best.

Did I go on some new fad exercise program?
No, I did it through strength training and aerobic cardiovascular exercise.  I’d wake up and go to the gym in the morning… every morning.  The goal was to go before work so that I can’t use the excuse of too tired.  Then I noticed I had a lot more confidence through the day and less stress.  I also ran in the evenings a few times a week.

The one thing that I can say that makes some people successful at weight loss and keeping it off has been keeping the mindset that I will do whatever it takes for me to reach my goals.  So many people think it’s going to be easy and they don’t realize that you’re going to have to make some life choices.  We’ve spent years gaining weight and living an unhealthy lifestyle.  To think that it’s going to be easy to change that is just naïve and ignorant.   Some people chose to to compete in a body building or physique competition to show off their new found fitness.  I went the endurance athlete path and I can honestly say that I’ve found out more about me than I even thought I would.  Set your goals and achieve them.  Don’t expect it to be easy and prepare to suffer at times.   It’s that suffering and struggle that builds the pride within yourself.

Weight Loss–If it Was Easy… Everyone Would Do It.

As I’m watching Ghostbusters on TV and the passing of Harold Ramis Monday I felt the need to blog about my weight loss a bit more instead of my usual triathlon related stuff.  I was at a loss at what to write about till a friend of mine Spencer wrote “Overcoming doubt is a great topic to help others” and I thought that it is actually an awesome subject to blog about.  So lets have a look at some of the doubts that I’ve had to overcome and some of the sacrifices that I had to make.

I was one of those fat guys who knew he needed to lose weight, but always said I’d get around to it.  I mean I was over 380lbs and I saw the shows I read the diet stuff, hell I even gave up enough to try and get on “The Biggest Loser”.  I tried Nutrisystem which I had some success with but it was expensive and not all that great.  I mean I had over 100lbs to lose and it seemed like an impossible task, in fact I still thought it was impossible and that I couldn’t do it.  I tried months in and months out and my weight yo-yo’d up and down.  In 2009 I managed to get myself down to 250lbs but it came back on when I started to go out again and got into partying and drinking again.  Inside I honestly didn’t believe I could lose 100+lbs and it’s probably why I failed.  I didn’t have a real reason to lose the weight either.  I mean after all I could still go out and get women.  I was out drinking and partying, and enjoying my life.  So then what changed a little over 2 years ago to make me stick to it this time.  How did I overcome some of the challenges mentally and find myself during the process?

Career:
Well to start I changed my career from an IT consultant to just Technical Support.  The pay was a step down but I was completely unhappy with my career direction.  I was working all the time and I would find my escape Friday through Sunday out in PB.  Everyone remembers that 80’s song “Working for the Weekend” or that classic Bill Cosby: Himself talking about the weekends.  These days when I talk to people this is the biggest excuse that people use about not committing to a healthy lifestyle.  Yes it’s a HUGE change in todays society and I had doubts about doing it like paying my bills.   I tell people that if it’s important to you, you will find a way!  I mean if you’re living to work, instead of working to live.  You are in the wrong career and only you can act to find your happiness!   Now I don’t’ find my career in the least bit fulfilling but right now it’s allowing me to LIVE!  I am happy with that for now.

Home:
I was unhappy about my living situation not because I was paying too much but I was unhappy with the people I was living with.   Moving is always a big change and it takes courage to act in order to change your living situation.   You have a great rent deal, great neighbors, it’s in such a great location… the excuses are endless.  If you aren’t living in a place that is going to help promote the life that you want to achieve then where you’re living isn’t a great place at all and only you can change that.  You sitting around complaining about how you have to commute with traffic 45 minutes to work is not happy!  That’s 1.5 hours a day that you could be out doing something that you want to do!  Take control of where you live because that is where you wake up and start your day and if you can’t start it in a good environment then why stay there?

Goals:
There is a lot of different opinions out on this one.  Some people say don’t make too big of goals, but at the same time make realistic goals.  There are other people who don’t even make goals and will settle for being average or “normal”.  Starting out I had 1 goal in mind… LOSE WEIGHT!   Yes it was generic since everyone says that, but that was my goal.  From there I made smaller goals on how to do this.  I’m going to go to the gym once a week, then 3 times a week etc.  Then I made a goal to check-in on Foursquare every week at the gym for 1 whole year.  Then I added more smaller goals like running a 5K once a month or a half marathon once a year.   I didn’t lose track of my main goal of lose weight.  Every smaller goal that I made had to have my main goal in mind.  I also had 1 seemingly impossible goal a 5K a month and 1 half marathon a year.  As my weight came off and I moved into more triathlon specific goals my weight loss was still my main focus till I got to my goal weight of 240lbs. I needed to find more goals.   Something happened though when I was looking at more goals to make.  I realized that stuff that I once thought impossible for me to do was all of a sudden possible!   I ran a 5K, 10K, Sprint Tri, or Olympic Tri once a month, but I had done 3 half marathons in 1 year!  I signed up for the Oceanside Half Ironman which at the time seemed like just a challenge to finish and my main goal is to complete Ironman Arizona in November.   Yes I might fail, but you can’t be afraid to set those goals and even set a goal that at that time seems impossible, but all of a sudden might be possible at some time!

Negative People:
You’re always going to have those people who are going to tell you that you can’t do it.  I had a few people that would always say “Stop telling everyone about your weight loss or achievement’s you’re making us regular people feel bad.”   You’re also going to have people who feel that they need to put you down so that they are afraid that you’ll leave them as a friend.  It’s your life and friends are always hard to deal with because you have this feeling that you don’t want to hurt their feelings.   Even when they use you as a welcoming mat.  This takes more courage to overcome than most other things because of the emotional nature of it.  Once you free yourself from these negative people in your life you’ll find it much easier to stick to the lifestyle change that you want!

The hard life changing choices are never easy and that’s why so many people are unwilling to make them.   They would rather get a surgery, take a pill, go on a yo-yo diet, or some get slim quick gimmick than to make the change within themselves and find their potential to be great!  Don’t be afraid to break the negative cycle you might be stuck in so that you can find a happier and fitter life.   Remember that if it’s important to you, you will make it a priority.

Over 150lbs Lost–Now What?

It’s hard to believe that this morning I finally was under 230lbs (229lbs to be exact).  I didn’t think I’d ever be under 300lbs again back in 2009 when I was over 380lbs.  It was an unexpected moment as I stood there looking at the scale and I thought maybe I should get a picture to mark the occasion, but I didn’t.  I jumped off and looked at myself in the mirror and even though I’d physically changed how I looked.  I still had a mental picture that I was still “fat”.  I searched for answers as to why this popped into my head and I had to step back and tell myself that I’m not “fat” I’m “fit”.  I see more muscle definition, less love handles, and not a big ole belly, so progress is progress.

Fighting that fat mentality is a much more difficult fight.  Years of looking in the mirror at the old you has ingrained this image of you that doesn’t just go away over night.  I still see some of the extra skin which is always hard to over come.  You feel it when you’re running and you have to wear compression gear so that it’s not painful during activities.  It affects your self worth and confidence and it doesn’t come back over night.  So why is it that even after losing so much weight people still feel mentally fat?   Well I don’t know I can only speak from my experience.  We turn on TV and see infomercials with “fit” models demoing equipment.  When we are in the gym we see guys and girls who have devoted their lives to being “fit” so we start to associate the 2 that in order to be “fit” we need to have this certain physique about us.  For men it’s we need to have big arms, pecs, and a 6 pack.  Ok some lat’s don’t hurt either.  We (fat people) are brought to believe that there is a singular one-size fits all body type.  When in fact that just is not the case and I’m starting to realize that.  I’m an endurance athlete whose body physique will not be what you see on those commercials or any of the brands that the fitness industry is promoting on their products.  At least not at a competitive level.  It’s just not possible for certain people’s body to do things when they are not built for it.   Just like an endurance athlete could not go out and powerlift at a competitive level.

It’s not a joke or a myth that your mind controls your body in every single facet of real life.  It’s been a slow transformation for me in believing that I’m no longer that 350+lbs guy or 250+lbs guy and as I start doing more and more things that I at one point thought impossible to me (Half Ironman, Ironman, under a 2 hr half marathon, running a 6 min mile) and embracing the mentality that it’s not about what I look like with my body, it’s about what I can achieve with my body.  So as I approach what will most likely be 220lbs of racing weight it will be interesting to see where the journey takes me.  It’s starting to move from not losing weight but losing fat, so soon I’ll be back to some weight training on a more regular basis.

Training?

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!

A New Journey, The Beginning.

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!

482889_10151606063338274_1497541453_n
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.