LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: 2008
Age: 43 Height: 6'0"
BEFORE Weight: 218 | Pant Size: 36/38
AFTER Weight: 185 | Pant Size: 32/34
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Growing up I was a skinny kid, but a pretty good athlete. I lettered in football, wrestling and track in high school. When I was in college, the story changed. A meal plan at Colorado State University and a penchant for ramen noodles and pizza helped me transform from a skinny wrestler to a "big guy." I started working in the restaurant and nightclub industry, where eating late and not paying attention to calories or nutrition was par for the course.
In 2001, I found myself unemployed and overweight. My fitness wake-up call came when I watched one of those "E! True Hollywood Story" episodes featuring Brad Pitt. I realized he was 10 years older than me and looked incredible! A commercial came on during the program for a well-known health club. I literally got up off the couch and went and joined the gym. I went in with the knowledge gained from my athletics background and an "I will not fail" attitude.
I started hitting the gym every morning at 5 a.m. I knew if I didn't do it first, I would not get it done. I lost weight, and other gym members took notice and started asking for my help. I left the restaurant industry to work for the health club. I continued to work out, and I actually thought I looked great — until I looked at some pictures of myself without my shirt on while on vacation with my wife.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration for making a change?
I have been with my wife for 11 years, married for seven. We met online, and our first date was working out at the gym. She loves fitness and nutrition, and is a former teacher. She's also a great cook. When we first started dating, she cooked and I ate. I wasn't too worried about gaining weight, until we went on vacation. I looked at pictures of us on the beach, and I realized that I was big, but I wasn't fit.
I remember this moment where we were talking in the bathroom while getting ready for work. I told a joke and looked over at her. You could see her abs through the shower curtain! I looked down at my own reflection and thought to myself, "You've got to get it together!"
I realized that I needed to track my food intake if I was ever going to see my body transform. I knew that working out alone wasn't going to make the change I was looking for. I started using MyPlate at 218 pounds with a goal of getting to 180. Once I got my weight into the 180s, I was satisfied with my physique and decided to stay in that range. I established a "red flag weight" of 190 pounds. This was the weight I was never going over again. I've been between 182 and 190 for 10 years. My average weight is 185, slightly heavier in the winter.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
The MyPlate app gave me a caloric goal. I needed that. I didn't really engage in the community. I did my own workouts and lost the weight in approximately four months.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
My wife was one of my biggest supporters. Along the way, I trademarked the phrase "If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food." This absolutely describes our household. We don't buy anything processed. If you look in my fridge on any given day, it's filled with vegetables, fruit, eggs and Greek yogurt.
Now I'm a private personal trainer, and my athletes are my biggest motivation. I have each and every one of my athletes set up a profile on MyPlate, whether they want to gain or lose weight. I help them chart their initial settings and track their calories.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?
I love working out with my athletes. On a typical day, I will run anywhere from one to four or five miles. I do hundreds of squats and burpees and run stairs in the park. I am a USA certified boxing coach, so I teach every athlete to box. I love to hit the speed and heavy bags when I go to my own gym.
When I'm on my own, I prefer a whole-body circuit-training approach. I love to jump rope, and my main means of transportation is my longboard.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
I always say, "If you have time, you can get it in!" I don't have a schedule. Whenever I get a chance to work out — even if it is a quick run or a 30-minute circuit lifting session at the gym — I take that opportunity.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
I tend to eat breakfast late, after I work out with a few athletes. I'll typically eat eggs or Greek yogurt, but there's no rule for me about breakfast. Sometimes I will eat leftover salmon or a stir-fry from the night before. My wife makes what she calls "Camsie salads" filled with tons of veggies, sliced jalapeno, tuna or salmon and avocado.
I eat a lot of broccoli. I have a drawer in my fridge that is just filled with bags of broccoli and organic apples. I try to remember that if I've eaten anytime within the past three hours and feel hungry, I'm probably not. I drink a huge bottle of water and see how I feel a few minutes later.
I'm not perfect, and I do have comfort foods. I love pizza, fish tacos and good homemade pasta. But my general rule is if it makes me tired, I don't eat it.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
Probably around 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day, depending on how much I work out and what I weighed that morning.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
I always have fruits like blueberries, watermelon, apples, grapefruit, cranberries, avocado, blackberries and cantaloupe in my kitchen. My go-to vegetables are broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, red peppers and arugula. For protein, I have salmon, tuna, tilapia and grass-fed beef. A few other staples are extra-virgin olive oil, Greek yogurt, walnuts, almonds, eggs, cottage cheese, quinoa, kidney beans and oatmeal.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
Here's where I give another shout-out to my wife. She does the grocery shopping and prepares the famous salads. She orders grocery delivery from my list of healthy staples and tends to cook during the week. On the weekends we go out to dinner, and it is our rule that we have everything in moderation. I believe that in a typical meal you just can't choose appetizers and dessert. You can't choose wine and bread.
LIVESTRONG.COM: Were there any supplements that you took during your journey?
I take supplements not for weight-loss, but for heart health. I take CoQ10, fish oil, vitamin E and baby aspirin every day. I started taking glucosamine a few years ago for my joints, but try to get my nutrients from food.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenge is finding that balance between eating clean and eating for fun. If you have a healthy relationship with the scale, weighing yourself every day first thing in the morning before using the restroom is key. This gives you a reality check on food choices the day before, and what type of food choices need to be made moving forward to reach your goal.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Get rid of all the junk food in your house. Like I've said, if you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. Drink water first thing in the morning before caffeine.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
I have the best life I can imagine! I am a personal trainer in Washington, D.C., and in the best shape and health of my life. I've maintained this for 10 years! I work out as often as I can and eat clean most of the time.
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