Below is a story that is very dear to me for many reasons. This is the story of Rob. Rob and I met a little more than a year ago when he was ready to change the direction his life was taking. He was a new father and was expecting one on the way. He had concerns that his lifestyle might directly affect is quality of life with his children and decided he needed to do something about it.
I’ve never told Rob this, but it is not uncommon for clients to come in and say the exact same things he was saying to me, and put forth minimal effort in changing their lives. As a coach you almost take it at face value because you have seen people want to change but be unwilling when the time comes. But then again you see what happens when people put forth the effort, even become proactive beyond what you are teaching, and succeed in ways you never imagined they would. Or that they would for that mater. Then there is Rob.
I am very honored to share Rob’s story from the past year; his passion; his drive; his unwillingness to lose sight of what was most important to him. The kinship Rob and I have made in a short period of time will not easily be broken. I am also honored to now call Rob a close friend and let him tell you how he got here in his own words;
“My relationship with food and my battle with weight have always been an issue for me. As far back as I can recall I have battled with both of these evils (at least they were evils to me) in my life and had largely lost. I played sports when I was a kid … football, lacrosse, rode my bike everywhere but that wasn’t enough for me. I had always told myself that I had to do something about this and knew the will existed, however I was always successful in talking myself out of it. In January of 2013 I told my wife I needed to get a personal trainer to provide me with motivation and accountability since I was unable to come up with those key factors on my own.
Jump forward a couple of weeks and I decide to open an “Amazon local” email for some reason (I never open these things, just click delete), and I notice an offer from Queen City Kettlebell for an unlimited one-month pass. I buy it, I figure if I spend the money that I will go. Old habits die hard though, and it took me two months to go in for my introductory session. That was a wreck; sweating and panting during the evaluation, but it was a huge victory I walked into the gym and set my inhibitions aside. I had to convince myself that it didn’t matter what others thought of me now, wait until they see me later.
April 1st 2013, that’s the date, it all changes from here. I found the motivation, I found the people, I found the facility that could help me make the change. I was asked what were my goals? My answer was to lose weight and tone up. I look back now and know that was a vague answer but it was enough to get the ball rolling.
Those first few months were the most sore I had been in years, if not my life, but it was a good pain. It was penance for years of lethargy. It only took me a few classes to realize I needed some personal attention. DJ began coaching me twice a week and I attended class once a week. Shortly into the process we addressed my diet, logging food, being held accountable, having to document my poor eating habits all helped me move forward. As DJ told me “just because you don’t write it down doesn’t mean you didn’t eat it” … he’s right by the way.
Enter “The Whole 30” … 19 pounds in 30 days while eating plenty of food and gaining muscle. Say what?!? I can eat and gain and lose. It all started to make sense. I experimented with intermittent fasting as well- DJ was giving me the tools and knowledge to do this on my own. Pounds were melting away and clothes were falling off, but there was a problem; I couldn’t “see” the change. I could feel it, but when I looked in the mirror it was still me. Same person, same face, same fat guy. I didn’t know I had image issues but I did. It wasn’t until I looked at a photograph that I could see the changes the mirror wouldn’t let me see. Frustrating, right? But I had made the commitment and a mirror wasn’t going to stop this journey. I recall one day I was on the floor sweating and wiggling in pain during some hollow rocks. DJ walked over and asked, “Are you ever going to let yourself get that out of shape again?” … No!
At the beginning of this process the pounds fell off quickly and large gains were made in short periods of time. PR’s were being set weekly. It wasn’t long before this settled down. DJ’s coaching forced me to continue to focus on form, movement, proper biomechanics, and lifting heavy weight. Despite my occasional frustrations there was the constant reminder from my coach that not every day is going to be your best day in the gym. I had to learn to temper my expectations. I now understand that even slight improvements are in fact improvements, that this is in fact not a race I can sprint to the finish line, this is a lifelong commitment to improving my health and becoming a stronger person, both physically and spiritually. DJ will tell you my battles still continue with deadlifts today, but there will be a day that I beat that lift.
At some point I decided that my goal was to lose 100 pounds and do a pull up. I am excited to say that the pull up was accomplished in February of 2014 and I was down 86 pounds, only a few more to go. One week later my father was diagnosed with stage-4 pancreatic cancer with only a few months to live. My focus was shot; now the true test begins.
I have been consumed with this, visiting him in Alabama on an almost weekly basis, choosing him over working out. This is not a setback, this is life. I will lose those last few pounds and it is still clearly in my grasp. Difference is that in the past this would have sent me down the path of failure. I now know that these are just bumps in the road of life (it’s more than a bump, but you get the idea.) As I told my dad, ‘his pain is in the fight. My pain is in my fight and the joy is in my success (his joy is also in my success).”