How did you do it? I’ve probably been asked this question (whether though email, comment, text message, Direct message, Facebook chat, or Snap Chat message) thousands of times. I try to respond every single time the best way my time schedule permits. However, I hate trying to answer this question in a few quick sentences because I can never find the words to sum everything up sufficiently. So this blog post will serve as an in depth answer to the infamous “HOW DID YOU DO IT?”
If you’ve read my previous post “SO YOU’RE FINALLY READY TO TRULY LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD!! OR ARE YOU….??”You understand what I mean when I say I was absolutely FED UP!! (with my life in general). I was tired of being self conscience, I was tired of not loving the way I felt, I was tired of being tired after going up a flight of stairs, I was tired of not having energy to play with my children, I was tired of being the fat guy that only got a pass because I dressed nice and smelled good ;o)… I was truly ready to take control of my health and make a much-needed change in my; then downward spiraling life.
March 1, 2013. I remember it so vividly. I woke up with a spirit I never felt before. I was a month away from one of the biggest shows I’ve ever done, (Chrysler Hall with Yo Gotti. Before fitness I pursued a career in music), I had just broken up with my girlfriend, I had recently moved into an apartment with a friend (who eventually ended up robbing me, but that’s a whole other blog post), and my burps smelled like waffle house and Ciroc from the previous night’s “festivities”. But something about the way I felt on this particular morning was different. All the days prior to this one, I woke up complaining and wallowing in my unemployed, drama filled, street hustling, McDonalds eating life, but not today. Today was the day that something in my life just snapped. The light bulb went off in my head and I made the decision to change my lifestyle forever. From this date, March 1, 2013 forward I became obsessed with the idea of transforming my body. On this date I formed a vision of what I wanted my body to look like. I would hold that vision there for the next 3 years of my life. I used this vision to guide my steps, I used this vision to motivate me, and I used this vision to spearhead what would ultimately be the journey that defined my identity and my purpose.
Now before I continue, let me drop this disclaimer in here. I was OUT OF MY MIND OBSESSED with transforming my body, so let me state that the steps that I took to achieve this is NOT SUGGESTED. I was green; I didn’t know much about the process, and I made A LOT of mistakes that could’ve damaged me both mentally and physically. But in this spirit of transparency that I embody, I’ll share with you how it went. I started by going through all my cabinets and the refrigerator and threw away EVERYTHING!!!! EVERY.SINGLE.THING. I wanted to start brand new from scratch. I had a South Beach Diet book in my house. I haven’t the slightest clue how it landed there but it was the closest thing I had to a valid source of information, so I used it. I went to the supermarket and used the grocery list from the book and I started on phase 1 of the South Beach diet. I followed the teachings of this book as if it was the bible. (There was no particular reason that I chose “The South Beach Diet” other than the fact that the book was mysteriously lying around my house, do I suggest you starting with this diet? No. Again I’m just sharing my story) I was so tight with my diet, I measured everything, I counted every morsel of food that entered my mouth. I was extreme, I was obsessive, I was determined on another level.
A friend of mine, Michael Ely (one of the best human beings I know) had just opened a small private personal training facility where he and his partner would mostly train student athletes. I already had a fairly decent social media following at the time (I was pretty active on the local music scene here in the Hampton Roads area) so he agreed to train me in a small group setting in exchange for me helping to promote him and his facility. So for 2 or 3 months I worked with Mike religiously, 3 to 4 sessions a week. I remember these sessions being torturous! I cried, I sweat, I screamed but when it was over I had this euphoric feeling that couldn’t be matched by ANYTHING. At the end of each session Mike would have me jump rope for as long as I could. Stretching the goal a little bit more each week. Look! I remember not being able to jump rope for more than 15 seconds at the end of my workout!! I would literally pass out on the floor. These memories are like gold for me and I never want to forget what this felt like.
After getting a foundation of weight training knowledge from Mike (I had very limited weight lifting experience before training with Mike) I decided to branch off and started training on my own. A YMCA opened walking distance from my house (divine, because I didn’t have a reliable mode of transportation at the time). I went 6 days a week doing 45 minute to an hour of weights and 30 minutes of cardio (not suggested for beginners, YOU MOST LIKELY WILL BURN OUT, AND QUIT). I would spend hours upon hours researching different exercise programs. Trying things that I found on the Internet or in books. I tried hundreds of exercises and stuck with the ones that gave me results and that I enjoyed the most. Let me reiterate this point again. I did hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of reading. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH.. Sorry if this comes across obnoxious but I can’t stress enough how important it is to educate yourself on this process. If I could credit my personal fitness success to 2 things it will be to meal prepping and research! One of the first signs that fitness was turning into a passion for me was when I would read for hours about exercise and nutrition and I would love every minute of it. Which was odd because I HATED reading. I was so hungry for knowledge that I literally consumed every piece of information that I could get my hands on.
Now lets talk about meal prepping. I had taken all the information that I researched in books and online and used the base of the south beach diet to create my own diet (which was essentially a high protein, medium to low carb diet). I then became the captain of the Tupperware Gang ™. Everywhere I went I had my cooler filled with Tupperwared (new verb alert lol) meals that my friend Nikki and I would prepare. She taught me how to cook a few delicious healthy meals that were my go-tos when she wasn’t around to help me prep. I‘d been closed minded all my life when it came to trying new foods. I grew up eating kraft macaroni and franks, ramen noodles and Rice-A-Roni for dinner every night. So my newfound open-mindedness towards the world of foods literally changed my life. Nikki would prepare foods that I never in my life could even imagine myself eating. Prior to making the decision to change my lifestyle I probably would have thrown up in mouth at the thought of eating stuff peppers or a portabella mushroom burger on wheat bread. Through trying these different foods that Nikki would prepare for me, I learned that eating healthy didn’t mean that I couldn’t love what I ate. This was a GAME CHANGER!!! Not only could I lose weight but also I could actually enjoy all this nutritious healthy GREAT tasting food in the process? Yea! It was on now. I researched and tried different recipes and different styles of eating (note, I didn’t say “diet”. At this point I was done with diets, this was my way of life and vowed to find a way to eat that I would stick to forever). I observed how these foods affected my body, my energy levels, and how I felt during my workouts. If I didn’t like how I felt after eating it, I never ate it again. Learning my body, learning how it responded to certain foods and exercises was extremely key. I tell my clients all the time that truly knowing your body is an amazing tool in sharpening your ability to manipulate your body composition. And I continue this process to this day. Everyone’s body is different. You have to try different things and see how it works for you. I still have so many avenues of food and nutrition to explore, and I’m excited about it. The learning never ends.
3 years of trial and error led me to where I am today. I had to change my mindset, I had to change my relationship with food, I had to trust the process and be patient. When I set out on this journey I thought it was going to take a year, and here I am 3 years later and I’m still in the middle of my journey. I literally learn new things about my body and myself every single day. I’m just now learning how to keep my abs and keep my sanity at the same time.
If nothing else, I want you to walk away from reading this with the understanding that losing weight, transforming your body, getting abs, growing a butt, “toning up”, whatever your individual goals are, takes time. There’s no magic pill, there’s no short cut crash diet, there’s no quick solution. It takes time, patience, discipline, education, persistence, and A LOT OF HARD WORK!! There’s no way around it. You have to want it bad enough to sacrifice your chocolate cake after dinner, your pancakes every morning, your margaritas and taco Tuesdays. Your goals just have to be more important to you than all these things. Once you make it a priority. You get rid of the excuses; you can achieve the body that you envision. And trust me, if my lazy unmotivated, corner cutting ass can do it, so can you!