I call Rob the “mayor” of my coaching group.
The reason for this is because he’s been with me for quite some time and he is one of the more active members in the group posting recipes, meals, helping other members navigate their journey when I cannot be on the computer. These are all good things. He has reached a level in his training that transcends the simple “do these exercises and eat these macros”.
In my group, I want to empower each individual to not only better themselves but those around them.
Knowing what Rob has done in the time we’ve been together, I wanted him to share his experience, thoughts, and feelings as they pertain to his journey which goes back much further than we’ve been working together.
The story you are going to read are his words and I have no edited anything.
The reason why I am posting this is that it’s easy for me to just have my clients tag me in posts or share my info but when it comes directly from the source without tampering, it is more authentic and real and completely transparent.
Also, Rob is a fantastic writer so his story is sure to keep you reading.
Without further ado, here is Rob to take it over.
It’s not what I thought it was, but I know that once I decided to become healthy and fit, it’s something I’ve always had in abundance. Motivation was never my problem. My problem was knowledge and perspective, mostly stemming from societal programming and misguided trainers. But therein lies the issue. Working hard doesn’t do anything if you’re not also working smart. In fact, it can make things worse.
As a 44-year-old man, my fitness journey has been quite long. Filled with many twists, turns, progress, and backslides.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
But let’s take a step back.
Growing up, I was never very athletic. I spent my free time partying, drinking, and tearing down my body instead of taking care of it. Eventually in my mid-twenties, after a long look inside (and at my spare tire,) I came to the realization that it was time for a change. The first thing I tried was lots of crunches (spot reduction) and to drastically reduce fat in my diet, because I was told that eating fat makes you fat. Seems sensible, right? So I would make “fat free” pizzas with fat free cheese, mushrooms, pizza sauce, and fat free pizza shells. I’d get on the floor twice a day and crunch until my midsection couldn’t take it anymore. This had to work! But the strangest thing happened. I ballooned! I was tipping the scales at 248 lbs. It was one thing when I was unhealthy because of partying and overindulging, but here I was putting the work in and failing miserably.
I ended up expressing my frustration to the guy who cut my hair (he was a bodybuilder who was huge AND cut), and he told me that I should hire him as my personal trainer. Looking at him, this sounded like the perfect fit for me. I dove in head first.
Holy hell, I have never been through such an extreme regiment and diet in my life. I would come in five days a week, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt (because he was convinced sweating more would help me lose more weight) and put in over an hour on weights and 40 minutes on the treadmill at a fast speed with high incline. My diet was very high protein and very low carbs. No fruit (because, you know, sugar). There were more demonized food groups than I could count. I pretty much ate grilled chicken, egg whites, canned tuna, & salads.
I dropped a lot of weight in a few months, but my body was a mess. I was falling apart. Zero energy. Couldn’t sleep. Always in pain. I still didn’t look good. I just looked “thin.” I didn’t do anything anymore other than go to work and gym because I had nothing left in the tank. Eventually, it got to the point where enough was enough and I had to stop. My body couldn’t handle it anymore. I parted ways with my trainer, and then fell back into old habits, and thus the yo-yo began. The two things that I did take from my time with him that would haunt me for many years to come was his dietary advice and the “more is more” approach.
Over the course of the next 10 years or so, I would continue working towards my fitness goals. I had periods where I would work and diet to very extreme levels. My body would shift and morph but never really in the way that I wanted it to. The pendulum would swing from skinny and unhealthy looking to overweight and back. I was stuck in that same mindset that I was taught. It’s funny how strong beliefs can be, and if you’re not mindful, they can override all logic and reason. I just knew sugar was bad. I just knew diet soda made you fat. Candy? Forget about it. I need kale. I need green juicing. No refined sugar. No preservatives. No… no… no… no… no…
I thought I was doing everything right, yet still I wasn’t seeing results. It must be me. I must be broken.
Enter Coach Louie.
I had come across Coach Louie’s page on Facebook about a year ago, and started following his posts. A lot of the nutritional advice he was posting was very counter intuitive to all I believed to be true. For me the two biggest eye openers (and ones that were hardest to accept at first) were:
- Food is food. There is no bad or good food.
- The poison is in the dose.
His approach seemed almost too simple. He was enjoying all this delicious food that I’ve been depriving myself of, yet still super healthy with a great physique. The things that seemed so unattainable to me for the past 15 years. At this point, I figured I had nothing to lose. And at the very least I could reintroduce Lucky Charms back into my life. For me that was all the motivation I needed.
I signed up for one-on-one coaching last April. He gave me a four day a week workout plan, and moderate macronutrient goals. I could fill them with anything that I liked. The only thing was that I needed to hit my macro goals +/- 3 grams. And if I overate one day, it’s no big deal. I would just write it off and start fresh the following day. No beating myself up. No punishment. No anything. Just move forward.
This was also a huge lesson. To stop internally criticizing myself. To stop focusing on the things I can’t control (how long it takes for my body to lose fat) while focusing on things I can control (the process.) To have patience. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Get in my workouts and adhere to my diet plan. Adherence plus time equals success. And when you’re not constantly analyzing and critiquing yourself in the mirror, the changes seem to happen a lot quicker than when you are. It’s almost shocking. “Whoa! How’d that happen?” I just adhere as best I can and live my life. A fitness plan should not be your life. It should fit into your life.
Within a few months, I could already tell a huge difference. I was enjoying eating again while getting fitter. That was the craziest part to me. That it didn’t have to have one or the other. I can have any delicious food that I want while building muscle or losing fat. And my workouts were challenging, but they were nothing compared to when I was killing myself back in the day. Four days a week lifting. No cardio.
A few months into my training with Coach Louie, my family came to visit. My sister told me she had never seen me so defined in my entire life. It was that quick. And it was easy. I still eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I love those. But I also have sour patch kids and peanut m&m’s. And guess what? It’s all good. I get a yearly physical, and my lab work is optimal for EVERYTHING. I feel great. I look great. I sleep great. I live great.
After all of this, I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the past year is to just trust the process and to love and accept myself for who I am. I’m not broken. I’m perfect. We all are. And if physical fitness is something we strive for (and I believe it should be.) Let’s do it in a sensible, attainable way. A way where you can love yourself regardless of your shape at any given moment. While still having goals, and moving towards them in a sustainable way.
I owe a lot of thanks to Coach Louie, and I couldn’t recommend him enough. Signing up for his coaching was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
We’ve see his chest grow, his shoulders grow, his arms grow, his waist slim down, his stomach slim down and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be getting in to his first physique show next year
The thing about Rob is he is just…like…you.
You can do all the things you want thinking it’s right or you can just do the right things and let it happen.
We can accomplish a lot together and I’m ready to bring you on my team.