All my life, I’ve been the chubby kid, the unathletic guy trying to find where he fits in. Even when I played soccer as a kid and was running around 5-6 days a week, I still was the ‘fat kid’ that got bullied at school. I’ve always had trouble with emotional eating, late night food binges, and poor follow-through with both diet and exercise.
Before I started my weight loss journey with Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating program, I had been trying to lose weight for the previous two years. I was yo-yo’ing around 260lbs, sometimes dropping 10-15 lbs below that, but then gaining it back. I was doing drastic, all-at-once changes that were helping me lose some weight immediately, but they weren’t changes that I could really live with long-term (as evidenced by my constantly fluctuating weight). The absolute worst part was, I KNEW that what I was doing wasn’t working and WHY it wasn’t working, but I didn’t have the “baby steps” laid out, nor did I have the peer accountability that to help keep my on track.
In May of 2012, my wife and I discussed getting me into the Lean Eating program. I pushed back on it, giving excuses like, “it’s too much money,” and “I probably won’t make it anyway,” but she told me that if I want to change, I need something like this. Half reluctant, half excited, I put my name on the presale notification list, and signed up when the notice came through.
I knew that LE was different immediately: I wasn’t told to stop eating everything and I didn’t have to start counting calories or points. All I had to do for the first two weeks was take a multi-vitamin and fish oil. Every two weeks, I’d get a new habit to add to my developing healthy lifestyle. These simple, two-week habits are seriously what got me from being 265lbs (the weight I was when I signed up) down to 189lbs (my weight for the final photoshoot).
It was amazing, watching the numbers drop on the scale, the measurement tape, and in the skinfold tests. The monthly progress photos were amazing, too, but I didn’t really see the changes. I saw myself getting smaller, but my persistent body image issues made it so all I saw was the same “fat kid” I’d always been. I didn’t truly start my mental and emotional transformation until I began participating in more strenuous activities, like CrossFit and training for the GORUCK Challenge.
From the beginning of the program, I had been doing all my Lean Eating workouts at CrossFit Hillsboro, where I had the freedom and flexibility to come in on my own time and exercise according to my own program. This ability to work outside the lines ignited a passion for exercise I’d never experienced before. As I progressed through the Lean Eating program, I was privileged to be asked by my coach, Colte, to beta test some materials for the next version of the Lean Eating program. As I became more familiar with different methods of programming, I started writing my own workouts that incorporated exercises and methodologies from CrossFit, Rob Shaul’s Military Athlete, other functional training programs.
The Lean Eating program got me into fitness, and the more I did in and out of the gym, the more I talked to people about fitness and wanted to be able to pay it forward by helping others who are in the same position I was in before. I decided to get my personal training certification, changing careers from a computer programmer to a personal trainer. I received my ACE Certified Personal Trainer certification in May 2013, and am now a personal trainer at Hawthorn Farm Athletic Club.
For my own fitness, I have new athletic goals: CrossFit, adventure racing, and GORUCK. I competed in my first CrossFit competition on April 27, 2013, and my second on June 1, 2013, just days before my Lean Eating end-of-program photo shoot. While I don’t know if I’ll ever be a true CrossFit competitor, I do know that the CrossFit community is fantastic and supportive, and I greatly enjoy being a part of it.
I completed my first GORUCK Challenge on May 11, 2013. Starting at 1 AM, myself and 14 other men spent 10+ hours with roughly 45 lbs. on our backs, moving with purpose through downtown Portland. We bear crawled through sprinklers, low crawled through fountains, flutter kicked in the Willamette River, and carried logs, rocks, and each other. GORUCK teaches you about teamwork, leadership, and how to find your limit, then move past it.
In summary, out of all the guys in my Lean Eating cohort I may not have lost the most weight or ended the leanest, but that’s not what is important to me anymore. I’m proud of myself for having stuck it out through my GORUCK Challenge, even when I wanted to quit; for not just competing but doing well in my CrossFit competitions; for making the changes I have over the past year in the Lean Eating program. I definitely could not have done everything I have without the lessons I learned from the Lean Eating program, and without the support of my wife, coach Colte, our cohort’s mentors, and all the friends and family who cheered me on during my weight loss and my training for CrossFit and GORUCK.