June 2008 I made a decision that would completely change the direction of my life. I had just moved to a and decided to go to the gym down the street and find out about membership. I signed up and they asked about doing a 90 day personal training contract. I had been saving up money for 3 months so I figured, "Why Not?". On June 6th 2008 I met my Personal trainer Ray Schuler at Fitness 2000 in Watauga, TX. He did a physical assessment, weighed me, and took measurement. Sadly I do not have my body fat or tape measurements from that day but I remember I was 246 lbs and I am 5 ft 6 in tall. He gave me some basic nutrition advice and gave me an 1800 calorie a day limit and a goal weight of 190 pounds. He took me on the gym floor and we stretch and did a 30 minute circuit training of weight lifting. He told me to do a 10-15 min cardio warm up and stretch before our next session. I met with him every Wednesday for two months and then I got reassigned to another personal trainer. She has lost alot of weight and approached thing from an "I understand" perspective. We worked out a few weeks but I got called out to East Texas and Houston to do Storm recovery for Hurricane Ike for 2 weeks.
When I got back my new trainer had broken her foot and cancelled all her appointments. Around this time I gave up meat (except fish and eggs) and in October I stopped going to the gym for the whole month because I felt like I needed an accountability partner. I got depressed and hit rock bottom around Halloween. A came home one day a got in an argument with my roommate. I got mad and left and started driving in my car aimlessly. I passed my gym and thought, "That is where I need to be." I went home and changed and headed to the gym. When I got there I ran into my original personal trainer. We talked for a while and I decided to sign up or a 6 months personal training contract bu this time I paid month to month instead of in full up front (November 2008 to May 2009). The next week we did another assesment and I weighed 233 pounds with 33% body fat. He started pushing he alot harder and I learned about Burpees and Mountain Climbers. Our second session I almost threw up. Every Wednesday I would say, "I am going to the gym to get my ass kicked." When January came around I set a goal to lose 1 pound a week for all of 2009. I weighed 227 so I wanted to be 175 by the end of December.
In March I met a cute girl when I helped a friend move into an new place. I had recently decided to move back to Denton, TX and was looking to buy a house. Every weekend I came up to Denton house shopping and I stayed at my friends house. The next month I worked up the courage to ask out that cute girl (something I would have not have done in the past) and we hit it off right away and started dating. In May '09 my sister went to Grand Cayman Island on Memorial Day Weekend and I weighed 205. I started to feel comfortable at that weight . The next week Ellen (the girl I was dating) moved 330 miles away. I was determined to make it work and she said she would be back in Denton the next semester coming up in January. On my one year anniversary of working out I am almost 200 lbs.
In July I finally found a house I liked and starting working on closing. The week I moved I reached 199 pounds. Everything was feeling great. I had my own place, I was in better shape, and I had a wonder girlfriend. We spent alot of time together of the summer and I bought plane tickets to visit in September. I was still working out in Watauga once a week with my trainer but when I bought the house I filed my one month notice to cancel our contract. Due to some vacation I had enough session left to last till the first week of September. On our last session together I hit my goal he set for me of 190 pounds.
An LA Fitness opened a quarter mile from my house so I joined to keep up my routine. It took me a while to get used to a huge "big box" gym. Even though I was at a goal weight I felt like a deflated fat guy. I started searching online for workout routine and goal pictures. A came across the workout routine that Brad Pitt did to get in shape for the movie Fight Club. I did that for 2 months but I wanted something more. I October joined bodyspace on bodybuilding.com and came across an artricle about the "Body-for-Life Challenge." I liked the website and asked Ellen and another friend if they wanted to do a 12 week challenge with me starting the week before Christmas. A week before we started my friend backed out and decided to
train for a Half Marathon instead. We started our challenge on December 14th 2009 and I weighed about 182 with 20% body fat. At the end of the year I had lost 53 pounds exceeding my pound a week goal by 1 pound.
We finished our Challenge on March 4th 2010 and I lost 10 pounds weighing 172 pounds and 14% bodyfat. After 16 months of working out hard 4-6 days a week I hit a wall. My eating suffered and I stopped doing any cardio. I attemped to start another challenge but gave up after 8-9 sloppy weeks.
When summer came around we went on 3 road trips in a 5 week period. I took Ellen to New Orleans on Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in a nice older hotel on the French Quarter. On May 26th 2010 I took Ellen to Jackson Square. I setup my tripod with a timer to take our picture together in front of St. Louis Cathedral. As soon as I set the timer I dropped to one knee and proposed. Ellen started giggling hysterically and we went to sit in the shade. She was so excited. I reminded her she had not answered me yet and not that she calmed down she said yes. Our next road trip was to Ellen's family cabin in Colorado. We spend a whole week in the mountains isolated from cell phone service and electricity. A week after we got back we drove to South Padre Island, TX for my family reunion. By this time I had gained back 11 pounds and did not have the "beach body" I had hoped to have by then. When we got back home I decided start another BFL challenge. The challenge lasted from mid July to October. My eating was not very good but I put on some muscle mass. I decided to sign up for a 5k to celebrate the end of my second challenge. I end up signing up for two 5k becuase after the initial once I registered for I found one at a local brewery that was a 5k and Oktoberfest. I decided I needed new running shoes and ran outside for the first time on Labor Day weekend just 2 week before the 5k. I ran my first 5k in 30:58 in the pouring rain. It was a ton of fun. I kept running outside 3-4 miles at a time and I finished my second 5k a month later in 29:39 and afterward my friend who back out of the first BFL challenge told me my old High School's band was putting on a 10k in December as a fundraiser. I found a training program online and started training for a 10k.
I ended up being out of town the weekend of the 10k so I found one that was 3 week later. I ran my first 10k in January 2011 in 62:14. I had been eating alot and using my running to justify it and I was back up to 190 pounds. I borrowed a copy of P90X and did it for a week but I decided I liked going to the gym better than working out at home. I cleaned up my diet and started my 3rd BFL challenge in February and I dropped down to the mid 170 pretty quickly by the time my challenge ended. I ran my third 5k in mid April in (week 10 of the challenge) in 27:37. In May wedding planning stress was getting to me pretty bad. My blood pressure was super high and I packed on 8 pounds. The first weekend In June I was signed up for my 2nd 10k. It was a nighttime race and the temp was 98 degress. I was unable to finish and gave up after 5k. The next week I felt robbed so I ran a solo 10k thru town in 62:15 just 1 second slower than the one I ran in January but 50 degrees warmer. I stopped running for the rest of June and focused on out wedding. Around this time I decided to look into the Paleo Diet. I did a really crappy version of it before the wedding.
After our Honeymoon I struggled for a week to motivate myself to workout or eat right after a whole month off. Wanting to completely change my focus and my diet I bought 2 books on the Paleo Diet and decided I wanted to run a Half Marathon. I used the rest of July to educate myself and I picked a Half Marathon the first weekend of November. I started my 12 week training program on August 7th and started eating Paleo. I gave up alcohol for 7 weeks and coffee for over 40 days. I was running 4 days a week and lifting weights twice a week with the occasional rollerblading or cycling. I shaved my head and grew a power mustache to physically show my new motivation. By September/October I was back in peak shape again and weighing 172 pounds. I ran my very first Half Marathon on November 5 2011 in 2:01:50 beating my goal time by 13 minutes. The next three week I had to take off running to recover. My Uncle Jack passed away and I started emotionally binge eating. I felt out of control and started planning my next big challenge, training for a full Marathon.
The week before thanksgiving I started running again and took 5 weeks to get back to where I left off. At first I was determined to run the Cowtown Marathon that was just 3 months away but then I changed my mind and decided to train a full 18 week program. I picked the Big D Marathon that was on April 15th, 2012 and started my training program December 19th. The training program called for Half Marathon at the end of week 9. I decided to ran one at the end of week 8 and the end of week 11. My weight dropped fast when I got back on the Paleo Diet. I ran the Galveston Mardi Gras Half on February 5th in 1:58:04 and I felt amazing. Galveston is very flat so it was a fast course. Two weeks later during a planned 18 mile training run my right knee started hurting and I cut it short to 16.5 miles. The Cowtown Half was a week away and by Wednesday I could not even slowly jog a quarter mile. I got a foam roller and I iced my knee every night and replaced my runs with swimming the rest of the week. On race day I decided to just run until it hurt and then walk the rest. I really wanted a finishers shirt. I started the race with my friend Rachel and I kept up with her for 6 miles and when I started running on a brick road it started hurting so I finished mile 7 and wished her good luck. I ended up going back and forth between sprinting and power walking and finished in 2:15:48.
I took off the next three weeks from running and set my sights on doing a Tough Mudder 12 mile obstacle course at the end of March. After my three week break I found out a high school friend of mine was running the Big D Half Marathon so I starting training with him on Sundays. I ran 3 days a week instead of 4 and added in an obstacle course workout. I did the Tough Mudder on March 31st with my Father-In-Law and his 62 year old Doctor friend. We just had fun and it was tough. It took us over 4 hours and I skipped 2 obstacles that my 5 foot 6 statue made an extra challenge. Two weeks later I ran the Big D Half Marathon. It started raining halfway thru and I finished in 2:02:56 bringing to an end my 9 months of endurance running.
The following day Ellen and I started a 4 week Primal Challenge following the book from www.marksdailyapple.com and I started running in a pair of Vibram Fivefingers minimalist toe-shoes. Over the past 7 weeks I have work my was up from 0.25mi to 4.25mi adding a quarter mile each time. At the end of the Primal challenge I weighed 166 pounds and currently weight 168-170.
It has been a great 4 years and I have no plans to slow down. I am willing to set bigger goals and try new things. For the next 8-9 weeks I plan to continue increasing my mileage 0.25 miles at a time and do my best to stick to a Paleo/Primal Diet. After a week long vacation in Colorado at the end of June I am going to start another 18 week Marathon Training Program with my sights set on the Dallas (White Rock) Marathon in December with the Cowtown Marathon in February as my backup plan.
The pictures below were taken in June 2008 and May 2012.