Meet Mike, a crazy good artist and all around heck of a guy.
About a year ago Mike was working out consistently and training hard but unhappy with the results he was getting. He reached out to me for some guidance and after a few months of working together Mike has lost over 50 pounds, body fat, and some serious inches around his waist.
Mike was gracious enough to how he finally solved his fitness puzzle. Let’s find out just how he did it.
We are only given one body, and it’s important to treat it well. – Mike
Justin: Before your transformation how would you describe your “old self.” (Think fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle habits as well as mindset).
Mike: In one word, naive. I thought I was ‘healthy’, and had a good foundation of what would help me reach my fitness goals, but in actuality, I wasn’t truly committed. I had a routine I would follow at the gym, which revolved around body part training, and it got me some results, but I was never satisfied. Nutrition was probably my biggest challenge, because I was under the impression that I was eating clean, but I wasn’t. I’d snack, and indulge or reward myself with treats, which was undermining all my hard work in the gym.
Justin: Why do you feel you never really committed? What was it that was holding you back?
Mike: Initially, when I started working out, my extracurricular activities on the weekends generally involved drinking, staying up late, and going out to eat in excess. While I don’t regret these experiences at all, they were counterproductive to my goals, and I wasn’t ready to cut back or dial them in just yet. As I began to ‘mature’ (and I use that term loosely), I began to reassess my priorities, and to make a more serious or concentrated effort to achieve my personal fitness goals. In addition to my personal barriers, it became abundantly clear that my nutritional expertise was severely lacking. I did some research, and tried different approaches (cutting out fat/carbs, consuming obscene amounts of protein, questionable supplements, etc.), but the information was conflicting at best, as were the results.
Justin: What was your “Ah-Ha” moment. Something that really motivated you to start this journey?
Mike: I think for me, my moment occurred after my last gym related injury. I realized at that point, I needed direction because I felt like I was chasing my tail. My routine, and injuries, were becoming a cyclic pattern that I wasn’t happy with. I couldn’t reach any of the fitness goals I wanted, and was getting very frustrated with my progress. I decided at this point I needed to find someone who could help me meet my goals, with the guidance, and expertise that I was lacking.
Justin: What had you tried in the past to get healthier/fitter? What worked, what didn’t, and why do you think this was?
Mike: I was always very skinny so my goal was to gain some muscle. I followed a routine that was very reminiscent of a bodybuilding program, and met with some mild success. I was seeing gains, but lacking the definition or leanness I wanted. I would continue to push myself, and it would constantly lead to injury. I also tried dabbling with some supplements, but got tired of spending so much money for so little results. I think my lack of knowledge, and nutritional habits were sabotaging my outcome.
Justin: What has been the hardest change for you to make and why?
Mike: The hardest adjustment for me has been with nutrition. I thought I was eating ‘healthy’, and it wasn’t until after I made the nutritional changes that I started to see results. The more dialed in I got it, the better my results started coming. It was a definite game changer for me.
Justin: What has been the most important change you’ve made and why?
Mike: I think nutrition has been the greatest influence in helping meet my goals. Taking a more basic approach to how I eat, and what I eat has been very influential, more than I ever thought possible.
Justin: What specifically changed with your “diet.” that was different from the past.
Mike: The habits I practiced in the Limitless Body Coaching Program built upon each other, and each one made it easier to make adjustments in the way I approached eating. For instance I used to always use creamer, in my coffee. I eliminated it, and many other hidden liquid calories. I also practiced some food logging/tracking, which revealed in a more tangible way, what I was consuming, and when. This information was very helpful in seeing what I could change or address nutritionally. Also, keeping meals simple, and easy to prepare was also very helpful.
Justin: What specifically changed with your workouts that was different from the past.
Mike: While I know nutrition was a key reason, the workouts I started to do were drastically different from anything I had done before. There was a lot of circuit and interval training, some of which I was familiar with, but hadn’t really practiced effectively. I think keeping up my momentum, and heart rate really helped in tandem with nutrition to produce results.
Justin: Were you “ perfect with your nutrition and training? If not, how did you get over the perfectionism trap that a lot of people fall into.
Mike: I was definitely not perfect with my nutrition. I had a lot of food guilt when I would fall off the wagon, but as things progressed they weren’t as frequent. My work environment was definitely a struggle, but the better I was with my nutrition, the less I could indulge (it would just make me sick). As for training, I think I did really well here. I challenged myself as much as I could, and pushed myself pretty hard. I also allowed myself an off day once a week, to either do a leisurely activity (massage, movie, dinner, etc.), or have an indulgence that wasn’t beyond reason to reward myself for my hard work.
Justin: Besides your physical appearance what else has changed about you?
Mike: 2016 was an interesting year for me, and has really made me sit back and take in the importance of good health, how that needs to be maintained and prioritized, and just how fleeting that can be. It may sound cliche, but we are only given one body, and it’s important to treat it well. I also think that with the physical change, there has been some positive mental influence as well, be it a boost in self-esteem, confidence, or just some harder to define introspective development.
Justin: What excuses did you have to overcome and how did you overcome them?
Mike: I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator by any means (I’m usually very proactive), but time was definitely an issue, as was making my health a priority. I made time to go to the gym, and be mindful of what I was consuming, but I was anxious about what to do, or how to take things to the next level. I was frustrated, and finally made the call to contact a professional, who could hopefully offer me guidance. I made the decision rather impulsively, because I finally started to think that I was never going to have the time, unless I made the time.
Justin: What do you feel has been the most important part of your transformation?
Mike: While there has been a focus on nutrition, and physical activity, the mental focus has been an interesting element. Taking the time to make the connections to what I eat, when I eat, why I’m eating something, and all the influences involved be they environmental, or psychological. It’s definitely introspective, more so than most people are willing to honestly explore, but it really does play a grand role in being successful. It’s an intriguing journey that leads you to really discover what makes you tick as a person.
Justin: If you could leave the readers with 1 big tip or a simple piece of advice as they start their fitness journey what would it be?
Mike: Have a good support structure of some kind, be it a friend or professional who shares your goals for a healthier lifestyle who can be a motivating factor for you.
OK… NOW THE REAL IMPORTANT STUFF
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
“Imagination is more important than knowledge…” -Albert Einstein
Guilty Pleasure (mine is romantic comedies and cheesy pop music)
Video Games… Zelda!
One big thing on your “bucket list”
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM MIKE
I want to thank Mike for sharing his story with us. I hope you found it helpful. To wrap this bad boy up let’s get into some big takeaways from Mike.
MIKE ACCEPTED THE TRADEOFFS
Mike doesn’t regret staying out late drinking a few beers on the weekends or indulging in some really great food but he understood that making his health a priority meant reducing those experiences. He didn’t have to completely give them up but he did have to make improvements.
This is essentially what life is all about. Accepting tradeoffs. When you say yes to one thing it usually means you’re saying no to another.
Yes to working out 3 days per week and eating healthy meals and no staying out super late and drinking a bunch of beers. Does this mean you can never do these things again? Absolutely not but for the time being these are the tradeoffs.
MIKE SIMPLIFIED HIS APPROACH AND KEPT THINGS SIMPLE
Instead of trying to stick to a rigid and restrictive meal plan Mike improved his nutrition by focusing on one small change at a time. His first goal was to remove caloric beverages from his diet and be more aware of hidden calories he was adding to them like creamer and sugar in his coffee.
With his training Mike followed a program but set a goal of being active six days per week. If he wasn’t able to do one of his scheduled workouts he made sure he was active in some other way.
MIKE TREATED HIMSELF
In the past Mike had been really hard on himself for not being able to stick to his diet or stay consistent with his training. To combat this Mike started practicing weekly self compassion by treating himself to a day off once per week. He would make sure to include a massage, a day off from training, and even a “free meal” each week as a way to reset himself physically and psychologically.
MIKE CREATED TIME INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FIND IT
Mike was busy working full-time and working on his art on the side but he didn’t use this as an excuse. Instead, Mike understood that if his health was to become a priority he was going to have to create time for it. He made small adjustments to his schedule, delegated, deferred, and deleted tasks so that he could get to the gym and prepare healthy meals each week.
MIKE HAD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
There are many ways to build a support system from family, to friends, to co-workers, to online communities. Mike decided that he was going to use a coach as his support system. This helped him stay accountable, gave him support, and a mentor to learn from. He was able to get his questions answered and was constantly getting feedback about what was working and not working for him.
Thanks again Mike!
PS: Are you looking to get results like Mike? Limitless Body Coaching is now open for enrollment. If you’re interested in building a body you’re proud of without the gym taking over your life than check it out.
Photo credit – Alex Wigan