If you’re serious about fitness, you probably have a few memorable milestones that helped you get to where you are today. I’m no different. There are five memories that stood out that had the biggest impact on my fitness journey. Here they are in the order they happened…
1. My Belly On The Bike Photo
This was the one that really got me serious about exercise. My wife was showing my sister-n-law some pictures from a photo album, when I hear my sister-n-law say, “Look at Chuck with the belly.” Yeah, I’m Chuck, the 5and2Guy. I hurried over to look at the picture and it was me, bare-chested, and gut hanging while sitting on a bike. I was embarrassed and saw that a change needed to be made. I weighed about 220 lbs at that point in my life.
2. Became Curious About Protein
After the “belly on the bike” incident, I decided to continue to eat what I wanted, but I would exercise 3x times week. My thoughts were that since I was in my early 20’s, my exercise would help me trim up quickly and buy me the calories I needed to eat what I want. And that worked out pretty good. I was stronger and a little trimmer. I wasn’t really slim, but the gut was definitely smaller.
After about a year of this and seeing some success, I thought to myself, “I wonder what would happen if I really tried to eat foods with lots of protein in them.” I learned that protein would help build muscle, so I decided I would still eat as much as I wanted, but my curiosity about protein made me start thinking about the foods I was eating and the value of the protein in them. I started drinking protein shakes and eating protein bars.
After about a year, I could really see a difference in the muscle growth. No, I still wasn’t real thin and trim, but I was what people would call, “thick.” My muscles were full and even my wife mentioned to me that she didn’t want me to get “too big.” At this point, I weighed about 225 lbs and was feeling strong and confident. I was more in shape and attributed the extra 5 lbs to muscle growth.
3. The Injury
Fast forward about 8 years and I’m still eating what I want, with a focus on protein, and exercising 3x a week. The guys at work wanted to put a team in the recreational indoor soccer league. I decided I would play. Well, first game I tore my achilles tendon. It was honestly one of the worst injuries I’ve ever experienced. It took about 8 months to recover from that one. I couldn’t work out and didn’t care as much about my diet. After 8 months of this, my weight hit an all time high of 242 lbs. Being 6’1, this is not where I wanted to be. I stepped on the Nintendo Wii and created a character at that weight and it showed a fat bald character on screen. Not a good moment. BACK TO THE GYM!!!
4. The Krispy Kreme Diet
I got back into exercise and starting looking into dieting. What kinds of diets were best for building muscle and losing fat? I did the 3 meals a day and small snack at night diet. I also did the 6 smaller meals a day, with a heavy focus on protein. Before I knew it, I was down to about 230 lbs. Then, my business partner at the time, who was also big into fitness, suggested a Carb Backloading diet. This is where you avoid foods with carbohydrates all day, but then load up on any carbs you want in the evening before bed. I agreed to this diet and decided my chosen carbohydrate would be Krispy Kreme’s Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts. I would eat 4 doughnuts every night before bed. I stayed on this diet for a month and lost about 12 lbs, putting me down to about 218 lbs.
I really lost 12 lbs in a month eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts before bed. I still love them to this day, but obviously couldn’t stick to a diet like this, even though I tried. I discovered that I was stuck at 218 lbs for the next month trying to stick on the Krispy Kreme Diet but not getting anywhere. I kept changing my diets up, continuing to make progress when I hit my next big memory milestone…
5. Understanding Systems
I realized that diet and exercise, like many things in life, needs to be a system. There needs to be a planned approach to how I exercise and eat that not only works, but one I can live with. I tried diets like The 28-Day Challenge where you give up pretty much everything that is good in life for 28 days but not really sustainable. I realized that I have to have a system by which I consistently eat and exercise so that I can maintain my fitness and hit my fitness goals without having to really to think about it. I don’t consider myself someone who “diets.” I do, however, eat a specific diet that works for me and that I love. My fitness system hat gotten me to a pretty lean 217 lbs with quite a strong looking physique. And understanding that fitness and health is a system helps me maintain that.
Anyone who is serious about exercise and has reached multiple fitness goals is bound to have some memorable moments that helped them get to where they are. There’s always that one moment that was the last straw and resulted in them taking fitness more seriously and taken it on as a lifestyle. If you haven’t had that moment yet, that’s okay. Keep looking for it. Because if you know you aren’t healthy, but don’t have your “why” yet, then I hope you find it sooner rather than later. Don’t let something really bad happen to you before you make the commitment to live a healthier life. Get started on your fitness journey and start making memories!!!