“Daddy, read us a story,” said my three-year-old twin boys. Unfortunately, when they came over to sit on Daddy’s lap, we realized that there was no longer enough room for them to sit. I started to think about how many of my fondest memories of growing up are playing sports with my father and how I want to make these types of memories possible for my little guys. Additionally, my wife is pregnant with another boy, due in November. After struggling to rise from the floor after reading their book, I realized that it was time for a change.
While I was interested in entering the 60-Day Challenge, I had some initial reservations that needed to be overcome. Since I have been training extensively for competitive powerlifting, I needed to plan for the 60-Day Challenge in such a manner that it would not negatively impact all of the work I have been putting into preparing me to enter powerlifting competitions next year. As it was very important for me not to sacrifice strength and muscle mass for the sake of winning the 60-Day Challenge, I enlisted my trainer (who is also a Registered Dietitian) to assist me in nutritional planning for the challenge. Losing over 100 pounds in 60 days is an extraordinary challenge in its own right, but I quickly found that trying to maintain a substantial amount of muscle mass while doing so compounded that difficulty exponentially. As an added incentive, the General Manager of my local club offered to get larger dumbbells if I were able to win the 60 Day Challenge! My trainer, Mike Reish, and I sat down and discussed a nutritional plan that would still afford me sufficient protein (approximately 200–250 grams per day) and overall caloric intake (beginning at 3,000 to 3,500 calories a day) to fuel my workouts. However, this would mean that I would need to ramp up my cardio training significantly… Now, I am not sure if you will believe this, but I have never been a huge fan of cardio. It has been well documented that I consider any weightlifting set of greater than six repetitions to be a cardio workout. You can therefore imagine how that first day back on the treadmill was somewhat jarring.
As though having twin three-year-olds and a pregnant wife were not challenging enough, we moved homes in the middle of the 60-Day Challenge. Since my wife was unable to carry anything due to her pregnancy, I had to do the majority of loading and unloading two 16-foot storage containers by myself. Moving the 2,000 lbs. of plates in my home gym up and down two flights of stairs to the new place was quite the unscheduled workout!
Little by little, I could begin to see the progress. Power workouts made way for 10 to 15 repetition supersets. Post-lift, high-intensity interval training cardio sessions became the norm. When I started the competition, I was struggling to walk for a sustained period at 3.5 mph; by the end of the competition I was regularly running at 6.5 mph. I used to joke with the training staff in Florham Park that I was the only person in the gym who was capable of doing “weighted assisted pull-ups,” because when I did assisted pull-ups, it was as though a “normal-sized Brian” would require strapping additional plates to him to get the same effect. This theory was proven true last week, when (for the first time in over 15 years) I was able to strap 50 lbs. around my waist to do five sets of dips! Additionally, my flexibility has improved significantly, allowing me to better perform my powerlifting movements and provide me the opportunity to reincorporate the Olympic lifts back into my routine.
I cannot begin to thank Mike and the Personal Training staff in Florham Park, NJ for all of their help and encouragement throughout this process. Be it assistance in voodoo flossing, discussion of technique and training methodology or just emotional support, they have gone above and beyond any reasonable expectations in assisting me through my journey.
When I came home from my weigh-out on Saturday, I sat down with both of my boys to read one of their favorite books. With both of them sitting on my lap contentedly, I realized that regardless of the outcome of the competition, I have already won.