In order to really grasp the work I’ve put in over the last 52 days, I’d like to take you back to August of 2009, when I was 145 pounds, whose life revolved around basketball. I was getting ready for my final game in the Assyrian Basketball league. I took a chance 10 minutes into the game and went for a steal against my opponent. As I completed my final steal, I tried to make a sharp turn toward the rim to score, and felt 2 extremely painful pops in my knee that forced me to collapse to the ground and scream in pain. I was immediately dazed, and my knee swelled up to a size of melon. That injury happened to be a full tear of the ACL, which forever changed my life as an athlete.
Four months after the injury, I was fresh out of a major surgery and was excited that I was moving towards getting back on the court to play. When going in for a checkup, my doctor gave me some devastating news. Although my ligament was ahead of schedule as far as healing, he had noticed some serious issues with my knees. Both knees, after doing an MRI, had completely disintegrated all the cartilage behind the knee caps, causing bone-on-bone friction. He told me that I would never be able to play basketball the same as before, and that every time I would decide to play, my knees were at risk for major injury and definite swelling. This was a heartbreaking experience for me. So, I let myself go as far as my body, and was I depressed for the next year. I began eating everything. I weighed 232 pounds, and had a waist size of 38. Prior to the injury I weighed 145 pounds and my waist size was 30.
Since 2010, I have worked hard to improve my physique every year and developed a passion for physique bodybuilding. After 3 years of hard work, I decided that I would try and step onstage to compete in a physique competition. I did one show in 2015 where I placed 2nd in my class, and another show in 2016, where I did not place in an extremely tough class of competitors.
This August I saw a sign on the front of Life Time Fitness, asking fellow members to join the Life Time 60 day challenge. I thought it would be a great opportunity. I started on August 23rd, 2016 and weighed 203 pounds, and body fat percentage of 16.1%. As of Wednesday, October 12th, I weighed in at 168.9 pounds and 2.9% body fat.
Working full time and training for this Challenge have not been easy. I work 40+ hours a week as a private client banker and coming to the gym in the morning and after work can be hard. The support from Life Time staff and members along with family and friends to stay motivated have been a crucial part of my success. My wife Linda has been incredibly patient, positive, and supportive throughout this process. We are expecting our first baby in March 2017.
The key components to successfully changing your life physically, are to start with a plan, be consistent in executing the plan, prioritize your goals, and push yourself past limits. For me, to do what I did in 52 days, I really pushed myself past my limits. I was at the gym at 5 am in the morning to do an hour of cardio, went straight to work for 8 to 10 hours a day, and then was back at the gym to do a full workout, and finish off with another hour of cardio. I kept a strict low-carb diet to make sure I would burn as much fat as possible in a short amount of time.
It also helps to have a great support system. It takes a great deal of sacrifice to get through and achieve great physique. My family and friends can attest to that, because they did not see me as much. Also a membership at Life Time Fitness really makes the process so much easier. I have been a member at Life Time Fitness since 2004, and would never think of leaving a gym so dedicated to its clients. Walking into Life Time is like walking into home. The front desk employees are welcoming and know your name. The support from the trainers and employees is amazing. In the morning, when I am about to fall off the stairmaster, Chase Hauschildt, a trainer at Life Time Fitness in Old Orchard, comes over and pushes me to keep going and win this challenge. Evenings, when I am mentally and physically drained, Tony Olbeira, encourages me to keep going. The GM Edwin Hetman, every time I am there, he is there. He is constantly asking what he can do better for us. Life Time is like a family. They provide all the support, state-of-the-art machinery and time needed to be able to achieve success.
I have learned that what makes you great isn’t your age, status, priorities and physical health. It’s about how far you are willing to push your limits to achieve your goals. With the influence and support of Life Time I feel very strongly that fitness and nutrition are a key aspect of my life and overall well-being, both physically and mentally. “If you strive for perfection, the least you will do is be great.” Also, a $10,000 grand prize does help motivate me as well with all the diapers I’ll have to buy over the next few years for the new baby coming.