Where I grew up, a majority of the people did not know what weight training was nor ever went to the gym to exercise. The cultural acceptance for men were tall and skinny. The stereotypical view of men who went to the gym was someone that had low self-esteem.
At age 17, I moved back to the United States from Taiwan. I was introduced to weight training for the very first time when I tried out for my school’s soccer team. I thought, “What does it mean to work out and what is lifting weights?” It was a huge culture shock. But despite the label “low self-esteem” being deeply engraved in my mind, I began lifting weights.
Sometime during college, I sustained a shoulder injury which stopped me from going to the gym for a while. By the time I graduated from college, I had become overweight. This motivated me to join a gym. However, I often found excuses not to go. During those wasteful years, I did not make any changes in my health nor my body.
Fast forward to late 2016 and my wife tells me, “If we want to have a third child, we need to get in shape first.” That’s when we made the decision to join Life Time in our community of Cinco Ranch. The choice was easy because we were so impressed by the facility, equipment, fitness classes and the motivating instructors. But what really excited us was the childcare they provide. It allowed us, as parents of two energetic boys, the few hours a day to ourselves that we so desperately needed. Our boys could burn off their extra energy and we got to exercise. It was perfect!
Over time, going to the gym became routine and for months I did not see any changes. Needing some motivation, I signed up for the Spring 2017 60Day with somewhat low expectations. But by the end, to my surprise, I lost 20 pounds! I was so spurred on by my results that I was able to continue pushing myself till late 2017.
Shortly after, my wife and I were pregnant with our third child and that became our new focus. But as she grew, so did I. Starting 2018 with extra weight, I worried knowing I had to keep up with a new baby and two toddlers. Then I saw the 60Day’s new slogan, “What’s your after?” and thought “I did not lose weight just to gain all of it back. Stop admiring people’s success stories and start writing your own story.” When I signed up this time around, I knew it would be much more challenging with our new born baby. At the same time, I had an accident that caused a Grade-2 sprain in my AC joint. I was told by the doctor to stay away from lifting weights for a month. Due to the circumstances, I decided to start attending the morning spin classes before work. I wasn’t going to let myself have any excuses.
The next thing I did was get my nutrition back on track. I adapted low carb and healthy fat into my meal planning. I bought a Sous Vide to help with meal prepping proteins. Later, I started intermittent fasting to push myself over the plateau. I slowly got back into weight training after a month hiatus. Because of the injury, I was more cautious with my form and mind to muscle connection. This significantly improved my performance.
There had been challenges along the way with sickness, work, crying baby, and waking up at 4 a.m. every day. But as I always say, “If there is a will, there is a way.” I learned to better prioritize my day. I had found new energy in the morning that lasted throughout my work days. By doing fasted cardio in the morning, I started to see changes that I had not seen before. Most importantly, with continued support and encouragement from my wife and kids, I kept pushing forward.
Life Time was not just a gym for me, it was family. Childcare Center employees knew our children by name and some even became our trusted baby sitters. Personal trainers, group fitness instructors, and fellow gym goers became our close friends. The positive energy shared during the training sections, group fitness classes, and outdoor cycling, had wiped away all the negatives I endured that day. I felt renewed and recharged coming out of the gym every day.
The past 60 days have transformed me not just physically but also mentally. To achieve my goal, I needed dedication and perseverance to overcome pain, fatigue, and self-doubt. These were not the traits of a low self-esteem person. Today, I am no longer trapped under the stereotype I was told growing up. I am excited to move forward with a positive outlook in life and in fitness.