Don’t let your challenge become your excuse.
Bodybuilding has been a hobby of mine off and on for a number of years. I’m always amazed at what the human body can do and never thought I would take for granted the simpler tasks like walking or my favorite type of cardio, climbing the stairs on the Stair Master. To start the 60 Day Challenge, I was at 14% body fat and 208lbs. I was nearing the end of a bulking season and was ready to push my body farther than I had in the past, and win the 60 Day Challenge. I would soon encounter a discouraging setback and find out how much I was truly taking for granted. On January 24th, just a few weeks before weigh in, I suffered a complete tear of my ACL in my right knee from a non-workout accident. My goal of winning the employee transformation challenge seemed more out of reach.
Before tearing the ACL, I had a measurable goal in mind of 3-5% body fat. After some deliberation, I chose to wait on surgery and still try to win. I continued my upper body workouts for three to four weeks before even being able to handle riding a stationary bike. The pain and lack of mobility was very discouraging, but while I was training my clients, I kept hearing the Experience Life interview with Anthony Robles. He said something that has stuck with me. “We all face challenges in our lives, but you should never let a challenge become an excuse.” It’s something his mom told him over and over. You see, Anthony’s challenge was being born with one leg. Through hard work and dedication, he became the NCAA champion in wrestling for Arizona State. It was a great reminder for me to be thankful for what I do have and an encouragement for me to make the most of what I’ve been given. I was really pleased to see that ideal take hold on other parts of my life as well. Challenges are present in everyone’s life, some very visible and some invisible to others. Choose to not let your challenge become your excuse for failure.
I have had a number of Life Time team members play a huge role in my success through this journey. The knowledge I’ve been able to glean from working alongside the most intelligent trainer I’ve ever met, Shifaqat Ali, has been invaluable. Clay Johnson, our athletic trainer, always took time to make sure my shoulder was ready to go for my workouts. I even received help on multiple occasions from an operations team member, Nathan, who would allow me in at 3:30AM when he opened so I could work out before my 4:30AM or 5AM clients. Lastly, success is difficult to guarantee without solid nutrition. I received help from one of Life Time’s Registered Dietitians that has since moved on. With Life Time’s education materials on gut health, and this RD’s help, I was able to eliminate years of severe gastrointestinal issues I could never solve on my own.
Every single time I want to drop my body fat, I always start with Life Time’s D.TOX program. My main nutrition philosophy for myself is to stick with the approved food list from the Life Time D.TOX program, and avoid the temptation to drop the carbs through the floor. My body has always responded better to the carbs being a tad higher. I also make sure the body has enough protein as well as good quality fats. When it comes down to it, once you “know” what to do, the work becomes planning, prepping, and executing. I always tell my clients planning is the where it’s at. Because I know I can trust the quality of Life Time’s supplements, I also utilized many of the other supplements besides the D.TOX. My main protein supplement I use is Life Time’s VeganMax. Throughout the challenge I also used Lifetime’s glutamine, fish oil, BCAAs, and the Performance Multivitamin.
The strength program I followed (for upper body only) was a power hypertrophy adaptive program. Lower body was strictly rehab type exercise, until the final week of the challenge. When I was eventually able to perform some cardio, I rode the stationary bike because my knee wasn’t stable enough for much else. When the challenge was over, I had only been able to get 3 weeks of cardio in, and again, I was determined to not let that be an excuse. I consistently completed three to five cardio sessions a week, with most being zone 1 and 2 for 30 to 60 minutes each time. I was able to sprinkle in a few higher intensity cardio sessions of 20 to 30 minutes as my knee could handle it.
After the rocky start, I was able to find the consistency that is needed to achieve results. 60 days later, I am now 3% body fat and 182 pounds. I plan to maintain the nutrition habits that I have been able to fine tune thanks to Life Time. I also plan to continue to rehab my knee pre-surgery to prepare for an easier recovery afterwards.