2015 Fall Transformation Challenge Runner-Up
*Results not typical
The Motivation or “Too Fat for a Bouncy House”
“Dad, you gotta come in the Bouncy House with us!,” pleaded my oldest (7yo) son. It was my youngest son’s first birthday, and we had rented a Bouncy House for the party. I was approaching 250 lb. for the first time in my life, and the inflatable castle bore a 210-lb. weight restriction. Kevin, the rental guy, assured me I’d be fine, but there was no way I could take that gamble. I could go on to lead a distinguished career curing cancer and discovering intelligent life on Mars, BUT if I collapsed a Bouncy House from the sheer enormity of my size, I would FOREVER be known for that and that alone… “I’m sorry, Ryder, it’s really just for kids.” It was pretty hard not to sense his disappointment, and with my recent weight gain it had become a pretty common scene. Anything with a moderate amount of physical exertion had become a Herculean task. Trip to the zoo? How about a movie instead… Walk to the park? How about we play on the Xbox?… I had become an excuse aficionado, but for some reason I had finally had enough. I was about to turn 35 and I had 3 boys under the age of 8. I needed to get healthy for them, so they can have the dad they deserve.
The Beginning or “Jumping into the Deep End of the Pool”
I decided to ”Rip Off the Band-Aid” and began by eliminating as much garbage from my diet as possible. No more soda and alcohol; now the only beverage I would drink is water, and plenty of it. Trips to the drive-thru were gone too. For the first month I decided I would eat until I was full, but only if I was eating healthy, useful foods. I focused on lean protein, healthy fats, and unprocessed carbohydrates. I did moderate cardio to get myself back into the swing of things before I introduced weight training to my process. I started with 45 to 60 min of cardio every evening, alternating between the treadmill, the stationary bike, and the elliptical.
The Middle or “There’s No Turning Back Now”
By the second month, I had begun to notice some changes and gain a little bit of my self-confidence back. I was doing an hour of cardio daily without issue, and began to incorporate a weight training routine as well. My daily 60 min of cardio was followed by 60 min of weight training. I did a 3-day rotation, cycling Back & Biceps, Chest & Triceps, and Shoulders & Legs. My daily hour committed to the “New Me” had now become 2 hours per day, and I didn’t mind it at all! I was really starting to feel committed to the Challenge and the lifestyle change that was evolving. I had further refined my diet, limiting proteins to egg whites, chicken breasts, and fish. My carbs only came from green vegetables like sautéed spinach and steamed broccoli.
The Burnout or “How Did I Ever Think This Was a Good Idea??”
By Week 8, I was feeling great. My weight was down, my energy was up, and I felt like a reenergized version of myself… and then by Week 9, I was miserable. I had completely burnt out. Almost overnight, I felt emotionally spent. I didn’t think I was making any more gains, and just felt as if this was all for nothing. A week earlier I was looking forward to the next day’s workout, and now I was thinking about throwing in the towel for the first time. Then I talked to Steve and John, 2 of the trainers at my Life Time. They listened to what my process had been and the struggles I was having. They suggested I change my routine, specifically incorporating 2 things I had never considered before: Intermittent Fasting and Training in a Fasted State. Thankfully, I listened.
The End or “Ryan 2.0”
The change in routine was exactly what I needed. In order to train in a fasted state, I had to switch from daily late-night workouts to daily morning workouts. I had never been a morning person and was dreading the switch. But it was amazing – I not only enjoyed working out in the morning, but I looked forward to it. There was an amazing sense of accomplishment I had never expected having run 5 miles before most people were even awake for the day. Without question, I showed the greatest gains of the entire challenge during the final 30 days. I awoke each morning at 4:30am and was at Life Time by 5am for my workout. I began a 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Schedule, consuming all my daily calories between 8am and 4pm. Forever a night-owl, I saw my bedtime change from 1 or 2 am to 9 pm, going to bed just after my wife and I tucked the kids into bed. The physical improvement in my health and appearance have been nice, but they are just footnotes to the real transformation that has taken place: my identity. I have far more energy to expend on my children than I ever dreamt I would have. No longer a night-owl, I’m up each morning with a brand new attitude, ready to attack each day and the opportunities it offers instead of dreading the challenges it may present.