Lifestyle Prior To Change
Before I signed up with Dr. Joe Klemczewski, I was on a train to nowhere. I would have been classified under morbidly obese for close to fifteen years (since I was 22). The funny thing was that I have always been into bodybuilding since I was about 15 or so and in pretty good shape until I was in my early 20's due to playing a lot of sports. I have always trained (although a little inconsistently though my late 20's to mid 30's).
In university, I started to go through a bit of a depression and found I was eating quite a bit more food but could not really stop. I had formed a strong attachment to food as a healing tool even though it was slowly killing me. By the time I hit my 30's it was a full blown addiction.
What Was Your Turning Point?
In late 2007, I started feeling unwell on a regular basis. I knew I was really overweight but up until then I didn't feel bad all the time like I was feeling now. An acquaintance of mine who was also overweight (I would guess over 300 and 5'9") died of a heart attack at the age of 39. I was just turning 35 and thought "well that's going to be me soon enough."
What Was Your Exercise Plan?
I grew up being a fan of Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty Training and this is what I did the whole time I was overweight (pretty low volume and frequency). When I was losing the weight, I upped the volume slightly but not much. I train 2-3 times a week for about 30-45 min. I do a lot of partial zone training (working each part of the rep in mini sets). I find this a very high intensity way of training. Low volume of sets with lots of contractions. I also make sure I regularly perform some full range compound exercises as barometer exercises and try to aggressively up the weight as often as I can.
Right now in the off season I perform one high intensity 20 min interval cardio and one 40 min moderate cardio per week. This past pre-contest I performed 2 moderate and one high intensity cardio a week. Dr. Joe handles my cardio prescription. The first year when I was coming down for my first show I did about 4 cardios a week for the first 6 months and 12 a week for the last four months. We didn't have to go with as much this year due to me being pretty lean the whole year.
What Was Your Diet Plan?
I hired Dr. Joe in December 2007 and it was the best decision I ever made. Besides getting world class knowledge and support on how to get ready for a contest it was important for 2 main reasons.
- It made me accountable to someone. It was harder to cheat if I had to report back to Joe why my weight jumped. Too many times I rationalized in the past that I could just have one more cheat meal and it always blew up in my face. I had been so out of shape and tried so many diets I am amazed it took so long for me to ask for someone's help.
- Pacing. I have read a lot of fitness and nutrition books over the years so I had some knowledge (certainly enough to get started on weight loss) but I was always too hard on myself. If I lost 2 pounds in a week, I would automatically cut my food to keep the weight loss going. You can not do this if you have over 100 pounds to lose in 10 months. I knew Joe could keep my metabolism as high as possible coming down because he had this experience.
If I was doing it alone, I would have cut my calories too low too fast and had nowhere to go. With Joe, I stayed on the same macros pretty well the whole ten months. With slight manipulations in my food and cardio and I just kept losing. After my first show, we rebuilt my metabolism to the point where I was eating 3500 calories a day doing 2 cardios a week and still not putting too much weight on. This meant this past pre-contest was much easier. My levels of food were quite high. I have a pretty quick metabolism but I didn't know it because I was eating incorrectly.
Right now in this off-season, I am eating 300g protein, 350 g carbs, and 60 g fat with one cheat meal a week. In this past pre-contest I was eating 300g protein/250g carbs/50g fat and one higher carb day of 500g. I was not starving!
What Supplements Did You Use?
Not many. A lot of protein powder since I do not like cooking too much. A pre-workout Labrada Supercharge as well. I will eat a protein bar sometimes but not really everyday. I take a multivitamin. I am toying with the idea of creatine this off-season.
What Is Your Life Like Now?
Great. I sometimes forget what it was like to be so overweight just like when I was overweight I forgot what it was like to be lean. I have found a passion for natural bodybuilding and really plan on competing for many years to come. I have yearned to be an athlete again for so long, it is hard to believe that I am in the process of doing just that. I love having more energy now and I just don't want to collapse on the couch 24/7.
Right now I am in the off-season and my next show will be the INBF Mid-America in 2011 Novice Class. I want to win so I want to give myself plenty of time to get ready.
I am also currently studying for my personal training certification with the IART (International Association of Resistance Trainers). I would love to help people reach their fitness goals, whatever they may be.
Advice For Others
Have a goal and do not be afraid to ask for help. I knew I wanted to be a bodybuilder so I did the research and found the best qualified person I thought could help me. So many people are afraid to ask for help. The way I think of it if I really want to get serious about this sport then I should have a coach. Team K has some of the best professionals in the natural bodybuilding world and it is an honor to be part of this team. What a support group!
I also set a very challenging goal to compete in a competition in 10 months NO MATTER WHAT I LOOKED LIKE. This gave me the motivation to get to the gym and do that cardio and not eat that pizza. I knew those posing trunks were unforgiving.
Not everybody wants to be a bodybuilder which I understand; maybe it is looking good on the beach or running a marathon. The goal has to be big enough to motivate you consistently though.