ARE YOU READY FOR CHANGE?
Long before my passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, I've always been a strong believer in having the right mindset to achieve personal goals. I live my life free of excuses, and anything I want, I go after it. About 12 years ago I was about 30lbs overweight. To some of you that may not seem like a lot, but it was knocking my self-confidence as I grew out of my favorite clothes. I was 'exercising', but definitely not doing the most effective exercises to burn fat and build lean muscle, and my diet was beyond a joke.
One morning when I got out of the shower I was grabbing onto my flabby gut. As I looked in the mirror I said to my girlfriend at the time, "Do you think I'm getting fat?" In her sweetest, softest, most reassuring voice she responded, "I've dated fat guys before." Woah!!! Hearing her say that was a figurative gut punch, but I needed to hear it. Some men would have been offended, and it would have turned into a massive argument, but the truth is, I let my shit slide. It was the wake up call I needed, and in that moment I decided to do something about it. After all, when we first started dating, I was in pretty good shape, but I got comfortable in our relationship and stopped putting in the effort to look good for my woman. Loads of us do this.
In that moment of clarity, I knew exactly what I had to do. I jumped on my laptop and started researching the hell out of better ways to exercise, because the boring treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical machines were definitely not working. It took me about a month to get fully prepared for my new lifestyle.
Don't worry, it won't take that long for you to get prepared.
I've done all the hard work for you.
I read a bunch of stuff about body types and resistance training using weights or my own body weight. I discovered High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I was on YouTube watching a few of the fitness guys on there at the time. I had to of course filter out the ones who were there just to push some BS weight loss supplements and other gimmicks like vibrating ab belts, and believe you me, I have firsthand knowledge of using gimmick products.
Side Story: A few months before that morning I was visiting my parents in Jamaica. Jamaican cable is pretty much American TV, and while I was there, I was bombarded with adverts for a certain 'weight loss supplement'. After Jamaica, I had a layover in Florida for a few days, so after my cousin picked me up at the airport and I bought my mandatory Powerball ticket, I asked him to take me to a CVS to buy this 'wonder supplement' they had locked behind a glass case. I was so naive to think that it would work. Like millions of people, I wasted my hard-earned money on a gimmick that was destined to fail because I was too lazy to do what was required. This 'wonder supplement' gave me the shakes, sleepless nights, made me irritable, and of course I lost NO WEIGHT.
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS
In my quest for knowledge, I also started reading a bunch of books and reports about real nutrition. I quickly started to realize where I was going wrong with my diet. I learned about micronutrients and macronutrients, and how the wrong carbs were causing me to have excessive amounts of the fat-storing hormone, insulin. I learned that I didn't have to starve myself to lose weight, and I didn't have to deprive myself of all of my favourite foods either. And when I learned how to curb my never-ending cravings, I was ecstatic. Exercise is important, but your biggest ally during your new lifestyle will be your diet. I was like a sponge soaking up all the knowledge I could.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
During that first month of preparation I started setting out my own rough workout program and fine-tuned which combinations of the new exercises I had learned worked best. I also made all the necessary adjustments with my diet. I was going to visit my parents in Jamaica for Christmas, so I had to look my best. I promised myself that I wouldn't be feeling self-conscious when I took my shirt off at the beach.
You know that thing that some people who aren't fully committed to their goal say, "One day at a time." "To hell with that!", I thought. If I was gonna do it, I was gonna do it all the way. No half-assed approach for me. It's all or nothing.
I got rid of all the crappy foods in my flat, never replaced them, and only treated myself to some of my favourite foods on my designated 'cheat days'.
I won't lie, it was tough at the start, but after I got through my first two weeks it was smooth sailing after that. Some people have a sweet tooth, I have two rows of sweet teeth, so I had to go cold turkey to beat my sugar addiction. Long story short, I lost all the weight and got back to being around the weight I was when I was in my early 20's, but this time, with more muscle definition, and a new confidence. When I got to Jamaica the compliments kept coming. "Oh Mark, you're looking so great." "You look so young!" I have taken years off how I look. As part of the Japanese culture, people always want to know your age when they meet you for the first time. It's common for me to have to show my driving license to prove my age to new people I meet.
After going through my transformation I figured that if I could do it, then anyone could, and maybe I could help other motivated people do it too. This led me to becoming a certified personal trainer, and shortly after that I opened Mark's Boot Camp. Trust me, it was no easy feat dealing with language and cultural barriers, but it all goes back to my mindset and passion for achieving my personal goals. Do you have the same mindset? It's not a major problem if you don't, because that mindset and discipline can be developed over time.
My online programs came later when I realized that I could help a lot more motivated people if I didn't limit myself to just my city.
This is me in Japan the summer after I lost all the weight.
Tell me that's not the smile of a happy man.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Listen, I'm a straight talker, so let me talk straight. I can help any motivated person achieve their fitness goal and improve their overall health, but I can't help excuse makers, procrastinators, and time wasters. So, if that's you, thanks for dropping by, no hard feelings, but you're not the type of clients I work with. Listening to people and their excuses annoys me.
However, if you're not an excuse maker, procrastinator, or time waster, or you're now ready to put that way of living behind you, and you understand the basic idea that change equals change, and you're ready to do the consistent work with your diet and exercise to achieve your fitness goal and improve your overall health, then I can help you.
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“It’s never too late to be what you might have become.” – George Eliot