Man vs. Himself; A trainer training himself, Part 1

I’m a personal trainer.  And I’m good at it.  I’m good at it, frankly, because I’m a mother blessing mess.  I sit down daily with clients, new and old, perspective and returning, and nod my head with real personal appreciation as they list their perceived and real shortcomings, failures, and reservations about the whole “health and fitness” bit.

I don’t just nod so that they’ll feel like I’m being empathetic or simply because I’m understanding what they’re saying. I also nod because I’m thinking something along the lines of “yep… yep… that sounds familiar.  Doesn’t everybody do that?” And sometimes it’s something more specific like, “you call that self-sabotage?!  I’ll show you self-sabotage!”

I won’t make any unnecessary and very likely inaccurate generalizations, but I feel like coming from a place of conflict, failure and personal history that matches that of those I’m trying to help, is a significant player in the personal trainer I am.  Again, I’d never suggest that having never been overweight or struggled to maintain a healthy relationship with food or activity disqualifies a trainer from helping those with those concerns, but that history (and let’s be real, current state of affairs) most definitely helps me.

Having said that, the realities of having a historically dysfunctional relationship with food and a propensity toward habits that are, to put it mildly, not the most healthful is still a pertinent concern for me.

And so, we find ourselves here.  This will likely the be the first installment of many “journals” where I will discuss, probably in frank detail, what I am doing and pursuing from both the perspective of a client (myself) and their personal trainer (also me).

I’ll give an in-depth account of my history at a later date but to set the stage; I was a fat kid, then I dropped weight, got really fit, then I got strong… and I’ve teetered back and forth between being a strong/competitive (but fat) guy and a poorly conditioned/weaker (but not so fat) guy ever since. And in that span of about 17 years the same root food and behavioral issues of my initial obesity have festered beneath the surface, undoubtedly having an impact.

The current tale goes like this; sort of un-retired from strength sports and interested in competing in powerlifting, once again fatter than I’d like to be (or SHOULD be) and, as of this very moment in time, intending to shelf competitive desires and willing to waylay my focus on building strength to better address what is or should be goal numero uno.

Getting lean(er). Staying lean(ish).

There probably is a part of me that is attracted to the idea of being lean.  You know, visible abs and the vein over the bicep, lean.  But, as I sit here, I couldn’t possibly care less. So, my goal is to get a little leaner and sustain it.  To carry less fat around for the purpose of health, of better pursuing many of the activities I enjoy outside of slinging iron (hiking, kayaking, etc.) and to simply look a little better.  As referenced above, I’ve done it a few times before but the element of permanence as eluded me for one reason or another (most of these options probably being me and my head).

Now, I’ve never been a huge proponent of attaching body weight goals to a timeline, so my metrics of success here likely won’t have a due date, but they will be used to assess change, good or bad.  They are as follows:

Body weight (goal is 264lbs. for powerlifting, but we’ll see)

Body fat %age (I’ll be getting a DEXA scan at some point, here…)

Body circumference measurements (neck, shoulder, chest, upper arm, waist, hip, thigh, calf)

These are all very typical to my personal training process but I have seldom used them to assess and center my own efforts.

Two days ago, on my 32nd birthday, I weighed 295 pounds.  I’ve been circa 300 pounds at three different periods in my life.  As you might be expecting me to say, my intention is for this to be the last. And so begins a comprehensive and, as you’ll see, probably complicated and very human process of making that happen. I hope that as I muse each week about my checkered perspective – knowing what needs to happen and how to get there mixed with being flawed and, well, human – that you can take something from it.


Down 2.8 pounds of bloat from my birthday weekend.