New Transformation Challenge… Rebel Results!


Start Date: February 8th/9th (Beginning Fit Tests & measurements)

End Date: April 13th/14th (Ending Fit Tests & measurements)

This upcoming 10 week “Rebel Results” experience will include:

* Brand new fit test with option for before/after photos & measurements!
* Twice-a-week boot camps (as well as workouts given to you to practice)!
* “Active Rebel Minutes” movement challenge!
* Brand New Custom Rebel T-shirt!
* Optional “Rebel Resistance” Strength Training Clinic!
* NEW TEAMS! The Rebel Rockers & Rebel Rollers!
* Revamped Rebel Bingo!

* …  and more to be announced!

Rebel Resistance Promo

If all of that sounds good:



  • $225 for Anytime Fitness Members (minimum $100 down payment by February 8th and paid in full by April 7th)
  • $275 for non- Anytime Fitness Members who are trying a Rebel challenge for the FIRST TIME (minimum $125 down payment by February 8th and paid in full by April 7th)
  • $375 for non-Anytime Fitness Members who are RETURNING Rebels yet would like to forgo getting an Anytime Fitness Membership (minimum $150 down payment February 8th and paid in full by April 7th)

For full breakdown on measurement day, fit tests, orientation, why the price breaks down the way it does, the importance of your key fob CLICK HERE

If all of the above works for you then the LAST bit you need to do… is SIGN UP!


❤ Rebel8 

Justin “HOVA” Zuiderweg – An Enthusiasm for Misery


The Fitness Rebellion is home to every sort of character you can think of. If we were a co-ed boy band (which we kind of are… Click here… you know you want to…) we would have every spectrum covered. For those of you that know Justin Zuiderweg you know he fits the “loveable bad boy with a heart of gold” persona… only replace the brooding demeanor, disheveled hair, and sexy dance moves with super goofism, tough mudder headbands, and hashtags. Throw in a splash of sailor mouth and you’ve just baked yourself the ultimate beef flavored Justin cake (get it…. beef cake… TAAAAAHHHH!!!!).

If you don’t know Justin but have been keeping up with my Rebel Ramblings on the mind numbing task of getting prepared for World’s Toughest Mudder then you’ve heard about him plenty. He’s not only my partner in crime in the endeavor but the one I’m counting on to drag my scrappy ass across the finish line (don’t tell him that though… as of now he thinks he’s just training hard to get himself across the finish line… foolish man…).

A great friend, training partner, Rebel cohort, and all around amazing soul Justin embodies the Fitness Rebellion at its core in my eyes. With a story I knew about as well as a half crafted quilt I was eager to put the rest of the picture together and learn more about the man that has shed blood, sweat, and tears with and within the Rebellion the last couple of years. The opportunity arose the weekend of September 7th, 2014 as we drove back from our 3rd (and most brutal by far) World’s Toughest Beach Workout. As we settled into our 40 minute car ride I took out my “Hulk” journal, purple Anytime Fitness pen, and started our recollection the same way I start every interview;

“So Justin… What’s the story you want to tell?”

He paused only briefly as I had asked him the same questions before we started our workout so he had 2 hours to think about it.

“Things weren’t crazy at all really growing up…” he started.

“I was born in San Francisco, raised in Santa Rosa off West 3rd until my parents sold their house and built a home in Spring Valley up in Lake County. It was the typical set up, you know? Into sports, church, family get-togethers… Average American family type stuff. Nothing glamorous or anything like that.”

He squinted as he drove along.

“For me though, I was a trouble maker… I was always getting into some sort of mischief and was a stereotypical problem kid. Not really sure why, I just had a habit of mouthing off to everyone. I didn’t really have respect for anybody and ended up getting suspended a lot… all stupid stuff really, nothing worth it. I was almost expelled in 8th grade.”

“From what?” I asked.

“Just getting suspended too many times. Like I said, stupid shit. Nothing big… I just had a problem with everybody. If I hadn’t gotten home schooled for 8th grade I wouldn’t have graduated Junior High. It wasn’t long after that I started getting into drugs which only made things worse as I’m sure you can imagine.”

Justin Young Final

“How old were you?” I asked with my head bent as I battled the bumps in the road to get it all down.

“15. That was when I started smoking pot at least. Weed for me was definitely my gateway. My attitude just got worse as high school went on. By 17 I was getting heavy into drinking. I’d steal my Dad’s booze from the cabinet and one day he comes up to me and asked ‘You been taking alcohol from the cabinet?‘” He smiled as he reminisced.

“‘No… why?‘ I said even though I was lying my ass off. ‘Because see that line on the back of the bottle I drew? Good job filling it back up with water but you filled it up too much dummy.”

“Whatever, I was young, dumb, and stubborn… I was gonna do what I wanted.” Justin stated.

Which is what led to him moving out on his own at 18 to Santa Rosa, CA. Not too far from his parent’s home… but far enough. Justin has an almost mythical work ethic which assured him not running into the typical financial problems a lot of us face when we first venture out. After all he’d been holding down at minimum 2 jobs since 15 years old so finding work wouldn’t be an issue. No… The issue, although he didn’t know it, would be the people met along the way and the spiral affect they’d have on Justin’s soon-to-be kamikaze mindset.

With new found freedom combined with an 18 year old rebellious attitude it wasn’t long before he started going off the rails. Er… ather, doing rails… Cocaine and speed became routine leaving Justin swimming constantly in between seas of highs and lows. He took trying to “even things out” to the extreme. Too high strung? That’s what weed and alcohol is for! Need a pick-me-up? That’s what coke and speed is for! Never quite knowing how to just sit still and deal, his brain was constantly racing from one thing to the next in an attempt to take his mind off reality even though it led to a daily destruction derby and treating his body like a dumpster.

Justin Dumpster

“I had a lot of shit swirling around in my head that I wasn’t mature enough face head on and figure out. I didn’t care about myself at all and finding an escape became a constant theme for me and stayed that way for a lot of years… Most of my life.”

By the age of 19 Justin found himself riding his youthful invincibility straight into marriage. Young love and the desire to be a little more responsible did little to shed light on his self destructive ways and the demons he was battling however. A licensed big rig driver and closet tech junkie meant that along with the overflow of nonstop bills and spousal duties Justin constantly had his hands full, which only exacerbated his lack of getting a handle on himself. Throw in the drinking, drugs, and hard living and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for disaster if I’ve ever seen one (and trust me, I’ve cooked up my fair share of disasters). Justin was sadly too clouded to ever begin the self reflective process long enough to figure out what was truly wrong with him and why he cared so little about himself.

What made this all the more ironic is Justin is the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed one then go home and bring you a few more so you have extra for next time. His dirty sailor mouth is matched only by his heart of gold and pension for taking care of all of those around him, so why not himself? I know a lot of people who relate to that one…

As time went on and Justin got older he seemingly got a handle on things.

“I dabbled in ‘substances’ when I needed to ‘disappear‘ but had work to worry about too. I was always worried about something, bro.”

It was at the age of 27 on October 13th, 2005 that Justin’s entire world changed. It was this day that Trent, whom Justin affectionately refers to as “Spongebob,” was born. A new focus. A new heart to cherish. A new love.

Justin San Diego 08

It would be neat if that meant that everything became crystal clear as rays of sunshiney realization burst through the haze and infiltrated Justin’s brain like a less intense version of the movie “Alien” but… no. A major turning point in one direction usually causes a swing in another, such was the case with his marriage… After 10 years of making it work their relationship had run its course and at 29 Justin found himself freshly divorced.

This was the domino that sent all the others toppling down.

“I couldn’t handle the heartbreak and stress of it all and got on the fast track to seriously killing myself. I didn’t know it then, but that’s what I was doing…”

The scary part is that you never would have known. Good job? Check. Beautiful healthy son? Check. Friends? Check… even though a few of them needed to get kicked to the curb… Nonetheless a dark spiral turned darker daily as he succumbed to any and every drug he could get his hands on. He’d play the role of dutiful father, good friend, and diligent employee when needed but once he was alone he’d chip away at himself drink by drink, pill by pill, pipe by pipe… and with vigor. An enthusiasm for misery. A thirst for behavior so toxic he could drown in it.


It’s in these darkest of moments when even the tiniest bit of light can shatter the blackness and refurbish your will. For Justin, his light came from the strike of a lighter on a crack pipe.

6 months after his divorce Justin was sitting on couch in his apartment by himself. He’d been drinking heavily, throwing pain pills back like candy, doing blow, and smoking weed all day because… what else was there to do? The only thing missing in this fiesta was something Justin had only recently decided to add to his depression weapons… Crack. Even though he had plenty of friends who raved about it Justin never wanted to be “that guy.” No one ever gets up in the morning and says “I think I’m going to make the transition into crackhead today!”

Yet here he was.

“I could see the big deal about it” he said. “It hits you like a rush but that didn’t last long for me… I had a breakdown instead.”

Justin went on to describe the reality of the situation hitting him like a tornado full of bricks and twice as heavy. Somewhere within the murk of the drinking and drug cloud he was swimming in came clarity… Trent. Shining like a lighthouse his self abuse illuminated his relationship with his little boy and everything it should have been… but wasn’t. He wasn’t being the father he should or could be and was knocking on hell’s door like a cop with a warrant in the process. He was literally destroying himself when he was alone but somehow couldn’t find a care about it until now… A tidal wave of awareness brought with it streams of tears as Justin had hit his rock bottom and knew it. 

I asked him what he thought made that day different.

“I guess it was just time for the light to turn on.”


Justin Tattoo

“I’m alive again, more alive than I have been in my whole entire life.” Eminem – No Love

When Justin puts his mind to something… it gets DONE. It only took a drug induced slap in the face for him to realize that caring about himself IS caring for those he loves most. It’s impossible to love others properly without loving yourself and with this newfound epiphany Justin sought after becoming a better father, son, brother, friend, and overall person like a pitbull on a pork-chop. He got rid of all the “bad friend” contacts that weren’t serving him. At the urging and support of his sister and brother-in-law he joined a gym and got into running! Cutting out all substance abuse and keeping to drinking socially Justin steadily started taking control and gaining confidence… Something he hadn’t experienced in quite some time.

I asked him what made this different than past futile attempts at taking his mind and body back;

“This was something I’d never done before. I’d never taken care of my demons and faced them head on, I’d only ever run from them and used them as crutches. I wasn’t used to it… but once I started getting used to it and cut out all the bad shit I knew this was the path I was supposed to be on. Working on yourself takes time but it’s worth it.” 

Coincidentally enough it was at the gym in 2011 where Justin met Maggie. He was already on a treadmill when Maggie hopped on one right next to him. Describing the moment he met her as “the longest I’ve ever been on a treadmill in my life” the two hit it off big time.

Justin & Maggie

Love will literally run you wild.

Also in a moment of complete serendipity Maggie was the one to introduce Justin to the Fitness Rebellion. Maggie has been a part of Hulk/Rebel since the very beginning and we were stoked to meet the new fella! Boy… he sure didn’t disappoint! Between Trent, Maggie (and her wonderful little ones Lily and Lucas), his career, healthy friendships, and the Fitness Rebellion Justin has been kept grounded, blessed, and humble.

“I’m pushing GOOD limits now which is something I’m still getting used to. 5 years ago if you had told me I’d be doing the stuff I’m doing with the people I’m doing it with now I’d have laughed in your face and called you crazy.”

In the last couple years Justin has run 11 Tough Mudders, 3 Spartan Races, countless “fun runs,” The T25 and “Insanity” programs, 3 Rebel challenges, and inspired countless people in the process with his endearing passion for social media. His love for baseball has been passed down to Trent whom he’s now coaching when he’s not driving freight or training for World’s Toughest Mudder. Recently he got to combine the two:

As we pulled up to my house. I asked Justin if he had anything he wanted to add and he says “yeah, I want to add something for anybody thinking about joining Rebel or anything else that might be the change they need.”

I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. He did not disappoint.

“If you’re trying to talk yourself into doing something hard, outside your comfort zone… then do it. Sure something like a 60 minute workout sounds impossible when it’s not a regular part of your life but you need to give yourself a chance! Sometimes that’s all you need… just one chance… That chance can be where you find yourself. In the end it’s always worth it.”

Amen, my man…

Justin & Trent


– Rebel8

Suzanne Pelz – You Have a Choice

Suzanne accepting her MVH award at our Hillbilly Hoe-down

You Have a Choice

When I sat down with Suzanne Pelz, 43 years young, there was electricity that I’m certain I was the only one feeling. Suzanne is one of those special people that only comes along once in every 3 blue moons or so yet has no idea the spirit she is. Case in point… She couldn’t fathom why I wanted tell her story in the first place! This is why…

Suzanne has struggled with weight her entire life. Not to the severity that warrants an intervention or giving people that she’s on the verge of discovering a new form of diabetes, but rather the kind of weight issues that a lot of people have yet internalize for fear that it’s not TRULY a problem since other people have it worse. Kind of like when you’re in a bad mood over something that is really stressing you out, then a friend comes along and has a problem that is logistically even MORE stressful than your situation so you feel like you have to swallow YOUR struggle because your friend has it worse. We’ve all been in that situation, and we can all agree that it leads to this overwhelming anxiety that leaves you aching for someone to listen but you don’t feel it’s deserved, so you keep it in until it surfaces when you least expect it. The definition of “The straw that broke the camels back.”

What if you did that your entire life with your weight issue? It’s an issue to YOU, but slight in comparison to the morbidly obese. The fear of hearing someone say “YOU think you have a weight problem?! PSH!!!” triggers that anxiety feeling I talked about a moment ago, and Suzanne happened to be in this category. She never joined a gym or took part in group exercise because she wasn’t comfortable with HERSELF, so how could she be comfortable around other people in the environment that was focused around her insecurities?

Now, Suzanne had always attempted to take care of herself yet always seemed to slink back into bad habits. She’d found success for the first time 13 years ago when she took it upon yourself to learn more about weight management and exercise. She’d hired a trainer for one on one time, lost more weight than she ever had before, and was feeling pretty damn good about herself! To her, it was LEARNING about how her body worked that allowed her to start developing tools and skillsets to be healthy. She’d always WANTED to be fit, just didn’t quite know how to do it until she was proactive about it.

If I had a dime for every person that related to this next part, I’d be a millionaire… After some time, finances became a bit tough and Suzanne had to stop seeing her trainer. She was using the new tools she had developed and things were going smoothly for a moment… until she found herself in a wonderful relationship that added the kiss of death to someone like Suzanne; a comfort zone that gave her something else to focus on.


This is where a plot twist gets thrown in. 10 years ago, shortly after the rise and fall of her new healthier lifestyle, she started to feel a tingle in her foot and “off in her feet” when she walked. When the tingling crept up to mid-calve she started to get really alarmed. It was up to her knees by the time she had made it to the doctor. While assessing the situation, the Doctor noticed some eye twitching happening that prompted him to give her an MRI.

Diagnosis: Multiple Schlerosis.

For those not familiar, “Schlerosis” means scar tissue on the brain so “Multiple Schlerosis” means you have multiple areas of scarring on the brain. Due to the tricky nature of the brain and nervous system, everyone has slightly different reactions but the reasons why it is so difficult to deal with is the same… When your brain comes upon roadblocks in the brain (scar tissue) it needs to find a “detour” to get whatever message it’s trying to deliver to wherever the destination is. Similar to taking a detour in a car, it requires a longer distance thus takes more gas. Your brain and body is no different… These “detours” the brain has to take drains more energy than average and effects wherever these detours mainly take place. For Suzanne, it’s her right leg that gets the brunt of the difficulty.

4 years after her diagnosis, Suzanne found herself at the heaviest weight she’d ever been. Energy drained, motivation non-existent, and desperate for a change, Suzanne joined weight watchers. After losing 34% of her body weight, Suzanne found herself in a peculiar situation… She still felt fat and didn’t really feel healthy.

I’ve seen this happen often with people who eat for weight loss but don’t give their BODY the work that it needs to take care of itself as well. When this happens, you lose weight but your internal structure is still not in tune with itself. Losing weight doesn’t always mean your body is going to become “fit” and Suzanne experienced this first hand. Unfortunately, this caused a bittersweet back track that would be a low point for Suzanne yet ultimately be the lesson she needed to succeed in the big picture.

1 year ago, Suzanne was in dire-straights. She had gained almost all of her weight back. She found herself prying struggling to get out of bed with no energy, working a full work day, then going straight to the couch after putting her PJs on after work, do nothing, go to bed, and repeat the whole cycle all over again. This is another “If I had a dime” moments… Her Doctor even told her that if she didn’t get up and do SOMETHING her right leg would deteriorate.

It was a biggest loser program at her work that prompted her to take her body back. Suzanne has herself a competitive streak that would make an Olympian blush, and she coupled that with the realization that she didn’t do any exercising the last time she attempted a new, healthy life style. When you know the problem, you know the solution, and she approached that solution tentatively at first…

A turning point for Suzanne was actually when she tried to talk herself OUT of the program. She approached the director one day and started “excuse vomit” culminating with “I have soooooooo much going on I just really don’t think I can go through with this.” The director responded “That’s not good enough Suzanne, there will ALWAYS be a lot of things going on. It’s time to work past that.”

This opened up Suzanne’s eyes to something bigger than the comfort zone she was trying to maintain. She realized she couldn’t hold herself back anymore. She had a choice, and she was at a cross roads… Either choose to let her situation get the best of her or to get the best of her situation. Thankfully for everyone who knows Suzanne, she chose the latter.

After seeing a lot of posts and excitement regarding a fitness challenge called “Rebel X” she decided to ask her cousin, David Moody (already participating), about how she could become a part. After getting set up with the creator and trainer (myself) she was able to join a couple weeks into this 10 week challenge.

This is where Suzanne hulk smashed her demons in a very visible way… Even though she joined late, she lost the most inches out of everybody. Out of 75 people. Holy hell. Out of 3 possible “Most Valuable Hulk” awards (one per team of 25 people) she won hers in resounding fashion. She’s not only at a manageable weight, but the fittest she’s ever been. She took her journey and put it on display to everyone, become a beacon of light for others who, just like her, have only known darkness.

Suzanne is now off most of her meds. She is attempting to break the record for holding a plank out of all 11 of my challenges that I’ve done. She is the first to show up and the last to leave. She calls people out and enjoys getting called out if someone feels she’s not giving it all. When I leave on a trip, she’s one of the first people I ask to be a “team gluer” to check in with everyone and make sure people don’t stray when “the cats away.” There is NOTHING that can stop this woman from accomplishing whatever she wants, and not only does she know that now, but she screams at the top of her lungs to share to the world;

You have a choice to either let your situation get the best of you or get the best of your situation.

That’s why I wanted to tell your story Suzanne.


Anytime Fitness Conference 2012

The first video is the video piece Mark Daly and Anytime Fitness presented at the conference.

The second video is my award acceptance speech. It was cut off a bit but full video will be available shortly. I just wanted to share as soon as I could! There was a record 1400 people in attendance!!! 

Much more to come Rebels… MUCH more! 

– Rebel8

Tom Walton – If It Were Easy, It Wouldn’t Be Special

Tom Like a Bomb!

Tom Walton came out of the blue in regards to joining Hulk/Rebel, and I’ve got to say he’s made one of the biggest immediate impacts on not only himself but everyone who has had the good fortune to work out and rock out with this fella! In all the stories I put out, I’m looking for one common denominator… Inspiration via relation. You can relate to the success story because it speaks to either how you’ve felt before, how you currently feel, what you’d LIKE to do, or all of the above! When you can read about someone “just like you” who is able to pick themselves up by their boot straps and achieve EXACTLY what you fantasize about yet never go for… Well, I’ve found the Chaos theory in full effect here…

“In chaos theory the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before.”

It’s up to you… Is Tom’s story the flap of the butterfly’s wings that sets you off like a hurricane? Read on…

If It Were Easy, It Wouldn’t Be Special

When self-loathing, lack of confidence, and overall dissatisfaction with yourself is too much to handle, most people have a subconscious reaction to take their focus off themselves with various different behaviors. Some people become so compulsive with a hobby that it starts to become a detriment to the individual to an outsider… yet to the hobbyist the unhealthy obsession trumps the painful truth that they aren’t happy with themselves, thus the lesser of two evils are chosen. Some people turn to a mind altering substance that wipes the crippling self-disgust away and allows the abuser to feel normal, not like themselves which sadly is equivocal to pain and hurt. Sound like anybody you know?

Then, there’s Tom Walton. Tom Walton learned two big lessons as a kid… 1) To treat others better than you wish to be treated and 2) It’s hard to feel worthy of being treated awesomely when you’re the novelty husky kid so he’d better REALLY stick to the number 1. If he gave everyone all his attention, focus, and love unconditionally and steadfastly well then it would be impossible to save enough caring for himself, making it ok that he didn’t feel confident and comfortable with the person he was.

Interviewing Tom, he was quick to point out that on the outside everything was fine in his world. He came from a good family living in the Northern California suburbs. Although always a very husky kid, Tom was always into sports. He even was a Team Captain on one of his High School’s most successful football teams to date and a gifted wrestler who loved the thrill of one on one competition. It was a good upbringing with good friends that accepted Tom for who he was. The only problem was that Tom didn’t accept himself. Busy loving everyone but himself and unsuccessfully trying to use his outer successes to mask the fact that he was depressed beyond anyone’s comprehension, he did what most people do…

He rode it out. Without saying a word or doing anything about it.

Sound like anybody you know?

Out of High School, Tom started dating his future fiancé, found his current full-time job, and lost his drive to play sports since he figured it was “time to grow up.” On his steady climb to 300 pounds, 6 foot tall Tom had an unsuccessfully successful stint with a popular no-carb diet. For those of you who need that to be cleared up… The no-carb diet is notorious for having rapid weight loss transpire for those willing to put down the breads and pasta but can’t stand the thought of putting down the bacon, cheese, and steak. His intermission to his eventual 300 pound mark found a detour… He had gotten down to 213.2 pounds (he made sure to point out the “.2”) and… Stopped. Fed up with the unrealistic restrictions, toll it was taking on his mind and body, and at the inability to physically continue the no carb madness, he quickly gained all the weight back with interest. The worst part… since the weight loss was so rapid, the method so extreme, and since Tom didn’t do any resistance training to acclimate his body to the rapid weight reduction he felt his body looked WORSE at the low weight he haf achieved. He didn’t take the time to implement a healthy lifestyle… rather took the quickest way possible no matter how unrealistic, unsafe, or overall damaging it ends up being in the long run. Sound like anybody you know?

3 months ago Tom decided to join a gym. He had been yearning to find his former athlete for some time now, but found a hard time finding the spark beyond it being an “I’ll start tomorrow…” after thought. One way I like to look at it is a mighty oak tree at one point started out as a little tiny seed. Sometimes you just need to give that seed a little water to start the growth process… Tom’s seed had been planted; he just didn’t know what nutrients it needed…

One day, while cruising around on Facebook (have you heard of it?) he came across a blog I had posted of a couple inspirational stories that came out of the last transformation challenge I had just completed. Reading the stories, he found the common denominator WASN’T that these successes came of having great genes, the sickening ability to be able to push past but seemingly enjoy the “torture of exercise,” or a trust fund set up allowing for an elite team of professionals to “fix them.” No, the turning point in every single story he read was when the person decided they were worth it and no one was going to give them happiness if they weren’t willing to take it first.

He messaged me right then and there. He wanted to know when the next challenge was, when we met, and what he should do to prepare for it. “… Oh, and hey man!”

When Tom joined the gym, he never looked back. He was sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. He was fed up with being sad about himself and realizing at his subconscious it was up to him to change that. Rather than taking his mind off of himself with food and loving everyone else to the extremes that he didn’t have the energy left to love himself, he was instead FORCED to learn to love himself. He HAD to deal with his insecurities in such a way that if he were to run away he would be adding fuel to the fire that got him so depressed in the first place. Once he had his mind-set that he wasn’t going to quit no matter how badly he wanted to (and trust me, boy did he ever want to quit!) then he only had one option left… To seize the moment. To be the person he didn’t think he could be by doing the things he wasn’t comfortable doing. “If it were easy it wouldn’t be special” I tell Tom time and time again, and not only does he get it… He lives it.

Tom found his stride, but only he could find it. Rather than waiting on someone to save him, he had the profound realization only he could save himself.

The day Tom messaged me about joining my transformation challenge was a tough day. It was a tough decision yet one he knew deep down he had to make. For himself. For once. Tom told me he wanted to be one of the success stories he read about. He told me he was hoping someone could read what he went through and relate to the point of having the same turn around he did. He wanted to stress that it needs to be a commitment to yourself or what’s the point? The thing he REALLY wanted to hammer home was that eating better, exercising, and stepping outside of his comfort zone didn’t kill him. Quite the contrary, it introduced more life than he had ever felt himself worth to be. His comfort zone kept him from being around people that love him as much as he loves the world. Yelling like a madman when we do the pre-workout chant. Taking his shirt off at the beach to enjoy the sunshine a little more. Wearing goofy outfits and taking part in workouts that he never would have dreamed of attempting a few months prior. Tom even cut his hair into a mullet for 80’s night… AND STILL HAS IT 3 WEEKS LATER! His comfort zone doesn’t hold him back anymore.

Well Tom… here’s your story. You’ve lost 45 pounds in 3 months. You’ve signed up for a 12 mile mud run in September. You’ve learned how to eat for life, not for weight loss. You inspire every day. You’ve learned to do what some deem impossible… To love yourself as much as you love others.

“I’m going to be one of those stories because I’m worth it.”

Well Tom is only at the beginning of his story… but mission accomplished. How do I know that?

Because I can guarantee you’re ready to write your own success story…


I wear this shirt often and with pride

– Rebel8

PS Be on the lookout for everyone’s favorite Tye Rivera’s story to be featured on! It is one of the next success stories to be published ;). AhhhhOOOOO!!!!

Train the trainer… What it means to me


 At the end of every challenge I run, something called “Train the Trainer” takes place. It’s where everyone who I’ve been mercilessly grinding into the floor week in and week out has the chance to show up and work ME out. I mean, haven’t you ever wanted to make the guy or gal who beats you up in boot camp or one on one sessions do the same stuff they make you do? It’s a dream come true from the perspective of the person who gets trained all the time and a nightmare for me, the trainer. I say it’s a nightmare because I’ll be damned if everyone I work with doesn’t get better and better and whooping my butt every single time. I tell people to think of the thing I made you do that you hated the MOST… and make me do it! I tell people to research something crazy and put me to the ultimate test! Whatever floats everyone’s boat, as long as they don’t take it easy on me (trust me, they don’t).

Well, this video was captured by my lovely Unicorn of a girlfriend who I didn’t know was taking a video until after. I wanted to share this video so everyone knows what “Train the Trainer” means to me. I’m putting this video out of me at one of my more openly vulnerable points so that someone, somewhere will understand that it does get better…

You just can’t take “I’m not good enough” as an answer anymore.

– Rebel8

click on the banner for more information on the Fitness Rebellion!

Running sucks.

I had lost 40 lbs here and was feelin’ like a young Rod Stewart!

I was going over past posts on my former blog and I came across this post. It brought a lot of memories back and also made me want to share it again. A lot of people have come into my life since this was written that I think this could help out. Thanks for taking the time to read it :).

“This Saturday, December 31st, I will be running an 8k. That is 4.97 miles.

This weekend, I ran the better part of 9 miles in Pt. Reyes (with a LOT of help from a Unicorn).

For this weekend, I am scared shitless. Wondering why? I’m not.

This weekend, including the Pt. Reyes run, Tough Mudder, and any of the spring lake/Annadel runs I did with anyone BEFORE Tough Mudder (and NOT including any runs I will do this week) will mark about the 10th time I’ve run for any “remarkable” amount of time in my entire life. You see, I never was a runner and never thought I would be. I still don’t think I am. I’m someone who the mere THOUGHT of running sends me into “mini-anxiety” mode. Not because I don’t think I can do it but because instinctively that’s how my brain has ALWAYS been wired.

For me, running is associated with pain and humiliation. Emotional, physical, and mental pain and humiliation that is really hard to shake. I’ve always had chronic shin splints from being so heavy most of my life, and for the first time in my life, they don’t exist… I credit that in large part to my lifestyle, changes in training (BOSU is my BABY!), and consistent commitment. I got the “shins splints always held me back!” out of the way because that is the least of why this 8k this weekend scares me shitless.

You know how someone who is claustrophobic can be absolutely fine until they get into a confined space? That’s when the cold sweat, increased heart rate, heavy anxiety, and nausea sets in. Often times it’s the equivalent of kryptonite to a persons superman. Mental fears can cripple the most able of people. I am one of those able people who has more allergies to kryptonite than most people know.

My heart beats faster when I remember what it was like to be told “we’re running the mile today!” in PE and getting so physically sick that sometimes I was able to get out running it all together. There is nothing more physically degrading than trying as hard as you absolutely can, digging with everything you’ve got, feeling your joints explode and grind with the wear and tear of your obese body chugging along with all the might it can muster, and still running a 13 minute mile. As a prepubescent child who can’t physically do what other kids my age could do, I found out really quickly they never let you forget it. Not in a nice way either, in the cruelest of ways. I’m not the minority though, I’m the majority as far as knowing how that goes. I want to change that…

Whenever I think “I’m going to run” I follow it with “and be humiliated” out of instinct. It was all I ever knew. On top of the emotional humiliation, I always got to look forward to my body feeling like it was going to drop dead of a heart attack, stroke and brain aneurism. A child should never feel that way. Ever. That’s how bad off I was.

So when I got the e-mail that I was actually REGISTERED for an 8k (Pacific Coast Trail Run for those in the curiosity department), my heart dropped and the pit of my stomach flared up with the weight of a dying star. I understand that sounds a little dramatic, but when my brain reverts back to the paragraphs above every single time I know I’m about to run, I don’t care if you think I’m being dramatic or not. Truth be told, there will never be words to describe the anxiety, but you’re going to get my best absolute effort to do so.

Cara is the one who registered me for the 8k, and she has been my running inspiration (along with Tye) for quite some time. The 9 miles we ran together wouldn’t have been possible without her. She doesn’t know it, much like most people don’t know it who I have run with before, but I was terrified. Especially at the end of our run. The final 1.5-2 miles brought back all the familiar feelings of how running USED to make me feel. I felt bogged down, tired, tight, and like I was failing. Trying so hard, yet failing a little harder. That was when I exploded…

“I don’t like eating your dust” Cara tells me.

“I had 2 options… I could have faded away or I could have exploded. I chose to explode” is what I told The Unicorn.

That final mile and a half, I chose to impress myself. I felt the familiar feelings of failure creeping up towards my soul, starting at my toes. I didn’t let it get any farther than that. I reminded myself “You are not who you used to be, and you’re better than you wanted to be” and set out to stay true to my word. I used to fade away, but on Christmas Eve in Pt. Reyes I took that fear that had crippled me for a lifetime and I literally ran with it. With each step I increased the pace. I could feel my hips firing like pistons and my quads taking a lactic acid bath as my strongest muscle, my heart, took over. With each step I ran away from the debilitating anxiety and towards what I have always known deep down… That I can do anything.

In that moment, I chose to live. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I chose to embrace the fear rather than disgrace it. My fear has made me fearless. I don’t hate fear, I respect it. Because of that, I don’t even fear “fear itself.” I don’t even fear failure. The only thing I fear is forgetting where I came from. I think we all know that will never happen…

In the end, I am scared shitless for this 8k. However, I will embrace that fear and Hulk smash the hell out of this Pacific Coast Trail Run. I will leave a big, green imprint in the dirt as I stir up more dust for others to eat. I will embrace the love of the Unicorn who is my guiding light in this whole process, and hold my shirt up high at the end with a “tell me I can’t do something” shit-eating grin on my face.

Take that failure.

– Hulk/Rebel8

PS I chose to make my most personal “Hulk Talk” ever, public. I have more than 75 people entrusting me during “Hulk: Trinity – Round IX” so the LEAST I can do is leave no stone unturned with me. If you have 17 minutes to spare and would like to get a VERY personal account as to why I don’t accept “I can’t” then click the links below… Merry Holidays y’all!”

I Can – Part 1
I Can – Part 2

“I’m Worth It”

If you know David now, you know he doesn’t quite look like this fella here anymore…

This is the David I know now!

Like Lori De Marco, I interviewed our resident goofball David Moody a few weeks back and learned quite a bit about an individual who I already admired and revered where he came from, but was able to build on that. I was able to learn more about an already fascinating individual, and I felt (just like with Lori) it was too good to keep under wraps. So, I asked him if I could share the write up I made of this beast of a man and he gave me the green light! So, without further adieu… 

David Moody – I’m Worth It

Have you ever felt uncomfortable in your surroundings? Have you ever found yourself struggling to fit in only to succumb to the fact that this is how things always will be and you might as well get used to it? Have you ever experienced a struggle with food? Whether it’s not being able to put it down, not being able to pick it up without feeling guilty, or not being able to recognize the difference between friend and sustenance… odds are a great majority of you already relate in there somewhere…

Meet David Moody.

David Moody, like a lot of people, found out through logging a lot of data hours that kids are cruel. From a very young age, he had a tough time fitting in and didn’t really know why. He did everything he could, even trying out for his high school’s football team (he eventually got cut), yet nothing worked. David still felt the sting of all the haunting taunts and hateful names he got called on a daily basis no matter what line of defense he took. Until the 7th grade, when he gave food a shot…

After a particularly tough day, David found himself wandering to the cabinet almost instinctively;searching for something to soothe the anguish he couldn’t get rid of. This is where the fireworks went off. The brain band-aid was laid out and it clicked… Food was the ticket! Food wasn’t going to make fun of him. It wasn’t going to give him a hard time. It would always be there whenever he needed it. It would never let him down nor could HE let food down! Food somehow always managed to mask the anguish, anxiety, and pain of the day to day so David started to prescribe himself heavy doses of waaaaaaaaaaay to many calorie injections. Had a rough day? The cupboard always had something to take care of that… Feeling lonely? Bacon to the rescue! This coping mechanism worked great until he got caught… His parents reminded him that all the food he was inhaling was for family dinners. Money was really tight already, so to overdue eating like that at the sake of his family was enough to get him to stop.

At least, that’s what one would hope.

David became extremely good at hiding his eating habits. An expert at hiding the wrappers and getting rid of any incriminating evidence. He was pulling CSI maneuvers before there was a CSI. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because it further deepened his relationship with food. Made it almost like a secret lover… “Of COURSE the world is going to judge me no matter WHAT I do… but food will always be there! Don’t worry baby, it’ll be our little secret…” The secret was out though and David had no idea. He was in complete denial about the adverse affect all the food was having on his body and mind. He didn’t see all the weight he was gaining. The lethargy taking place. The lack of energy in NO WAY had anything to do with the fact that he had consumed candy like he was a dumpster at the Hershey factory. The skin issues he started to generate? The high blood pressure? Borderline onset diabetes? High cholesterol? kidney stones? Nothing baggy clothes, hanging out with people in similarly destitute situations, and becoming the definition of a homebody so you’d never have to put yourself out there couldn’t fix!

Then one day about 12 years ago, David was at work. At his desk, he had himself 3 monitors all set up in front of him; One in front of him and 2 to each side. He was about to leave work, and was shutting down all the monitors for the evening. David had just gotten done binge eating through his candy drawer, polishing off some chips, and ordering a pizza when he glanced over and caught his reflection in the computer monitor. “Oh my god… I’m fat…” hit him like a ton of bricks as he scanned and poured over this reflection that COULDN’T be his… Could it? The YEARS of denial and passing blame on to others had caught up with him in a big way. Suddenly, his brain quit denying the fact that he was a mess. Harder to cope with was the realization that he had put himself INTO that mess in the first place! Could you imagine that double whammy? 

This is the part of the story where I wish I could tell you that he turned his life around, made positive changes, and he’s spent the last 12 years inspiring others to do the same. I want to tell that to you so bad. However, that is not the case. For the next 11 years, he had lost the comfort of ignorance and now lived with the awful reality that he was broken and didn’t know how to fix his internal issues. On the outside everything appeared to be great, he had a successful job at Industrial Light and Magic, his job allowed for travel and a TON of life experiences! Everything could be looked at as fine on the outside!

The issues that started since early childhood had only intensified however. The bigger the beast, the harder it was to control. The more stress and anxiety it created. He joined several different gyms and went at MOST twice to each one. He always managed to find excuses not to go and eventually even hated the fact he was making excuses in the first place! To let yourself down over and over again, KNOW you’re letting yourself down over and over again, and still not fix the problem is not only extremely hard to deal with, but is also indicative of needing to change your perspective. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results. David hadn’t come to realize it was a complete lifestyle change. He hadn’t realized that it would take a fresh mind and a lot of hard work starting with his heart and brain first and foremost to undo the lifetime of habits he had grown accustomed to. Rome wasn’t built in a day, thus it is impossible to strip it all down in one day as well. That fact often gets lost when goal setting.

David had tried every crash diet imaginable. Atkins, South Beach, Hollywood… Nothin’. He gave a failed attempt at Weight Watchers but found that futile. Binge eating and purging were to no avail. Diet pills, acupuncture, psychiatrist… Nothing stuck. After years and years of this yo-yo routine, he found himself living literally right next door to a nautilus gym. He managed to continue going for a straight month! A WHOLE MONTH! David, however, still hadn’t realized he needed to fix how he viewed the journey. He found himself working out with the “I can’t wait to eat because I worked so hard and that makes it ok to eat whatever I want!” mentality. He viewed the light at the end of the tunnel being the only thing that’s important. He hadn’t realized that it’s the tunnel itself that is A) never ending, B) enjoyable, and C) where all the magic happens. So, after that successful month, he went right back to old habits.

Then, one day about a year ago, David came across some healthy lifestyle success stories while surfing the internet. After scouring over a few, he found himself ready to give taking care of himself properly another shot! He thought to himself “this can’t be it for me… not yet…” Full of new hope, he remembered there was a gym just a hop, skip, and a jump away from his house! He always drove by it, but never found a reason for it to stand out. Well, the success stories he read were about people taking charge of their own lives. He didn’t know it yet, but THAT was the difference. THAT moment, when his spark of inspiration came from people taking charge of their own health and destiny, was what his perspective needed. Like a defibrillator to his heart and soul, he found a reason for that little gym down the street from his house to stand out. The reason was him. 

Don’t get me wrong, that realization was very flighty in the beginning… but it was there. It had already planted its roots and by this point, there was nothing David could do to shake it. He got himself a trainer at the gym. He had worked with trainers before, but this guy was a bit different. He had similar life issues to his own, and was not only VERY open about them (because David wasn’t quite ready to reveal himself that much yet) but had conquered quite a bit of them as well! Slowly but surely, that confidence started to build… The “it” factor David couldn’t find… He found it. After about 20 pounds lost via healthy decisions his new trainer had helped him out with, he found himself getting ready to do the impossible. David had come to the point where he was ready to shatter every comfort zone he had ever known and put himself to the ultimate test.

He joined a boot camp program. With a spastic trainer who seemed extremely intimidating. With a LOT of people. Where they scream, chant, yell, have team songs, and nicknames. Yeah, his comfort zone was null and void. Come to find out though, that intimidating trainer happened to be a great friend and mentor of the trainer he’d been working with! More surprised yet, this athletic trainer had a weight loss/ life changing journey himself! New fears arose however… What if I look stupid yelling? What if I can’t keep up? What if everyone hates me because I hold them back? What if I quit and stop showing up the way I ALWAYS do? What if I let my trainer down? What if I let my wife down? What if people make fun of me because I look like a fool trying to learn all these things they already know? What if I’m the fat guy? What if I’m the shy guy? What if…

You get the picture.

Like I said though, David was ready… He took all these questions and applied his new found realization; The only way he was ever going to take charge of his own life like the success stories that inspired him in the first place was to battle a lot of the hard questions that he had shrugged off for years. “You get the results people don’t get by doing the work people don’t do” is a motto yelled out constantly by the trainer in the new boot camp he had just joined. He realized this didn’t apply purely to physical fitness… In fact, David realized this was only a FRACTION about physical fitness! Most people don’t find themselves worthy enough to fight for. All of a sudden, his eyes opened and he saw truth… He is MORE than worthy to fight for. In this new found group, David found he was FAR from the only one who had issues like his! All of his new found friends were looking for a group of people who thought just like they did. Who felt that health and happiness far outweighed stress and loathing. Who wanted to fight for THEMSELVES rather than submit to settling for misery. The wonderful part was that when he was having a bad day, this group of people who called themselves “Rebels” would lift him up in an instant. He also found the joy of being able to share HIS good days with those who weren’t have the brightest of ones. It was a checks and balance system for ALL aspects of fitness, and David hasn’t looked back since…

It was through these new experiences that David realized all along he was chasing the result and trying to cut corners to get there, not realizing there was a lot to work through that had nothing to do with how strict your eating is or how hard you worked out. He saw that until he was able to see the GOOD from taking care of himself, it’ll always be a chore and always be negative. Plant a positive seed, get a positive flower. Plant a negative seed…

I can now say that David has lost over 30 pounds in the last ten months. He’s able to hold a plank for the length of an entire long song where before he wasn’t able to hold his breathe without fear of a heart attack. He is developing a healthy relationship with food and that completely coincides with his new found love of not only taking care of his body, but working out with others. He no longer shy’s away from being in public for fear of being judged. No longer does he reject his self worth. Sure, he has his good days and his bad, but David knows how to deal with the bad days now. For the things he DOESN’T know how to deal with, David has found a new support group with his Rebels. He’s able to talk about his issues now rather than bottling it up inside and trying to keep up a front of invincibility. 

The sunshine is brighter now. The laughs are heartier. The sleep is sounder. Life… is better. All it took was a lifetime to work out one simple fact to turn it all around…

“I’m worth it.”

Settin’ the Moody!!!

– Rebel8