Who are you trying to be Healthy for?

That’s exactly why I’ve never felt more alive. Join me? Welcome to the Rebellion…

“I Can”

Let me start off by saying that everything you are about to read is unfortunately the perspective of a great majority of people rather than the minority of a few. SOMEWHERE in this brief synopsis of how I’ve come about to the person I am today you will be able to affiliate yourself with a nugget or two of moments that make you say “I feel that way…” That is why, as a representative of the majority, I’ve yelled about change to the point where I have literally scarred my vocal chords and changed the pattern of my voice forever. Here is why…

I grew up in a household where money wasn’t abundant and there wasn’t enough hours in the day for the amount of hours my parents needed to work to raise 2 boys. Week days were “mom time” and weekends were “dad time.” While this worked out when I was younger, it turned a little tumultuous as my years started to advance. I started to crave television and cheap junk food rather than playing outside and coming inside when the sun went down. My parents were concerned, and definitely tried to coax me off the couch, but my brain always overrode their efforts. Kids are cruel, this is not a mystery, but for some reason they seemed to pay extra special attention to me. My triple chins, thick afro-esque hair, and shy demeanor made me an easy target. It didn’t help with each passing grade I seemed to gain about double the weight that is average for a kid to accumulate as he matures. 

This made its presence known through a variety of ways. I’d wear sweatshirts in 110 degree heat and tell people I ran cold blooded when the sweat on my brow and stains on my shirt were a dead give away that I was lying. The reason for this? When you are uncomfortable in your own skin, you are ALWAYS aware of it. Every second. Whether you’re going to bed, taking a shower, watching a movie, exercising, eating, hanging out with friends, working in the yard… ANY moment you can think of you are aware of how tight your pants feel. Of the crease in your belly hanging over your pants (or that very same belly resting on “its side” when you are laying on your side on the couch or in bed). Of your lungs seeming inability to work right when you do something as simple as climbing a half set of stairs. Of people taking pictures (making sure to keep your chin really high because if you can’t get rid of your chins, you can at least stretch them out, right??). Of eating whenever there is ANYONE around and feeling ashamed of it because all you can think about is how disgusted they probably are at watching you eat. It didn’t help that at every corner, at the bus stop, on the bus, in class, or walking home I was constantly blasted with every insult under the sun and beyond pertaining to how fat someone could be. If I responded, it riled them up and made it worse. If I didn’t, I was laughed off and called every colorful adjective to let someone know they are a “pansy.” I could go on and on…

To handle this, I developed several coping mechanisms. The first was to cut myself. In the thigh. With pens. In my room. By myself… I grew to crave it. There was something liberating and exhilarating about being able to CONTROL the pain I was in since I was going to be in pain all the time anyway… At least, that’s how my brain viewed it. My “pilot” (the area of my brain where I get to make conscious decisions) was on a psychotic break and wasn’t very good behind the wheel. My brain turned into a dark haven of self loathing and worthlessness. If I was Batman, my brain was Gotham City. The criminals, indeed, were winning.

Enter Freshmen year of High School… Even though I was coming in at a tiny 5’3″ and a not-so-tiny 265 lbs I thought “ok, kids are more mature now, maybe I can get a break!” To summarize how well this worked out for me, the INSTANT I stepped foot on campus I got greeted with “hey, nice shirt!” from a senior who earned points with everyone around him because everyone LOVED it. Literally the SECOND High School started, I figured out that older kids aren’t mature… They’re meaner.

After a traumatic event of bullying that I’m not quite ready to share with the world on a national scale quite yet (but soon. Let’s just say it involved bleachers, duct tape, and a secluded park corner) I decided to make a change. It was 2 weeks in to Freshmen year that this event occurred and I thank everything considered holy that it did. Not everybody is lucky enough to have a life changing event such as mine. Trust me, at the time I felt it was the extreme opposite of luck and fortune, but hindsight is 20/20… After all, you’re reading this now, aren’t you?

I was sick of being scared all the time. I was tired of feeling worthless. I couldn’t stand my own mind, body, or soul anymore and SOMETHING had to change. So, I marched home that fateful day on a mission. That mission was to join a gym. That’s when my mom saved my life… She not only got me a gym membership, but promised to drive me there every day. She made good on that promise. There came a time when I started to ride my bike to the gym, but at the realization that it was a great warm up not because she got sick of it. Again, my mom saved my life. 

Flash forward to Sophmore year. I’ve lost about 40 lbs and have successfully “cleaned up the streets of Gotham” for about a year now. I had even started the habit that has stuck with me to this day of constant self research and looking for the most optimal yet varied way to eat right and exercise properly. It was around this time there was a criminal uprising… My dark haven was starting to make a triumphant return. Things like “you really think you’ll always be able to keep up with this much exercise?” and “you were born to be a nobody, that was your roll… why fight it?” kept popping up. I also hit a plateau in weight loss and went from feeling accomplished to being convinced I was spinning my wheels. I thought to myself “something has to change…” That’s when my NEXT major coping mechanism reared its ugly head. After all, it was the only logical step…

So, I started to throw up all my food. In bags. In my room. By myself… Not only did this hurt my throat, give me horrible teeth I still pay for to this day, and cast doubts on my health by my peers, but I didn’t tell a SOUL about it and battled this new demon all by myself. I learned to hide it better and better as I went, and the more I put up a fake smile to assure everyone everything was alright when it was far from, the more the miserable the heavy feeling in my chest became. The more worthless I felt. The more I believed everyone who made fun of. I thought “so many people can’t be wrong… I mean, am I the only one who doesn’t realize I’m a loser?”

Then an epiphany hit. A “moment.” A strike of teal lightning. If you’ve seen the movie “Phenomenon” starring John Travolta, then the moment when he looks into the blue light in the sky… Well, it was kind of like that…

I had a realization that I didn’t want to settle for misery anymore. I was tired of being tired. Sick of being sick. I was worthWHILE, not worthLESS damnit. See, all this time I was trying to prove this to all the wrong people. I wanted my parents to be proud. I wanted love and admiration from my peers. I wanted girls to like me. I want to have nice abs like the jocks thought “I need the perfect body so that everyone will like me! Then, I can buy the clothes I want to buy! I’ll get a girlfriend! I’ll stop getting made fun of!” All this time… I was doing this for all the wrong people. It took years of mental warfare that manifested itself into physical torture on every level (cutting myself, obsession with exercise, and bulimia… The big 3!) for me to come to a conclusion that too many people never get the gift of realizing. A gift that has caused me to scream about this realization so passionately that my aforementioned permanently scarred vocal chords are worth ten times that if only one person makes the same “Phenomenon” style conclusion I was able to make at the very young age of 17.

Instead of “proving myself” to my parents, my peers, and family… I needed to be healthy for ME. I tell you… That day the clouds parted. I stopped everything cold turkey. I stopped throwing up everything I ate. I stopped cutting myself. I stopped LISTEN to the negativity that seemed to be the only thing swirling around me and realized that there was positivity everywhere! I just had to open my eyes to it! It was a scene straight out of the Wizard of Oz only I had made it to the destination. My yellow brick road was lined with Reebok cyclers, pens, vomit filled grocery bags, tear stained pillows, fake smiles, more hours spent at the gym than at home, and many more character building side stops along the way. The pain and sorrow was necessary though. For me at least. It showed me there IS sunshine after the storm! You just have to find out… All that glitters ISN’T gold! Sometimes though, gold isn’t what you need… The grass ISN’T always greener on the other side because if you take care of the grass you DO have, then who cares about everyone else’s grass! You’ve got your own to worry about!

Once I realized that the goal wasn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, but rather making my own LIGHT in the tunnel and ENJOYING the journey… Life has been the best roller coaster any amusement park has to offer. I’ve competed in several body building competitions, I’ve run (and led) 2 Tough Mudder teams, I’ve completed an 8k (a fat kids marathon), and more importantly… I enjoy the sunshine every day has to offer. I wake up with a vigor for the day, rather than a resentment that I woke up again… I’ve learned to ENJOY eating right and staying active for the sheer reason that I’ve never smiled so much in my life! I used to look at it like a chore, but now I remind myself that I do this for the friendships I’ve formed with everyone I’ve come to find who thinks like I do! Who have been down similar roads! Now, I can go to the river and take my shirt off regardless of whether I have a pudgy tummy or not. I can enjoy it! Why? Because I no longer huff and puff climbing down the sand hills to get there!

To conclude, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. They say misery loves company, but I find the exact opposite to be true… Misery loves to keep you to itself, where as euphoric bliss is TRULY the gregarious social butterfly…

The second you BELIEVE you can is the second your life is yours.

– Rebel8

Join the Rebel-yum!

Welcome to the Rebel-yum!

Hey Rebels!

I just wanted to put out there a reminder that every Wednesday night at 7:40pm at Anytime Fitness off Santa Rosa Avenue there is a food group open to all members of Anytime Fitness and Rebel X! If you’re not a member but would still like to check it out, no problem! Just send me a quick e-mail (Alllevelstraining@gmail.com) and let me know! I’ll make sure you are properly set up to have a good experience (mandatory I get an e-mail though… We need to know and be ready for any non members showing up).

For those of you who don’t know,  We are the Rebel-yum. A group of people who get together weekly and discuss how our weeks nutrition intake was. We go over ups, downs, victories, disappointments, frustrations, questions, realizations… Everything that makes eating right and taking care of yourself so damn hard… because let’s be honest, we all LOVE having great energy, feeling good about ourselves, feeling comfortable in clothing of our choice, and feeling amazing when you’re being active… So again, we go over all the reasons why we know all of the latter yet it’s like pulling teeth from a shark sometimes.

Puttin’ down the cheese wheel and going for the greenery… I like it!

In food group, you’ll find new perspectives you might not have thought of before. You’ll find you’re not the only one having a tough time. You’ll be a part of a support group set and ready to keep track of you on the “My Fitness Pal” app that is all the rage (that app is awesome! It let’s people keep up with you and share information all while having an insane database of food to make keeping track of what you eat SUPER easy!). You’ll also have the ability to share what YOU know that could possibly help someone else! We’ve all accumulated a lot of experience on this journey we call life… Let’s put it all together and make figuring it out easier!

Every week, we will have a topic of discussion as well as a healthy food recipe provided by everyone’s favorite Bobbi Rivera. This week, the amazing and fantastically super Liz Rait (who co-leads the group with me… Thank you Liz!) will be offering up a special “exercise” (non physical) that all I can tell you is going to be a ton of fun while helping integrate some light bulbs hopefully turning on as well :).

Lastly, you don’t HAVE to speak. You are more than welcome to come join the Rebel-yum as a spectator until you feel comfortable enough to share! If you’d like to keep up with everyone via Facebook (CICK HERE), we also have our own group where The Rebel-yum posts daily. VERY helpful!

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at AllLevelsTraining@gmail.com. Look forward to seeing you there!

– Rebel8

When running the same monotonous rat race doesn’t work for you anymore.

Rebels… UNITE!

The photo of that handsome young man above is that of Anthony C. Sanchez. Born August 1st, 1989. Son to Anthony and April Sanchez. Many of you know Rebel sisters Kristie Clay and Sam Enos, wh0 have been fighting this rebellion alongside us for quite some time now. Anthony happens to be their cousin. He was 23 years old. His aging stopped on May 14th, 2012.

Last month, Anthony was diagnosed with AIDS. After blood testing, they found out 2 things… 1) it looks to be he contracted HIV from an unknown source when he was 15 years old and 2) had he been tested only a year ago they could have stopped the HIV’s progression to AIDS. Fact of the matter though, you can’t wish about changing the past when your reality is the present. Ever the optimist, he was told that if he maintained taking care of himself and with the right medications, he’d be alright!

As it would turn out, this prediction was far from coming to fruition. He WASN’T feeling better 2 weeks later and found that he was starting to have trouble breathing. A trip to the hospital uncovered the unfortunate circumstance of Pneumonia. Given the dire scenario, he was admitted to the hospital. For 4 weeks, he fought with all he had. His family fought with everything THEY had.

On May 14th, he went down swinging.

Do give a bit MORE of a backstory, Anthony’s younger brother Dylan had gotten into a bad car accident a year prior. He was on his way to school and was blindsided. Even with more surgeries than you’d think possible, Doctors didn’t predict survival. If he DID survive, full recover was slim to none. The bright spot on this story is that via some sort of miracle, Dylan DID make a full recovery. By the grace of whatever you find to be holy, he made it. I’m sure you caught some keywords in there though… “Surgeries,” “Doctors,” and “Recovery.”  The hospital bills piled up. So much so they lost their house in order to keep moving forward.

Trying to keep afloat after such a trying event is hard enough. That’s when the family was hit with AIDS diagnosis. With no paid leave off of work, Anthony’s mother and father (Kristie and Sam’s Aunt and Uncle) stayed by Anthony’s bedside till the curtain was closed. A new set of hospital bills emerged…

As a community, this is where we come in. Kristie Clay does photography of the professional variety. She is amazing at what she does, and wants to help out her family. If she was a millionaire, her and her family’s problem would be solved! She’s not, however so… it’s not. To compensate, this Sunday and next Sunday, she is offering one hour of a professional photo experience. The weather is perfect for family portraits, right? Doesn’t the sunshine make you want to commemorate how much you love your hunny with a picture or several? How about those glamour shots you’ve been looking to send off to those modeling agencies? Pick your pleasure! Either way, the breakdown is as follows:

What’s the deal?: 1 Hour of professional photography with a full CD of all photos taken, professionalized by Kristie herself

When?: May 20th (Sunday), May 21st (Monday), and May 27th (Sunday). ALL DAY! Space is limited to hours in the day!

Cost: $80 (normally $100-$200 depending). 100% of the proceeds are going to the Sanchez family. No profit, just love!

Location: Spring Lake. Kristie knows all the great photo op spots!

Contact Kristie Clay to book your appointment! She will be running them ALL DAY both days, so you’ll have lots of options (before they fill up that is!).

Kristie Clay Contact Info: 

If you aren’t able or would prefer not to do photos but would still like to help, call, message, or e-mail Kristie to find out more info on how you can contribute!
Thank you Rebels. I’m proud to know every single one of you. Rebels UNITE!

– Rebel8 

Rebel X 360 Challenge

You plant a positive seed, you get a positive flower!

I have a challenge for you… This challenge has been my own personal leg work (with some additions that won’t be listed here for time purposes) and I felt last week that it’s something EVERYONE can benefit from! It’s a play on my favorite leg circuit of all time and consists of 3 different leg exercises: Squats, step ups, and lunges. The way you DO them allows you to not only work on strength and sculpting but balance, coordination, oxygen usage efficiency, and heart rate as well. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Grab a BOSU

How you’ll feel at the end!

Step 2: Grab some dumbbells of your choice (decide on weight AFTER you read what you’ll be doing…)

Kettle bells (matching) work as well

Step 3: Grab a plyobox

The tallest box at the gym constitutes FULL 360. The shorter step is good practice to build up to the taller one!

STEP 4: Set it all up!

Configure your equipment so you have a place to do step ups, a place to do squats on a BOSU, and a readily available lane to lunge in (outside works as well!).

The Challenge: 

The number “360” comes from the amount of repetitions you will be doing. 1st, you are going to do 30 squats on the BOSU (black side up) holding the dumbbells at shoulder height. Once you are done there, you are immediately going to head to the tall plyobox and do step ups one leg at a time. Be sure to have the entirety of your foot on the box when you step up, always have one foot on the box at all times (alternating which leg you are stepping up with), and be sure that the leg lifting you up on each step is fully extended before you switch feet (no short changing yourself!). Your hands need to step extended and out to the side the ENTIRE TIME (no dumbbells, just body weight). After 30 total step ups, you are going to head to your lunge lane with dumbbells twice the amount of weight that you were squatting with (if you had 10s, use 20s. If you had 15s, use 30s. You get it…). After 30 steps, you get to start the cycle all over again! Let me break it down a bit simpler:

  1. 30 Squats on BOSU with dumbbells at shoulder height
  2. 30 Step ups on tall bench with arms fully extended out to your side
  3. 30 Lunges with dumbbells twice the weight of the dumbbells you squatted with hanging at your side
  4. Repeat 4 times in a row.
If you are able to complete the above task (minimum dumbbell requirement for squats set at 10 lb dumbbells, tallest box needs to be used for step ups, and weight needs to be MINIMUM double your squat weight for the lunges) in UNDER 25 MINUTES then you will receive a rebellion shirt saying so! Every shirt will be unique and feature rebellion designs all over. Make sure you have a witness!

Click HERE for a video on proper BOSU squats (soon to be replaced with videos from yours truly!)
Click HERE for a video on proper step ups (soon to be replaced with videos from yours truly!)
Click HERE for a video on proper walking lunges (soon to be replaced with videos from yours truly!)

 – Rebel8

Ready for some Rebel wear?

Got your uniform yet?

What’s up Rebels??? Got all the shirts made, all 82 of them ;). The picture you see above is after the last shirt was hung on the rack and I was able to step away from the paint fumes momentarily and admire the finished results of a Rebel’s uniform.

Every one of your shirts is hand made and individually numbered.  “X marks the spot” so you’ll notice that the “X” in “Rebel X” is over a red heart on all of your shirts. Which happens to be located over your actual heart (or close to anyways). The back says “Rebel” across the shoulders similar to a jersey with “Timetorebel.com” starting at the lower left hip and creeping up your back and to the right. Your number (again, similar to a jersey) is in the center. Every number was randomly selected out of a shoebox to keep it completely fair. Lastly, I added a “rat” stencil on the back of every shirt in a different position (for the most part) on everyone’s shirt.

Be proud of your number. By now, you all know the “Fitness Rebellion” kick off panel I went to in Minnesota. Well these numbers signify you are part of the original rebels in this area. Shoot, in ALL areas. People will say “what’s that mean?” and you’ll be able to say “you’ll see…” Be proud knowing not a single soul has a shirt like yours. There are a couple of you I even made a few mistakes on the shirt, and I left it… I even “ghost stenciled” my number next to it as a sort of “sorry for the mistake!” signature. Most of your shirts have mismatched lettering, or a few blotches in the stencils. Many of them have paint droplets at random sections and areas. Some have textured numbering, some don’t. Some have “candy” paint thinly coated on your numbers, some don’t. What they ALL have are threads set to receive the sweat of almost 80 rebels who are about to set forth and change the world. 

Just another Tuesday…

I put a Unicorn on my shirt as a shout out to my mythical better half 😉

If you want some gear turned into “Rebel Wear” I will stencil and paint anything you bring me! I’ve already tested the paint in washing machines on several different materials, and thus far they all work! I’ve got a lot of stencil and paint graphic ideas, so if you want to be a guinea pig for some design ideas, that works for me too ;).

Alright Rebels, I’m off to finish up the playlist for tonight’s first core workout of the challenge. 4 Corporals… it’s gonna be a rough night for Team Ignition 😉



Shirt #1 belongs to Art Villareal. Heart like Art!!!!

– Rebel8 

Welcome to The Rebellion

Is There Anybody Out There? There sure is…


Here we are. If you were wondering what that aura was in the air, it’s The Rebellion. It’s been percolating for quite some time now, occasionally smashing against the walls of society with a flare up here and there, but the pressure has grown beyond its container. The lid is no longer able to stay atop the vessel with the rumblings of a group of Rebels set to stand up against the definition of Health and take it back. Make it for the people. Make it REAL. 

The Rebellion is going to have an official Website launch in June. Right now, myself and several others across the nation are in the process of collecting stories. Tales of health and happiness of the variety you don’t commonly hear about yet consistently yearn for. The feel good tales that stimulate your vagus nerve and constricts your throat in which can only be masochistically described as a sensation you can’t wait to feel again.  Those stories have that effect because those are the stories you can relate to. The kinds of stories where you take it all in and say “yep, I know EXACTLY how that feels…” only, the difference is these are going to be VICTORIOUS stories. 

We’ve all heard the tales of 200 lbs lost or couch to 100k or “Type II diabetic slays dragon after marathon on elliptical while refinancing his home!” What about if you want to have more energy in the more? What about keeping up with your kids or grand children? What about wanting to simply stop huffing and puffing up stairs? What about taking up that sport or outdoor activity you’ve always wanted to try yet have convinced yourself it’s too late? What about wanting your back to stop hurting when you brush your teeth in the morning? Any of that ringing a bell?

Join The Rebellion. A rag tag group of misfits hell bent on not being hell bent anymore. Determined to seize life back. Ready to get the results people don’t get by doing the working people don’t do. A group of people screaming at the top of their lungs and smiling just as intensely as they go through the workout of their life twice a week and emerge from the dust not only stronger, but ready to help out anyone within reach.

We are a movement. You’re either participating or spectating.


– Rebel8

PS Team Gamma and Team Banner, if you click on the schedule your team name has changed for obvious reasons. Team Gamma, you are now TEAM IGNITION. Team Banner, you are now TEAM BALLISTIC.

Together, we are The Rebellion.