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.

Cha-ching!

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.

-Rebel8

Rebel X Experience

Behold! The story of the 3 month long “Rebel X” journey told in 20 minutes set to music with some added bonuses ;). I will separate the slideshow into song segments in the next day or 2, but for now… I hope you are able to enjoy it in it’s entirety.

Also, be on the lookout for a complete write up of the Rebel X experience in the next few days as well. For now…

AhhhOOOOOO!!!!

– Rebel8

What to do between challenges??

Once July is over, all classes marked “free” will turn into $10 a MONTH for unlimited “FREE!” classes!

As “Rebel X” comes to a close and “The Rebe11ion” lies in the midst (August 18th… Sign up details to come out soon…) There is about a months worth of time in between where I guarantee there will be a lot of motivation looking to get utilized. Well, this post will provide you with acceptable outlets!

Before I continue, I want to let you all know I will be gone the week of July 29th – August 5th to get a little battery recharging in before the dawn of a new wheel emerges :). After that, classes above are as follows:

– Every Wednesday @9am (except August 1st) – Boot camp beat down! A total body blast with a bit of cardio emphasis. Due to popular demand, must be kept to Anytime Fitness members (if you have a working key, you’re good!) only.

– Every Friday morning @9:30am (except August 3rd) – Mud Circuit Training! 12-20 total body exercises set up to test your balance, endurance, coordination, strength, and sheer mental grit as once the workout starts… It doesn’t stop. Designed to train you for the rigors of mud runs (Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc.) while giving you a kick butt workout in the process! Due to popular demand, must be kept to Anytime Fitness members (if you have a working key, you’re good!) only.

Every Wednesday @7:45pm – The Rebel-yum! A food group graciously co-hosted by the wonderful Liz Rait! With Bobbi Rivera as the resident recipe provider, this group invites anyone struggling with the food side of this whole health and fitness thing to come on by and talk it out! Get some tips and share your own experiences, all while finding that you truly aren’t alone in this! Click HERE for more info!

And those are just the regular classes I’ll be running! Ask anybody who has done them… Heather’s TRX classes, Michelle’s early morning classes, Angelica’s later classes, and the Yoga are AWESOME! If you’ve waiting for the opportunity to try some of these classes but have been wrapped up in Rebel… Well now is your chance to rock them out! All of their classes will be regularly scheduled the week that I’m gone, so don’t be shy to contact Heather (our wonderful personal training manager!) about any class details you may need. Don’t worry everyone, she doesn’t bite!

Now for the specialty classes I will be running!

– August 8th/15th @ 6:30pm – BOSU class! Back by popular demand for 2 weeks only! This class focuses on total body balance and coordination. Centered around “quiet chaos” this class is different than most of my boot camps… The energy is focused rather than spastic, and the workout is essentially non stop… Testing every fiber your body has got in a way so challenging the time flies by and at the end, you can’t help but want more! SIGN UP ONLY! Due to popular demand, must be kept to Anytime Fitness members (if you have a working key, you’re good!) only. Also, I cannot accept “over the internet” sign-ups. Spots are limited to 12, and you must put your name on the sign up sheet located outside the aerobic room PHYSICALLY at the gym. Cost is $10!

August 9th @ 6pm – Rebel Style Workout: Legs! That’s all the description you need 😉 SIGN UP ONLY! Due to popular demand, must be kept to Anytime Fitness members (if you have a working key, you’re good!) only. Also, I cannot accept “over the internet” sign-ups. Spots are limited, and you must put your name on the sign up sheet located outside the aerobic room PHYSICALLY at the gym. Cost is $10!

–  August 16th @ 6pm – Rebel Style Workout: Core! That’s all the description you need 😉SIGN UP ONLY! Due to popular demand, must be kept to Anytime Fitness members (if you have a working key, you’re good!) only. Also, I cannot accept “over the internet” sign-ups. Spots are limited, and you must put your name on the sign up sheet located outside the aerobic room PHYSICALLY at the gym. Cost is $10!

Also, I will be opening myself up to some more one on one sessions if you’d like to set up some tutorials where I can bring you through a workout and give you a handout of what we did when we were done so that you have the necessary tools to know what to do when your NOT doing a class! Please e-mail me  at AllLevelsTraining@gmail.com. if you’d like to set something up! I humbly ask it be kept to e-mail only and not any other form of communication so that I can best consolidate the various methods of interaction the world now provides :). It makes it easier to schedule via e-mail and e-mail only rather than sifting through your facebook messages, texts, voicemails, tweets, wall posts, and website comments :). Y’all rock!

Lastly… We here at Anytime Fitness at Santa Rosa Ave. have a new, positively AMAZING tool to help lead us all on this Fitness Rebellion… a certified nutritionist! Her name is Michelle LaBlue and she is one of our newest trainers yet started out one of our original members!

Nutrition!

That’s our girl Michelle in the middle!

She is certified through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and has her Nutritionist certification through Sac State. She is capable on every level to help you figure out the best game plan for healthy eating for YOU, not EVERYONE. What’s good for the goose is NOT always good for the gander… She’ll treat you all like the unqiue geese you truly are! The sugar on top is that contrary to the picture above, she has quite the story of knowing the ups and downs of food and fitness so you know that you are meeting with a safe, reliable expert who is going to be able to relate what you’re going through rather than talk to you like “it’s as simple as eat this and DON’T eat this…” A lot of you know my own personal struggle with food and how it pertains to fitness, so I want to remind y’all she MORE than gets my approval!

Michelle LaBlue’s contact information:
E-mail – Fitlabconsults@yahoo.com

If you’re still not convinced, here is a brief bio in Michelle’s own words:

“As a teen and into my twenties, I struggled to find balance between having a social life, exercising, and eating nutritious foods. As a result, I also struggled with my weight. I’d go through periods of trying to out-exercise my bad diet (without results, of course) followed by short-lived starvation diets, which worked temporarily, but were not sustainable and definitely did not support the strong, healthy I was trying to achieve. After becoming certified as a personal trainer, I realized how important it is to fuel your body, not only for exercise, but also to support a healthy lifestyle. I began studying nutrition at Sac State and graduated in May 2012 with my Bachelor’s in Food & Nutrition. 
I am certainly not perfect when it comes to eating “clean and healthy” 100% of the time. I LOVE chocolate and pizza, and enjoy both-on occasion. I don’t believe in deprivation-it is NOT a long-term solution. What I do believe in is finding a healthy balance in nutrition and exercise that fits easily into your lifestyle & helps you reach your health and fitness goals in the long run! 
Whether you’ve reached a plateau, are looking to lose weight or gain muscle, nutrition matters and I’m here to help!”

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! Full details on “The Rebe11ion” tomorrow, July 16th ;).

AhhhOOOOOO!!!!!

– Rebel8

Rebel X Wrap Party: Hillbilly Ho-Down!

Hillbilly Ho-down!

Don your best denim duds and join all three teams at Keiser Park in Windsor for a down home good time. Bring your significant other, kids, family or maybe some friends who are interested in checking out what Rebel is all about! The more the merrier as we celebrate an amazing 3 months together in true Rebel fashion!
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We will have some great BBQ, salads, desserts and drinks for everyone along with some other surprises!
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The party starts at 1 and will go until the parks guy comes and shuts the gate on us at sunset so come ready to party.
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This is about mingling and celebrating an amazing 10 weeks together. You’ve done a lot, now it’s time to bask in the glory of it! I will be handing out before and after certificates and  individual awards (Including MVH – Most Valuable Hulk) as well as presenting a slideshow depicting the last 3 months and a few other extra videos. This is also where you get to put your stamp on the shovel and sign it. There will also be a showcase of the past 9 challenges that got us to this point in the first place :).
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$20 per person will get you everything listed above. It would also be awesome if whoever is able could pitch in a few extra bucks for the beer/wine or bring something to share! (If you have kids under 8 you don’t need to pay for them)
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I have faith that all of you will dig deep for your inner hillbilly and really go all out with your costume.  Right?
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You can give either myself or Bobbi Rivera the $20 per person any time between now and July 14th. It’s very important that Bobbi gets everyone’s money by then so she can make sure this is the most amazing wrap party yet!
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The best celebrations are the ones that are worth it!

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I just want to take this moment to thank Bobbi Rivera for everything she is doing for this party. The theme, organization, and food stuff is all her. She booked the park, has been collecting money to get this shindig off the ground for the last month or so, and has never faltered in how hard she’s working to make sure this is the best wrap party we’ve ever had :). Bobbi, I can never thank you enough for all that you do 🙂
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I can’t wait to celebrate with you all 😉
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– Rebel8

Train the trainer… What it means to me

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 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!

The best part is yet to come…

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Above you will see a video I made of all the workouts I’ve written out from start to finish for this Rebel X challenge. You’ll see the top left hand corner has the dates of the boot camps. Feel free to pause and see all the little notes I’d written on each workout. This notebook has spent the last 2 and a half months growing. A TON of memories and experiences are locked tight within. Thank you all for allowing me these memories to be created. Thank you all better yet for there for the moments. If you didn’t give everything you initially hoped to give or didn’t meet your own expectations, well just remember it’s never too late. Take that feeling you never want to feel again, and make sure you never feel it again.

I look forward to this final boot camp week for Team Ignition, Beast, and Ballistic. After all, it’s not how you start…

– Rebel8

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

80’s Night!

As promised, a little reminder for what 80’s night entails! At the very least, the entertainment value of these are worth it :). FYI the first minute on the first video are all pictures from Blacklight 5.0 Workout, then it’s all 80’s gear from there!

 

 

Can’t wait to see you all!

– Rebel8 

“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