I was a very active and athletic kid. In high school I was an avid basketball player and played basketball at every opportunity. When it was too cold to play outside, my buddies and I would sneak into our high school gym to simply play ball! (It was a very small town, so there was no real risk of facing criminal charges) By my senior year, we had our own key. I knew I wasn’t good enough to play college basketball at any level, but I continued to play throughout college at Arizona State University. My buddies and I would play a pick up game anytime, anywhere that we had the chance. One night I went up for layup and landed awkwardly and blew out my ACL in my right knee. It took a couple of surgeries to get it right, but my basketball “career” was over.
I could still play golf, so that was my activity of choice thereafter. Unfortunately, golf is not a game that provides much of a workout, and I have never been a “gym guy.” I didn’t hate the gym, but I also definitely didn’t enjoy the gym. Gradually, I put on weight. When I graduated from high school, I weighted about 165lbs (I’m about 5’ 10” with the right shoes on). By the time I was 26, I weighed roughly 240lbs. I saw a photo of myself at my mother’s house and literally didn’t recognize myself. I had continued to eat fast food, drink soda and beer, and live life like an active 21 year old, but I was no longer active at all. I begrudgingly joined a gym and committed to stop eating fast food and to stop drinking regular soda. I switched to “light” beer and diet soda. Over the next year, I had tremendous success and lost about 60lbs.
At 28 I landed the job that I had always wanted. I landed a job as a paralegal at a great law firm. Unfortunately, along with the new job came happy hours – several nights a week. I quit the gym (because I never enjoyed going) and I was drinking beer again. To make it worse, I started smoking!! Yes, it is true, I was dumb enough to start smoking at the age of 30. (I am still the only person I know of who has ever started smoking at 30!) Fortunately, I also met my wonderful (and patient) wife at the new job and she never allowed me to eat unhealthy.
So, I didn’t start eating fast food again and continued with the light beer and diet soda. Although I was about as far from “healthy” as a person can be, I wasn’t “heavy.” I drank and smoked my way through most of my 30’s and scoffed at my wife when she even mentioned working out. My weight slowly climbed and my muscle mass slowly faded away to nothing. I only weighed about 200lbs, but I was all fat and no muscle.
In October 2010 my wife and I took a
dream vacation to Maui. I had quit smoking by this time, but I was still completely adverse to any form of exercise. We had a great vacation, spent every day on the beach and took alot of pictures…………ALOT of pictures. We arrived home and my wife couldn’t wait to get the pictures printed. I didn’t recognize the guy in the pictures. I thought I was a relatively fit guy, at least that’s what I always told myself when I looked in the mirror. I learned that day what people mean when they say “the mirror lies.” I was embarrassed with myself. That guy in the picture just didn’t match the image of myself that I had always had. I knew I had to make a change, but really didn’t want to drag myself to the gym every night after work, and I definitely wasn’t going to get up at 5:00am to go to the gym.
As luck would have it, my wife and I met my parents and my sister (Amy Curry Nelson) for Sunday breakfast shortly after returning home from Maui. I rarely spoke to my sister back then, not for any reason, but we were both busy with our own lives. I couldn’t get over how incredible my sister looked. She was wearing a tank top and she was ripped, literally ripped. She was always in relatively good shape, but nothing like this. I asked her what in the world she had been up to? She said “P90X.” She had just completed her first 90 days. I had heard of it. I had seen parts of the infomercials and I heard their adds on ESPN, but I always thought it was a “scam.” I had a theory that all of the “before” and “after” pictures were fitness models who were paid to gain 30lbs for the “before” picture and then they’d take the “after” picture when they dropped the weight. Now, having seen my sister’s amazing results, all of my preconceived notions about P90X were blown out of the water. I left there with an idea…why don’t I try P90X and see what happens? So I did.
I started P90X in February 2011. I was turning 40 in May of 2012 and I wanted to have a solid year to improve things before I turned 40. I didn’t know if I’d stick with it or not, but I had my “why.” My “why” was because I didn’t want to be the lazy beer drinking red faced guy with 30% body fat and zero muscle mass when I turned 40. And I didn’t want to be that guy for my wife any more either.
I read the P90X fitness guide from cover to cover. I read the nutrition guide from cover to cover. I knew it was going to be tough, but I was committed. My wife and I agreed that for 90 days I was committing and hour and a half, six days a week, to getting healthy. I almost threw up when I took the fit test. I called my sister and told her that P90X was probably not the program for me. My sister told me to stop being a baby and suck it up. “BRING IT” she said.
The next morning I started. I barely made it to to work after. The next day I pushed play again. I barely made it to work again. It was the hardest thing I had ever done and I was 2 days in! But I knew I had found the program that was going to change my life. I wasn’t going to quit. I didn’t quit. I completed the 90 days. I took a week off and did it again. I took two weeks off and did it a third time. 2011 was pretty much over and I had seen amazing success. I had lost four inches off my waist and dropped about 10lbs. I lost a whole lot of fat and built a good muscle mass, but I wasn’t “satisfied” and I wasn’t done. I was hungry for more – the athlete was awake in me and there was no going back to the sedentary life.
At the challenge of my sister, she and I started P90X2 at the end of January 2011, but she also insisted that we both drink Shakeology for breakfast ever day for those 90 days and see what happened. Well, what happened is that P90X2 made P90X look easy. I pushed myself harder that I ever had. I drank Shakeology every day and really committed to my diet. P90X2 ended on my 40th birthday. I had lost a total of six inches off my waist. I weighed in at 174lbs. My scale measured my body fat at 11%. I had far surpassed every goal that I had set when I started my journey, and I had experienced my own transformation. I had my own “before” and “after” pictures, and I knew that they were real.
It was shortly thereafter that I decided, again at the suggestion of my sister, to become a Beachbody Coach. I made a commitment to pay it forward, to share my story and my experiences with anyone who wants to transform their life, but isn’t sure how. I wasn’t sure how to do it either, but I did it with Beachbody programs and Shakeology. I absolutely love helping others to do the same, to DITCH THE BELLY!!