This is me at age 16 modeling my speedo for the high school yearbook. I remember it well because as you can imagine, I was not thrilled about the image of myself in a bikini bottom being captured for 1600 of my classmates to see.
At 6'4", I always had a pretty lean build, until my late 20's, when I started lifting weights and paying more attention to nutrition. In college I was about 235 after putting on about 15 pounds of muscle.
In my early 30's, I had a lot going on in my life and stopped working out and developed some bad habits. One of those being eating massive amounts of food late at night. Have you seen the movie Gremlins? Remember what happens to the little Mogwai's when you feed them after midnight? Well, the result is not positive and the same can be said for myself. Over time my size 38 pants no longer fit and the scale was reading 275. My wakeup call came in the form of a trip to Macy's to buy some new dress pants and coming home with waist size 42. I had had enough and it was time to get back on a healthy track.
Here's a picture of me at almost 300 lbs. Not many photos of that time!
I really like slogans because they are a good way to not only remember things easily but also to keep things simple, which is important for me. So, I'll use a few well known slogans to share some of what has worked for me.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Random story. During a swim meet in high school , my teammates once overheard an opponent who I had just beaten in the 50 free referring to me as "King Kong". I guess the thought of monkeys and and my yearbook picture sparked that memory.
So, even though I actually have been described in likeness to a primate before (insert sarcasm), this has nothing to do with monkeys. It is about inspiration and finding someone to emulate which can help you get started and visualize your goals.
My inspiration to get into working out was Tony Gonzalez (Gonzo), an NFL tight end who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons. I'm an avid fantasy football player and back in 2004, Gonzo was my man. Any of you who happen to partake in fantasy football know what I mean. That guy who produces week after week for your squad and whose name always seems to end up on your roster, year after year. One could call it a man crush.
So I had just started working out with weights and saw a clip on TV of Gonzo incline pressing 100 lb dumbbells. At the time I couldn't even come close to putting that kind of weight up, but seeing Gonzo do it inspired me and I told myself that there was no reason why I couldn't do the same thing one day. This was a major turning point for me because a benchmark was set (pun intended) and I now had a specific goal to work towards.
You Are What You Eat
This is coming from a guy whose family nicknamed him the "garbage disposal" because of the quantities of food I consumed and the speed at which I did so. I had to "upgrade" to a deluxe meal plan in college, because two all-u-can eat meals a day at Chapel Hill's Lenoir Dining Hall was not enough. A typical snack for me was a Mrs Freshens honey bun that had been marinating in the vending machine in the basement of Alexander Residence Hall. Now, this strategy worked for me when I was 19; however, in my early 30's, not so much.
One of my favorite cartoons back in the day was GI Joe. Each episode concluded with a short public service announcement where a GI Joe hero would come across some kid acting a fool and offer expert GI Joe advice. After being quickly educated in the school of common sense, the kid would enthusiastically mutter "now I know!" This would then of course cue the GI Joe theme music and the hero responded with the coin phrase "And knowing is half the battle".
Well, call me Cobra Saboteur because I'm rolling with this phrase when it comes to proper nutrition and fitness results. My experience has always been that working out is only half the battle.
When I got serious about working out in my late 20's, I also drastically changed my diet. I'm no nutritionist, but over the years I've found some healthy foods high in protein and low in fat that I like eating, and I stick to them. I throw in a protein bar for a morning snack every day and whey protein shakes after working out. Once again, a key point here is that I like what I eat and it gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that my body will function better as a result.
Stay in Your Lane
This is actually a Dr Mayes saying that I really like and figured would be appropriate to close with. For me, this has to do with genetics and body type. Whenever someone compliments me or asks me what I did to get in shape, I always start with giving props to my DNA. Even before I knew how to spell working out, I had reasonably muscular arms; this came from Ralph Jenkins and Debra Fraley (may they rest in peace), not anything that I did. On the same token, I had hip surgery at age 13 due to a bone tumor and now face possible knee replacement at age 37 due to severe arthritis in my knees. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and proclaim that I'm not an ideal candidate to be a marathon runner. My body seems to respond well to strength training, and I enjoy it, so that's the lane I've chosen.
I'll leave you with my "after" picture which includes my amazing wife of 10 years!
Note about the author: Many people in town think Linc and Dr. Geno Mayes are brothers (or the same person-ha), but in fact they are only related through marriage. Linc is not only family (his wife runs the IronPT office), but he has also been a patient from time to time. Even cooler, his arm is featured on the www.ironpt.com home page. We are thrilled that he has spilled some of his secrets for us and will definitely have him contribute again to share more about his diet and workout.