For this week’s Member Spotlight, we feature a gent who grabbed life by the testes and hasn’t let go since. Seriously, FatLenny is an amazing guy who brought himself back from the brink through sheer force of will. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for the Fitocracy Member Spotlight, please contact users lexyloowho, XJenX or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Level: Awesome! (36 on Fitocracy for now)
How did you get started in fitness and training?
I would say that athletics has always been a part of my life. My parents always encouraged me to be active and as a result I competed in multiple sports every year until I got to college. Towards the end of high school I got involved in a non-competitive subculture if you get me. That is where my motivation to compete in athletics stalled in favor of munchies and tweaking. Go figure. College continued that trend, but it wasn’t until I was 21 that I really went down a different path.
Just before my 21st birthday, I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and put on medication that had some effects that added over 100 pounds to my frame in the span of one year. Okay… it wasn’t just the meds. Looking back, I realize that I was making food and activity choices that were the real problem. In any regard, I went from 5’10”, 210 pounds body wieght to 320 pounds in 12 months. I also grew to about 7’3” and became a beast of a wrestler…
True story… well.. all except that last part about wrestling… and being any taller than 5’10”. :’(
Do you have any pics to share?
Yes. Don’t mind the skivvies, please.
Even more: http://imgur.com/a/2P67N
How did you find the site?
I was a member of another fitness forum ( John Stone Fitness Forum ), and a friend over there threw up a link and the suggestion. Here I am. Cool site.
How has it changed your workouts?
Fitocracy has definitely introduced me to some new exercises and techniques (not to mention a lot of strange characters), but I’d have to say the biggest impact has been the changes I’ve made in volume, intensity and density. On first joining, my workouts were typically 500-800 points, I think. Between UCQC and watching other members activity, Fitocracy has pushed me up to 1200-2800 on most workout days. The workouts have not changed in duration, though. Almost every session is an hour long, give or take 10 minutes. Even frequency is largely unchanged (4 days per week on average).
Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
After having lost over 135 pounds of body weight over 23 months, I would never have guessed that I would not be perfectly happy with my physique, but… yeah, I’ve got some things I want to accomplish. I want to find out if I can modify my body composition enough that the loose skin I have in a few spots will snap back. I also would like to see my one rep maximums start moving up again. The last 6 months of weight loss, all of my big three power lift numbers stayed the same or dropped by 5-10 pounds. I want to move those up and cut down to a lower body fat level simultaneously. I’m hoping to stay the same weight and just fill out with more lean mass.
What are things you’ve learned through trial and error?
I’ve learned that my body responds well to higher intensity sets with low reps and short rest periods. This was how I was able to sustain my weight loss as I got closer to my goal weight. I also found that more sets, less reps, shorter rest intervals and heavier weights are more conducive to cutting fat and maintaining strength than anything else I tried. It took a long time(probably 12-14 months) for me to discover that a macro balance including slightly less than 50% of calories from fat when combined with 1-1.5g of protein per pound of body weight gives me plenty of energy and allows me to feel full, maintain strength and lean mass, and drop fat in a caloric deficit.
What areas do you hope to learn more about?
Nutrition has been the area I have always needed the most help with mastering. I am constantly searching for information and learning. I know it is the key to getting through my quest of snapping back the loose skin, and body recomp. That is what I need.
Currently, where would you say your weakness lies?
My weakness is ice cream. And computers. I like to sit in front of a PC (or Mac) for long periods and I have a hard time not having 3 bowls of chocolate sauce covered ice cream with toffee candy sprinkles. Seriously. Good. Stuff. So yeah… nutrition. lulz.
Where do you excel?
I’m really good at eating. Ice cream, mainly. Dammit. Why did you get me started?
What motivates you?
Two and a half years ago, my wife was pregnant with our first child and I took an online longevity test. The results told me I would not make it to take my daughter to her first kindergarten class. Yep. Dead within 5 years. I guess having a BMI closing in on 50, smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day, drinking 2 or 3 two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew each day, sitting on the couch nearly all of my free time and eating close to 7000 calories a day(filled with pizza, cake, candy, fast food and lots of other uber-processed junk) isn’t the best lifestyle choice? Who knew?
So I quit smoking(cold turkey), replaced all drinks with water, started working out and researching ways to get healthy and live longer. Entirely selfish. I’ll be damned if I was going to take away my personal joy of being with my daughter the majority of her life. I refuse to deprive myself of that happiness. End of story.
That whole thing was really just a catalyst or the initial motivation. I have no idea how I’ve been able to continue to be motivated. My theory is that it is entirely due to the fact that my reason, my “why” is 100% selfish. If I was trying to do all of this for anybody else’s benefit other than my own, I don’t think I would have been able to maintain this cut for 2 years.
Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
Supplements I use are fish oil(2g daily), vitamin D(35,000 IU once a week) and a daily multi-vitamin(Centrum for Adults 30+). The only dietary change I’ve made that has been with me consistently throughout this process is excess water consumption. I’ve experimented with just about every nutritional idea out there, but I have never stopped guzzling water(and likely never will). I drink between 1.5 and 2.5 gallons of water every day(some filtered and some tap).
If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
Don’t wait. Start now. Learn as you go. Do SOMETHING!
Drink copious amounts of water(do NOT drink your calories)!
Lift weights. Traditional cardio is only necessary if you enjoy it.
Log everything. Food. Activity. Weight. Body Composition. Mood. Energy. ANYTHING you can think of logging.
Live! Have fun! Do more!
Share it with everybody who wants to be included!
What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
Humor and the fact that I don’t really care what others are saying about me. I know what I’m trying to accomplish. At the same time, my eyes, ears and ideas are always open to what other people think works. I can learn something from anybody. ANYBODY. I just have to pay attention long enough to find it.
What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
I HAES AWESOMEPANTZ NOW.
One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
Seriously? You don’t have to be OCD or do everything right on plan 100% of the time to make progress or accomplish big things and hit goals. You really just have to get things right 80-90% of the time to get it done. Life is not about micromanaging your food intake or exercise intervals. It IS about having fun, feeling good and loving the moment. Never get down on yourself. It has no purpose.
Missing a meal or your macros for a day won’t kill you as fast as stressing about it will. Go to that BBQ. Have a few hors d’oeuvres. Celebrate. Then get back on plan when you aren’t celebrating with family and friends. I never met a Thanksgiving dinner that made me feel guilty… that’s my in-laws’ job. :p