Posted by on Sep 24, 2012

Member Spotlight

This week’s Member Spotlight shines on Kurokai, who has fought back from poor health and come out buff and tough badass. If you know of a Fitocrat deserving of a weekly member spotlight, simply contact users lexyloowho or xJenx or simply email fitocracymemberspotlight@gmail.com.

Username and level
Kurokai. Level 36.

How did you get started in fitness and training Do you have any pics to share?
Geez! Where to begin!?
I was a very active, happy, and healthy kid growing up. I loved swimming, biking, climbing trees, kickball, and running around for no reason. My weight was never a problem until middle school when I dealt with a lot of personal and family related issues. I kept getting fatter and fatter, became depressed about it, spent less time hanging out with friends, and more time indoors playing video games, eating a bag of family-sized Doritos and washing it down with Hawaiian Punch. My pediatrician basically told us I was on the cusp of just about everything horrible, especially considering that hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes affected many of my family members.

Me, middle school:

My health took a nose dive during my senior year in high school, when I was hospitalized for months with actinomycosis, followed by a severe allergic reaction to penicillin given to me for treating it. (How ironic, eh?) Lost muscle and strength from being bed-ridden for so long, gained a lot of weight from the numerous alternative medications I was placed on, and by the time I graduated high school I was tipping the scale at over 260lbs.

High school graduation:

When I reached college I started doing cardio and crash dieting in the worse way. I mean really, really stupid methods like Special K and soy milk or Rice Krispies and water only diets. Lost thirty or so pounds, but obviously still felt like crap. As one might also guess, I was constantly sick and gave up eventually. Late in my sophomore year, I learned about Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”, picked up a barbell for the first time, and learned the essential lifts.

In my junior year I focused on losing fat in a safe and effective way. I adopted the low carb approach first. Then I read Brad Pilon’s “Eat Stop Eat” and Robb Wolf’s “Paleo Diet”, tried them and liked how they made me feel. I also dedicated myself to getting up at 6am three times a week to lift, no matter what. Combined everything and went from 235lbs to 182lbs by graduation. After that I transitioned to Mark Sisson’s ‘primal diet’ and kept on a low carb (sometimes ketogenic) diet. I found Fitocracy and the rest is history.

Took this before work. I have no explanation:

My first back photo. Coming along, coming along:

How did you find Fitocracy? How has it changed your workouts?

Good question. I read about the site online and got an invite code from either Tumblr, 4Chan, or Reddit. I don’t remember which one.

Anyways, Fitocracy has definitely improved the intensity and focus of my workouts by adding an element of competition and easily traceable progress. Unlocking achievements, earning badges, and trying to place high in group contests keeps me motivated and gives me something extra to look forward to.

Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
Want to do a strongman/strongwoman event one day. I’d also love to pull a plane, toss around atlas stones like swiss balls, flip massive tires like pancakes… All that good stuff. For my body: I want to cut a little more fat and pack on as much muscle as my genetics allow me to. (Bear-mode, please!!!) I have this glorious image in my head of me walking down the street and having people convinced that they just crossed paths with a cargo jet.

What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
I learned to go easy on the carbs, that low-bar squats are disastrous for my back, my body likes and responds best to lower reps/heavy weight, and doing more than three spin classes a week is a bad idea (no matter how hot the instructor is.)

Learn more? Ha! Think I need to stop reading so much about lifting, fitness, etc. Information overload!

Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
Need to work on my ‘mind-muscle connection’. At times I psych myself out of lifts that I’m well capable of. It’s VERY annoying. Also: cheesecake, peanut butter bumpers cereal, coconut milk ice cream, green tea lattes, ‘paleo pancakes’, Jamaican beef patties, and anything my mom bakes.
Where do I excel? Hmm… Rumor has it that I’m strong and I seem to do ok at deadlifting. After a solid workout, I’m really good at making entire rotisserie chickens disappear.

What motivates you?
Never wanting to be as overly fat and weak as I was before.
Oh! And looking good for all the honeys. (Need an ‘other cardio’ workout partner? Hit me up, ladies…)

Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
I follow Sisson’s ‘primal diet’ approach 80% (I refuse to give up dairy.) I also do intermittent fasting and keep my carbs low (100g max). This approach seems to work best for me out of all the methods I’ve tried.
Supplements I take every day: creatine, omega-3s, vitamin D, and a raw food multivitamin. I also drink an obscene amount of herbal tea (ginger, dandelion root, mint, and rooibos). On workout days I down a nice cold glass of yerba mate tea before heading to the gym (or Monster Rehab when I’m too feeling lazy to brew tea.)

If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
Nail down the basics (watch lots of instructional vids, read articles, etc.) Once you’ve done that, find the combination of things that works for you and grow with it.
Also love yourself and your body throughout the process. Just because you’re not at your goal or have more work to do doesn’t mean that you have to schlepp around, belittling yourself. Be proud of the steps you’re taking towards achieving your goals and every milestone you reach, no matter how minor you think it is.

What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
Cheese. Pounds and pounds of cheese; cheddar, muenster, cottage, and provolone, to be exact.

What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
Very positive impact. I’ve always looked forward to lifting, but now I’m also looking forward to logging and tracking my progress on the charts. I really like the community we have going here too. I don’t have many friends who like to lift heavy (if at all), so it’s great to connect with like-minded people.

One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
There are many paths you can take to reach your goals. Own the one that benefits you the most and makes you feel great.

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