This week we bring you torrentprime, a Fitocracy user who turned his life around. In a few short years, he “pulled himself back from the ‘gonna die’ brink” and is now a complete and total rock star in the gym. If you’d like to nominate a member for a Weekly Member Spotlight, contact users lexyloowho or xJenx or simply email email@example.com.
Username and level:
How did you find Fitocracy? How has it changed your workouts?
I first heard about the site on realjock.com, a site for gay athletes, fitness enthusiasts, etc. Fitocracy has changed my workouts in one key, totally-predictable way: it makes me want to do more, get more points, level up. I love that the social network thing is working here not just to help people spend more time on their computers but make physical changes in their lives. Competition but harnessed in a positive way.
Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
Well, I guess it’s (real quick) story time: over the past three years, I have lost over 100 pounds. I have been fat for all of my adult and teenage years, and despite trying (and yo-yoing) a lot over the years, I was never able to make anything stick. I never kept any weight off for more than a few months, and even when I did lose some it was only 20-30 pounds at most. A few years ago, I got pretty badly injured – jaw broken in a few places and otherwise banged up. I ended up with my jaw wired shut for 6 or so weeks. And in that time, I lost some weight – everyone does when wired shut; you don’t have a choice – but it’s only for a little while. It doesn’t make lasting change. But this time I wanted to not mess it up. I just told myself over and over: not this time. Don’t quit, don’t go back to the unhealthy life, don’t stop the progress. I spent 5-6 days a week while I had the wires on going to the gym. i was so scared! I would walk from the front door, to the desk to check in, to the first treadmill for my walk/run for an hour, and when I was done I would walk right back out. I didn’t even have the courage to go to the locker room; didn’t want anyone to see my body. But, I stuck with it. After the first 30 or 40 pounds were gone, I had the courage to start lifting. From there, I just never looked back.
Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying I don’t know what my long-term goals are because I have just discovered my body for the first time in decades, and… I don’t know what comes next! I’ve been hiding for a long time, so I am discovering myself what I want to do, what I can do. My first thought, though, is that I want to take boxing. I want the cardio, the speed, the grace, and the skills that boxing can offer you. My best friend also signed me up for Warrior Dash, so that is my next big challenge.
Do you have any pics to share?
3 years ago and one year ago.
Current (August 31).
What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
I learned the hard way not to push myself too hard. I am not a kid any more and overtraining just wipes you out, destroys your progress… and makes you really really crabby. I responded to my weight loss by overcompensating, a little, and thinking I could do anything, and I was doing too much too soon and injured my shoulder and tired myself out.
Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
I still hate cardio. I was so heavy for so long that I kinda freeze-up or get scared about running, so it is hard for me to relax into a run and try to learn how to run for more than a short sprint, learn to get some endurance. I love lifting, and I think I gain muscle pretty well, but I still stick and stay stuck at anything cardio.
What motivates you?
What motivates me is very simple: I don’t ever want to look that way again. Always get better, always keep working. Never stop.
Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
Almost everything I use comes from t-nation.com. I use the standards: creatine, leucine, fish oil, and protein shakes. I also use a freeze-dried fruits and vegetables powder which I add to morning and dinner shakes, multi-vitamins and HotRox. And I take calcium, because with my dietary changes, I don’t drink as much milk as I used to (actually, I almost never drink it), and I don’t want to lose all that calcium. I use Surge Recovery after a workout. I have been on a few different diets over the last two years. I know that the body can adapt to anything, so I try to keep changing it up often. I did Biotest’s Velocity Diet this summer, and I lost about 14 pounds with that – really helped lean me out a little. I am doing a carb cycling program now, but if I had to say simply how my diet has changed, it’s pretty simply: I eat >90% whole foods. Almost no prepared or processed stuff, if I can help it. I tend to walk by almost all of the grocery store aisles – I don’t want a lot of it.
If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
It’s the hardest thing to learn or accept, and you either get over it or you don’t, but: This. Will. Take. Time. Every time I found myself getting pissy or whiny about how long my transformation was taking, I just told myself: “You didn’t get like this over night, and it’s not going to be over night to fix it.” I probably didn’t believe it or accept it myself, at first, but it helped calm me down.
What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
LOL. I don’t know. I have a little training mantra, a formula I say when I need to reach down deep and finish a set, or I want to check or correct my form, get a form exactly right. It’s from a comic book and is kinda silly, but it helps me focus, clear my mind, etc.
What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
It has helped me view competition – badges, points, competition, etc – as good and healthy things, and not just things to be afraid of. FFB (former fat boy) syndrome is in my head a lot, and I like having ways to peel that stuff off.
One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
It’s never too late. No matter how much time you wasted, no matter what chances you missed, those are never an excuse for not doing right tomorrow. You can ALWAYS pick up tomorrow, and this time make it stick. Corny, but it helped keep me sane.