If you flash back to the beginning of 2009, you would have met a very unhappy and unhealthy 325 lb person. Here is the cliff notes version of my lifestyle: My activity was defined by being at work in front of the computer or at home watching my TiVo on my HDTV. Meals were provided by any fast food restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was a weight gaining machine and nothing could stop me.
I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to stop eating and drastically change my lifestyle. If my experience counts for anything, I can tell you that it’s not that easy. And if you were to ask me about when reality smacked me in the face, I’d tell you that I was a masochist because it happened on a daily basis. Of course, there are moments that vividly stand out. Like the time the drive-thru associate knew my name and what I wanted to order, after only hearing my voice… that smack left a bruise. Or the day I caught myself making a decision about where I was going out to eat with a group of friends, by recalling if I could fit in the restaurant’s booth. Nope! Not one of those defining moments did it for me, but all of them as a whole, helped me to take the first step.
For me it was about taking it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other and one small accomplishment after the next. I found victory in not drinking a soda for a whole day, or driving past my regular fast food joint without stopping to order something. Soon, my small steps led me to Michael Collado.
I remember our first conversation. He asked probing questions about my current activity level and my eating habits. It was more than just going through the motions of measurements and data elements. I truly felt like Michael cared and wanted to see me succeed. In fact, it was clear that he believed my success was in direct line with his success; it was no longer a journey on my own, we were in it together. I took my first sigh of relieve.
Who knew that breathing was so important when it comes to exercising? I felt like I heard “Stanley, don’t forget to breath”, “breath in, breath out”, “Stanley, stop holding your breath” from Michael. I also recall gasping for breath at 4:30 in the morning after crying in my car in route to the gym. I had many conversations with myself in the car that went something like this: “You’re already up, don’t turn around. If you call out sick now, he will hear that you’re driving and know you lied.” I learned quickly that I couldn’t even escape my round 2 solo workouts in the afternoon. I can recall holding my breath when Michael called me at 7pm while I was on my way home from work after deciding to skip my 2nd workout. He left a voicemail. Of course I called my voicemail box right away and held my breath while I listened to his message that went something like this: “Stanley, it’s 7pm and you haven’t made it back to the gym. Where are you? You better get back here right now!” Needless to say, I found a way to make a u-turn on 64 West and made it back to the gym. Thankfully, I can look back at those hard times and laugh at myself.
It got easier! I should clarify; the workouts did not get easier! I repeat, did not get easier! Michael made sure I was always challenged. What did get easier was my ability to motivate myself to wake up early or hit the gym for for round 2. It got easier for Michael to know when I was slacking. It also got easier for him to motivate me to work harder because he learned how to push me; He took the time to learn who I am and how I function. But most importantly, it got easier for me to read my own body, to know when to challenge or when to ease off. I discovered more about myself.
I am not an unhappy and unhealthy 325lb person anymore. Training with Michael, I lost a total of 113.5 lbs in 6 months, for a grand total of 123 since the beginning of 2009. Today I am 22 pounds from my goal weight of 180 lbs. I’m also a cycle instructor now, giving back to those who helped me along the way and to those who need 60 mins of motivation. Training with Michael enabled me. I have gained the knowledge I need to eat healthier, the form I need to become stronger, the experience I need to put together an awesome workout, the determination I need to achieve new milestones and the friends I need by my side to challenge me and for me to challenge back.
A long journey is always easier with friends. I was excited to find a friend in Michael Collado. In search of a personal trainer, I found someone who was completely invested in my health and well-being. Someone who took the time to make a workout plan according to me and not just a cookie cutter format. Michael was never afraid to share his knowledge with me, because that knowledge empowered me to become healthier and stronger. Working with Michael was a completely different personal trainer experience. An experience I think others could hardly replicate.
If you’re reading this, I hope that my story serves as motivation for you to take one more step in your journey towards a healthier you. If you feel you’re standing in my old shoes, understand that you’re not alone. I am still fighting to become healthier and Michael continues to share his talents with people just like us. Consider not waiting for your next defining moment to make a change. Instead, find happiness in taking it one step a time. Do not dwell on slip ups, or be discouraged by plateaus. Acknowledge them, learn from them and then take another step forward. Set small goals that in turn will help you reach your long-term goals. Then, there will be so much more to celebrate! And a healthy lifestyle is definitely worth celebrating.