I get this comment on a regular basis. First I want to make it clear, I’m not posting this as a complaint. This isn’t an, “Aw poor Bud,” search for support. I’m good. I’m posting this as a public blanket answer to those who are just stumbling upon me, my training philosophies and our sites and asking, “Who is this huge dude who doesn’t fit into society’s definition of a fitness trainer?”
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t look like the average fitness or health enthusiast. Consequently some people will never see me as fit or healthy. That’s totally ok. I really couldn’t care less. To put it in logical terms it might be best to think of me as having the body of a world’s strongest man competitor, but truly drug free (if you don’t know – steroids make a huge difference in lowering body fat), who also decided to pursue athleticism, endurance, health and balance.
Why I don’t fit the mold
A part of my story is that I had an accident when I was a child. I spent months in a body cast being given drugs and basically woke up a fat kid with permanently loose skin and what appears to be rather permanent hormone damage. No matter what I do, it seems I will never look like a thin normal person, not without surgery. I am not using that accident as an excuse, it’s simply a fact in my past and we all come into the health world with our own baggage.
So the question is… do I get to talk about health seriously even though i don’t look like what we are stereotypically taught to think is healthy? Am I healthy even though I’m big or as some people impolitely say, “fat?” (Mark de Grasse recently wrote an article on whether trainers have to be thin or not to be real or effective.) Well to answer that you have to answer what is health? Is it performance or physique or both? Most of my time has been spent toward performance and in the early part of my life, chasing being the strongest man in the world. To do that over a period of 16 years I pushed my bodyweight to 400lbs so that I could do things like squat 1000lbs, quarter squat 2000lbs, and carry a 550lb stone 40ft etc. Then I reduced 100+lbs bodyweight and concentrated on endurance and strength to do things like 3 mile sled drags and 1000-2000 rep workouts with kettlebells, sledgehammers etc.
You must eat like a horse!
I’m like anybody…depending on what I’m doing my weight floats up and down and I just finished a mass experiment. Now in doing this all my health markers, except the damaged ones, are great and my resting pulse is in the 50s. I am functional and have some of the most successful training anywhere. I’ve exceeded or am approaching some all time strength records….but I do like to eat and refuse to go nuts and eat like most bodybuilders. Absolutely no offense to them, I deeply respect the discipline, I just don’t want to do it. Believe me….you don’t want to see that me. That’s the me that gets divorced and ends up burning down small cities.
I do not however eat what most who ask this question think. Many public friends have eaten with me and while I do eat big its not insanity or junk. In fact many leaner people eat much more than I do. Its simply the oddity of human metabolics. Also it’s been said people didn’t think it was possible to be as big as me with just food or healthy food. It might not be if I wasn’t a big human to start with and ate low calorie for a lifetime, but it is possible with just food, no steriods and 28 years of heavy, smart consistent training.
Why don’t you just edit your photos to look the part?
I don’t edit/Photoshop my pics to make myself look thinner, because I want people to know that just because you look different doesn’t mean you’re wrong or not good enough or can’t do great things. The great majority of the earth looks more like my body fat percentage than thin. That doesn’t make us unhealthy or wrong as long as we’re doing the right things. It also doesn’t make thin people right or healthy just because of how they look if they aren’t doing the right things. Believe me I have dieted harder at certain periods and trained harder than 98% of the world and did not come out on the other side looking like poster boy for fitness. Guess what – truth is without the drugs and what for most people is a long term, intense, obsessive level diet, you probably won’t either. I came out with all the other goodies, I just don’t look, “perfect.”
I found out that chasing that look is a black hole for most people. Enjoying the process of life is so much more important.
I rarely explain anything I do in training or who I am anymore unless it can help someone understand those things better or thing another can find it supportive in their own life. I chose to post this in the hope it is helpful to people reading who have similar issues and will find it encouraging to achieve their own goals despite what others would say.