“From G-Fat to G-Fit”
In setting up our twitter account, one of the first individuals to follow amongst a slew of media folk was Michael E. Green otherwise known as @G_Fit_ToRoNTo_. As he walked (tweeted) with us through the setup phase, his tweets were unassuming, and very friendly; RT’ing motivational and inspirational tweets, as well as his workout regime. If this guy isn’t working, he’s working out, or advocating for fitness! #truth As we became more comfortable, and our vision for @socially_fit became more defined as a place to create a #network; get #engaged; share #experiences; and raise awareness around #fitness; we set out to #build the #brand. Needless to say @G_Fit_ToRoNTo_ became one of our main supporters. At this point it became quite obvious that fitness and wellbeing was something that he was very passionate about, but who was he? We decided to take a quick look at his profile to gain a better understanding, and sure enough we found out that Michael recently lost 90lbs, and has maintained his weight loss for 8 months! No wonder he’s excited. With Canada in the midst of an epidemic of overweight and obesity (currently, 59% of adult Canadians are either overweight or obese) we begin to wonder about his motivation, and if he would be interested in sharing his story; so we DM him, and guess what? Here’s his story in his own words.
“To say that health and fitness had absolutely nothing to do with my life in the past, would be grossly understated. After turning 18 I quit playing sports and started to enjoy the nightlife. Alcohol [abuse], drug [abuse], horrendous eating habits, and a complete lack of respect for my body all led to an increase in weight that I could not control. My diet was full of fast foods, nothing but processed garbage going into my body for 16 years. Without any thought that I was destroying both my body and livelihood.
Last Easter while visiting my family in Niagara, a lot of pictures were taken. A week later they were emailed to me. What I saw in these pictures absolutely disgusted me! I had let myself go completely, and the pictures sure showed it. I looked so big that I couldn’t believe my eyes. I looked massive, even more so next to my girlfriend who is 4’11” and weighs 105 lbs. I jumped on the scale and saw I weighed a heart breaking 267 pounds! I could not understand how it had gotten this out of control. After thinking about my life I realized change was desperately required.
On April 29, 2011 I made a decision that would change my entire life. No more processed foods, fast food, or sugary beverages. I began a strict 1500 calorie a day diet. When I got home from work I would do 45 minutes of resistance band training. I kept up with the new plan and found I was feeling great. After 3 weeks I checked the scale again. What I saw blew my mind! I lost 19 pounds in 21 days! At that very moment I knew that what I was doing was really working. It motivated me like you couldn’t imagine!
I started going after this weight loss like a maniac! I refused to revert to my old ways. I started enjoying being active and eating healthy. I was finally taking my life back. By August 2011, I dropped down to 177 pounds! It happened so fast and yet I knew this was only the beginning. Now it was time to make sure that all of this hard work would last the rest of my life. Each day now I’m extra careful about what I eat, when I eat it, and how many calories I consume. I still keep track of my calories as it makes the maintenance phase much easier. Every time I see someone I haven’t seen in a while and they tell me how great I look, it just makes me glow inside! When I look at myself now, I know that I want to get better each and every day!
I work construction and long hours are the norm. Finding time for the gym was not going to be an option. I had to do it from home. Once the weight was off, I switched from resistance band training to weight training. I do my cardio by running through the city and my weight training in my basement. I purchased a universal weight machine, free weights, benches, pull-up bars, ab wheels, kettlebells, skipping ropes, and medicine balls. Everything I need is right here so as soon as I’m off work, I’m able to grind through a solid workout without having to leave my home. Throughout the whole process, I have never trained with a personal trainer. I learn my workouts from magazines, books, and talking to a few friends I have who are trainers. All of these things really helped me. I’m constantly learning new things and this keeps things fresh and enjoyable.
My workouts now start with 45 minutes of cardio. I’m more into weight training now so I do Day 1 upper body, Day 2 lower body and abs, Day 3 cardio and circuit training. I rest Day 4 and then attack the routine from the beginning again. I’m always switching exercises and routines so that my workouts do not become stale. New exercises really intrigue me. I’m so new to this lifestyle that I am always surprised by the things my body can actually do.
The hardest challenge I found was making sure I stuck to my ultimate goal. When I lost around 50 pounds, a lot of people told me how great I looked and I didn’t need to lose any more weight. I started to think that they were right, but I remembered what my goal was. I knew that I had to push myself even harder!
When I was at my heaviest, I was in a state of denial. Instead of telling me I was fat, everyone would tell me I was just a “big guy”. I really didn’t agree but I did nothing to change it. As time passed I started to look at myself, and I realized I was obese. I was so out of shape it wasn’t funny. The more I thought and envisioned myself being fit, the more I didn’t like the guy I had become. Wearing size 40 pants and XXL shirts was not appealing! I realized this “big guy” was actually a “fat guy” and it was killing me inside. I didn’t like what I was seeing and my confidence was dwindling.
My friends and family have been extremely supportive through this whole process, especially my girlfriend. She works out 6 days a week including 3 Muay Thai classes! Knowing how hard she trains definitely kept me going! During this transformation of mind, body, and soul, everyone has been incredible. Helping to push me, keep me on track, and keep me motivated! The best part is some of those same people who encouraged me, are now asking me for guidance and tips! I truly love knowing that what I’ve accomplished now motivates my friends and family as well! Just as they supported me, I now do the same for them!
I currently weigh 188 pounds. I am starting to put on muscle and am completely satisfied where I am. I think my overall goal is to be between 195-205 pounds with a body fat percentage under 8. In the beginning my plan was just to lose weight, but as I progressed I realized more and more that I want to help others achieve their goals and become healthy as well! I am considering becoming a personal trainer. I will start by getting my CanFit Pro certification and then I will add more courses and certificates from there! I can’t wait to switch careers and get the chance to motivate others!
I really want people to understand how easy it is to make simple changes and better their overall health. I worked 12 hours a day and still made time to make a difference in my life. Even 20 minutes a day of light exercise combined with a healthy diet can make a significant change in one’s life! It’s never too late to better yourself. I’m turning 35 in June and am in better overall shape now than I was when I was 18! You just have to ask yourself, how bad do you want it? Read nutritional info on foods because it’s there for a reason! Think about what you’re putting into your body. Your body is your temple and once you start treating it as such, you will find a level of respect for yourself that you never thought possible!
If I had to leave you with one thought, it would have to be this: don’t ever doubt yourself. We are much stronger than we could ever imagine! It’s in each and every one of us to be great! We’re all so consumed with our busy lives that we make excuses for our poor diet and fitness routines. It’s time to change the current trends of obesity and start fighting to take our lives back. No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it!!”