Step by Step

Let me ask you all a question…did you take a step towards your goal of living a healthy life? They didn’t show it on my episode, but last year my first challenge was to run stadiums at Turner Field. I had to carry a bucket with 40 lbs of Coke up and down the field and terrace levels from the right field foul pole, behind home plate, and all the way to the left field foul pole. I honestly thought it was impossible. A third of the way around I thought I would never make it. Chris told me to not look at the whole challenge. Look only at the step in front of you and take it step by step. That is how you have to take all challenges in life…weight loss, school work, or any other thing that must be conquered.

If you want to start your weight loss journey then take the first step and CHOOSE to change. Then create a small attainable goal so that you don’t always look at the big end of the road goal. That can be a scary thing. I would sometimes look at the fact that I had 216 lbs to lose and I would be overwhelmed with analysis paralysis. Not a good feeling, I’ll be the first to tell you. I made sure to focus on the smaller, more manageable, easier on the brain goal. I know I didn’t hit the first couple of goals, but I put a solid dent in each of them and ultimately got to where I want to be.

So, if you have a goal to accomplish, be it a weight loss goal, a job goal, a school goal, or just a life goal then take it step by step. With each step you’ll make progress and your goal will be within reach before you know it.

A-Train

Q & A #4

Well, this weeks question I took from my unlimited friend’s page and it comes from Becky Metcalf. It reads as follows…

I don’t exercise, but I am ready. I’ve always wanted to run. How did you build up your tolerance? I run 50 feet and I’m out of breath. And does it ever get to a point where you can just run and run and you don’t get tired?

You build up a tolerance by repetition. Chris told me last year that if I wanted to do something then I have to do it and continue to do it to over and over until I got the hang of it. I know for me I do intervals. I am still building up my stamina to full strength post skin surgery. When I go to the park I am doing three “gangster” laps. I will run for 2 tenths of a mile and then walk the same amount off and on for a couple of laps. Sometimes I’ll do a tenth off and on. I will run a total of about 2 miles a day and then walk about 3. Each week I am adding a lap (1.1 miles) to the total and with each passing week I am becoming stronger and more running-tolerant.

So, run the 50 feet and then walk the next 50 to recover for an hour. Next week run 100 feet and walk the next 100 for an hour. So on and so forth. Give that a shot and I think that would definitely help. I haven’t reached the point where I run (for exercise) and don’t get tired, but when I reach that point I will up the ante because that means my body has acclimated to what it’s doing and needs a new challenge.

Hope this helps Becky,

A-Train

Weekend

Another Monday is here! That probably isn’t too exciting to most especially all the kids who had to go back to school today i.e. my little brothers, but you can’t hide from Monday’s so let’s all make the best of it!

I would like to take this opportunity to share with everyone the weekend I had. Saturday morning Courtney and I went to the Hard Rock in downtown Atlanta for the Biggest Loser Season 13 casting call. There were a bunch of people there! I would say it had to be upwards of a thousand peeps. We got to meet and talk to many of them and they couldn’t have been more sweet! Joel, Brian, Bert, Ciara, and Robin are just a few of the really cool peeps we got to talk to you. We actually had a few very special visitors come down to meet us who weren’t even trying out for the show. A very special shout out goes to Mary Hamilton, Dot Reilley, Kathy Lee, and her daughter Sarah for coming to say hey.

BL13 Casting Call with the ADORABLE Sarah

One thing everyone who tried out for it should know and remember is that it isn’t about a show. I know that is easy for me to say since I was on one, but not everyone who tries out can be picked so they MUST begin their journey at home. Don’t wait around for a show to pick you. CHOOSE to make the change for yourself and make it today! Your life is far too important to just let it slip away when the want to change is clearly there. Don’t wait until tomorrow…start TODAY!

Sunday morning I was invited to share my story at Crossroads Church in Douglasville, GA. It was such a great experience! I plan on posting the video when I get it, but in the meantime I can tell you what happened. Crossroads is clearly a 21st century church. They are very technological and I love it! My man Chris Thomas put together a video intro for me to come out to and then I got to chat with the pastor. They started a new series called “I Quit” and I went to share how I quit making excuses about losing weight and how I finally followed through and became a healthy me. It was such a cool experience and I thank them for having me. After each service I got to meet a bunch of the people in the congregation and they could not have been more kind! That is the way to start a Sunday! Courtney and I had lunch with our new friend Chris and Lauren Thomas afterwards and they are really great people. I just want to thank Chris, Lauren, Brian Preston, Travis Williams, Justin Owens, Pastor Greg and all the peeps at Crossroads for having me!

Fun Times at Crossroads

A-Train

Q & A #3

Happy Wednesday peeps! I got an email the other day that really got me thinking. I began contemplating what I went through and what I have seen my brothers and other family members go through. When I was doing my pardio (cardio at the park) with my dear friend Alison we chatted about it. So, without further ado here is this weeks question courtesy of Olivia…

Do you recommend, teenagers that are over weight to lose weight? So they don’t have to worry about further health issues when they are older.

In an ideal world while we grow up our parents would feed us healthy food and we would get plenty of exercise, but this world is not exactly ideal. So, instead of healthy food and exercise we have fast food and video games. I think that it truly depends on the teenager in question. I’ll give you two examples:

  • Myself: My Mom and Dad did everything they could thing of to try to get me to lose weight when I was in my teenage years. My Mom took me to Weight Watchers with her and she tried to help me do that. That didn’t take. My Dad offered me $5 a pound I lost. That should have gotten me to lose, but no dice. On and on they tried to no avail. When I finally decided I wanted to change is when I changed.
  • My cousin Charlie: When he was younger he was overweight. He was always active playing soccer, but his diet wasn’t the best and he stayed overweight. When he was in his early teens he made a choice to lose weight. He went to a nutritionist who helped him with his diet and he continued to stay active and he lost his weight and to this day some 10 years later he has kept it off.

As you can see my cousin and I took very different paths. No matter the incentives I was offered I was not ready to lose weight even though I truly did not want to be overweight. Charlie wanted to lose weight and did what it took. The one thing I can say is that you can’t really force someone to lose weight. Odds are that if someone is forced to lose weight their mindset isn’t changed and they are more likely to go back to what they knew before and gain the weight back. If they choose to change then odds are they will change their mindset and the change will stick.

When my friend Alison and I were doing our pardio we started chatting about this and what could be done. The most overwhelming thing we came up with was that parents can start stocking their pantries and refrigerators with healthier foods. For the first few teenage years these teenagers are more than likely eating two of their three main meals with their family. Instead of fast food why not cook at home. If parents are working, then how about you take some time to teach these kids how to cook? Cooking can be enjoyable and parents can teach their kids how to do it so that they don’t feel like they have to go for the bad food when their parents aren’t around.

These are my thoughts. What are yours? Throw a comment down below and let your voice be heard!

A-Train

Adversity

I learned there are troubles
Of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead
And some come from behind.

 But I’ve bought a big bat.
I’m all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going
To have troubles with me!

-I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

Dr. Seuss really had a way with words, didn’t he? In this life we are all going to have troubles. It is a forgone conclusion. Some will have money troubles, some will have marital troubles, but for most of you reading this it is weight troubles that have to be dealt with. Dealing with weight troubles is not an easy task by any means, but it is something that you can do. You need the WANT to do it and the WILL to see it through. The WANT needs to come from within you for you because you can’t WANT to change yourself for someone else. That kind of thinking will take you off course very quickly. WANTing to change for yourself will more than likely keep you focused on the task at hand. I know from personal experience that it can get difficult day in and day out, but the WILL that you find within yourself can help you make it over those speed bumps in your journey.

So, I say to you…whether you are just starting out or maintaining your healthy lifestyle go grab your big bat and show your troubles what kind of a trouble you can be.

A-Train

Q & A #2

For this weeks Q&A I have decided to go with one pretty substantial question. Yes, I know I said I would do a number of them each week, but I feel that this particular question warrants a good deal of thought. So, without further ado here is this week’s question courtesy of Amanda:

I’ve dealt with a fear of failure as I’ve worked on my weight loss.  It has held me back in the past because I would lose weight only to gain it all back double. This time I’ve really just decided failure is not an option, but that fear still rears it’s head every now and then. Did you deal with fear of failure, and if so, how did you overcome that?

During my journey I knew that I would have millions of people see my results. That could have been enough to have me cowering in the corner with fear. I didn’t so much see it as a fear of failure though, but more as an incentive to succeed. I knew that if I failed I would have to answer to millions. However, there was one person in those millions that I had to look in the eye everyday and that was myself. I couldn’t let myself down again. I had taken on this challenge and I was determined to succeed.

The fear of failure is very real and while I might not have that particular fear there are many who do. I think it’s alright to have that fear as long as you don’t let it hold you back. You need to fight against it. You may lose a battle with it every now and again. That is understandable, but you CAN and MUST win the war.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

Amanda, when that fear decides to rear its ugly head again. CHOP. IT. OFF! You may have a bad day where you run for the comfort food, but just remember that you have control. Choose to not make it two bad days, or three bad days. Look at the bad day. See what you did wrong. Learn from your mistake and correct it the next day. You can’t rewrite history, but you darn sure can write a happy ending. As long as the pen is in your hand the story is yours.

What will the end of your story be?

A-Train

Haters Welcome

“People only try to bring you down because you’re up so high they can’t see you.” – Rev. Run

No matter what you do in life you are going to have your detractors or, as I like to call them, haters. Why, you ask? Well, as far as I can tell that is just the way some people are. They say misery loves company and those miserable souls out there seem to not like it when someone is happy and trying to spread some positivity in the world. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Example 1:

Say you’re overweight and you go to the gym. You are clearly going there to better yourself and to become a healthier you, but the people in the gym stare and comment amongst themselves. That, for years, kept me away from the gym, but I finally realized one day that it doesn’t matter what they think or say because I am there to right my ship.

Example 2:

We’ve seen it in the movies a number of times…the dumb bully knocks the books out of a smart kids hands. It happens, but it shouldn’t. That kid has those books because he is trying to make something of himself. Just because you don’t want to study and don’t want to better yourself doesn’t mean that you have been given the right to make those that do suffer.

Example 3:

This is just a blog. I don’t claim to be a fitness expert or anything. I am simply a man who, through hard work and determination, lost 216 pounds in 1 year. All I want to do is to provide motivation and inspiration for those out there who need to lose weight like I did. I aim to share the knowledge I gained from Chris Powell and if I help one person then that knowledge was not passed on in vain. That’s all I am trying to do. I am no expert. I am just a man who went through the weight loss journey successfully and now it’s my turn to help others do the same.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Jesse Jackson

Recently I have acquired a new hater or two of my very own. This person, who is choosing to remain anonymous, is calling me a fraud. Their accusations are three-fold. They say that I starved myself all year, dehydrated myself all year, and that I am only dating Courtney because she is now skinny and famous. These accusations could not be farther from the truth. Let me take them one by one:

A) Starvation: During the year I ate five meals a day, one every three hours. Sometimes I even had to force myself to eat because I wasn’t hungry. I say that is far from starvation. I ate healthier this past year then I have in my entire life and I have the results to prove it.

B) Dehydration: I did not dehydrate myself. I drank two gallons of water a day. Even with as much working out as I was doing I would say that is more than enough water to stay hydrated.

C) Courtney: We have been great friends since the beginning of 2010 and now we are taking it to another level with dating. We both like one another very much and, to be perfectly honest, that is all that matters. Also, I know that I have had many questions regarding our relationship and that she has as well, but for the time being I think we will keep it just between the two of us. I am sure we will let the masses in on our private party in due time, but until that time…stay tuned.

I know I shouldn’t give these messages the time of day, but I read them and I think that it really is sad that someone feels it’s necessary to take time out of their life to TRY and bring someone down. I emphasize try because you’re not succeeding.

I’m flying too high for you to reach me.

A-Train

Delay

Well, I know I promised you an interview with the one and only Courtney Crozier today and we did the interview. However, I decided that putting up audio instead of a written interview would be more fun. I’m having a tad bit of trouble uploading it though. So, bear with me and I hope to have it up by the end of the weekend.

A-Train

Q & A

I think the title says it all so let’s just dive right in!

Q: My friends are always asking what keeps me motivated. So, maybe you can tell us what keeps you motivated. – Davette Baker

A: My overwhelming motivation in all I do is to make my parents proud. My Mom and Dad have been and always will be my biggest supporters. My Mom passed away far too young and my Dad has done everything in his power to keep our spirits up. He has done a wonderful job. I could not have dreamed of having better parents.

As for working out it changes daily really. Sometimes it’s a song or a quote that gets me pumped. The last song I listen to during every workout is “All I Do Is Win” and that pushes me to finish strong. Plus, with every workout I get stronger and I want to see what I can do next. That’s great motivation.

Q: What was the hardest thing about losing weight? – Christina

A: The hardest thing for me about losing weight was staying focused the whole time. Over the course of a year things happen and when you work out 5 hours a day, 6 days a week there are days when you just don’t want to. I’m not going to lie, some of those days I didn’t do my workouts, but other days when I didn’t want to I pushed through them. That is something we have to do. We have to fight harder when we don’t want to or don’t think we can. Anything CAN be done, you just have to want it bad enough.

Q: What are your favorite low calorie snacks? – Brooke Maneotis

A: I love me some fruit! Oranges are the best, but also pineapple and strawberries. Hummus is also a good one. You can dip your favorite veggies in it like celery or carrots. I also enjoy some non-fat Greek yogurt with some Truvia and maybe a little granola. Delightful!

Q: What is your favorite cardio exercise? – Robison Raie

A: My favorite form of cardio is a tie between intervals at the park and boxing. Boxing is a lot of fun because it lets you take out any aggression you might have built up inside and it gets your heartrate cranking. I don’t get to do this much because I like to have a partner hold the mitts so I usually stick to intervals at the park. I choose a distance for the day and alternate running and walking. Intervals are crucial in the battle for weight loss.

Q: How long do you exercise everyday? – Kristin Dunn

A: Well, when I was on my journey I worked out 5 hours a day. Now that I am maintaining I exercise between 2 and 3 hours. I still do 6 days a week though. I usually lift weights for a hour and then do some cardio for a hour or two.

There were a lot of great questions this week and if I didn’t answer yours this week check back next week as I may answer it then. Thanks to everyone who sent in their questions and keep them coming to alexrespess@gmail.com.

A-Train

Integrity

Integrity – adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Integrity, in my humble opinion, is a very important part of a person. Think about it…if your integrity is high you feel better about yourself. If your integrity is low, then odds are you aren’t feeling too great about yourself. You see, integrity and self-esteem are interconnected. How about an example?

Say you have dinner plans with a friend and you are going to meet at 7pm. You show up at 7:10. That 10 minutes damages your integrity and your self-esteem whether you realize it or not.

I know that’s a very generic example, but it’s one most of us can relate to. If you’ve ever been late before (you have, don’t lie), then you probably apologize for your tardiness upon arrival. That’s something we call clearing your integrity. We’ll get to that later.

During my year with Chris Powell on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition we spoke about integrity quite a bit. He is a big proponent of keeping your integrity high because if your integrity is high you can be more productive and accomplish more. There were times throughout the year when my integrity was low and so was my self-esteem. Story time:

During phase 2 (the second three months) my integrity and self-esteem were very low. Granted I had already lost 97 pounds, but that really didn’t matter. I was supposed to work out for 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. There were days where I just didn’t want to do it and I didn’t even though I said I would. I committed to Chris and myself that I would do 5 hours, 6 days. The fact that I said I would do it and then failed to do so damaged both my integrity and self-esteem.

Story #2: I didn’t bail on the 5 and 6 all the time obviously, but when I didn’t bail I had a difficult time getting my butt to the park on the schedule Chris and I created. Showing up 10, 20, 30 minutes after I said I would hurt my integrity and self-esteem. I wasn’t meeting anybody there. It was just me, myself, and I. So, I was only accountable to myself. By not getting there on time I wasn’t hurting anyone other than myself and doing so showed in the results I had in phase 2. They sucked.

Something Chris impressed upon me was to commit to what I would actually do. Don’t commit to 5 hours if you’re only going to finish 3. You’re only hurting yourself. Commit to 3 and finish those 3 and you’ll feel much better because you did what you said you were going to do. You kept your integrity intact. If you fail to follow through it could turn into a vicious cycle. One day turns into two. Two days turn into three. So on and so forth. So, if you have one bad integrity day don’t tell yourself you’ll do it again and just succumb. Make the next day better. Commit to something and follow through. That will raise your integrity and self-esteem and the feeling that brings will make you want to continue on that path.

Eventually I started feeling better about myself and committed to 5 hours and rocked 5 hours. It was a mental war I fought with myself. I may have lost a battle here and there, but I won the war. 216 pounds later I am committed to keeping my integrity and my self-esteem sky-high. Come join me up here the weather’s nice!

This is what happened when I took my integrity and self-esteem to new heights!

A-Train