Before I get started, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I do walk the walk:
That’s about as lean as I’ll ever care to get, and though I don’t look like that all the time, I do stay pretty close – enough to fairly say that I have my weight and fitness solidly handled.
Now then, a little about me:
My name is Pete and I’m a relatively normal 30-something year old guy. In particular, I’m normal in that I struggle and stumble too – I didn’t always look like what you see above:
So how’d that happen? And, more importantly, how was I able to “fix” the problem and transform into the starkly contrasting prior picture?
We’ll get to that, but first we need to back up to the beginning – that transformation, and this site coming to be, is all intertwined with my “life story” so to speak.
Truth be told, that second picture set was an isolated incident. Up until that point (around age 27), I’d been pretty lean and active my whole life. I was a varsity athlete in high school and college, and I’m fortunate in that weight was never really an issue for me while growing up. Here’s me at the ripe age of 22, then at the tail end of my athletic career:
Like many other similar people, my interest in health and fitness largely burgeoned from my desire to improve at my sports, and from there I became generally interested in body composition (losing fat, gaining muscle, looking good naked basically). My journey, though, has been a tumultuous one, including going through what so many others before me have gone through…
For me, this included:
- A brief stint with veganism and meat/dairy alarmism
- A subsequent and longer stint with paleo and carbohydrate/sugar alarmism
- A subsequent and *slightly* more sensible stint with strict calorie and macro counting
(truth be told… I never really could actually stick with either – I broke the rules all the time.)
(which actually worked pretty well, for a while, despite being an exhaustively neurotic endeavor)
This all spanned 5 or so years of my post-college young adult life, from roughly the ages of 22 to 27. But through it all, despite my admittedly fickle beliefs going all over the place, I still managed to somewhat inadvertently handle the basics, enough so to stay lean and in decent enough shape.
But that changed – at around age 27 my professional life ramped up and 70+ hour work weeks became standard for a good while. This turning point is where a fundamental problem that I’d yet to realize I even had reached critical mass: My fad driven, overly meticulous approach to health and fitness was simply not realistically sustainable, and with my mental wherewithal becoming more and more strained, I (inevitably, let’s face it) reached a point where I became utterly sick of health and fitness nitpicking every facet of my life, and I furiously rejected it entirely to instead focus on my professional work.
Long story short, I managed to put on 40 pounds of fat in about 18 months – the kind of “gains” that would impress a cattle raising farmer. That second picture set is the apex of this period of health and fitness neglect.
The whole situation was actually very ironic: My health and fitness knowledge was at an all time high… yet I still managed to backslide into the absolute worst shape I’d ever been in in my life.
How does something like that even happen?
Asking myself that question is what really made me start to think about all this stuff in terms of the big picture. I realized some key yet not so obvious lessons:
- Knowledge doesn’t always correlate with success.
- Knowledge can actually backfire and make things worse because it’s a gambit of procrastination – As I gained more and more weight, I would tell myself “I know what I need to do to reverse this, I can just take care of it later.”
- A theoretically optimized health and fitness regimen that isn’t practical enough to handle real life curve balls might wind up being entirely useless.
That third point was particularly important for me, because when I eventually took a step back and really started to think about health and fitness – my success and failure therein – there was one poignant truth that was always a constant:
Health and fitness had always been an incongruent, nagging thorn in my side – always at constant odds with my real day to day life. And it was exhausting, both physically and mentally.
In sobering hindsight:
When I was a collegiate varsity athlete, yes, I was in great shape… but I was also chronically overtrained, dinged up, and tired. Though I don’t regret any of it – it was certainly a formative experience – the truth is that I felt straight up lousy a lot of the time.
Then, I got sucked into the fads, and once again I was pretty miserable in trying to adhere to unnecessarily restrictive food rules, and in always getting down on myself for breaking said rules. Food guilt was a very real issue for me, for years.
Then, I got sucked into the meticulous calorie and macro counting, and though I was relieved because it worked and I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted now, I was still pretty miserable because I was ridiculously neurotic about it, tracking my food intake to a T with the due diligence of an IRS auditor.
(you can absolutely count calories effectively with a simple system that’s not obsessive and neurotic, by the way)
All in all, health and fitness had become something that, quite frankly, simply sucked.
And when things ramped up in my professional life, it’s honestly not surprising in hindsight that I grew utterly sick and tired of it all and completely threw it out the window, violently pendulating to the other extreme, pounding my face with fried takeout and frequenting the 24 hour doughnut shop near my house.
(Yes, they do exist. Never move close to a 24 hour doughnut shop.)
And there I stood, one day in front of the mirror, observing my 40-pounds-heavier pouchy frame, wondering how the hell I, a once very dedicated fitness enthusiast, wound up like this.
Suffice to say, this seemingly all or nothing “health and fitness lifestyle” wasn’t working for me. I had to rethink my entire approach, for both my wasteline and my sanity.
My ultimate “ah-ha” realization: This seemingly paramount idea of adopting a “health and fitness lifestyle” doesn’t actually make any sense – all I did was jump from one obsession to the next before I inevitably burned out and pendulated to the other extreme of unhinged gluttony.
What’s more is that I realized that I didn’t even like being so preoccupied with health and fitness, or with my vehement disdain of it for that matter.
What I was really after, all along, was a simple system that worked to maintain a physical disposition that I was happy with, and that was simple and easy enough to stick to, without me having to constantly stress over it.
In other words, what I wanted was efficient health and fitness – a system that takes as absolutely little of my time and energy as possible, which in fact is literally the opposite of an all immersive Health and Fitness Lifestyle™.
I knew I couldn’t possibly be alone in my thinking… yet when I perused the internet, including my prior go-to resources, it seemed as though the discussion of efficient bare effective minimum health and fitness hardly existed.
And so? That’s why I started this here blog – both as a ground zero to my self-experiment, and as a way to help other people who feel the same way as I do.
If any of what I’ve said resonates with you, I sincerely hope this site can help you solve your problems and make your life better, because I know how frustrating and dejecting a dysfunctional relationship with health and fitness can be.
Check out the driving philosophy of this site in the intro page here.
Or, consider checking out the straightforward FAQ – it’s a list of succinct answers to common health and fitness questions, along with referring links to full discussions of said questions.
That pretty much covers it! Thanks for visiting, and I do sincerely hope you can use this site to improve your life.