Published on January 24th, 2013 | by George Conte0
Nutrition and exercise for absolute beginners
My journey – How I lost 121 pounds, or half of my body!
Before seven years I weighed 275 pounds (125 kg), with a height of 5’7’’ (1,70 m). The normal weight for a man 23 years old was 155 pounds (70kg), so I had to lose the astronomical amount of 121 pounds (55 kg) just to be “normal” and healthy. Yes you read it right; I had to lose half of my body!
When I first started thinking about creating an exercise and nutrition blog, all I wanted was basically to help people that had the same problem with me and needed someone to guide them through the whole journey. I wanted to help people that have no clue about anything related to health, weight loss, nutrition, anaerobic exercise (like bodybuilding), aerobic exercise, nutrition supplements, etc.
The reason I felt that way was because back then, seven years ago, when I first started researching on this subject, knowledge was limited, hard to discover and hard to understand with conflicting opinions on what should or should not do. If only I had back then the knowledge and wisdom I have now, my journey would have been a hundred times quicker and easier!
When I was 23 years old, I made a commitment to myself to actually change my life by changing my body and my psychology. You see when you weigh 121 pounds more than your natural body weight is; ugly things can happen to your life. Because I have spent the first 23 years of my life living in on an unnatural way (eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without exercising), that caused me numerous problems in my health, socialization and psychology.
So back then it took me around one year to lose slowly the first 60 pounds by cleaning my diet. Then another six months to lose more weight quicker (around 40 pounds) with proper nutrition and aerobic exercise, and then I reached a plateau. This is the main way I managed to lose 100 pounds of weight, with a clear diet and aerobic exercise of medium to low intensity, basically running almost every day about one hour. After I reached my goal I didn’t stop on researching about nutrition and aerobic exercise but also everything about natural bodybuilding. I consider that to be the second most important phase in my self-improving journey, an important turning point for a healthy life, improved psychology and overall well-being. After I started bodybuilding, I lost another 21 pounds and then started adding muscle mass to my body. Since then I have kept a good physical condition, low body fat and high muscle mass for around seven years and I intent to have this life style for the rest of my life while helping other people by sharing my experience and knowledge.
Gaining muscle with bodybuilding was better than losing 121 pounds!
The importance of adding anaerobic exercise like bodybuilding to your diet plan is so significant that I consider it the best part of the whole journey. More important than the first 18 months it took me to lose 100 pounds! In order to explain this phenomenon to you I will give an example. We all know people that don’t eat properly (but eat less food) and don’t exercise at all. They are usually skinny and just look decent. The reality is that without clothes most of these people look horrible and most importantly they have unbelievable bad health similar to the one I had when I was overweight. I call these people “skinny-fat” because they look skinny but actually have stored medium to high amounts of fat without muscle in their body. If you compare “skinny-fat” people with people that actually have low body fat and increased muscle mass (like natural bodybuilders) you will see that the differences are abysmal. Even an overweight person that has increased muscle mass from exercise is better and healthier than a “skinny-fat” person that doesn’t eat or exercise properly! In my opinion, I can recognize three types of people related to nutrition and exercise lifestyle. The first type is the overweight type, second type is the skinny-fat type and the third type is the bodybuilder. So what is the difference between these three types or conditions or lifestyles?
The overweight type
Well let’s start talking about the overweight type, I was an overweight person for the two thirds of my whole life and let me tell you it is a real disaster. When you’re overweight you have a disability. I don’t want to insult anyone, so I will speak for myself and by personal experience. When I was overweight, I was practically a person with special needs. For example I remember myself back then, the good old days when I weighed 275 pounds, I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without feeling dizzy, my heart beating like crazy, being sweat and my feet in pain afterwards. I remember one time I had to catch up a bus, but I was late, so I had to run behind it and yell to the driver to stop. After 30 seconds of running my heart reached 190 beats per minute or 95% of max beats per minute-bpm (yes I have even learned how to count heart beats on the fly now) like some lion was hunting me, I was sweating and actually in need of a towel just to sweep all that sweat. The worst of all if you can imagine, was the look of other people’s faces when they saw the incident. That pity in their faces when they watched me in that condition. They felt like I was sick, and actually I can see that now, I was indeed sick, a person with special needs. Because when you can’t even do basic stuff like walking up the stairs or running 30 seconds without almost dying then you really don’t have a healthy life.
After I decided to commit to lose weight, I started searching online websites, reading books, asking people their opinions on how to achieve such a transformation. One of the most shocking things I’ve learned from that experience is that almost no one had done something similar. I probably asked 100 people if they knew anyone that lost a similar amount of weight and each of them probably had a social cycle of 100 people to think of. The conclusion was that out off probably 10.000 people no one had done it. What I realize now after five years is that no one had done it because of two reasons equally important. The first reason was because no one knew how to do it! Even nutritionists and dieticians don’t have a clue how it is to be 121 pounds overweight (trust me I have studied nutrition and dietetics in a university and they only know theory…) and what it takes in the real world to actually lose that much of fat tissue and remain slim for the rest of your life. The second reason was that even if someone knew the basics of how to lose weight, the effort, the discipline, the motivation and the willpower of character that you need to undertake such an impressive achievement was indeed very rare. Remember I am talking about 121 pounds of fat burned and in addition muscle mass added on top off it.
The “skinny-fat” type
After I lost the first 60 pounds, by cleaning up my diet, I transformed to what I call today the “skinny-fat” type. People were immensely impressed by my decreased body mass but I still had a horrible looking body without clothes on and I still couldn’t even run 1 minute without almost die.
So why am I obsessed is with this type of a person? In my opinion the skinny-fat mentality is a dangerous way of thinking and living your life. When someone is overweight and tries to lose weight he usually makes a huge mistake by thinking in terms of losing weight, not losing fat. The difference between weight and fat is tremendous. Weight can be fluids, fat and also muscle.
There’s nothing more annoying than hearing people that have never eaten a proper meal or exercised in their lives talk about the new cool, crazy and dangerous lose weight quick diet. Conversations about how they could lose 10 pounds in a week (while the healthy limit is 2) by using the latest idiotic diet about only eating two apples and one banana per day. In reality they just lost 10 pounds of body fluids that they will gain back immediately when they start eating normal amounts of food again. Also they lost muscle mass and destroyed their metabolism, while starving themselves. Every time I hear such a nutritional blasphemy, I just respond to them that they could easily lose more than 10 pounds and quicker just by taking diuretics while not eating at all with a minor side effect of probable death. What such people don’t realize is that lack of knowledge and randomly testing diets for quick fixes is dangerous for their lives.
I was a skinny-fat person the first year I started losing weight since I only had a clear diet plan and no exercise program. Unfortunately most people don’t even have that. Usually, they only follow low calorie diets that sound cool, instead of a scientifically designed nutrition program. The result is massive loss of fluids, muscle and some fat. An overweight person with such a diet will just transform into a smaller version of that same old body he had but with less overall mass, thus the term “skinny-fat”.
In order for someone to avoid this problem, one must not just think in terms of “I need a quick diet to lose weight”. Instead, firstly create a healthy diet plan with less calorie intake than his usual, while starting a low-volume, high-intensity exercise plan, in order to gain muscle and lose fat.
The bodybuilder type
At some point, as I said, I was just “skinny-fat” with 100 pounds less weigh and my body and health was still horrible. After that point I embraced bodybuilding and I had a true revelation in my life. I lost another 21 pounds, of hard to lose fat, due to reaching a plateau that happens if you are losing weight for a long time. Then I immediately started adding muscle completely transforming my body image, my psychology, my confidence and my health.
Needless to say that for seven years I can’t even remember of being sick even once…pretty much feeling always happy and energetic like I am some kind of “immortal”. When I was 23 years old I was feeling like I was 60 years old. I am now 30 years old and I feel like I am 18 years old. Actually a thousand times better that when I was 18 years old since I weighed that time 275 pounds. This is all coming from my body and has nothing to do with environmental factors. I know this because I was depressed before I started this journey in the same environment I live now. When people say they need to drink to have “fun” I laugh, because I am always feeling like I am drunk on happiness without even touching alcohol for years. This experience is only known to people that had absolutely terrible physical condition and completely transformed it to the opposite. Not even natural bodybuilders can’t understand this because they haven’t gone the whole journey from zero to 100% perfect health and physical condition. They just believe that “physically enforced happiness” is a natural condition, because they haven’t lived the opposite condition in order to understand it. Same thing happens with skinny-fat people or obese people. They believe their bad psychology, mood and lack of energy is a natural condition and they need substances like alcohol in order to “feel better”.
When I am talking about the body and lifestyle of someone doing bodybuilding (or any similar type of anaerobic exercise) I mean the one portrayed by the statues of ancient Greek gods (6-10% body fat and 40-60 pounds of added muscle mass). I am not referring to the unnatural and unhealthy modern “bodybuilders” that build their muscle mass with the help of steroids and you see in professional bodybuilding competitions. These people (although their hard work to build such a body is impressive) use dangerous anabolic substances in order to win competitions and attract sponsors. Pretty much destroy their health for money… In my entire journey I have stayed away from such ethics and I am happy now with my health condition. The last think I would want with my life to happen would be some an anti-aging science team to discover a way for longevity or even immortality the next twenty to sixty years and I could be dead because of anabolic steroids or unhealthy lifestyle and lose that opportunity just to add muscle faster or out of ignorance. This was actually the second reason I embraced this mentality of a healthy life style, not just to be happy and healthy but also to live longer.
The benefits I have just described are immensely impressive and inspire anyone I talked to. People that are close to me and know me before and after my transformation can’t believe their eyes. Usually I try to help them by improving their diet or helping them start some kind of an exercise. I’m so happy when an overweight or skinny-fat person takes action and at least improves his diet, or starts some sport, or anaerobic exercise. Every time this happens, I feel I have almost saved another person’s life after my own.
How can my journey benefit you?
People that use the “holy trinity” that is proper eating, exercise and recovery to improve their lives will see unbelievable benefits in their lives. Increased energy, happiness, clear thinking, self-confidence, a general feeling of superiority over life’s problems, discipline, and ability to work towards their goals without anything being able to stop them, lack of disease, improved psychology, socialization, productivity and wisdom since you know what’s healthy and what to avoid.
This was pretty much a life changing experience, one that took a depressed person, with “special needs” and turned him into the happy, healthy and energetic person that I am now. So what should someone that has no clue, an absolute beginner, like I was back then seven years ago do now?
As I said my vision is to be able to help everyone I can in order to follow a similar transformation, it doesn’t matter if you’re an absolute beginner, it doesn’t matter if you are a skinny-fat person that just wants to improve his looks or health or psychology, it doesn’t matter if you are an inexperienced bodybuilder that wants to improve his knowledge and take it to the next level. What I have learned the past seven years can help you achieve all of the above goals with the easiest and fastest humanly possible, natural and healthy way.
I will write and post here in my blog all my findings and my knowledge after years of research and experimentation so I can help as much people as I can. I will structure and categorize everything in an easy and comprehensive way so you can consume it quickly and help yourself. It took me so much time and effort to just gather the knowledge and take action to implement it and I would love to be able to transform the knowledge itself in a format that can immediately teach people how to improve their lives.
My vision for you is to have the results I had in my life in less than a few months total if you’re overweight, within weeks if you are skinny-fat and immediately if you are already exercising. So my next article series will be about beginners that need to learn the foundations of a healthy diet. What types of food you need to eat, what types you must avoid, when to eat them, in what quantities and what combinations. The next series will be how to train your body in order to develop muscle mass, how to do a anaerobic and aerobic exercise, how much you need to do and how to combine it with nutrition. Finally some semi-advanced concepts on how to recover from exercise in order to further advance your body and health overall development. I would love to hear your hear about your thoughts, comments, thank you and good luck in your goals!