I Walked Down Death Row…

There is a sense of renewed hope when you survive death.  As conflicting as that sounds, many people, including myself might have just avoided the Reaper’s scythe.  In September, 2015, I was required to complete my annual physical.  My primary care provider told me that I was pre-diabetic.  In her own words: “You will have diabetes.  I have diabetes.  My brother has diabetes.  This is America.”  As shocked as I was to hear this, she, as an attending physician, breathed truth into her own words in her scowling tone.  I was on a journey to death.  At 304 lbs., at 5’10”, she could have told me I was already dead.  Depression had hit me at an all time high.  I was diagnosed three different disorders: general anxiety disorder, dissociation disorder, and bipolar.  I was on (4) prescriptions:  Klonipin, Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Xanax.  I was not suicidal, but I felt misery every day…

You know that feeling where you are just waking up, eyes are closed, but you can’t move?  Medical professionals call that sleep paralysis.  I felt a metaphorical one every day I woke up.  Getting out of bed was not only an emotional task, but a physical, laborious one.  My heart rate would shoot to the moon as soon as my feet touched the ground.  That same doctor who signed my death certificate told me that my average heart rate was 109.  Resting.  Average in-shape individuals have a resting rate of 45-65.  She informed me that my blood pressure was 144/96.  Indisputably high…

As she wrapped up her verdict previously mentioned, she simply told me to monitor my blood pressure, and come back in one month.  “One month”, I thought to myself.  I walked to the front desk.  I felt like I was walking down death row. I paid the healthcare professional my copay, thinking, I am paying for my ticket to Hell.  As I was walking out of the office, I could kept picturing and hearing was the doctor’s matter-of-fact, scowling tone that this was my fate.  I thought about my wife, my mother and father.  My puppy.  My Sister and her family.  My in-laws.  As I sat in my car thinking all of this over, there was an ironic “sign” walking in front of me.  An older man, walking somberly to his car, had a t-shirt with written text on the back.  The text read, “The best revenge is massive success.”  The doctor put me in a place of extreme discontent, and anger.  The quote, I found out much later, was by Frank Sinatra.  I felt a fire deep within my core when I read those words, and had a strong sense of “NO” boiling deep inside me.  No diabetes.  No high blood pressure.  No death…

To be continued…

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I Became Rabid

I Became Rabid…

The Oxford dictionary tells us that word “rabid” comes from the 17th century denoting to be “furious”, or “madly violent”.  The word originates from the Latin word “rabidus”, from “rabere”, which denotes the action of “raving”.  No, not the sub-culture dance form but more in line of the phrase “stark-raving mad” that many of us are familiar with.  Oxford’s official dictionary defines rabid as “Having or proceeding from an extreme or fanatical support of or belief in something” (Oxford, 2017).  The usage of the word rabid also goes into the viral disease “rabies”, where an animal will experience violent movements and uncontrolled excitement (Rabies, 2016).

When I chose to undertake a new path forward to change my life, I came to a self-realization about a quality about myself.  Another mentor even mentioned it to me in passing and it rang true.  He said “…when he (sic) sets his mind on something, nothing stops him, he is impossible to stop.  But when he falls, he falls very hard”.  The person that said this about me was correct.  I like to set my mind on a goal, be it work, finance, and now fitness and attack it with full force.  In the past, when I lost at something, or failed, I fell hard away from the failure.  I would give up.  I remember a business venture I started in my early twenties that I failed at.  It killed me inside of how bad I failed, and stopped me from progressing for almost two years.

 

In January I thought that I would grab ahold of my mentor’s first statement, and throw the “falling hard” part on the back burner.  Knowing I could fail, but focusing on attacking my goal with ambition was my way to stay positive.  I became obsessive overnight.  I started by writing down what weight goal I wanted.  At 306, I wanted to make a realistic goal – on that I could obtain and not be met with that failure.  I set it to 270 lbs.  I also wanted to be able to lift weights.  Not just the machines in gyms, but actually be able to use Olympic style racks, barbels, and the like.  I wrote these goals down, and tried my hardest to envision them the night before the first gym trip.  My wife helped as well, as she was joining the gym as well with excitement.

I had some “digital” assistance as well.  I started using a smart watch to monitor my heart rate, as well as a macro food logger on my smart phone to track my daily caloric intake. Believe the hype: if anything it helps you stay accountable.  Just as I started the gym, I was healing from a double ligament type two (II) ankle sprain, and my doctor suggested that I begin on the elliptical.  The elliptical was a way for me to get my heart rate up, while being softer on my joints, especially the right ankle.  The first few visits were rough on me!  After thirty minutes I could barely breathe, and would get dizzy.

After about the 5th visit to the gym, my breathing was starting to be a little bit calmer.  I started to not feel faint anymore.  After about day 10, I started to feel a fire in the pit of my stomach.  I was actually enjoying these activities.  My muscles were sore every single day, I had to drink liters of water daily (I de-hydrate very fast), and I felt so tired.  Despite all that, I felt accomplished.  I was working towards that goal I wanted so badly.  My wife had her own goals, and it inspired me to watch her attack them every time with tenacity.  I also wanted to understand lifting weights more as well.

I started to read the works of some influential writers during this time as well.  I recommend them to ANYONE trying to better their life in any area.  Paul and Seth Waggener, Jack Donovan, Jim Stoppani, Andrew Lewis, Kyle Helsper and Sky Lemyng are some of the authors and personalities whose work has inspired me since I began this journey.  One of their underlying principles has always been a “no excuse” mentality – one that I have carried with me in my work ethic.  I decided I wanted it to be in my health ethics as well.

Since that cold day in January, to date I have lost a total of 48 fat pounds.  I went from not knowing how to just use an empty barbel, to squatting 250 lbs. with safe and effective form.  I do not eat processed food unless there is a special occasion to do so.  I went from a “6.9” A1C count in January to a “5.6” now.  My blood pressure stays at 117/73.  I sleep better, feel better, and am weaning off of anti-depressants as well.  The best part about all of that, is that I just started this year!  This is the beginning still!  I am looking forward every day to 12 months when I obtain my new goal weight: 205 lbs.  To add icing to the low-cab cake, my wife and I both quit smoking on January 1st.  We are just at 10 months smoke free.  That in itself is a life changing feeling, after smoking for 16 years.

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I have always enjoyed helping and motivating others.  Whether this is in a workplace environment, or health, it has always been a core value for me.  At the end of the day, how we treat and assist others will be a large portion of our legacy impression that we leave on this planet.  Another passion of mine is general animal conservation, and education of different species.

This is where Rabid Fitness comes into play. 

Rabid Fitness aims to provide quality motivational content with an underlying theme of respecting our Earth.  The content will include articles about health, fitness, nutrition, and animal conservation/welfare.  Additional products will be available very soon to develop a brand based around creating a healthy, obsessive, and fanatical culture of bettering one’s self and respecting the environment.  Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about my story.  I look forward to helping anyone I can, and look forward to hearing your life changing stories as well.  I am a work in progress.  Let’s work together.

Stay Rabid,

Corey

92!
ᛁ᛫ᚹᛁᛚᛚ᛫ᛟᚡᛖᚱᚲᛟᛗᛖ

Additional References:

“rabid”. Definition of rabid in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from     https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/rabid

“Rabies.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and       Prevention, 5 Oct. 2016, www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

 

 

 

 

I Found an Escape Plan

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I am on the left in this picture – 306 lbs. on December 16th, 2016.

I was pleased that I was with my family at this holiday event, but my smile was very much strained.  People that know me close can attest to this.  The struggle from everyday activities grew me exhausted early every day.  In the previous article, I did not mention the struggle with sleeping.  Falling asleep and obtaining REM/deep sleep was near impossible.  When I slept, the weight of my upper torso would close my throat over, forcing me to snore.  This not only kept my wife awake and irritable, but made me wake up over and over during the night.  I would try to sleep on my side or stomach but would wake up feeling like a linebacker crushed my back.  Suffice to say, this added to my exhaustion.

By happenstance, in early 2016, I met someone who would become not only a great friend but a great motivator.  I met Todd through our mutual careers and conferences.  Todd has a great way with words and is able to convey his thoughts in a constructive and concise manner – something I really struggle with (but am getting better at).  In 2015, Todd was in my shoes.  Over many, many, instant messages and texts, I started to open up to Todd and explain him my situation with a more encompassing amount of detail.  He started to explain to me the path he took to journey towards a healthier life.  He mentioned a lifestyle change through an approachable fitness plan as well as a diet change.  This piqued my interest, because I saw his results with my own eyes.

I have never been a fan of the word “diet”.  In the modern world, especially in the West, it appears to be such a temporary word.  I have been in many gyms (the $10.00/month ones) and it is the same mindset there.  Temporary.  Men and women of all demographics will be living the life in December – eating every food in site to celebrate the holidays.  As soon as the month draws to a close, we all see the “New Year, New Me” social media posts.  On January 2nd, these gyms are PACKED.  Then the interim fat burners disappear 29 days later, only to continue to pay their monthly subscriptions to the gym, and very rarely pop in for “free pizza day”, or tootsie rolls and 20 minutes on the stair climber.  You have to admit, this is a great business plan for profit…

None the less, after speaking with Todd, who I now call my health mentor, I knew I could not attach myself to that type of attitude.  Despite my health, one thing that I have always had was a strong work ethic.  If I wanted to change, I could apply my work ethic to my personal lifestyle as well…

I felt dead.  I wanted to feel alive.  

I walked down death row and stopped in my tracks.  I turned around, and said “enough was enough”, and started a plan under Todd’s advisement.  The plan was simple enough at first to me – “…minimize your carbohydrate intake, increase your lean meat and non-starchy vegetable intake.  Start using an elliptical.  This will get your heart rate up to a safe number, while being easier on your lower body joints.”

Easy, right?

The most righteous feeling ever happened as I started the “easy” plan.  Everything changed…everything.

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