Coach Andy here.
I was hanging around the gym after the morning Shred sessions cleared out last week and realized that I’m coming up on three years since I stumbled into Forged. I can’t even begin to list out everything I’ve learned during my years under Travis’ tutelage. I did, however, identify three distinct “stages” that I’ve gone through and thought they would be worth sharing with the community. We all know that a major lifestyle overhaul is a process, and that process is never complete. Over the next three weeks I’ll share insights into each “stage” that I have gone through during my journey with The Forged Athlete. I have a feeling many will be able to relate.
Stage 1 – “The Roller Coaster Stage”
The short version: The beginning of any self-improvement endeavor is wrought with discouragement and desire to return to the old, easy way. Enjoy the highs, embrace the failures (and learn from them), and humble yourself to ensure you build the proper foundation for the journey ahead.
Three years ago my buddy Mike sent me a link to Travis’ BA-29 program that he was promoting at the time. If I remember correctly I told Mike that I would sign up if he did, then promptly backed out on my promise. At the time I was working as an accounting intern and finishing up my undergraduate studies. I had always considered myself an athlete. I was a decent baseball player and always lifted weights. Blinded by youthful male ego, I did not realize that I had begun packing on a ton of weight.
After Mike had begun the BA-29 program he spent the next three months annoying me about how awesome his gym was and how badly I needed to get my fat you-know-what into the gym. I didn’t pay him much mind until I stepped on the scale that December – something I hadn’t done in a long time. I knew I had fluffed up a bit, but I had no idea how bad it was. I had gone from being a steady 185 pounds up to 235 pounds without hardly noticing it.
I was reluctant to join the gym for the typical reasons: cost, it’s too early, the workouts are extremely difficult, and (the worst of all in my opinion) I needed to get in shape first before I join that gym.
Side note: in my experience, 0% of people who have told me they needed to get in shape before joining have ever gotten in shape or joined the gym.
Anyway, I finally conceded and tried out an intro session. It was the infamous “Baseline A” workout that most people in the gym have suffered through. I got completely crushed and had to pull over on the interstate to vomit afterwards. I was hooked after that. I signed on for a year, knowing that I was stretching my intern/college student budget. Miraculously, the very morning that I signed up for a year I was offered a full-time accountant position with the company I had been interning for. I don’t think that was a coincidence!
That first year was full of ups and downs, hence “The Roller Coaster Stage”. The first few months were incredible. I was learning all sorts of cool new things and was starting to be able to do things I hadn’t done since high school. My performance was increasing and I was getting stronger every day.
However, at the three month mark I hadn’t lost much weight. This was not at all because the training method was ineffective. It was because I was ineffective at fueling my body properly. I was in the infamous “dip”. I’ve seen a lot of folks abandon their goals while stuck in the dip. I was training like a madman, but hadn’t changed a thing about my dietary habits (it is VERY easy to succumb to discouragement at this point). I was relying on training alone to help me lose the 50 pounds I had to shed. I started taking Travis’ nutrition protocol seriously, and to no one’s surprise, the weight started melting off. I don’t know the exact timeline, but I went from 235 down to my goal weight of 185 in right around 4 months. The weight loss was a huge high for me and allowed me to move better and improve my performance greatly.
After I had lost all the weight I realized I had to humble myself and start back at ground zero with a lot of the lifts. That stubborn, youthful male ego makes you think that you can do a lot more than you really can. Losing 50 pounds of bodyweight reduced my strength enormously. I remember specifically that my back squat 1RM dropped 50 pounds to 245 lbs. NOT something that my ego was excited about. With Travis’ help, I essentially had to re-learn every movement and build my strength back up from ground zero. I really did not enjoy my training during this time, but I kept showing up. Looking at this in retrospect, I could not be more grateful for being humbled like that. It allowed me the opportunity to put my pride aside, learn how to do things correctly, and build a foundation that would make my training sustainable long-term.
The first year was all about eliminating bad habits, setting my ego aside, learning to do things the right way, and not making excuses. It takes an enormous amount of patience, but if you stick with it, you will collect dividends for years to come.
If you’ve found yourself in the dip training-wise, let us coaches know. We’ve been through it and we’re here to help you achieve the best results possible. That’s what drives us.
To be continued…
For The Ladies…