What made you first get into fitness?
It was a necessity, really. My struggles with weight have been a lifelong battle. My heaviest recorded weight was 360 pounds, so something had to change if I wanted to see my best years. In 2011, I finally kick-started my weight loss journey on my own. It was the first time in life I lost a significant amount of weight. I eventually burned out, lost motivation, and slowly crept back up. In hindsight, this was due to the lack of knowledge and education I had of what a fitness and nutrition program should entail. I would yo-yo for the years that followed, never getting back to my heaviest, but never going back down to where I once was. I was stuck, and it was devastating. The catalyst for my current journey was timing, and wanting more out of life. I was tired of not being able to live my best life, and I wanted to make a lasting change. Life circumstances have changed for the better, and my mindset is in a completely different place than before. I've learned so much about health and fitness, and I'm the most optimistic I've ever been regarding my weight loss journey.
What motivates you to show up every day?
It's true what they say: Once you see progress, showing up becomes an addiction. I'm motivated by the progress and self-improvement I see and feel day-by-day. I don't necessarily mean the scale numbers, or even the "big" wins, either. It's the incremental victories that let me know I'm on the right path, and keep me hungry for more — lifting a heavier weight, sprinting a little bit faster than when I started, or feeling my form improve when I'm repping out push ups. Looking out for benchmarks like these keeps me motivated, and has turned "showing up" into a lifestyle.
What are your health and fitness goals for the future?
In the short-term, I'm focused on my weight loss journey. It's been an amazing one so far, but I still have my work cut out for me. I do have a goal weight range in mind, and after being morbidly obese for most of my life, right now it's about getting to that healthy range. While I'm proud of what I've accomplished, I'm also cognizant that the real challenge is yet to come. So my eyes and ultimate goals are set on long-term sustainability — truly adopting this healthy and fit lifestyle, and keeping the fat mass weight off. Once scale numbers are no longer a focus, and I dream a little bigger, I'd love to shift focus from weight loss to body fat loss — then muscle building, and eventually physique. This path and these goals I have for myself leave no room for falling off!
What is your favorite exercise?
Any time I can get a good shoulder workout in, it is automatically a great day. Arnold Presses are classic — but I really love the simplicity of lateral and front raises, and the major results they yield. I love how versatile the movements are, and how it can be varied using dumbbells, barbells, cables, and more. It's crazy deceiving as well — it doesn't take much to get that good shoulder burn!
What made you choose Dissident Gym Wear and how do you relate to the DISSIDENT brand's message?
In a saturated market with endless choices, it takes something truly special for a brand to rise above the rest — and that is having a meaningful purpose beyond the apparel. Dissident is all about that greater purpose and deeper meaning. Themes of empowerment, dedication, and self-improvement are evident throughout the brand and fellow athletes — and struck a chord with me and my fitness journey. I especially related to DISSIDENT's message that anyone can be great and strong, regardless of the stage of one's development. This resonated with me, because initially I wasn't sure if I fit the DISSIDENT "look," especially at the start of my journey. But it was clear that it wasn't about a look, it was and will always be about the state of mind. I've been welcomed and supported by Team Dissident, and have had much respect for the brand and its athletes ever since.
What is your favorite Dissident piece?
My favorite pieces seem to rotate, especially as my collection grows! Currently I am loving my Dissident Tune Out Hoodie. The lightweight material gives the hoodie a smoothness like no other athletic wear. It's breathable and form-fitting in the best way, making it possible to comfortably execute a variety of exercises. Most of all, I love the confidence I feel when I'm in my hoodie and the rest of my Dissident apparel. Dressing for success is a must, and that includes working out. In my Dissident gear I feel unstoppable.
What is your proudest fitness achievement?
Reaching 100 pounds loss was a proud fitness achievement, because it was one that seemed impossible for the longest time. I'd do all the right things and work my way down, getting close to that benchmark on the scale. For one reason or another, I'd always lose focus before getting there, relapse, and gain. After a while it became this mental barrier I created. I was proud to not only hit that mark finally, but surpass it and lose an additional 60+ pounds. The weight loss was great, but finally getting past that mental barrier was the real feat.
What is your advice to anyone seeking to improve their health and fitness lifestyle?
The advice I give others is the advice I repeat out loud to myself every week: Real time and effort yields real results, so just get started and do the work. Understand that it's a journey, and there will be bumps along the way, but anything worth having is worth fighting for. That can be applied to any fitness goal. And once you’re on that journey, know that even little progress is still progress. Keep pushing.
What is your favorite quote?
"Success is never certain. Failure is never final." It's a great reminder that our work is never done, and that our setbacks aren't the end of the world. There is always the opportunity to correct your course and keep working toward your goals. And once you reach your goals, know that new ones await.
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