My Story: Why I started P90x
I have always considered myself a very healthy person and health conscious. Ever since I can remember I have either been swimming, running, playing water polo, or competing in a sport. You would figure that by my mid and late 20’s I would be either a personal trainer or still be involved in sports. Yet this is far from the truth and I have to admit: I have a weight issue.
My entire life I was super active and because of this, my body required large amount of calories to keep up with the work load. I got used to eating a TON of food! It is one thing to eat a lot because you are burning 6,000 calories a day, it’s another to want to a large pizza so you can feel full.
Let me also state that I was not a skinny kid either. I was a typical fat kid! I used sport to take control of the weight and it worked! I thought I had defeated this fat kid but I know now that I will always be that fat kid.
Childhood and Background:
Not many know this but I was not born in Chicago. I was born in Mexico City to a wonderful and loving family. My Father was a promising attorney and my mom a loving school teacher. The family moved to Chicago in the mid 80’s. I dont recall much but I am sure it was a progressive change from Mexican culture to an American one. As the culture changed, so did our eating habits. Simply put, we went from eating natural foods from local markets to eating processed junk at the local Mexican fast food place and McDonalds.
My Pre-Chicago days:
- Baby Me! Circa 1988
Growing up in a hispanic household, we never talked about health or give much thought about what we ate. Due to our lack of understanding and general laziness, my diet consisted mostly of processed meat, white rice, fried foods, cheese, and my favorite: burritos! It was no surprise that by the age of 9, I was a fat kid. I’m talking PLUMP!
Look at me! Plenty of heartache came because of this lil guy:
Nom Nom Nom - Pozole!
The Turning Point
As if it was bad enough sucking at swimming and being a fat kid, I would soon come face-to-face with the end result of what an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to. Probably the toughest part of my life…
My father, pictured below, died of a massive heart attack March 2oth, 1997. He was 41 years old, I was 12. I realize now that my father was somewhat depressed and used over-eating as a way to cope with the culture as well as his home-sickness. This experience still weights heavy on my mind and effects my body image to this day.
Swimming to the Rescue!
Soon after my father passed, I turned to the one thing I had: Swimming! This sport was my life changer. I seriously owe everything to this sport; my work ethic, best friends, favorite memories, my confidence and competitive attitude. By my early teens I became obsessed with the sport and vowed to lose the fat kid image.
Guess what? By my early teens I had lost the fat kid! Well technically… You see, I was still that same fat kid at heart because I realized I could eat anything I wanted because I would just head to practice and burn it off. The perfect storm! I could eat anything I wanted and use swimming as a way to cover it up!
My College Years
High School was a blast! I did water polo as well and by 15 I was basically training year round. As a result, I started getting noticed by a few local colleges and by 2002, I headed to Carthage College a D3 program that trains like a D1. I’m talking 400 abs a day, 4 hours of swimming, and weight training 6 days a week. The Fat Kid is dead… right? I mean, just look at me.
Seriously, I am not kidding, LOOK..
Sexy RJ Circa 2005
As you can imagine, I could care less about what I ate. I mean I was downing about 4,000 calories a day and looked like a damn Ken Doll! Take THAT fat kid! And trust me, I took full advantage of looking this good = )
Fast Forward: Post Graduation
Soon after my last race as a college swimmer, I would quickly realize that I could no longer sustain the high calorie diet that I was used to. I mean, I still ordered large pizza’s and drank like a fish, after all I was a skinny kid, right? WRONG… Fat Kid came back from hibernation and found a spot on the couch… ugh…
Over the last few years, I have basically done everything I could to return to form. I did Body-4-Life and had amazing results, however, I would slingshot to my heaviest I have ever been in my life. The pattern goes a bit like this: April-November work out hard, eat right, and look great. Then late November-February I gain it all back. This has happened every year since graduating back in 2006.
This is my standard look around Winter:
Fatty Xmas 2010
Now here is me only a few months later:
Not bad eh? By April I had lost about 15 pounds since that dreadful pic of me during Christmas. This past year was different. I ate completely different, even did the vegan thing for a while, and by October/November, I believed I would skip winter depression and stick to the regimen!
Buuuuuuuut, wouldn’t you know, soon after Thanksgiving, BOOM winter hits and its Yo-Yo and Fat Kid all over again. Shitty.
Here is me again, this time in April of 2012, almost 15 pounds over from a year ago:
I believe I am closer than ever with coming to grips with my childhood obesity and my fathers. I have come to terms that I will always love to eat. Yet instead of reaching for something salty and fried, I have LEARNED to love veggies and raw foods more than burritos, burgers, and pizza. While I still have my moments of weakness, I do not let them get out of hand.
As any other athlete can attest, it’s not easy doing anything by yourself. Luckily i have a training partner and the workouts are scheduled and structured for you. The challenge is not the work itself, it’s mostly sticking to the process. I actually love doing challenging workouts, always have, and this is no exception.
My problem is not the physical activity as much as it is my relationship with food. p90x, just like any other workout you do for 12 weeks, will have a positive effect on my appearance. However, more than ever I am truly committed to changing my mind as well as my body.
I hope that by sharing this I can help and inspire you to do the same. The road has not been easy, but I know what I am dealing with and what I must do to find a positive rhythm.
Stay tunned as I will post weekly updates on this blog regarding everything I eat and do to stay healthy!