Welcome to my wlog, which is a weird term but so are blog & vlog, but it is now a thing. I am the co-owner of Exercise Express USA, along with George Paschall. Each and everyday we get to do what we love which is talk fitness and help others on their fitness journey. Sometimes talk can be “cheap” as they say. My goal is to put down my talk on paper so you can see what I am doing for training.
Workout History – Overview
My workout style has evolved from a strength focus, followed by bodybuilding, followed by a blah period, followed by a physique focus, then a bit of powerlifting, and now it’s just about getting fit (and staying there). That does cover a period of nearly 18 years, so do not get confused with my trying out different training styles. Each period of training had a different motivation that fed what I needed. I’ll add some detail on that later in this wlog if you want to stay tuned.
Personal History – Overview
I am currently 34 years old (as of October 8th). I am married with two boys. My wife and I got married in 2008, with Liam arriving in 2011, and Oliver arrived in 2017. I have been interested in fitness most of my life. I started back in high school with very many thanks to our strength training teacher, Mr. Gary VanSumeran. He helped established a firm foundation that was incredibly motivating to continue. Couple that with having an older brother, I had a great combo to get me interested in getting stronger.
After high school, I pursued a degree in Exercise Science. After graduating from SVSU, I started off as a personal trainer and worked my way into management of a local gym. That then transitioned into working for an online supplement re-seller. That was followed up by working as the marketing manager for a supplement company and working my way up to managing operations. All of that led me to where I am today as a co-owner of Exercise Express.
As you can see I have been passionate about fitness since I first laid hands on a barbell. It also triggered my entrepreneurial spirit since I started selling supplements (sort of) in our locker room in high school. Another story for another day.
Workout Style – Depth
The history above is quite brief so let’s get into some depth here.
I started with a strength & conditioning class my Sophomore year. I was not very coordinated so most
sports I would end up being picked last. I excelled at lifting weights so it quickly became my passion (when you find it, you know, and you know the feeling). Our teacher had a way of building strength like no other. I rapidly increased strength and at one point hit 205 pounds on seated military press for a few reps.
College (2002 – 2007)
Curls for the girls. Well, it wasn’t really that way but that was part of the motivation. I continued on with a strength focus here, but also aimed to gain size. I met my future wife in college, so those curls worked! As college progressed, I was able to do field work and found a local gym to get in my hours of observation. Once I graduated, that gym is where I worked and worked out.
You may be looking at that span of time from above (according to Tommy Boy, a lot of people go to college for 7 years…). I had transitioned from Computer Information Systems into Exercise Science. It’s the natural progression. Again, another story for another day (comment on this article if you want to hear about these stories).
Immediately Post College (2007 – mid 2010)
I began as a personal trainer and worked up to management within one year. I had met a ton of amazing people at this gym. Some of those people motivated me to begin bodybuilding. However, my gaining phase was unrealistic which led to a fairly fast cutting period so this never really went as planned. Live and learn from my errors. Bodybuilding did have it’s upsides in that strength was still a major portion of the training focus.
Post Gym Days (late 2010 – early 2013)
Remember how I said the focus changed? The gym ended up closing and I worked for the online retailer for roughly one year before that closed (mid 2011). That was a rough time because training was not easy as I didn’t have a true gym where I could train. The blessing was that our son Liam arrived just before the online retailer closed so I got to spend a good bit of time with him. I had a one year position where I handled customer service and logistics for a local chemical company (those natural transitions, right?).
Training during this period was obviously the blah period. I was mostly training at home where I had built out a small (but covered the basics) home gym. Toward the end of this period, I had joined a gym near where I worked which spawned a change. I realized I was becoming less and less of myself. I was becoming more of a person within the system (sort of a Matrix-esque thought I guess). I saw an opportunity to start writing about fitness once again and dove in.
The Re-Surgence (early 2013 – early 2017)
At this point I had become the marketing manager for a supplement company. The energy had hit me and I was ready to get things moving. I needed to really dive into physique training at this point as we had sponsored athletes and I was interacting with them. I was part of a fitness community and wanted to do more than just blend in to the group. I wanted to lead by example and that is when I really amped up my training.
The company hit a transition though and the athletes faded. I didn’t have that core group around me anymore so my focus changed. This is where powerlifting really took a stronghold. I had always been interested in getting stronger. Powerlifting really helped me capitalize on that aspect. Though it also rushed in my ego which led to injuries and shortened my powerlifting career. During this period I had went from the 165 lb weight class and built up to the 183 lb weight class. However, based on my body getting worn down from weighing more, there was going to be a transition down to the 163 lb weight class (the USAPL had adopted a weight class change that effected a few classes, thus 163 vs 165).
Transitioning down was rough and my body was still beaten up so I knew powerlifting wasn’t the longterm solution. I needed a change in my life and that change spawned a weight gain back up to around 183 lbs. Luckily that change, via an opportunity, happened in early 2017.
Now We’re Here (early 2017 – present)
George had reached out to me with an opportunity to come on and work for Exercise Express. That opportunity blossomed rather quickly with a role that led to a co-owner role. It was quite the blessing and it fueled my motivation once again. I was still fairly sore from training as I wanted to be strong but I had also gained a bit of weight.
I took a step back to look at my training career. I was able to realize that this path led me to where I am today. It was a wild and crazy ride but the experience is irreplaceable. I had the opportunity to work in many different arena’s of fitness. I had worked from home throughout a decent portion of that where I had little face to face customer interaction (it ended up via email, phone, skype, or similar).
At Exercise Express, I would be facing customer’s day to day and handle their needs immediately. At a gym, the need was mostly handling problems and maintaining organization. This role is a problem solving role AND I get to help people get on (or return to) their fitness journey. That is amazing and I am incredibly grateful to get to do this each and everyday.
Current Training & Diet – Depth
I don’t want my training to lose focus so I’ve kept things fairly straightforward, and simply get better. Week by week the goal is to do better than the last session. It may be more weight, it may be another rep, it may be a reduced time of rest, or it may be a reduced time to complete a lift. All steps toward progress.
My diet has been a similar focus in that I have a macro goal for each day and I aim to hit those goals how I see fit. That means I choose what foods to fill in that daily puzzle. That is a very large responsibility to handle each day because there is no set path. There is simply an end goal each day.
Most of the time I hit that goal but there are times where I do not hit that goal. I make sure that a large portion of the time, without focusing on it being a certain percentage of coming short, that I hit my goals. If I don’t hit my goals for a couple days, I re-assess my situation. By doing so, I’ve been able to consistently lose weight, or maintain weight, each week since the middle of January of this year (2017). I started the year at 185 lbs and I am currently 160 lbs. I did not set my end number. I set an end goal, which I have not achieved yet, but the goal is mine and I am still on the path to complete that goal.
This wlog is going to document that completion as well as what my next goal will be for my fitness journey.