Meet Tony, a Nerd Fitness rebel and the man behind another kick-ass success story that needs to be shared with the world.
His transformation was so inspiring that I featured him in my Google presentation and decided to do a whole interview with him today. Here’s why:
Back in November of 2010, I got an email from Tony asking about the Rebel Fitness Guide. He bought it, said he was going to make changes in his life, and that was that. He told me:
“Once I get to where I want to be physically I’ll have to send you some before and after shots. That would be a good addition to NF, a before and after page. Kinda corny cuz all those “6 minute ab” sites do it too but I think people may want to share their success stories.”
I’m not going to lie, I get emails like this a few times a week from people that vow they’re going to make changes, that “things are going to be different this time!”…and then I never hear from them again.
Four months went by and not a peep from Tony – add him to the list of casualties of people who got too eager too soon and eventually lost interest, right? Well, imagine my surprise when back in March I got another email from Tony out of the blue:
When I first started working out on my own you really motivated me to get my butt off the couch and hit the gym. I started at 257lbs and now my down to 211lbs!!!!!!!!! Size 40 pant size down to 36 now!
I purchased your Rebel fitness guide and currently I’m on the Outcast level. I work out during my lunch hour at work (small office building type gym) so I don’t have anything to throw resistance bands around but I try to supplement those parts of the workout with some other exercise that works the same muscles.
Here are some before and one after pic.
Promise I’ll get a real NF t-shirt soon! Lol.
Holy crap, not only did Tony stay self-motivated for four months, but he worked his way through almost all of the different levels of the ebook, and made his own NERD FITNESS t-shirt. I remember reading Tony’s email thinking “this guy is THE MAN.” I was so pleasantly surprised and excited about Tony’s story that I told him I’d send him a free Nerd Fitness shirt so he didn’t have to keep wearing his fake shirt 🙂
I recently reached out to Tony and asked if I could interview him about his 4-month (now 6 month) transformation, both physically and mentally. Tony is your typical American – he works a full-time desk job, has a wife and kids, and struggled with his weight until making some changes late last year. Here’s that interview:
Steve: Hey Tony! Congrats on all of your success up to this point, but let’s go way back to before you started. Describe a typical day for you before you decided to make a change.
Tony: Wake up and go to work. Before starting my day I’d spend $5 on a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich (on a croissant.) After breakfast I’d have a smoke until mid morning when I’d go out for another smoke break. At noon I would typically go to McDonald’s or to a local deli and order a steak and cheese or spicy Italian hoagie.
Of course I would wash it down with nothing other than a Coke or cream soda. Chips or a cookie for dessert.
Another smoke break after eating.
Mid-afternoon snack and smoke break.
After work I’d get home and devour whatever I could find in the fridge, usually hot dogs, pizza or some kind of quick fix meal. Desert would be whatever I wanted, no holds barred! Ice cream! Cookies! Chips! Chocolate! More pizza!
The night would end on the couch or in bed, in a food coma, flipping through channels until I lost consciousness. Sounds unreal but I kid you not, that’s how my typical day went before making the decision.
Sad. I know.
Steve: I’m sure there are quite a few people reading this who can relate, so don’t beat yourself up too much. Okay, lets fast-forward a bit: Was there a specific moment that you decided to make changes? What inspired you to start exercising?
Tony: Yes! There actually was! A very specific moment as a matter of fact.
I was up to 257 LBS. Never before had I been so overweight. I wasn’t happy and I had been thinking about getting in shape.
That was about it. No action.
Just wishful thinking and some memories of my younger days when I was fit and healthy.
A buddy of mine at work felt the same way and we had been talking for weeks about how we needed to get our asses in the gym…But never did.
Then one day I got an email from him telling me to read this extremely motivating article, your guest post on the Art of Manliness.
The one line that totally did it for me and still sticks with me today is this one: “Every man should be able to save his own life and protect his children and spouse.”
My family isn’t in any danger that would require my coming to their rescue or anything, but “what if?” My tongue was practically hanging out of my mouth after climbing a flight of stairs. How would I ever save my my wife, my kids in the event of a life threatening situation?!!
I had never thought of fitness that way. I also never had what you could call a meaningful purpose for getting healthy and in shape. There is a higher purpose to being in shape and Steve, you helped me see that purpose!
“Rediscovering a passion for exercise goes far beyond just elevating your heart rate and shedding a few unwanted pounds. If you really want to be the best husband to your wife, best father to your sons and daughters, and ultimately the best man you can be, it’s time to make your physical well-being one of your top priorities.”
So what inspired me? A nerd named Steve did.
Steve: Aw gee, thanks man – that means a lot. Thank YOU for actually following through with your changes. So, you bought the Rebel Fitness Guide, and then I didn’t hear from you for MONTHS, how did you stay motivated during that time? Most people struggle with this when there’s nobody pushing them along. Why were you successful?
Tony: I kept reading Nerd Fitness and learning more about getting stronger and healthier. Reading NF gave me new habits to try out…like the Paleo diet for example. Aside from educating myself, the cold hard truth is that once you’ve made a real decision to make a change, there is very little that can stop you. If you NEED motivation to stay on track, then you have to question your level of commitment to change. Motivation was just another tool to keep me a little more focused, but the decision had been made and nothing was going to stop me.
Steve: I absolutely agree with you there, and it was the same thing I noticed with my buddy Saint – once you finally find your reason to stay focused, there’s nothing that can stop you. So you committed to making a change, but I’m sure it wasn’t an easy path. What was the toughest change for you to make?
Tony: Eating habits at first. The first month was a true test of will power. My will power muscle did a lot of growing that month. Saying no to brownies and pizza was the hardest part for me. Working out was relatively easy compared to changing the way I was used to eating.
I only work out once a day which meant I only had to fight my urge to give up once per day also. Once I got past that initial feeling of laziness when it came to working out, and actually got my butt in the gym, the rest was easy. But junk food is constantly being presented to us on a daily basis, several times a day, just by walking down the street even!
Having the will power to say “no” each time junk food was presented to me was not an easy task.
Steve: So your physical appearance has CERTAINLY changed…what else has changed about you?
Tony: I’ve found that mentally, I push myself more. When it comes to completing tasks I found I have more mental stamina. I don’t give up as easy. I’m also a lot more cheery and less lazy. I have more energy at the end of the day. Clarity of mind is highly enjoyable. I’m not so cluttered by stress anymore. Overall, I can say that I am a much happier, well balanced being.
My family is also reaping the benefits of my new positive outlook and energetic bod. I get inspired to take more risks now. I’ve even started taking steps to launch my own blog and also to start a non-profit organization! I am now a true believer of the phrase “strong body, strong mind”. I’ve also noticed that people around me have been inspired by my progress and have also started to lose weight and get fit. Pretty awesome to witness that. It’s amazing what impact you can have on people simply by being an example of what’s possible.
Steve: Damn straight! Congratulations, my man. Alright, describe a typical day for you now.
Tony: Wake up to a tall glass of water. Eat some fruit and go to work. I drink plenty of water throughout the morning and for lunch I hit the gym and knock out a quick Rebel Fitness Guide workout! After my workout I run out and get myself a healthy salad full of protein-filled meat like chicken, salmon or turkey. In the afternoon I continue drinking lots of water and when I get home I enjoy making dinner with my family.
We usually make some kind of meat with tons of vegetables on the side. For desert we’ll often have a blueberry, banana smoothie that I love to make. Then I play with my kids and spend time with my wife. I then work on my businesses for a little while. I end the day reading a few blog posts and a few pages from whatever book I’m reading at the time.
NO MORE T.V. AND NO MORE FOOD COMAS! NO MORE SMOKING EITHER!
Steve: That’s awesome…you’ve made some tremendous strides but I know you’re not done yet. What are your goals moving forward?
Tony: I want to get stronger. I want to be able to do 10 pull ups. I also want to lose enough belly fat to make some muscle visible (vanity, I know). I would also like to be able to do some upside down push ups. Otherwise, I’m living my goal everyday! The journey is most rewarding.
Steve: Do you have any words of advice for people who are at your “starting point”? What can you say to those people to help themselves make changes.
Tony: Have a reason. I really good reason! You can’t just make up some shallow reason like “I want to lose 50 lbs”. You have to have a purpose, like being around for your family 20, 30, 40 years from now. If you don’t have kids, then maybe your purpose can be to get stronger or to run a marathon. Forget about your appearance in the beginning. All of that will come on its own, sometimes faster than you ever expected.
Pay close attention to how your clothing feels and not the number you see on the scale. I used to weigh myself once a week and sometimes I wouldn’t lose anything but I noticed that I needed more holes in my belt. Educate yourself! Read Nerd Fitness. It’s the only resource I use consistently. Also, reach out to Steve, he’s great at being supportive and can help keep you on track when you feel you need an extra push. It’s literally like having a training coach by your side whenever you need one!
But above all, I have to reiterate, have an ultra compelling reason! Something bigger and greater than just losing weight! You are meant for greatness and the sooner you start believing everything that Steve tells you, the sooner you’ll start seeing results!
Steve: Is there anything about the NEW you that the OLD you would be surprised to learn?
Tony: I consider the OLD me to be the young, healthy, vibrant, energetic, strong and good looking teenager that I used to be. So the OLD me would simply say something like “Welcome back, glad you found your way again.” 🙂 The chubbier mid-version of myself would probably be shocked to learn that almost everything I ever thought were reasons I couldn’t… were actually just lame-ass excuses.
Steve: Favorite video game?
Tony: God Of War trilogy!!!!
Steve: Agreed; Kratos is the man! Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Tony: Lord of the Rings all the way! Hairy Hobbit feet for everyone baby!
Steve: Agreed once again, I knew I liked you for some reason!
Why was Tony Successful?
Let’s do a quick recap about why Tony had such success:
He was motivated. Tony realized that he wanted to be in shape for his wife and his children. After wallowing in years of denial, excuses, and apathy, he suddenly realized that he was going to have to make some changes if he wanted to live a long healthy life with his loved ones. It was this internal motivation that kept Tony working out on days when he felt lazy, eating healthy when he wanted junk food, and taking care of himself when all he wanted to do was go back to his old habits. He found his motivation, and did whatever it took to get there.
He cleaned up his diet! What you eat is 80-90% of your success or failure when it comes to losing weight – no amount of exercise will allow you to outrun an unhealthy diet. Exercise, especially strength training, is the icing on the cake…hmmm, wait bad example – the cake is a lie!
Tony stopped eating junk, stopped drinking tons of liquid calories, and started loading up on protein and vegetables. Look at that picture above, and read his words – you can actually FEEL how much happier and healthier he is. His positivity and happiness radiates off the screen.
He had a plan to follow. The Rebel Fitness Guide is a collection of workout plans and healthy diet information for the average Joe presented in a super nerdy, fun way – it doesn’t have any top-secret formulas, get-fit-quick workouts, or magic supplement secrets (those things don’t exist). The reason the Rebel Fitness Guide was successful for Tony was because HE ACTUALLY FOLLOWED THROUGH WITH IT.
He didn’t give up after two weeks, he didn’t constantly change directions, he didn’t keep trying new fads and giving up when instant success didn’t show up. He put on his metaphorical hard hat and went to work – he started with the Level 1 Rookie workouts and slowly, steadily, surely worked his way all the way up to the Level 4 Renegade workouts. He always had a new challenge to look forward to, and a new opportunity to push himself to be better, faster, stronger.
Want to know what the best workout plan is? The one that you actually follow through with and complete.
He was consistent. I’m sure Tony had his shares of ups and downs over the past six months while losing weight and getting in shape. What’s important is that he looked at his journey as a marathon, not a sprint. On a day to day basis, the scale might not have been moving, but in the long run he knew that he was making significant progress and getting stronger. His belt kept getting tighter, his clothes started feeling more loose, and he could compare “after” pictures to his “before” pictures to see changes.
Tony didn’t concern himself with instant gratification and speedy success – he knew he was making changes that would last him an entire lifetime. Because of this, he has been successful where so many others have failed.
You can see awesomely drastic and lasting changes in a few short months if you stay focused. Think about it; If you plan on living for another 40,50,60, 70 years…a few months of fun, inspirational, challenging hard work really isn’t as big of a deal as you’re making it out to be in your mind. Tony did all of this awesomeness while working a full time job, building a website on the side, and raising a family.
If you have any questions for Tony, go ahead and leave your questions in the comments and I’ll make sure he comes by to answer them!
PS – psssst…Hey Tony, now that you’re an inspiration for tens of thousands of people, looks like you’ll just have to keep kicking ass. I want a video of you doing 10 pull ups by the end of the year!