I was about 200 lbs. when I graduated high school. My family’s had a history of heart problems, which fatally took my grandfather at age 42, so naturally my mother was worried about my weight. She decided to set me up with a personal trainer from our local gym by the name of Ken Hensley. I began working with him but at the time I was still young and naive and didn’t really care about changing my lifestyle. The only reason I went along with the plan is because I had been promised $100 for every 10 lbs. I lost. Unfortunately I would never see a dime of that. I never followed my diet and would always complain during training sessions. The only thing I had accomplished was wasting my parent’s money. One day, after about 2 months of training with Ken, he pulled me to the side and told me that he wasn’t going to be training me anymore. He said that he felt I had the potential to make a change and that he would work with me whenever I became more dedicated. To make things worse, I was flunking my first semester of college and I had just quit my job. This was so overwhelming that I decided I needed to take a year off of school and move to Houston with my uncle to clear my head. Unfortunately, my new city lifestyle meant that I was going to be eating out more. I returned 8 months later at over 240 lbs. I remember waking up one morning, looking in the mirror, and finally deciding that I was fed up with being over-weight. I set a goal to lose 100 lbs. and vowed to change my life from that day forward. The first step I took involved changing my eating habits. I had learned a little bit about dieting during my time with Ken. I also still had a copy of his diet, so I decided that this was probably my best option. I followed the diet meticulously and after about 3 weeks I had lost 15 lbs. I was amazed at the significant results that I achieved in such a short amount of time. It was at this time that I felt that I was dedicated enough to approach Ken. After meeting with him he decided to give me another chance. I only worked with him for 3 months, but I continued to train at his gym so that he could follow my progress. Approximately 12 months later I weighed in at 144 lbs.;successfully achieving my goal of dropping 100 lbs. Unfortunately it wasn’t all downhill from there. My newfound success came with it’s own set of challenges. I became so engulfed in healthy living because I wanted to see results that it began to take a toll on my training. I was constantly scared to eat too much because I feared that I would gain weight. This fear kept me from gaining substantial lean muscle mass for years. At one point, my mom set up a meeting with Ken because she was worried about my weight. He voiced his concern and began making me take weight gainer shakes. Even with their help I still ignored what others were telling me and kept telling myself “Only a few more pounds and I’ll be at my goal physique.” It wasn’t until July 2010 when I moved to St. Louis to pursue a job opportunity that I took myself off of a strictly regimented diet. I didn’t eat everything in sight, but I also didn’t count calories. I continued to train and as I did I began to realize that I was gaining more muscle mass then ever before. The job never panned out as I had planned and I decided to move back home to finish school. I put myself back on a “meal plan” when I returned home but this time I used more resources to make sure I was hitting my daily nutritional goals. Fast forward to today and I have been going strong on this plan for over a year now and am in the best shape of my life. I also completed my NASM Personal Training Certification. I have always been one who tracks his workouts and his eating pretty regularly so I thought it would be nice to spread the wealth. Feel free to ask me any questions or post ideas about how we can achieve our goals faster!