My name is Richard and I am obese, like really morbidly obese.
I’ve always been the biggest guy in school or work. At 6’4 and 350lbs currently (started at 395), I take up a lot of room. Most people don’t think I weigh that much because I carry my weight in my midsection. My arms, legs, and face look pretty normal and don’t reveal I am that fucking heavy.
I’ve decided after 40+ years, it is time to make a change. Not only to drop the weight and get in shape but to do strongman too.
Road to Strongman
Getting healthy was an easy choice. I just wanted to feel better, find clothes that fit and not get winded as much.
The decision to try strongman is long, weird and totally me.
It started off watching the Crazy Russian Hacker do an Ice Cream Hack video with Furious Pete, who is a competitive eater and does fitness videos. In the video, Pete demolishes a pile of ice cream sandwiches. WTF. I need to see more of this. So it led me to Pete’s youtube channel. I watched in fascination and horror at the competitive eating stuff. I watched his videos for a few months and didn’t really pay attention to the fitness side of it, even though that was the time he was transitioning more to that than eating. A series of videos caught my attention, a 3 parter with Brian Shaw – 4x World’s Strongest Man winner.
Gods Walks Among Us
The amount of weight this guy was moving was borderline insane. I feel into a Youtube hole that lasts until way late in the evening. I watched dozens of videos of various interviews, competitions, and workouts. Something appealed to me at a base level about this. These men were like living gods or superheroes. Lifting 450lbs stones off the floor to table height, carrying 500lbs in their hands and walking a course, deadlifting over 1000lbs and more. It was utterly fascinating and something I could see myself doing.
Over the next few weeks, I found myself reading up and watching everything I could on Shaw, Thor “The Mountain” Bjornsson, Eddie “The Beast” Hall and “Big Z” Zydrunas Savickas. This morphed into “How do I do this?” I want to get into this and see how well I can do. Now, don’t get me wrong I will never compete at the level these guys do, but on a regional level, I could kick some serious ass.
How the heck do you do that and not die?
The next few months were spent researching how to do actually get into doing strongman. I started reading various blogs, the strongman sub-Reddit and whatever else I could get my hands on. I studied their eating habits, how they trained, what they trained with, emailed with people with questions and looked for a gym around here that could be a good place to learn. One of the best things I saw while doing my research was the “Eddie Strongman”
documentary on Netflix. It not only cemented my love that man (my mom is not too far from Stoke upon Trent, so he’s one of my people LOL) that I was no way ready to do strongman, either physically or mentally.
My general level of fitness was really bad. My core was all messed up so badly I could throw my back out picking up something off the floor and spending 2 days in bed. So, I switched my plan. I needed to drop some weight, do some cardio and core exercises to build a basic foundation. That lasted about 2 days before it fell apart from the stresses of life and work. I’d come home from work, eat dinner, work some more, go to bed, get up and go to work. It really sucked my will to live. I could spend time researching but getting that motivation to move just wasn’t there. I knew the theory behind it but never could put it into practice.
A New Day
In April of 2017, I got laid off. It was pretty fucking traumatic. I spent the first week freaking out and figuring out what I am going to do. I’d had that job for 12 years and my whole life for the last 8 years revolved around that job. After that first week, the next 2 or 3 weeks were spent with me sleeping, reading and not really doing anything. Some point after that first month I had come to the realization that the job was killing me, ground me to dust emotionally and I was the happiest I’d been in at least a decade. I was able to think clearly and my friends and loved ones celebrated the return of the old Richard they knew. I got back into hobbies like DnD and Warhammer after giving them up for a lack of time.
To stave off cabin fever, I turned to going for a walk every day just to get out of the house. They started with short 10 min walks and then gradually got longer and longer to where I was doing 1-2 hour walks a day. If I was doing that kind of exercise, why not change my diet? So, out when soda and candy and cookies. More lean meats, veggies, and fruits replaced Burger King and Taco Bell. Before I knew it, I had lost 40lbs! Each day I was feeling better than I did the day before and had more energy. For about a month, I’d been walking 6 days a week for at least 30 min, with most being in the 90 min range. My diet had settled out and I didn’t crave soda or candy nearly as much as I had previously. All of this was becoming a habit, it was time to add something new to it.
Holy Gym Rat, Batman!
So here we are in the latter half of August. I signed up at Planet Fitness 1 week ago today and have been 3 times so far. I got done with my walk on Monday and decided to go to the gym for a bit to learn the machines and get a feel for the place. Half an hour later, I’ve done 3 sets of 10 reps on like 8 machines. My arms and chest are screaming at me. The burn feels good, but I know I will feel it in the morning. Tuesday, I wake up sore and stiff but still totally functional. I do an extra long hike that day. Wednesday comes around, I am feeling really good. Like really super good and head to the gym for 45 min this time. Honestly, I am surprised I walked out of there under my own power.
Tuesday, I wake up sore and stiff but still totally functional. I do an extra long hike that day. Wednesday comes around, I am feeling really good. Like really super good and head to the gym for 45 min this time. Honestly, I am surprised I walked out of there under my own power.
Hubris got me and got me good. “I can do this” and overdo it on the leg exercises and they are jello 20 min into my time I set aside. Pushing through I complete my arm exercises and head home for the day.
Thursday morning was a good reminder that I am not 19 anymore. Spent the day hobbling around and not being able to lift my arms to mid chest. I am not going to let this stop me from my daily walk. Not long into the walk, my legs are warmed up and feeling good and I get a nice 90 min walk.
It’s Friday the 25th right now and I just got back from the gym. I feel good. The burn in my arms and legs is there, I think I got this.
What now Fatboy?
Well to be honest the next month or so is going to focus on eating better, walking and getting to the gym 3 times a week. I am don’t think I will be doing anything adventurous weight wise. My plan now is just reinforcing these healthy habits, getting the muscles used to moving weights and working on my core. You have to walk before you can run. I am barely out of the crawling stage of where I want to be ultimate.
Planet Fitness isn’t going to be a long term plan for me, I suspect I will outgrow them as I move into more strongman type exercises. It is a perfect place to start, which is perfect because of its been 25+ years since I worked out in any capacity. If I outgrow it in 6 months or a year, that’s fine. It will be a good milestone in my progression to move on to a more strength focused gym.
So, here is it. I am posting this to keep myself honest and hope the people who read this keep me accountable.
- Do a 5k in 35 minutes.
- Benchpress 125lbs
- Squat 200lbs
- Deadlift 200lbs
- 100lb Farmer Walk – 25ft
- 150lb Atlas Stone – 2 ft
- 5k in 27 min
- Benchpress 200lbs
- Squat 300lbs
- Deadlift 300lbs
- 250lb Farmer Walk – 25ft
- 240lb Atlas Stone – 2.5ft
- 5k in 21 min
- Benchpress 300lbs
- Squat 400lbs
- Deadlift 500lbs
- 10ft Keg toss
- 400lb Farmer Walk – 50 ft
- 300lb Atlas Stone – 3ft
Until I hit that first milestone, I’ll do weekly reports on my progress.