Fitness Success Stories
Therapist Walks Talk
This is a story of how my body was transformed using the “Get Ripped” eating principles from 230 pounds to a lean and healthy 150. I’m a 31-year-old Physical Therapist who woke up one day about seven years ago and realized that I was terribly overweight. I didn’t even realize it was happening. All the sudden I was fat.
Through high school I weighed about 175 on a 5’ 6” frame. Participating in wrestling, football and track, I was fairly well muscled and didn’t need to watch what I ate. In college I was still able to maintain my weight about the same. However, after being admitted to P.T. graduate school things changed. I allowed my activity to all but cease. I wasn’t very good with my diet. I didn’t know how to balance my caloric intake with my activity level. To make a long story short, during graduate school and the next three years I ballooned--and I mean ballooned--to 230 pounds! It seems so ironic that I knew so much about my body but was so out of touch with it!
To make matters worse, I began work at a busy orthopedic
outpatient clinic with an emphasis in sports medicine. By the end of my workday
I was exhausted. What was I going to do? I loved my job but felt so tired. I
tried to rationalize that it was from a busy work schedule. But my boss was 53,
with 8% body fat, and able to run circles around me!
I felt like a joke. Here I was encouraging patients to
exercise, setting them up on diagnosis-specific regimens, and I wasn’t doing
any exercise myself. And it showed! Why was I contributing to my IRA when I
wouldn’t be around to use it? How many men came into my clinic that were over
the age of 70-75 and were severely overweight and still alive? None! My mom,
grandpa and grandma all had insulin dependent diabetes with all its related
complications, and my obesity was setting me up for this same misery. I needed
to do something but didn’t know where to start.
I had a college student trainee shadowing me and I noticed
that she was carrying “The Ultimate Fit or Fat” by Covert Bailey. It was one
of the books for her exercise physiology class, and she volunteered to loan it
to me. I read the book and realized that I needed to become more active and, in
Covert’s words, become a “better butter burner." My fat burning enzymes
needed an overhaul.
I started to walk first thing in the morning for about 30-45 minutes. I had to do it in the morning because I was too tired after work. When that became easy after a few weeks I started to jog slowly. At 230, it was slow! I went while it was dark so no one could see me. First it was 10 minutes, then 15, then 20 and soon, over the course of a few months, I was up to 30 minutes 5-6 days per week.
Over the course of the next two years, I slimmed down to
185 lbs. I was able to do my job and not feel wasted at the end of the day. But
both of my heels started to develop an excruciating pain! I was getting a bad
case of Plantar Fasciitis. I ignored the symptoms for as long as possible, but
then the pain started to make walking on the job very painful. I needed a change
in plans. Panic set in, because I didn’t know how to control my weight without
jogging. I hadn’t learned to control my portion sizes either. I had been
lifting weights 1-2 days per week but knew that really didn’t burn many
calories, although it did help by maintaining my lean muscle mass. I began to
think I was destined to be a fat guy.
Then I remember seeing a ripped guy in Muscle and
Fitness when I was in my teens. I thought that perhaps he would know how
to eat if anyone did, so I got online and ordered Ripped 3. It had
the recipes I needed. The book rang true. It took me back to the nutrition
courses that I had in college but never knew how to apply. I knew immediately
that his method was based on sound healthy eating principles and exercise.
Eating whole foods, vegetables, fruits and appropriate
amounts of lean protein—this is sound nutritional advice! Still, I was
skeptical that my body was built for leanness.
I then did something really crazy and decided to enter a
bodybuilding contest. I wanted to harness some positive pressure on myself. I
had four months and set my goal weight at 160.
I thought I would be very lean after losing 25 pounds of fat.
So I started to eat the meals out of Clarence’s book and to follow his workouts, with a few modifications to suit my needs. I used an EFX machine and Nordic Track daily for 20-30 minutes, both non-impact allowing me to train without irritating my feet.
I was also sure to snack every 2-3 hours. This was key! I
couldn’t believe how snacking helped to keep me from bingeing. Before reading
his book, I had always forced myself to avoid snacking to “force” my body to
tap into its fat stores. Actually, all that technique ever did was give me bad
breathe and make me feel tired. I also started to keep a food log so I could modify by plan if I
wasn’t losing fat at an appropriate rate. I ate three meals and three snacks
per day. I found that I could consistently lose 1-2 pounds per week on this
method. Clarence doesn’t advocate counting calories but instead encourages
uniform eating, with small adjustments as necessary. After 3 months I had trimmed down to
160. I was so happy. If I had seen Clarence walking down the street, I would’ve given him a big hug!
With one month before the competition my abdominals still weren’t cut. I had my body fat checked with calipers and underwater
weighing. I was 10% fat. No wonder my abs were on vacation!
To get to 6% body fat, I needed to weigh about 150. I cut my caloric
intake slightly and increased my time on the EFX machine from 30 to 45 minutes.
These changes caused me to drop to 150 by the contest date, and 6% body fat. (The last time I weighed 150 was in the 7th grade!)
The competition was a great learning experience. A week later
there was a second contest and I actually placed forth in the 154-and-below
novice category. My goal was to compete with myself and use others to force me
to be the best that I could be. Still, the trophy was sure a nice addition to my
Thanks to Clarence Bass and the Ripped series, I truly have found control over my eating and my body! His method of eating high volume, low calorie foods really fill me up--without filling me out. I especially like his use of fat free plain yogurt on a number of items like potatoes, salads, chicken, pasta and even oatmeal! This is but one tip among hundreds I learned.
Now when I work with patients I do my best to encourage
them to lose excess pounds. Many health professionals give up on
their efforts to encourage patients to lose weigh, perhaps due to lack of compliance and
apathy. They may not know how to control their own weight, let alone help
someone else with the process.
My advice is to start slowly with one lifestyle
modification at a time. I try to drive home that health is a lifestyle, not
just a temporary phase or diet. Once you experience the effects of a healthy lifestyle you
never want to settle for anything else. This lifestyle consists of a
healthy balanced diet and regular exercise. As far as our physical bodies
are concerned, movement is life. When you stop moving bad things start to
happen to your body in many ways and at many levels. Get out there and
Tina Finds Her Sport--at 55
Once upon a time, many years ago, I grew up in England. It was where I went to school during the '50s and early '60s. England, especially it seems where I lived, was very conservative, and if you didn't fit into the mould, you simply didn't belong. This was as evident on the sports field as it was in the classroom and everyday life.
At school in winter we were made to play hockey and netball (a sort of basketball); and our summer sports consisted of track and field, rounders (a sort of baseball), and tennis.
Ball sports: forget it –– no hand/eye co-ordination.
Track and field: I can trip over a match stick, so any attempt at running was doomed to failure from the start. Plus, amazingly, no-one ever taught us how to breath, so after a short attempt at running, I'd break down, winded.
High jump: You think someone as tall as me could do this –– but no. I'd always fall into the bar instead of jumping over it. Plus my legs were designed more for power and not long and lean; they are long and solid!!
Long jump: that involves running –– bad news
Swimming: there was very little opportunity to swim, but whenever they did put me in the water I’d sink like a stone –– I was scared of it. Nasty wet stuff, if you ask me, but wonderful to look at from a distance.
It was so bad that whenever my class was taking sport, the buzz would go round: "Tina's out on the track let’s go and have a laugh."
Imagine, then, a tall lanky girl, with virtually no self confidence, and apparently no sporting ability trying to make it in the popularity stakes. Believe me, it just didn't happen.
So my life went on. I managed to convince myself (without trying too hard) that I hated sport, and I immersed myself in books and music, and any attempt at fitness activity was always done behind closed doors where no-one could see what sort of a fool I was making of myself.
Then, in my mid 40s I met and married Wayne Gallasch, and my life began a slow transformation. He introduced me to weight training, and whilst I would really like to say I became a bodybuilder overnight, it would be lying, so I won't. But I did flirt with the weights off and on for a few years –– almost always by myself, because I still didn't believe that I could actually do something "sporty," even though I am naturally strong.
The final metamorphosis took place late last year when Wayne and I visited Clarence and Carol Bass in Albuquerque to shoot a video on Clarence, his lifestyle and sporting achievements.
It just so happened that Clarence has a Concept 2 rower in his aerobics room. And I hopped on it to have a go. By this time in my life (55 years old) I wasn't so concerned about looking an idiot as I was when I was younger. Age has a wonderful smoothing affect on one's self esteem.
And I found I could row –– quite spontaneously. I didn't have to learn the style, it just happened for me, with a few very minor adjustments. So that was that –– we went home to Adelaide again, and rowing went to the back of my mind, but because of various other factors involved with the Bass visit, I started to seriously train with weights in our own home gym, alongside Wayne.
Then we visited Albuquerque again, and because it was a reasonably long visit, Wayne and I continued our weight training at the Liberty Gym. And it just so happens that they have Concept 2 rowers. By this time Clarence had told us all about the on-line ranking system on the Concept 2 website, and so we decided to have a go. And my very first 500m row gave me a time of 2:14:7. No warm up, no training, no nothing –– just a straight out row, and I discovered that this was a reasonably respectable time that actually ranked me in the top 20 on the Concept 2 site for my weight and age. I was ecstatic to say the least! It's not often you see an overweight middle-aged woman punching the air, and shouting .... YES!!
And –– to quote a television advert –– there's more, much more. My weight has dropped from a very solid post-menopausal 83 Kg (183lb) to a much healthier 72.5 Kg (160lb) at a height of 175cm or 5’ 9". Because I desperately want to train well, my alcohol consumption has dropped from a couple of glasses of wine a day to just one glass every Saturday night; and Wayne and I eat a very clean and healthy diet, again based on Clarence's whole food philosophy. I read all I can about rowing training, weight training and nutrition because I'm now acting as rowing coach for Wayne, who has entered the British Indoor Rowing Championships this coming November. Put it all in a nutshell: rowing has changed my life –– thanks to Clarence.
Check out the new, slimmer Tina in her serious rowing outfit. Looks great, doesn't she?
And so that’s how it all happened, and I can say from that first visit to Albuquerque, this 56 year old rower has lived happily ever after, getting rowing times that are better and better (1.58.2 for the 500m; and 8.49.6 for 2000m), and really, seriously, enjoying the training.
If there is any moral to this little fairy tale (and there always has to be a moral in a fairy tale), it would have to be never give up on yourself. You really have to keep an open mind, and if an opportunity comes along, just have a go –– it might change your life.
Tina Gallasch, Adelaide, Australia
[Tina tells us she has decided to enter the Australian national championships to be held mid-October in Melbourne if she can get her 2000 meter time down around 8:30. We think she can do it. Competition is a great way to get the best out of one's self. GO TINA!]
Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico
87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108,
Copyright © 2006 Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved.