The man who has captured my transformation in so many photos you see here has a transformation story of his own. I am honored to be the one who gets to share his inspiring fitness journey!
Meet Ariel Perez.. not only a talented photographer but an inspiring and generous person who I am grateful to know. He has endless patience and such a positive, encouraging presence.. I am lucky, not only to have worked with him, but also to have gotten to know him over the last couple of years.
Tonight he answers some of my questions about lifestyle changes and his fitness journey:
Me: What was your reason for making this lifestyle change?
Tired of looking the way I did.
Tired of being tired.
I’m in my 40s and it was time to get back in shape and stay in shape. The time is now!
I wanted to change and motivate others to do the same … and it’s working. 🙂
Me: What was the first step you took towards making this change? People always say they are tired and fed up but still don’t do it.. What did you do to start and what has made you stay committed?
I signed up for a 6 week Crossfit Groupon deal.
I told myself, “I need to give this a try.. 6 weeks. If I see any changes I’ll stick to it. If not, at least I tried”
I committed myself to going to the 3 times a week beginner’s class. I met new people, started seeing some results, and feeling better.. I continued to stay motivated and stuck to it.
Me: Had you ever started and stopped previously? Do or did you go through times where you didn’t trust yourself to stay on track? How did you?
Back in 2006 I was told by my Dr that my sugar/glucose numbers were high and that I needed to lose weight or be put on medicine. I hired a personal trainer, started working out and eating the right kinds of foods. After 6 months I had lost 30 lbs. I then didn’t have a maintenance plan and kept burning fat (muscle??) and losing weight. I started eating like I had before and in a few months I was back to my initial ‘weight’.
At that time I didn’t have a plan or system in place that would keep me motivated and on track. Crossfit has done that for me this time around.
Me: What would be the one tidbit for success that you would tell people if they wanted to make a change?
#1 is setting a goal. Writing it down, sharing this goal with several people, and having someone hold you accountable in following through and staying on track.
Me: What was your starting point?
Have you met your goals?
What are your future goals?
I have met my initial goal of weighing 200 lbs.
My follow up goals are to maintain and build muscle mass and strength, while weighing around 195 lbs.
I want to share with others my success story and motivate them to write down and reach their goals.
What is your daily/weekly routine?
I do Crossfit between 3-4 times a week and try to do active recovery (walking) in between.
I’m very mindful of what I eat now and focus on ‘fueling’ my body for health and success. I keep in mind time of the day and foods I should/should not eat during those times (i.e carbs after 6pm).
I understand and embrace food portions and … yes, I can have my sweets.. but in moderation and with the the right nutrient dense foods.
Some of my many favorite foods are: kale, salmon, tuna, avocado, almond milk, green tea, 70% dark chocolate, berries, brown rice, brown pasta, apples, almonds, nutrient rich smoothies.. the list goes on.
Me: Has this impacted other areas of your life? What differences do you notice?
Definitely, I feel happier, others feel happy for me, look up to me, and want to know the ‘magic formula’. I explain to them what I’ve done in the past 6 months and motivate them to get off the couch and get going so they too can reach their goals.
I’m more mindful than before when it comes to fueling my body with nutrients that it needs, not just what I feel like eating.
As a result, I have more energy throughout the day, better sleeping patterns, feel happier and look forward to my next workout.
And he ended it with this.. “Thank you my amazing and inspiring friend … you have been one that has motivated me to change :)” Which totally makes me gush with happiness to think that I could play any role in someone’s life. More importantly, however, is how it touched on some key points I found in his story.
- You really never really know who you are inspiring.. so keep it up. 🙂 Sometimes it feels like we are struggling against ourselves as well as the world in making this change. “Behind the scenes” however, one positive presence really does have the power to make a difference. Keep doing what you do and making positive changes.
- Stay committed for a specific period of time. Ariel and I both started in a similar way.. committing ourselves to a change. Ironically, both were for 6 weeks and in that timeframe we saw enough benefits to want to keep going.
- Write down your goal, include a date.. and share it! This is so important to be working towards something and by sharing it, you have accountability. Personally, I don’t think chasing a number on a scale is the best choice. Instead I think focusing on the steps necessary to put you on the right track (form a new habit) will set you on the way to the changes you are seeking. For example.. sticking to a well-designed food plan or working out 3-4 days a week.
- Seek people with similar goals. He met others in cross fit.. I connected with people in person and online who were making the similar changes. A sense of community will help keep you engaged and enthused. Surrounding yourself with the right people always increases your chances for success in any goal you set in life.
- What Ariel and I both found was what we both gained far outweighed (no pun intended) what we thought we had to “give up”. I think so often, we focus on what we cannot have and feel denied. The ironic thing is.. it becomes less and less important as you see all the benefits.. better mood, more energy, an overall sense of well-being. It all falls into place when you focus on doing the right things. 🙂
Thank you, Ariel, for allowing me to be the one to share your story! You are such a great inspiration, talented photographer, and incredible person.. it is an honor to work with you and know you!