You’ve been working with Figarelle’s Fitness since late October 2013. What prompted you to seek us out?

I was looking for something new and different. I had considered Crossfit in the past, but was not very intrigued by it. Then I talked to my friends, Chris and Audrey Dunn, one weekend while watching a Broncos football game. They were talking about this “Bootcamp” that they go to and how it is very challenging. Well, challenging is just what I needed! They invited me to a bootcamp one Saturday and I have been hooked ever since. I was looking for a way to get past the plateau I had been stuck at for quite a few months, and boy was bootcamp the way to go! Honestly, I had no idea what to expect, but the results are more than I could have hoped for in such a short time.

Joel: October 2013-March 2014.

Joel: October 2013-March 2014.

Over the last 4 months, you’ve lost 23 LBS, and 7% body fat. Did you anticipate making that kind of progress in such a short period of time?

Honestly, not really. I didn’t know what to expect when I started. I read the stories on Figarelle’s Fitness website, and thought; “why can’t that be me?” Anything is possible if you just put your mind to it, so having said that, I guess I did think it would happen, just maybe not quite so fast. I am very happy that I have been able to dedicate the time in order for it to happen. I think a big part of the fast results was due to in large part to combining personal training sessions with bootcamp and doing HIIT training at the gym on my own.

You’ve lost a significant amount of weight, even before starting with FF. Can you tell us a little about the progress you made before meeting us?

Well, up until I started at Figarelle’s Fitness I had lost 130 LBS, and it had taken me a little over 5 years to do so. I started weight loss, little steps at a time. First through my diet, then I gradually introduced exercise and then towards the end I incorporated weight lifting and cardio. It is definitely a slow process, but a very rewarding one at that.  Fat loss isn’t necessarily easy for anyone, but it IS possible for anyone. The funny thing is that I don’t know exactly what my heaviest weight was, I know the most I saw on the scale was 380 LBS and that was enough to make me want to change my life.

I knew that if I didn’t do something about my weight that I was going to be in a world of hurt by the time I hit my 30’s, and I did not want it to limit the things I could do more than it already had. I went to the doctor one day and he told me that if I did not do something about my weight that I would not make it into my 40’s, and if I did, that I would be miserable. Maybe that was an exaggeration, but I did not take it lightly. From that day forward, EVERY day I have made a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle.

Since going from where you were at your heaviest, to where you are today, how have you changed psychologically?

Well, I’d be lying if I said there was no change. I think that my confidence level has changed quite a bit, when you are really heavy you are pretty self conscious about things like taking your shirt of at the beach or going swimming at the pool or even shopping for clothes. Psychologically, I feel much healthier. My overall mindset has changed for the better, I don’t have very many negative thoughts at all anymore and if I do, I just shove them aside as if it was someone else saying them and move on with things. I used to have anxiety and that is 100% gone, I attribute that to regularly working out and keeping a clear mind. Sure, I still get worked up sometimes, but daily life is so much easier with a positive attitude that nothing can stop you from what you want to do or the things you want to achieve.

Joel: October 2013- March 2014.

Joel: October 2013- March 2014.

What are some of the most surprising changes you’ve made, physically?

Boy, I think losing my gut would have to be one of the most surprising things! I always thought that I would get a 6 or 8 pack eventually, but when you actually see it, it is pretty cool! Overall my general physique I guess, toning up and losing the fat so you can actually see the definition in the muscle groups is pretty sweet. Losing inches around my waist is a big one. Since starting with Figarelle’s Fitness I’ve gone from a 40 to a 34 pant size, pretty nice to be able to get jeans anywhere now!

We get to see you at small group personal training, private personal training, and boot camp classes each week. What are a few of your favorite things about each of those different programs?

I love Boot Camp because of the group atmosphere. It’s really fun to see people change on a weekly basis and to workout in a group where everyone wants to be there and isn’t whining, bitching, and moaning about working out. The diverse workouts at bootcamp always keep you guessing, and everyday you’re not quite sure what to expect. I like that!

Private personal training with Steph took it to a whole other level, it is like bootcamp on steroids. I love every bit of personal training, the one on one atmosphere really helps you target what you want out of each workout. I have seen big gains on a weekly basis and it proves that it’s all in the trainer! Thanks, Steph!

Small group is really fun. Especially since we started doing 8×8’s with “go to’s” and 100 push ups for a warm up! I like it because we have such diversity in just 6 or 7 people. We all push each other pretty hard. I like it because it is still a small group but you get an intense workout while in the company of friends.

As you know, nutrition is paramount to successful fat loss. How has your diet changed since starting with Figarelle’s Fitness?

My diet has changed a ton, I eat way more protein than I ever have. Before starting at FF I did not know how paramount protein was in fat loss and in building strength, I mean, I always knew you should have a protein shake after a workout but really didn’t know physiologically why, and now I do! I actually eat more food now than I ever did before while trying to lose fat. In the beginning it was actually hard for me to get the calories I needed for the day, eating the right calorie packed healthy foods has proven to be very beneficial. It took some convincing from Steph for me to actually eat more and when I did, the pounds started coming off. Currently, my diet consist of mainly protein and healthy fats, with minimal carbohydrates.

Joel: October 2013-March 2014.

Joel: October 2013-March 2014.

We just did a tough Deadlift workout during a recent personal training session and you increased your Deadlift weight by 45 LBS in about 3 weeks. How has becoming physically stronger impacted your life in general?

It has made my work day much easier. I have a pretty physical job and I enjoy physical activities for fun. I have not had a kinked back since starting with FF. I attribute that to the crazy amount of core strengthening that is incorporated into the workouts. I have had back problems for quite some time, so to be able to Deadlift that kind of weight without my back hurting is quite nice! I would say another improvement is that while scuba diving, my air consumption is way down and I attribute that to my improved cardio conditioning. Overall, increasing my strength has made my life much more enjoyable because I don’t pull muscles or strain them anymore, and I can do tasks for a prolonged period of time without getting nearly as fatigued.

I’m sure everyone in your life is in as much awe as we are by your physical changes! What kind of comments do you get from friends and family these days?

When I run into people I haven’t seen in awhile, they hardly recognize me! My friends and family are great supporters of me and have seen how far I have come, they are very encouraging and are constantly surprised by the changes. In fact, it has inspired some of them to get into better shape themselves. A few keep asking me when I am going to stop working out since I have reached my goal weight, and I tell them that it isn’t a “stop and go” type deal, this is a lifestyle. It’s part of a daily routine like anything else for me so no plans on stopping anytime soon!

What are your favorite muscle groups to train? And what are a few of your favorite exercises?

I love to train shoulders and legs, nothing beats the burning you get in the center of your shoulder or the pain in your glutes and quads from Bulgarian split squats. I like the standing overhead BB press for shoulders and lateral raises. For legs it is Bulgarian split squats, front squat and back squats, along with hamstring curl and leg extensions. I also really like to train back. Deadlifts are a new found glory of mine, and bent over neutral grip rows, along with bench one arm rows.

What’s your favorite flavored Quest protein bar? 🙂

By far it’s the Cookies & Cream, microwaved for 15 seconds, wooo weee that is like dessert!

Getting in a workout!

Getting in a workout!

Figarelle’s Fitness is all about encouraging each of our clients to constantly set inspiring goals for their life. What are some of your short and long term goals for the future?

I have a ton of goals so I’ll just put down a few of each. Some short term goals are to run the Lost Lake trail race this summer, get certified to skydive and get my own chute, get my dive master rating for scuba, keep expanding my business, dive with the Humpback whales in Hawaii, sail around Cape Horn on the east coast and Deadlift 400lbs. Some Long term goals are to summit Mt.Mckinley, open and run a second business, compete in a bodybuilding competition next April, get my pilots license next spring, go hang gliding, and bungee jump the gorge in New Zealand. There are a ton more, but those are just a few.

Everyone should have a life outside of the gym. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working out?

I go scuba diving every chance I get, it is a ton of fun up here. I go mountain biking, run fishing charters out of Seward in the summer, go hiking and camping, pretty much anything outdoors. I also like to turn things on my lathe, build furniture, photography, work on my own boats, and I really enjoy spending time with friends, family and a certain someone.