TUES: “Chalk Talk” with J.R. Race
JR has been a member here for two years and four months and has taken 531 classes. In that time, he has managed to completely transform his fitness and his physique, dropping over 20 pounds and developing the ability to excel in nearly any workout format. JR is a wonderful member, hard worker, and a tremendous addition to our community.
This is is his story.
What was your initial decision to join the gym based upon?
I needed to get off the fitness hamster wheel I was on. I had actually considered joining P360 sooner, but because we had a 24 Hour Fitness 2-year membership, Gina wanted us to wait until that expired so we weren’t “wasting money”. She says this one of her greatest regrets.
I wasn’t exactly sure what my old fitness routine was missing, but I knew something was lacking. We had so many friends that were always touting how great P360 is. Once we finally tried it we were hooked from day 1. The coaching, structure, community, and culture were what I didn’t know was missing from my old workout routine.
Was there anything in your life that you were displeased with prior to joining? And if so, how have you been able to work on those areas since?
I wasn’t happy with where my fitness level was at. For the better part of 10 years I had done the exact same weekly workout routine. That probably explains a lot of my imbalances and other mobility issues. I wasn’t challenged, and because of that I had plateaued. That led to me being discouraged, which in turn resulted in me forming an undesirable relationship with health and fitness. I worked out because I was supposed to – not because it was something that I wanted to do or enjoyed. For years the gym was a place where I simply punched in my fitness time card and couldn’t wait to punch out as soon as I got there.
Since joining P360, my mental attitude towards fitness has become much healthier. The programming, coaching, and members are constantly pushing me which keeps me mentally engaged. I’ve also become much more proactive about my approach to health and fitness instead of reactive.
Talk about your journey in your first year, learning the ropes, getting your routine dialed in, and now where you are today.
My first year was very enjoyable but also extremely humbling. As someone who played sports growing up and lifted weights for a long time, I thought I would come in and quickly establish myself as an advanced member. However, the very first class after my trial was deadlifts and I nearly pulled my back out trying to do way too much weight. For the next few days I hobbled around rotating icy hot patches on my back. Not exactly an advanced start.
While I wouldn’t want anyone to hurt themselves, it actually served as a good reminder to check my ego at the door. From that point forward I made an effort to come to class and try to be better at at least one thing – whether that be something as simple as focusing on breathing or maybe adding weight. I also worked hard at trying to embrace the things that were new or I wasn’t good at instead of trying to focus on only what was comfortable. I quickly realized that years of of ignoring certain muscles and movements were now rearing their ugly head.
Slowly but surely the classes seemed to slow down. I got more comfortable with the programming structure and class style. Because I usually go to the 6am classes, I feel like most people are pretty quiet – probably because I don’t think anyone is really quite awake yet. However, over time you see the same faces each morning and eventually somebody you were occasionally sharing a bar with becomes your friend and accountabilibuddy.
Now when I walk into the gym, it almost feels like walking into a second home. The environment and people are very familiar and comfortable – even though the workouts usually aren’t. I’m also trying to take more initiative interacting with members – especially in the morning classes. I try and say hello to anybody doing their trial class to let them know that the deer in the headlights feeling will pass.
You’ve had a lot of nutrition success with Coach Lenny. Can you share how much weight you’ve lost, and what nutritional factors have been behind your dramatic body transformation and increase in performance?
Working with Coach Lenny on my nutrition has been amazing and the results have far exceeded my expectations. Since starting his program, I’ve dropped 23 pounds (21 pounds of fat) and 10% body fat (19.7% to 9.8%).
While I was already tracking food, I didn’t have a good sense of direction since the numbers didn’t have any context. Lenny helped steer me in the right direction and gave my nutrition some perspective.I found out that I was previously way too low in protein and too high in fats.
Once my macros were re-calibrated, it has been as simple as staying within reasonable parameters. I try to stay within 5% of my targets each day. That doesn’t mean it’s by any means easy. Around Wednesday or Thursday I plan my meals for the following week and spend 3 – 4 hours on Sunday meal prepping for the week. It’s a pretty meticulous process that includes measuring ingredients and weighing certain foods.
Gina has also pointed out that it might be a little easier for me because I don’t have a sweet tooth, I don’t really like soda, I don’t drink coffee, and I don’t mind eating a regular rotation of meals. I’ve also cut back my alcohol consumption. Partly because of the nutritional impact, but also because I absolutely hate being hungover.
You’re a consistent 6am attendee. What tips can you share for maintaining early morning consistency?
I’ve always been an early riser, but the biggest thing is going to bed early. I try to be in bed by 9pm every night and if I can get in bed earlier, I will. Part of what makes that possible is the meal prepping. It allows me to come home after work and have dinner ready in minutes instead of taking the time to cook something.
It’s also about how I want to attack each day. I’d rather get up and get my workout in so I can head to work knowing that I’ve already put in that time. To make sure I get out of bed I try and view the gym as a non-negotiable part of my day. I look at getting up early to workout as if I had to get up early to catch a flight. Even if I’m not going to a 6am class I try and get up at the same time to reinforce the habit.
The 6am crew also pushes me to make sure I get up. It’s a pretty regimented group of people so I’d say 80% of the classes are the same people each day and I feel like they do a great job of pushing and supporting one another.
Getting up that early is hard, but my advice is give it a try and commit for 2 weeks. That’s enough time for your body to adjust and get used to it. Give the 6am classes a try, we’d love to have you.
What areas do you struggle with when it comes to balance?
The area I probably struggle with the most is rest and recovery, both mentally and physically. if I’m so sore I can barely walk, I still need to force myself to not do anything physical and rest instead.
Mentally, rest for me comes in a variety of ways. Occasionally breaking my nutrition routine is something that I don’t want to do, but I know I need to do. I remind myself that I’ve had success while taking multiple vacations and enjoying a lot of holiday food. Breaking the nutrition routine is also great for me mentally because it frees me to go out and be more social. While I was doing a pretty aggressive 5-week cut, my social life became non-existent. While I loved seeing the physical changes, I wasn’t necessarily enjoying the experience. I realized that while I may occasionally do an aggressive cut for a short period of time, I don’t want that to be my everyday lifestyle because it’s mentally exhausting and quite frankly not very fun.
What’s in store for you in 2018? Inside and outside of the gym?
Inside of the gym there are a few things I’d like to accomplish in 2018. I’m close to Level 4 barbell club, so hopefully I can get there soon. To do that I need to improve my overhead proficiency so I’ll be focusing on that as well. Increasing my mobility and flexibility is also something I’m working on.
In non-gym related activities, Gina and I are getting married next month so that is obviously something I’m really looking forward to. It’s been a lot of work, most of which Gina has done, and I can’t wait for the day to finally come and see all the hard work pay off. Aside from our wedding, we love to travel and we have several big trips booked this year that we’re excited about.
5/s LM Rotational Clean and Press
5/s Pendulum Swings
5/s Lunge Jumps
Then, For PPB .
*Record Total Time