James Rodgers: “How I’ve Lost Over 30 Pounds”

James is in the midst of changing the trajectory of his entire life. He has replaced all sugary drinks with water, is down 37 pounds and has completely reversed his pre-diabetic diagnosis. Here is his Become More story.

Can you please share your age, where you’re from, what you do for work, and what classes you typically attend?
I’m 46, originally from The Bronx and Long Island, NY but call PB and La Jolla home for the last 25 years. I’m a clinical psychologist and work for a local non-profit that serves people with serious mental illness and addiction. I also teach at SDSU. I mostly attend the 4pm classes at Crown Point on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

What was your initial decision to join the gym based upon?
I joined P360 to address some serious health issues and to get back into some kind of reasonable shape. This was a huge deal for me since I have been surfing for 30 years, played soccer for 10 and wrestled for five. I was also an ocean lifeguard on Long Island and have been bummed out about how far I have drifted (pun intended) from an athletic and active lifestyle.

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?
For over 15 years I have been displeased with my overall health and appearance, as well as my inability to enjoy surfing and swimming. Since joining P360, I have seen amazing improvements in all of these areas. My doctor was shocked by my health improvements in such a short period of time.

I also became re-engaged with my passion for surfing and being in the ocean. I now surf all year round without fear of drowning due to being out of shape, and my surfing has improved dramatically once again. I’m riding bigger waves, catching more waves and having longer surf sessions. My surfing buddies of 30 years tell me that I am starting to look like my 20 year-old self again out in the water.

Talk about your journey in your first year, learning the ropes, getting your routine dialed in, and now where you are today.
I can’t believe it’s been one year. Time really flies when you’re having fun! When I first joined I had three goals: 1) don’t quit; 2) don’t die (literally and figuratively); and 3) try to lose 20 pounds. I still remember my first class and not being able to climb the stairs at home for four days afterwards. Every coach with whom I have interacted has been super welcoming, helpful and motivating, all in the right amounts. I remember feeling extremely nervous and intimidated at first. The more I attended, the more I realized how the coaches made me feel at home and that I was in the right place. I have received nothing but amazing support and instruction from everyone, which is exactly what I needed and still need.

As time went on, my learning, confidence and results started to significantly improve. It wasn’t long until I started to feel that this was my new routine. I treat going to the gym the same way I do my work and other responsibilities. After all, my life depends on it.

Today, I am 100% dialed in to this new routine and lifestyle. I look forward to each class and feel frustrated if life stands in the way of my attendance to the 4pm classes. This is why I always have a back-up plan to attend a different class even if it throws me off my routine. In addition to the outstanding coaches, I feel a wonderful sense of community and camaraderie with the other members. I’ve met some great people, workout partners and new friends who are very motivating and encouraging.

There’s nothing like getting cheered on by people you know (and don’t know) while you’re working out. It’s such a boost and gives me the much needed energy I sometimes need.

You’ve openly shared your continued victories against diabetes since joining. Would you mind talking a little bit about that?
For over 12 years I’ve had high blood pressure. It tends to run in my family, but at the same time, I watched it go up year after year without doing anything about it until I officially became hypertensive. During this same time period I also watched myself head into a downward health spiral as I became obese and started to have high triglycerides and blood sugar levels. After more than a decade of avoidance and neglect I became pre-diabetic and at-risk for a stroke and/or heart disease.

My scariest moment was when the doctor said I was inches away from Type 2 Diabetes and that he would have to diagnose me at my next visit if things continued. I was crushed for about three months, but then decided to get off my ass and finally do something about it. In mid-January 2017 I joined P360.

After nine months of coming to the gym three times a week I lost 27 pounds. My triglyceride levels went from 250 to 115 (normal range), glucose from 143 to 121 (normal range), and LDL Cholesterol from 118 to 98 (optimal range). The biggest and scariest numbers were my A1C levels. These went from 6.3 (6.5 is Type 2 Diabetes) down to 6.0 which is considered normal due to my physiology. During my follow-up visit nine months into my new P360 lifestyle, my doctor was astonished. He was prepared to break the news about how I now have diabetes.

Instead he was speechless and ecstatic. We agreed to have another follow-up visit in February or March 2018 and I’m looking forward to it since I lost an additional 10 pounds. My hopes are to get the A1C level under 6.0 to get as far away from diabetes as possible and perhaps get off the blood pressure medication.

What are some of your most meaningful achievements in the gym so far?
First and foremost, I completed one year and re-engaged in a long lost athletic lifestyle. In 13 months I have lost a total of 37 pounds and made Lean and Mean Club Level 3. Another big achievement was actually completing the two mile run and seeing my results improve each time. I’m also doing better, stronger and more pushups, and I’ve been happy to see my deadlifts and back squats steadily grow in terms of weight.

What areas do you struggle with when it comes to balance?
Where I struggle the most right now is with my eating habits. I love food and while I have made huge strides with exercise, I don’t feel like I have made the same commitment with respect to eating. I do drink over 96 ounces of water per day, have cut out sugary drinks entirely, and exercise portion control, but that’s about it. I still eat what I want. I guess this is the final frontier for me, but somehow pizza, burgers and brownies always seem to win. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll try Coach Lenny’s nutrition plan.

What would you say to someone who is on the fence, who is in your same shoes when you started?
First, I would say that I understand and empathize with any feelings of doubt, insecurity or feeling intimidated. At the same time, lean into your discomfort rather than avoid it, otherwise you’ll end up in the same place or worse. My high school wrestling coach used to say, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Once you join, keep your goals simple and concrete at first. Mine was literally to not quit. This kept me focused, even though it could have been easy to get overwhelmed with all the new movements, my inabilities and my mixed emotions.

Lastly, and most importantly, trust the process. Trust the coaches since they are top notch and there to help you succeed. Trust the training format and content since everyone at P360 knows what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll see the results will speak for themselves. Finally, trust the community and other members. They were all new at some point and are more interested in being part of an awesome team and vibe, versus being competitive with each other. Once you open yourself up to this experience, you’ll wonder why you didn’t join sooner. I sure did and I’m not shy about saying that this place totally changed my life!

What’s in store for you in 2018? Inside and outside of the gym?
Inside the gym my goal is to improve my mobility, especially in the front rack position. I also have my eye on Lean and Mean Club Level 4 and would love to join the gym record list in this category. Lastly, my goal is to keep improving and getting stronger with the barbell and movements. Outside of the gym, I plan to see my doctor soon and lose five more pounds before the appointment to get off the blood pressure medication. I continue to surf and swim as much as possible, and am starting to do more hiking, skiing and pretty much anything outdoors. I am also thinking about doing some kind of fitness challenge like a Tough Mudder or 9/11 Tower Run.