Inspiration Testimonies

Mike Jarrells
"From Virginia tells his story of the Battle of the Bulge, the Journey Begins..."

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Hello. My name is Mike. My story starts about 8 years ago sitting in my friends basement. Unemployed, broke, depressed, and basically broken down on my luck. Those days, all I did was surf the net and waste a lot of valuable time doing nothing. It was a hot August day. And my friend was getting ready to go to the gym. Now in school, I had played sports and stayed in pretty good shape. But I made a decision not to go to college and decided to stay home and work in a factory. I ate fast food pretty much every day and slowly, but surely, this started to catch up to me. I ate large meals many times during the day, not really caring about what was happening to my body. I grew up a husky or big kid. I played sports with older kids because of my size. But my family never seemed to mind my size nor did anyone seem to think I would have health issues because of this. My friend suggested that I come to the gym with him. Since it was Sunday, no one would be there and I could help or keep him company. I was reluctant at first, but then I thought, why not. So off we went. When I got there, I watched him workout for a while before he suggested that I try doing some bench presses to see if I was still strong and how strong I actually was. I was surprised. The more, I did the better I felt. He convinced me to sign up and start a workout regimen.

The next day, I signed up and the journey began. I figured since I was not working, I would make good of my time. As I looked for employment, I would workout and try to get in shape. I worked out three days a week for about 30 minutes or so. I saw small results but not really what I wanted. This went on for about 6 months. I had started at 350 lbs. In six months, I had only lost about 20 lbs. So, I figured that I needed to do more or make a change. I started to evaluate my eating habits. I cut out all sodas for flavored water or regular water. I started to eat more fruits and veggies. The only meat that I ate was chicken, fish, and turkey. I limited amount and type of carb intake. I ate oatmeal for breakfast and egg whites. In addition, I ate cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and milk. Still, I was not getting the results that I wanted. I knew that I had to start some type of cardio. Cardio, the word no one likes to hear. But, it had to be done. I started with about 20 minutes on a bike, 2 days a week after a workout. I knew at some point, I had to get on a treadmill or do something to change this. But I just was hard headed and didn't do it. Eventually, the small gym that I was going to closed simply because they lost clients due to the new Gold's Gym coming in. A new chapter was born here.

At Gold's Gym, I met a good friend, one who showed me the importance of endurance training, and not to look at it like cardio or a chore. But make it fun. He was an older guy. One, who believes that you went big, went hard, puked and went home. I know this may be extreme and funny to some, but it was true. We started by running hills after our workouts. And I say run. I should say sprint. It was about a 40 yard hill, up and down; up and down; up and down. We would take turns doing this in sets of 5. So, I would go up and down 5 times then he would. We would alternate this for about half an hour after our resistance training. We would also go to the park and do wind sprints about a quarter mile. We would jog. This was the first time that I had jogged a mile in years. This was an ultimate goal of mine. I was also at this point able to do pull-ups which were a first for me. I had never done pull-ups my entire life. But, just as things were going well, I experience another set back.

I was eating lunch one day when I had this funny feeling in my chest. Almost like a butterfly was in there. I drove myself into the emergency room. After they got done doing all these tests, picking and probing, they said I have atrial fibrillation or A-fib for short. It basically is when the top two chambers of the heart beat out of rhythm with the bottom two chambers. At this point, depression sat in. I wondered why. Why me? Would GOD punish someone who has done so much to change their body and become a better person? Why do bad things happen to good people? Then, I stood up and said; maybe he is giving me a challenge because my other challenges were not tough enough. GOD wanted to challenge me to become an even better person, which I did. I chose to fight my disease and not let it mentally effect me. Doctors told me that I had no worries physically. But it was a good thing that I lost weight because if not, the condition could have led to a heart attack in my overweight body.

I give the gym and my workout routines credit for my change in life. I did work again. I went back to school and right now have a year left. I am going for sports management, and hope to one day own my own personal training gym or work with student athletes. I am currently a certified personal trainer, and I enjoy helping others. I also am purchasing my first home and I have a good job. I am so much more now than I ever dreamed of being. I am a better person, and I believe the gym, GOD, and my family and friends have helped me along the way. I would hope someone will read my story and be inspired. Below I will share some of my food and workout routines and hopefully someone else will step up to the challenge and look at life, face it, and take it on head first.

I try to eat five small meals a day.

  • Oatmeal with raisins for breakfast with three egg whites.
  • For a snack, some peanut butter and an apple or cottage cheese.
  • For lunch, some baked chicken or fish with two servings of fresh veggies.
  • Anothersnack may consist of yogurt or cottage cheese, or some turkey and cheese with no bread. Or a protein shake with fruits mixed in.
  • Then for dinner, I would have chicken, fish, or turkey and more fruit and veggies.

I would usually pick one day, Saturday or Sunday, or a day when I was not working out to have a cheat meal or two. We must enjoy what we eat so it is important to change things up. If you eat the same thing, you may get bored and fall off the wagon. Also, if you want to cheat, make a small portion. Since 95% of this is all mental, remember you are craving sugar or carbs, eat a spoonful of ice cream and not a bowl. If you want chocolate or candy, eat a small piece, something like you would hand out at Halloween, and not a full size. This will give the release to your brain and eventually will satisfy the need or craving. This method worked for me, and I know everyone is different, but this worked well. You can also find many recipes online for deserts that taste sweet but do not have sugar.

My workouts consisted of many different programs, most which I would do for 4 to 6 weeks. Many should start with basic movements and compound movements, not isolations. Compound movements are ones that work multiple muscles where isolations only isolate one muscle group. You can also do full body workouts, without breaks in between to get a cardio workout as well. I usually do push-ups, pull-ups, different ab exercises, jump rope, jogging, sprints, squats, dead lifts, overhead dead lifts, dumbbell dead lifts, dumbbell bench press. I love to use dumbbells and kettle bells. I also did some boxing for 2 years to help with endurance and an over all body workout. Any type of resistance training combined with cardio will give you the results that you are looking for. It just depends on what you like, and what your body likes.

Remember, Rome was not built in a day. What took you years to gain will take you years to lose. No diets or fads, basically that's all diets are. We should strive to live a good life, eat healthy. This change is not a change for a few weeks, months, or years. This change is a lifestyle change. I did it and so can you!!!

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