I’m so excited to have a friend of mine, Mark Brown, telling his story today! Not every journey is about losing weight!! Sometimes we need to gain weight and lean our muscle mass! Either way, it’s all about taking care of the precious gift we’ve been given…our lives and the bodies that get us up and moving! Too many of us wallow in self-doubt, fear, anger, and regrets. God wants so much more for us! We buy into the lie that we aren’t worth it…NOTHING could be further from the truth! What we eat, the activities we do, what we allow into our bodies through all 5 senses direct our lives and either add to or take away from us. To “feel” great, we need to put great things in and this comes from making a decision! All High 5 areas are connected!! Mark Brown and his story is living proof of this! Mark is a humble guy who just wants to honor God and we are so glad he decided to share with us his journey! Here’s Mark’s story:
Over the last 10 months or so, I have worked hard, to first and foremost become more healthy, but also to bulk up by adding lean muscle. Several people have asked what and how I’ve done it, what I eat, what supplements I take, and if I have any tips. I’m by no means an expert, but I do know what’s worked for me. So I wanted to explain how the transformation has happened and hope that maybe it will help motivate others to live a more healthy lifestyle. And that’s what it is, a lifestyle change, not an overnight fix.
The first thing I believe we have to do in order to help others and ourselves is to be transparent. My journey to adding weight and concerning myself with heart health and strength began with a mental and spiritual transformation. For me, this was essential for my physical health. I went through some difficult personal things over the last few years that “I” completely let wreak havoc on my body. When hard times come, some people choose to eat, and gain weight. I on the other hand, stopped eating, stopped exercising and basically stopped living. Then there was that “ah-ha” moment. I was talking to an old family friend about how I had basically fallen into depression, didn’t want to be around anyone, and had no joy in my life. He looked at me and said, “Think back to when you were the healthiest you’ve ever been, physically, mentally and spiritually. What were the things you enjoyed doing? Pray that the Lord will give you the strength to start doing those things again even if you don’t feel like doing them, and ask Him to give you joy in those things again.” I thought “that’s easy for you to say”, but than I got over my pity party and started praying. I use to love working out, lifting weights and counting calories, protein intake, etc. and seeing results. And although I’m introverted by nature, I loved spending time with family and friends. ALL of these things I had basically deserted and instead “holed up” in my room for hours/days at a time. This was a process, but slowly I began to do these things again, asking God to please give me peace and joy in all things, and help me enjoy life. As a result I grew closer to Him, I started thinking positive again no matter the circumstance of the day (after all it’s one day at a time), and began to believe that no matter what He had a plan for my life and it WASN’T to be miserable and feel sorry for myself. This is where my physical transformation began.
I had been out of the gym for almost 2 years, a place where I use to live for at least an hour, 2 hours a day for 10 years. I got over my initial “gym fear” of being out of shape and thinking everyone would be looking at my pitiful physical self. I joined the YMCA in February of this year, with a goal in mind, to gain 20 pounds by the end of the year. Not only in my mind did I set this goal, but written down and with someone to keep me accountable. I’m not going to lie, the beginning was tough. If you’ve ever worked out and taken a few weeks off due to illness, injury or busy schedule then you know all about the “first sore”. This is when you’re muscles haven’t been worked for an extended period of time, and as you stretch them and tear them in places they haven’t been worked the days following are brutal. And it had been 2 years! Also was the fact I had lost pretty much all of my strength and not being able to lift weight anywhere close to what I had been able to in the past was depressing, but also humbling. And this MOTIVATED me! I had made a decision, I had set a goal, and I wasn’t going to quit. As the days, weeks, then months went by I started to notice good changes. Not just physical appearance changes, but my energy level was increasing, I was happier, calmer, and motivated in all areas of my life. Now as things would pop up that would have derailed me in the past, I found myself appreciating the opportunity to conquer each situation and use it as future motivation. Some of the biggest things I’ve experienced through this whole transformation are: First, God wants us to be healthy. How can I serve, and love others if I’m constantly tired, worn out and only concerned about myself. Second, He gives us willpower. God is in control, but we have the choice to get up in the morning, really live, strive to impact others, or just let the World pass us by. And lastly, if you believe it you can achieve it. Sometimes you have to remove negative influences from your life, but you CAN do it. I’m living proof, and I’m no more special than the next person.
All in all, to this day I have exceeded my initial goal of 20 lbs and gained 30 lbs since February, while decreasing my body fat to 6%. I have gone from 145 lbs (the lightest I was since middle school) to 175 lbs. My week goes like this: Monday-Friday I train extremely hard at the gym, most workouts lasting between 1-2 hours and single muscle groups at a time. I eat a clean diet, lots of chicken & rice, venison, fish, organic brown rice or whole grain pasta, egg whites, oatmeal, etc. I also supplement throughout the day. I removed foods like potatoes, breads that aren’t whole grain, high sugar foods, and I don’t drink alcohol. I’m currently taking a Whey Protein made by Body Fortress (gotta get the Chocolate Peanut Butter!). A typical day I will do a shake in the morning, post workout, and before dinner. Protein bars are also a great way to get 6-8 meals in a day. Most of my whole foods come at breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks throughout the day like nuts & raw veggies. I also take Glucosamine for joint strength and a men’s once a day vitamin.
I’ve included a few of pics (before & after) to show you that when you want something bad enough, you CAN achieve it. At 34, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, healthier than I’ve ever been, stronger than I’ve ever been and I’m not looking back! All the glory goes to God, and many thanks to family and friends who continue to encourage, pray for and support me. Also a BIG THANK YOU to Pamela and Red Fox Fitness for allowing and encouraging me to share my story. Live Healthy, Live Happy! This is my transformation…
Thanks you so much Mark for sharing with us!! It doesn’t take perfection, it takes a decision! A decision to not take for granted the gift of our lives and the bodies to live them with! As Mark so beautifully puts it, we can’t help others or pursue a calling when we are not at our best!! Now, what’s your choice going to be today? Make a decision and stick with it! You just never know what is coming your way!
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