Leverage Others to Motivate You
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A little bit about me…
My name is AJ and I’m the McFitDad. I’m a 33 year old, plant based husband and father of 2 (daughter, 4 and son, 1). My educational background is in Biology and I used a mix of academics and two decades of training to ensure I am keeping up with all aspects of fitness. I’m lucky enough to work from home, but my job keeps me traveling about 1 week per month. It can be a challenge juggling work, travel (for work) and family all while maintaining optimal fitness, but there are some easy strategies that you can implement to help you reach your fitness goals
A little bit about the McFit Dad background…
Fitness has been my passion for almost 20 years now (yes, I started working out with rubber bands when I was 13!). I’ve been lucky enough to get an interest in fitness from an early age that followed me through high school, college and into my working life. Not everyone has this inner drive towards fitness, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have that drive
My dad taught me how to lift safely from a young age and I hope to share the very practical lessons he taught me, and a few that I’ve picked up along the way, to help you live your fittest life. My nutritional background is a mix of theory from my Biology studies and practice by putting different nutritional theories to test on myself.
With all my years playing sports and spending time in the gym, I was only concentrated on my external fitness. Due to this type of focus, my external fitness didn’t match what was going on internally. I was eating too many foods that were high in fat and cholesterol and at the age of 28 my cholesterol level was 210 – which is considered “borderline”
Even thought I knew I was going down the wrong path for optimal fitness, it still took me a few years to figure things out. At the age of 31 in August, 2017 I started to evolve my diet to be mostly plant based. I started small with cutting animal products out of all snacks. After I managed to do that, I cut out animal products from my breakfasts – my standard breakfast for years was 2 eggs with 2 slices of toast. Starting small and implementing the process of cutting out animal products out of one meal at a time, I was able to become fully plant based as of January, 2018.
After 5 months of plant based eating, my cholesterol levels dropped from 210 down to 176 (a reduction of 34 points or 17%). My cholesterol was tested again in June, 2019 and it is now down to 170. Fitness is a long game. I want to ensure that I’m the fittest I can possibly be while not neglecting my family or work responsibilities.
It’s so easy even I can do it…
The purpose of this blog is to illustrate what is possible … I went from eating meat at EVERY meal to being 100% plant based in less than 6 months. It is about
The topics for this blog will include…
Fitness (obviously) – As long as there is a good process in place, any fitness goal can be achieved for goal. We all have our own internal goals and I will share the lessons I’ve learned over the nearly 20 years I’ve spend building my internal and external fitness levels. I know first hand that fitness isn’t always viewed as a priority and takes the back seat to family and work, but if you have a process in place, it is easy to incorporate fitness into your every-day routine.
Before going Plant Based…
Before being plant based, I was on the paleo bandwagon and did that for about 6 months back in 2015. Part of the reason for me going to Paleo is due to the great job of marketing that fitness “gurus” and food agencies…but the other part, the main part, was that it was food that I was used to eating already – steak, chicken, eggs, fish and all the other animal based foods that are high in protein and fat with little in the way of carbs. I was able to drop from 215 pounds down to 185 pounds in about 3 months. I was definitely overweight at 215 and my natural weight is around 185, so I thought I was in a good place. However, with the drop in weight came a drop in energy levels. My workout regiment went from 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week down to 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. All of my main lifts took a nosedive. I thought it mainly due to getting “old”…2015 marked the last year of my 20’s, but I realized that the feeling of exhaustion had nothing to do with being old and everything to do with what I was putting into my body.
It got to the point that I would run into people that I haven’t seen in months and they would ask me if I was sick – in other words, I looked terrible. The biggest hit came from one of my colleagues, whom I hadn’t seen in about 6 months, asked me if I became a marathon runner. Now, I don’t know any marathon runners that weight 185 pounds, but that was the comment that really struck home – I looked like a was wilting away.
It is important to not allow others to influence your personal decisions, but it can be beneficial to take in constructive criticism to help align you on your path.
Lifestyle – The best thing that I’ve had during my transition into a plant based lifestyle is a wife that fully supported me. It’s definitely not the easy path to be plant based. For my wife and me it has impacted date night, travel and life in general. Having someone in your corner to help you through the process, and jump fully into the process with you, is a big help! With that said, my wife is about 99% plant based with the very occasional fish in her diet and my kids are about 80% plant based. We eat plant based at home, but outside of our house, our kids can eat pretty much whatever they want. Part of the reason we’re fine with this method for our kids is to allow them to make their own decisions, with our guidance. If we force feed them a 100% plant based diet, and remove all the social aspects of animal based products (like cake at their friend’s birthday parties) then this may cause the opposite effect and drive them away from a plant based lifestyle.
It can be challenging keeping with our goals when we have a full time job and family to manage (although my wife does most/all of the family management :)). It’s all about making small changes, and incorporating those changes into habits. Eventually those habits become engrained and we perform them without even thinking about it.
Plant Based Bodybuilding – The competitions that I’ve been a part since 2007 (when I graduated from college), haven’t had anything to do with sports or fitness – all competitions have come in the way of work, competing for a new job or promotion, and life in general. To change this, I’ve decided to undergo a 30 week plant based bodybuilding journey that I will document along the way. Of course I will not be consuming any animal products throughout this process and it needs to be said that I will not be taking any performance enhancing drugs either (steroids, hgh, etc.) – and I never have. To compete against others who are dedicated to being drug free, the federation I chose to join is WNBF. The WNBF not only tests for the use of performance enhancing drugs, they also administer a lie detector test to ensure compliance. It is clear that not everyone, or not even most people, would want to enter into a bodybuilding competition. However, I am documenting this journey to show that with a process in place, we can all reach our goals!
What am I doing when not working or blogging?
In a word, family. Spending time with family via bike riding, swimming, hiking and attending my daughters sport events. It is part of the job as a parent to lead by example. I don’t want my kids to see my wife and me spending our free time lounging about (although it is needed on occasion!), but rather being physically active and learning new things. We’re luckily enough to live in the Northeast and have easy access to mountains, lakes and the Atlantic. This makes our parental job a bit easier as each new season brings something new to do outside!
I am interested in hearing your journey! Please connect with me below!