I Overcame a Bad Workout Injury and Lost More Than 50 Pounds

I’ve been very athletic since high school—I started lifting weights at age 16. I even majored in exercise science, and for the first few years of college my favorite thing to do was working out. I slacked off a little bit toward the end, and when I moved back home while trying to find a job, things really deteriorated. Over months, I let my diet become entirely junk food. I wasn’t working out much, and generally felt like I was in a rut.

I resolved to get back into the best shape of my life. I’d made quite a bit of progress down that path, only to tear my right pectoral while bench pressing. I tried convincing myself it hadn’t happened; I even had two doctors tell me there was nothing wrong. Finally, though, a specialist gave me the diagnosis I dreaded. It would be a difficult surgery, followed by 10 weeks in a sling and eight weeks of rehab. It could be two years before I was back to full strength.

I knew I had to get the surgery, but the recovery time was devastating. I spent most of the time on the couch, sinking back into a terrible diet and no exercise. I hit 252 pounds, having lost nearly all of my muscle definition.

Even after the injury, I couldn’t give up on my dream. I started grad school to become an exercise psychologist. And I began the climb back to being fit, with months of light weightlifting. I realized how it looked—the fat guy lifting light weights intensely for seemingly no gain—but I wanted to be smart. I was also mortified about re-tearing my pec.

I made decent progress, eating clean foods and lots of protein. I put on muscle mass, but I couldn’t lose all the fat I’d accumulated. I’d become a certified personal trainer, and working with others really helped me refine my own regimen. I still had that gut hanging over my waist, though.

About 21 months after my injury, I finally decided to tackle my diet. I calculated a 500-calorie deficit and I’ve been sticking to it. Over the past two and a half years I’ve lost 50 pounds of fat, even as I faced some unique hurdles with my injury.

I stayed motivated by remembering just how much it hurt to tear a pectoral and reflect on how

grateful I was to be given another chance with a normal, functioning body. I know not everyone is so lucky to have a reparable injury and access to healthcare. I’m not going to take anything for granted and I appreciate every day of the life I’ve been blessed with.

I hope my story can inspire others. I’ve been filming my workouts, with the goal of building a completely free resource for people looking to get in shape. I know that I’m on a journey, and I always tell people to trust the path. Fall in love with it, even—because you’re never “finished.” When you love it, you never want to stop doing it. —As told to Jesse Hicks

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