It doesn’t take much to be extraordinary.

A few years ago I was 40 pounds overweight, and a sloppy mess. I went to the gym 3-4 times a week, but didn’t really follow a plan, or put that much work into it.

I was going to the gym because it made me feel better about how poorly I was taking care of my body, not because I actually wanted to change anything about it.

I was in my late 30’s. I weighed 230 pounds on a good day. I was holding on to about 25% body fat. I had a +36in. waist. I had disc herniations and pain in my neck. I slept horribly, and my stomach issues were legendary.

Then one day it happened. My daughter took a picture of me at the beach one summer…..

I had man-boobs!! My belly hung over my bathing suit and onto my lap! I had belly rolls! I was mortified. Was this really me? Yes, it was.

I had to face the fact that I had let myself go. I didn’t know then that the way I saw myself was nothing compared to where my health was. I hadn’t made the connection between how I looked and how healthy I was. My initial reaction was solely based on my appearance.

Fast forward a few years…

I’m 45 years old. I weigh 195 pounds. I’m at 17% body fat. I wear 32in. pants now. I sleep like a rock. I still have disc herniations but they don’t bother me anymore. All my stomach issues have left me and the rest of the world is safe from harm. I still only workout 3-4 days a week. I’m stronger, more active, and can do more things than many people half my age.

How did I do it? How did I change from being overweight, unmotivated, and ignorant about health?

I did it one step at a time.

When we look at people that are living a “healthy” lifestyle, we get overwhelmed by all of the things we see that are different than the way we are living our lives.

We see the regular exercise, the food prep, and healthy food choices, the reading and discussion of health topics, all the other healthy people they associate with…..and we wonder how in the world they do it. We think to ourselves,,,I can barely get myself through a day right now, how can I add in an exercise program? We say, there is no way I could eat the way they eat, it must be horrible. Who has time to do all that work just to “be healthy”?

I was the same way, but I got lucky. I met people that helped me learn that if you focus on being healthy first, the way your body looks will follow along. I learned that if I change my mindset from trying to look good, to trying to perform better, my life would be forever changed.

I stopped looking at all of the things I needed to change and focused on one change at a time. This was easy because at first I didn’t want to change a whole lot. I liked my Red Robin french fries, and my morning Boston Cream donuts from DD. I was only able to handle one small change at a time.

I learned how to exercise first. I joined a CrossFit gym and had coaches who retrained me how to move my body, and follow an exercise program that made me work harder than I had been working, to see changes.

Then I started cutting back on fast food. This was the hardest. I learned how to prep my food for the week, and ate better during the day and saved some money too.

There are a lot of little things that I could talk about. The bottom line is that nothing happened overnight. Gradual changes happen as I’m ready for them.

The changes I’ve made, slowly over the last several years have helped me go from being an unhealthy slob to learning and studying fitness, to opening Ellicott City Health and Fitness.

My goal is to help educate people and help them make the first small step towards making the same changes I’ve made to improve their lifestyle and enjoy life better.

Being extraordinary just takes one small change. You can be extraordinary by taking one small step to own your fitness, change your level of performance day to day. You will feel better, look better, and be more happy.