Louis Sheppard had gotten too big. He knew it, and those around him knew it. This 39-year-old financial advisor also knew all too well the risks that came along with his size. But knowing it wasn't going to change it.
Just a couple of weeks into his latest gym experiment, he got the ultimate wake-up call when his childhood friend passed away unexpectedly. Suddenly, a goal came into focus: "Just give myself one good year," Louis told himself. For 365 days, he would put his ego aside, follow proven training plans to the letter, eat right, and live the healthiest lifestyle he could manage. He also had a nice, round number in mind: 100 pounds of weight loss.
Weight: 350 lbs.
Body Fat: 37.4%
Weight: 255 lbs.
Body Fat: 28.5%
Louis Sheppard Transformation Testimonial
Watch The Video - 7:43
Do you or someone you know need proof that real change is possible? Here it is. "Transformation" isn't just a fitness buzzword. It's a reward you can achieve—and sooner than you think.
Make this your year. Watch the video, share his story, and take the first step toward a better life!
Let's ask the question you must hear all the time: How did you do it?
It took a fundamental change. You can't just expect it to happen—even the mental part. The real question is: Why did I get to 350 pounds?
Turns out it was pretty easy. You're trying to take care of the house and your family, and you want to make sure you're making enough money to keep the roof over your head—because maybe you're living check to check, and are a paycheck away from losing everything. You want to keep the lights on, make sure the food is on the table, and protect your family from harm. So you've got all of this going on, and what happens? You forget about who you are.
Think of it like this: When you get on the airplane, they say, "If we lose cabin pressure, the yellow mask is going to come down. Put on yours first, then help secure [your children] next." That's a simple concept, but we're not doing it right. Why are we not securing our health first before we're taking care of others?
It's just so easy to try to help somebody else, because we're taught to help somebody else out. When it's yourself, you're taught to stay humble and always give, but you have to give here first. You have to think about yourself, because if you don't do that, how can you take care of everyone else? If I'm dead, what will that do to my kids?
Of course, I also got married, so I was off the market—hey, I was comfortable. My playing jersey is up on the rafters! So what happens when you're comfortable? You're not going to wear your best outfit all the time. You're going to wear sweatpants. And what happens with the sweats? We all know. It's not like regular pants, where they stop. Nope, sweatpants just keep growing with you. They're like, "Oh yeah, keep going. We've got extra room!"
What made this all come into focus for you?
A friend of mine told me, "Look, you are too big. You didn't move out here (to Idaho) this big." It was just a comment, but it broke down the mental portion that I just couldn't get past. Sure, I'd had gym memberships before, but they were really just bills. They were just taking my money. It was the one expense I could always justify.
Then everything changed when I was on your website, and I saw the guy. Same exact height, same weight, everything—he was me. That's what I was looking for. I'd been asking myself, "Is this really possible? Can I drop 100 pounds?" But when I saw him, it made perfect sense.
His story was that he was on the couch eating chips with his family, and he made the choice to change. And as I'm reading it I was like, "Holy crap, this is me." Then I saw the 7-Day Beginner Trainer. My wife and I read it, and it said to get a gym membership. This was a Friday—I remember it like it was yesterday. We went into Axiom Fitness that Saturday morning and got a membership. It felt good because I did something.
The next Monday, I walked into a neighborhood to build up my business and knock on a couple of doors. It turned out that the neighbor of one of the houses I went to was the guy who signed me up at the gym. He was coming out and going to work. He asked, "What are you doing here?" and then he said, "Oh, I'll see you at the gym today."
If I hadn't seen him that day, I don't know if I would have gone that day. But I said, "Yeah, you will!" I believe it was a divine moment to get me to go that one day.
Your good friend died just a couple of weeks later. How did that affect your quest?
We were childhood friends, and I remember the moment when I saw his casket. He was 37, and I was like, "You're a big boy. Damn, I'm big, too." And his face changed to my face.
At the time, I was 39. My dad died at 39. I was thinking, "I'm about to be 40. I'm going to be the first male in my family who hits 40. Maybe I'm going to die at 43—that's only 3 years." All of that was in my mind.
So after his wake, I went down to the small gym in the hotel. They had those little adjustable dumbbells, and man, I hit it. It wasn't a big workout. I couldn't do everything that I wanted to, but I did something. And then I did 20 minutes of cardio. I told myself, "I'm good," and I just kept going.
Those are some big ideas to be carrying around in your first weeks of training.
Yeah! I just wanted to stay alive. My friend had a son, and he only saw him for one week—that's in my mind. My dad's in my mind. My birthday's coming up. All of this is in my mind and I'm just like, "I'm going to do whatever it takes."
So I made working out and health the number one priority for the family. I said, "This is going to be our number one thing for one year. After that, who cares? But let's see if we can just stay on a path of health for one good year. If we can do it for one good year, maybe we can do it for two."
Think of it like a millionaire would. If somebody makes a million dollars and loses it, they still believe they can make a million dollars, because it's already been done. I'm doing something I've never done before, but I know if I can give myself one good year, who knows what could happen? Because it has already been proved to me that it can be done.
I looked at that Bodybuilding.com article again, and I was like, "Yeah, if you did it, I can do it." I needed an example. That's why most people fail: They don't have that example. Either that, or they fail because they think they can do it better.
We were never going to reinvent the wheel. It was right there on the page, broken down to the 7-day program, and then a 12-week program. And I said to my wife, "This is how we're going to do it. I don't care how we used to work out. The fact that we are both overweight is a problem. Whatever worked for us then isn't working now. We're going to go in there as stupid as can be. We're not going to think. We're just going to listen, read, watch the videos, and do it—even with the supplements."
That's all it was. I'm a follower, because that's how you become successful: just look at successful people. When they tell you "This is how to do it," why wouldn't you do it that way? It's not rocket science.
For two whole months, you were right at 275 pounds. How did you deal with that?
I didn't worry, because I knew change was happening. Being a financial advisor, this is what I tell my clients:
"Here's your plan. This is how you're going to invest your money, and this is what's going to happen: You're going to have good months, bad months, and sometimes you're going to have a month that doesn't do anything. Just follow the plan."
Now I'm going into my trainer's office, and he's telling me the same thing. How can I tell people to listen to me and my advice on a plan if I'm not going to listen to him?
That mentality of "I can do it better" is what kills most people. Why? This person already did it. Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel? The wisdom that I always try to give my kids is, don't be afraid to ask for help. And if that help comes to you, don't question it—just roll with it. Because obviously that person is in your life for a reason. They already did it for you not to struggle.
When you see a picture of the old you, how do you view that guy?
I'm mad. Anger comes up first. How the hell did I do this? But understanding comes next, because I know how I got there. So I could focus on the anger all day long, or I could focus on the understanding of what's behind it.
I really do understand myself more now. I see how weight issues affect your life issues, and your health affects how you perceive life. Today, you can look at me and say, "He has confidence. He's disciplined. He's consistent. He takes risks. He's a man of his word." All of these attributes that I have, you can see them now. But no one saw it back then, because I was big.
All of these attributes became visible when I went from there to here. I got a client just because I achieved this weight loss. He was like, "Anyone that can go from there to where you're at is who I want controlling my money."
How is eating different for you now?
I'm conscious now about what I eat. It's a conscious thing. Like last night, we had pizza. We used to buy two boxes of pizza for the four of us. Now we get one, and everybody gets two pieces. This is the normalcy of eating. This is how you enjoy pizza. I don't need two boxes. What the hell was I buying two boxes of pizza for? The kids only eat one or two slices, so everything else is just my wife and me? Wait a minute, something is wrong.
We had to retrain my son to eat, because I messed him up. He didn't like eating greens or eating healthy. Now he says, "Is this healthy? Can I eat this? I want to eat some greens." And I'm like "You do? Why? I mean, OK!"
Looking back at what you did, is it easier or harder than people think?
It's easy if you break it down into small intervals like I did, and it's easy once this (points to head) is involved. If [your head's] not involved, it's the hardest thing in the world. I couldn't even go to the gym because of this.
But when it finally happened, it was like flipping on a light. When it's dark, the light comes on as fast as that. You can do that! "I want to lose weight." Boom! Make that switch.
Is the gym a happy place for you?
Yeah. The gym is the only thing that I can control. I can't control anything else. Everybody else owns my time—my family, my clients, traffic. Life has your time.
When I'm in the gym, I can control when I start, when I end, and how much I put on. I say what I can and can't do. I used to wear headphones in there, but I stopped that a long time ago. I saw a picture from 1974, with all these guys in the gym compared to 2014, of how people are in the gym. They didn't have technology, they didn't have music. They just got their train on!
What do you say to someone who says, "I just don't have the time to do what he did"?
It's one percent of your time. Give me a break.
You can find any excuse in the world not to go—I know, because I did. Come on, you're not that busy. Don't tell me you don't have time. You just haven't made time. It's the same with finances. "Oh I don't have money to invest," but you were out on Black Friday and dropped $500 on a TV. How does that work?
So don't tell me you don't have money. Don't tell me you don't have time. You just haven't made it a priority in your life.