In his early 30s, Joey Fisher had already undergone a transformation. At the dawn of what would become a successful music career, Joey, who had struggled with his weight his whole life, wanted to slim down to look better for his fans. His goal was to get skinny, and he did it.
But when a breakup left Joey penniless and stranded thousands of miles from home, he almost gave up on fitness. "I fell off for three or four months," Joey remembers. "I was depressed. I couldn't drag myself to the gym after all that. Just getting out of bed every day was a huge task. That was the lowest point in my life."
One day, Joey realized he had come too far to give it all up. "I had to get real with myself," he says. "I wasn't going to let that kill me. I just did it. I forced myself through it. It was hard, but I did what I had to do, and I got back into the gym. The gym became my release from everything that I had been going through. I didn't realize until I got back in there that the gym was exactly what I needed at that point. It gave me my life back."
That was the moment when Joey's goal changed. He no longer wanted to just be skinny. He wanted to be fit and healthy.
This is Joey's story.
When did your struggles with your weight begin?
I was always a husky kid. When I was 11 or 12, my mom put me in Weight Watchers. I became more active and started skateboarding. I lost a lot of weight. For the first time in my life, I was a skinny kid.
Why do you think you were always heavy?
My metabolism has always been slow. I pack on weight quickly and easily—I have for my entire life. I never had particularly unhealthy habits. My family ate healthy meals, and I was encouraged to stay active. For whatever reason, I always struggled with my weight.
How did that affect you as you grew older?
In my early 20s, I was a skinny, skateboarding punk-rock kid. But when I stopped skateboarding, I ate out and drank Mountain Dew every day. That's when I became fat again.
Did you ever try to get in shape?
I would go to the gym to do some weight training and a little cardio for a few weeks at a time and then just fall off. I never followed through and stuck with it.
What was your lifestyle like at that point?
I played in a band for most of my 20s. We were touring, and I was drinking a ton. It was definitely fun, but it didn't do me any favors when it came to getting my health back under control. In my late 20s, I had a breakup, and my habits worsened. It was my first real heartbreak, and I drowned myself in partying and drinking. That's when I started to realize my life didn't have purpose. I was working to support my partying. When I had that realization, I got pretty depressed and took even worse care of myself. That's when I blew up and got really big. I went from 270 pounds to 305.
What made you finally decide to make a change?
My best friend and I had an EDM group together, just as EDM was starting to take off in the United States. When we signed with a major label, I wanted to be hot. I wanted to appeal to women. I wanted to be attractive. I knew it would make our band more marketable if I were skinny, too. So my first goal was to be skinny, like I'd been when I was younger.
What did your diet look like?
After doing some research online, I decided to keep my diet as clean as possible. My interpretation of clean eating meant keeping things simple and eating whole foods. I started off every day with scrambled eggs, toast, and turkey bacon for breakfast. Then I'd have chicken, brown rice, and mixed vegetables for four meals. Before bed, I'd have a salad with chicken. That was my diet for nine months.
Was it difficult to maintain such a strict diet?
It was hard at first. But after a while, I appreciated that my diet was the same every day. It became something I didn't have to think about. I enjoy having a daily routine, and my meals are part of that routine.
How did you overcome cravings in the beginning?
I didn't have any huge problems with cravings. My one big weakness is Tostitos tortilla chips. That's where moderation came in handy. Instead of eliminating them and fighting my cravings, I made sure not to gorge myself. I stuck to smart portions. When I went grocery shopping, I'd buy a bag for the week. I had a handful or two a day.
Now, things are a little bit different for you?
Yes. After my breakup, everything changed. I went through that period of a few months where I didn't work out at all. Luckily, I didn't gain weight during that time—probably because I wasn't eating. When I got back in the gym, I had new goals. It wasn't just about being skinny anymore. It was about being the best version of myself I could possibly be.
How do your workouts reflect your new goals?
I do a lot more weight training now. I don't do much cardio anymore, except right at the end of a cutting cycle.
Has your diet changed, too?
I made friends with Jeffrey Su, the owner at First Callout Fitness. He's been writing my meal plans for a while now and is amazing with nutrition. Now that I'm a trainer, I refer a lot of my clients to him for help with their diets.
How has fitness changed your life?
It's changed everything. I used to be a musician and a tattoo artist. Now I'm well on my way to making a living by continuing with my fitness goals. I currently work as a trainer at Rise Above Fitness in Huntington Beach. I'm an athlete for Nutraceutical Innovations and The Iron Union. I do fitness modeling and provide online coaching.
What are your goals now?
I just hit a plateau and haven't been growing the way I want to, so I created a new workout program that's based on dropsets to shock my muscles into growing. It's been amazing. I'm growing like crazy. I may compete for the first time this spring.