There's a standing joke about people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. At one point in life, the issue for Chris Gromis was not being able to walk and talk on the phone at the same time. Weighing nearly 300 pounds, he says he'd run out of breath.
Then, he and his wife started a family, and he realized how his weight affected his ability to play with his kids. He took his doctor's advice to slim down. Today, Chris is happy to report that he's feeling so good that he joins his entire family for jiujitsu classes. According to Chris, he feels like a new man.
What were you like before you transformed?
I was in great shape when I was younger. Growing up, I loved being outside. As kids, we'd go down to the river and swim, ride our bikes everywhere. I didn't like staying on the couch watching TV or playing video games, I always wanted to do something active.
When I turned 18, I started making bad choices with my life. I started partying and drinking, and all that fitness stuff—all the outdoor stuff—went out the window. Between the ages of 18 and 21, I gained 35 pounds.
Later, I got a job that involved traveling. Staying in hotels and eating fast food added up to another 30 pounds. After I got married, I just continued the cycle and went up to 286 pounds.
What made you decide to transform?
My doctor told me that I wouldn't be around for my kids if I didn't change my lifestyle. She said that given how much I weighed, I should start taking cholesterol medication. But, she gave me six months to make a change. That was what really got me going down a much healthier path.
What was the hardest part about getting started?
I love carbs and cake and little snacks here and there. Giving that up was definitely the most difficult thing for me. I'm also an emotional eater, so when I was feeling down it was hard not to turn to food for comfort. I had to stick to a strict plan so I wouldn't fall off the wagon.
It wasn't easy. I kept failing. I'd say to myself, "OK, I'm going to have a cheat meal." Two days later, I'd do the same thing. I remember finally just looking at my wife and saying, "I need a gym membership. I need to start doing this, and I need your help to keep me accountable."
She said, "OK, but you're not going to like it at all." She ended up being a real inspiration to me, always helping me through the rough times, helping me stay on the right track. I was inspired by my kids, too. I didn't want them to pick up any of my bad habits.
There were so many times I'd still slip up with my diet, but I didn't let those mess-ups define my journey. I set small goals and strived to reach them. Often I wanted to just quit and grab a whole cake and eat it. But my family was far more important to me than food and laziness.
How did you begin your transformation?
In the beginning, I'm sure I looked like an idiot in the gym. I had no idea what I was doing. I knew that I needed more help, but a trainer or coach was a luxury I couldn't afford. I remember thinking to myself, "Man, I don't know what I'm going to do." Then, I had a talk with myself and thought, "You know what? If I'm going to go for this, I'm just going to go all in."
I just typed "body building" into a search engine and up popped Bodybuilding.com. That's when my journey shifted into high gear. In half a year I lost 40 pounds, reaching 248. I felt great.
Then, I saw the Bodybuilding.com Transformation Challenge advertised, and I decided to enter. My wife agreed with my choice: She wanted me to do it as much as I did. By the end of the transformation I was down to 187 pounds. I saw my abs for the first time since junior high!
What was it like for you after your transformation?
When I finished the challenge, I started noticing little things. My confidence shot up. My wife looked at me differently. Who doesn't want their wife to look at them and think they're hot? Other people started looking at me differently, too. I wasn't that lazy guy anymore, I was the guy who could get things done.
The difference between how I felt before and how I feel now is like night and day. I can play with my kids and not run out of breath. We do things as a family I never would have thought possible just five years ago. We hike and box and take jiujitsu as a family. My wife and I are so much happier now that we're all able to do things together.
What are your fitness plans?
I'd like to get in condition to compete at a bodybuilding event and maybe enter an MMA fight. I'd also like to help others that are where I was before I transformed. I'm not sure what that would look like yet, but I feel the need to help other guys so they don't fall into the same traps I did.
What advice do you have for aspiring transformers?
Don't give up. People say that all the time, but it's so important. When you have junk food or trip up on your nutrition plan, it's not over. It's only over if you let that misstep define you. If you mess up and eat a whole cake, just enjoy the cake—then work your butt off, get past it, and become better in your fitness journey. Learn from the mistake. Just don't make it again.
What supplements helped you on your journey?
- ErgoGenix ErgoCRE
- MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamins
- BSN AMINOx
- MET-Rx Quik-Creatine
- MuscleTech Pro Series Alpha Test
What training regimen kept you on track?
In addition to the workouts listed below, Chris also performs 60 minutes of jiujitsu on Wednesday mornings before his gym workout, and 50 minutes of high-intensity kickboxing on Tuesdays. On Saturday mornings, Chris and his family perform 60 minutes each of boxing and jiujitsu.