Why I decided to transform
I knew I was in trouble when I got winded walking up stairs. I also didn't like what I saw in the mirror. I was frankly disgusted with the sedentary lifestyle I was living and had to do something.
I had been running for 5-6 years and quit smoking a few years earlier. The running itself wasn't enough because I ate whatever I wanted and didn't lift weights. I looked at myself and others my age and realized we were old, fat, and out of shape. Something clicked that told me that was no way to live.
I also had a carotid dissection (stroke) a few years prior. Although it was caused by an accident and not by my diet, I needed to make sure I was in better health. If I didn't, and the remaining carotid had an issue, I was a dead man.
How I accomplished my goals
I knew it would be a long-term journey that required a lifestyle change. I made small changes over a long period of time to build slowly and adopt better habits so I wouldn't become frustrated.
Before I made changes, I tracked everything I ate and looked at the results. My nephew, Ethan Grossman, helped train me and created my diet. The diet started with a 500-calorie deficit per day and I tracked everything I ate to make sure I stayed on track. After a few months, when I knew what I needed to eat, I stopped tracking.
There was a point in the middle of my transformation that I nearly quit when I found out that I had a double hernia and needed a new joint in my toe. The two operations slowed me down and recovery was tougher than I planned. I put on weight, got lazy, didn't eat well, and lost what I worked so hard for.
I started from scratch and began building again. Just as I was getting back in shape, I discovered another hernia. Although it was smaller and only on one side, I had to make a decision about timing of the surgery. I was training for a late summer triathlon and was concerned that if I waited and it got worse that I wouldn't have time to get in shape for the triathlon.
I bit the bullet, decided to have the surgery in June, and did everything I could to not revert like last time. With resolve and some pain, I was up and walking around the block a day after surgery. I increased my distance and pace daily and was running a week after surgery. As time progressed, I was up to longer distances and did short bike rides within a few weeks. I am happy to say that I set a personal best for the triathlon in September.
I'm very proud of the progress I made considering I had to start over a second time after two consecutive years of surgeries. I proved that you cannot ever give up and you can achieve any goal with time, patience, and dedication.
I'm happier, healthier, and have more ambition than I did 20 years ago. I'm in better shape than most guys half my age and the compliments alone made this a worthwhile lifestyle change.
What aspect challenged me the most
Diet has been and continues to be my most challenging part of my lifestyle. I'm not a slave to a diet and make sure to eat other foods that I enjoy like pizza, wings, chocolate, and candy.
My main goal is to be 80 percent faithful to my diet. I decided to give up some gains to keep a healthy lifestyle balance that fits me.
My future fitness plans
I plan to continue running 5 and 10k races, triathlons, and charity bike rides. I'm going to sign up for a 100-mile ride for missing children this summer. I'm also planning on running a half marathon next summer.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
- Make changes at an acceptable pace for your lifestyle./li>
- Don't overcomplicate the transformation journey.
- Look to others who accomplished what you are shooting for.
- Focus on lifting form and perform movements correctly.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
When I first joined Bodybuilding.com, I looked at the profiles of members and started to key in on guys who were my age and were close to my body size and structure. I was astounded at how good they looked.
I set a goal to get in good shape by age 50. I'm 49 years old and am close to where I want to be thanks to the tools and motivation from Bodybuilding.com and its members.
Chuck's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "The Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance
- "Gone Away" by The Offspring
- "Brain Stew" by Green Day
- "Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park
- "Sparks" by The Who