“Hello, my name is Matt, and I was skinny fat”
How the Hell did I get here!?
My descent into physical mushiness started around that same time it does for a lot of people, when I had a kid.
Quick background: I grew up playing every sport under the sun, I even excelled at Ice Hockey and played at a pretty high level. When hockey ended I moved on to competition Judo, and when my TV career started and the idea of cauliflower ear moved from being a major fear to a real occupational hazard I started hitting the globo gym hard… very hard.
And that went ok, I guess. I fit in my suits. I kicked ass in charity softball games and pick up touch football showdowns (Woo, I’m manly…for a good cause). I would experiment with different body building workouts, heck I even ran to (2 miles) and from (4 miles) the aforementioned globo gym 5 days a week. I never really got as ripped as I wanted and I stopped growing as an athlete, but I chalked this up to hitting 30. Plus, in comparison to the other guys and gals in the newsroom I was still pretty fit. Which frankly looking back was like being the smartest kid in the dumbest row in the worst school in the entire state.
Fast forward to the birth of my perfect, beautiful baby boy a little more than 2 years ago. I swore that I would maintain a fitness regimen. That I wouldn’t join the ranks of the soggy middle aged dads who went before me. But after 6 months of awful sleep and a move to a new on air gig in a bigger city all that went out the window and the descent began.
But dammit if I didn’t try to fight it off, kinda sorta. I joined a gym… again. But I just did the stuff that came easy. I began running again. But neither hard nor fast. What I did start hitting hard and fast was terrible food. When I was an intern a veteran photographer once told me newsrooms run on 3 things: Caffeine, Fat, and Sugar. I committed whole-heartedly to that program! I ate 3 hamburgers at a clip (yes, bun and all) before games in the press room. I would raid the vending machine at work a couple times a day, and not for the baked lays. Oh no, I crushed the bottom row, the hostess cakes, the Texas cinnamon rolls, anything that was frosted and filled with sugar was my heroin (it’s cool though because I chased it with Diet Coke!). That food made those daily deadlines, the pressure of breaking news, being clever on air, and all while balancing home life a bit easier to take. Who cares if my euro cut suits and slim fit shirts were getting, um, a touch snug in the waist (and ass, and thighs, and the buttons were starting to become weaponized under the pressure). I was getting through life…barely.
Through various events I left the TV gig I moved to town for and found myself with a glut of downtime for the first time since I was in college. My agent was pitching me to some very big cities and I thought to myself, “Fuck, let’s get our jolly ass into REAL SHAPE!” So I started running… a lot. The first month it was 100 miles. The next it was 157! But to be blunt, I was just get getting fatter. The fancy aps on my phone told me my 10 mile runs were burning thousands of calories, but my abs were well protected under a layer of fat and my jawline ended at, um, well, let’s just go with I was about 2 months away from growing one of the pencil jaw beards to simulate an actual jawline.
Which brings us all the way back to “Matt Hobbs: Skinny Fat.” On my 32nd birthday, I had my first meeting at Derby City CrossFit. I sat down with Coach (Ryan) Brown and he asked me what my goals were. I quickly mumble some nonsense about wanting to get in better shape “and stuff” and Ryan gave me that look. Those of you who have had the privilege of working out at Derby City know “The Look” well, but for those of you who haven’t just imagine a smirk + raised eyebrow combo that instantly says “who are you trying to b.s. here?” After that I confessed that I wanted to feel and (vanity be damned) look like an athlete again. With that, we got to work.
When I started CrossFit I weighed 233lbs. Wait it gets worse. My body fat was 26%!!! Which meant my lean body mass was 171lbs of useful muscle, ligaments, organs, and bones. While more than 60lbs of me was gelatinous goo! Forget skinny fat, I was just fat fat. After the initial, saddening shock Ryan told me straight up: show up at the box, do work, change to a Paleo diet and you’ll fix your fat problem. Boom. (I took some liberties with that speech. To be fair, the original version I wrote had inspirational music, fireworks, and a Wookie so this was pretty good middle ground.)
And not to blow hot air up my own skirt (I’m far too hippy to pull off a skirt anyway) I attacked this gameplan hard. I started going to class 5 times a week, then I added in the Saturday WODs. I even started going twice a day 2 times a week. I was addicted! I cut all sugar out of my diet. I went strict Paleo, save for one cheat meal (2 donuts from Krispy Kreme after the Saturday WOD) and the goo started melting off of me. After 2 weeks I’d catch myself staring at myself in the mirror post shower. Not because I was posing (ok, maybe a little posing), but because I couldn’t believe what I looked like! After a month all my clothes fit different. The jeans I bought the previous spring were 90′s era gangsta rap baggy. My smedium t-shirts were loosening up in the gut and getting tight in the shoulders and sleeves. Then came judgment day.
6 & 10 weeks in to life at Derby City CrossFit and Paleo diet, Ryan decided it was time to remeasure the rebuilt Mr. Hobbs.
Remember, the initial stats were:
Lean mass: 171lbs
Fat mass: 62lbs
After 6 weeks:
Lean mass: 193lbs
Fat mass: 30lbs
After 10 weeks:
Lean mass: 198lbs
Fat mass: 20lbs
For those of you not awesome at the maths, in the course of just 10 weeks I lost 42 POUNDS of FAT and added 27 POUNDS of LEAN MUSCLE!!! When Ryan punched the numbers into his Apple and spit out those results I was flat out shocked. CrossFit had, in 6 hard as hell, but incredibly enjoyable weeks, completely resculpted my body and along the way completely changed my life.
“Thank You for giving me my F***ing life back!” That, along with Merry Christmas, was what I texted to Coach Ryan Christmas day. And I mean every word of it. CrossFit has taught me that if you’re not truly pushing yourself in all aspects of your life then you are wasting a precious gift and that you deserve the mediocrity you bring upon yourself. We only get to really participate in this game we call “life” for 60ish years at best (although judging from some of the senior stars at the gym, I see you Martha, even that’s up for debate.) My question, the one brought out by CrossFit, is this: Why not be awesome for every minute of it?
I write this just a few days from New Year’s and for the first time in forever I have only 2 simple resolutions as I head into 2012.
1) Be Awesome.
2) Kick Ass.
And all because of Derby City CrossFit.
So I tell you, those who haven’t hopped into our little “cult” yet; join us, please, and be awesome too.