Fat And Depressed At 16 to Being Passionate And Fit at 34

Imagine going through grade school being the fat kid that everyone picks on and makes jokes about. Where everyone around you is skinny and able to eat whatever they want, but you’re the one that is overweight and opting to wear 2XL just to make your clothes look baggy. To be so out of shape that going up and down a flight of stairs got you out of breath or not being able to keep up with the baseball team because your body is just not able to handle the workouts like all the other fit jocks are able to. This was my reality growing up in High School. I wasn’t driven and worst of all the depression I had made me feel even more unmotivated while many around me were enjoying the benefits of being in their teen years.  These are supposed to be the years that you’re supposed to be in the best shape because of youth. That was not the reality for me and it never was all the way through High School. So how did I end up being in the best shape of my life 19 years later?

Me at 16 Years Old

Most people I know look back at their High School years and talk about how exciting life was back then.  They talk about how amazing their sports days were or how amazing all the School dances were. I\’ve heard also how much people talk about how they were so skinny back then. Unfortunately I’m unable to really relate to these conversations as I was overweight at 320lbs for most of high school and had zero confidence in myself. I did try to ask some girls out to dances, but got rejected. I really had no game at all in that department. Haha. As much as I loved Baseball, I unfortunately wasn’t driven enough to push myself to do well.  In my sophomore year, my baseball coach used to make us run so much and being mentally weak back then, I regrettably faked an injury to avoid having to run.  As a result this didn’t get me into games too much. The few at bats I did get in games, I didn’t really do much to give my coaches a vote of confidence in me. While being out of shape was one thing, I was even more disappointed in myself because I knew I was a good hitter in my little league years. However I didn’t practice or push myself enough to handle High School ball overall. So the one year I did play High School Baseball, I pretty much failed myself and didn’t end up trying again at Baseball in my Junior and Senior years. Doing this self inflicting behavior to myself only lowered my confidence and self esteem even more as High School dragged on.

By the end of High School the realization that my time in grade school started to hit me and my automatic reaction was to do a review of my years in grade school. All the regret I had about never going to a dance or participating in High School events, not trying hard enough at baseball, struggling to fit in, or just not having much to be happy about really affected me. However it was a different feeling.  It wasn’t the brooding negative feelings I had been feeling that suppressed my confidence over the years. It was a feeling where I was tired of being the person I was during grade school. I had had enough. By the time I graduated, I was ready to leave my school years behind and reinvent a new Richard that would take on life much better then I have in my first 17 years. I decided first and foremost that I would get real serious about my overweight problem and start actually pushing myself to lose weight. I wanted to make some serious changes in my life and really be a better version of myself. At 17, this is where my real transformation started.

At 19 and half years old, I made a lot of amazing strides toward reinventing myself.  I had lost 100lbs after dieting, running, and starting to do workouts for the first time in my life. This was the beginning of me being a runner as I realized that running isn’t that hard once you stay consistent. However the dieting part was and still is the hardest part, but I was determined to make a change back then. I had restricted myself to as simple less then 2,000 calories a day and stuck to it while exercising 3-4 times a week. Back then Slim Fast was all the rage and I really had used that drink to my advantage and actually used it to substitute meals (This would not be a diet I’d recommend now as my whole outlook on dieting has changed drastically). The confidence I built from doing this physical transformation really affected my personality in a positive way. My family has always been supportive of me losing weight and they were all extremely happy for me about making my big change to being more fit. I was so much happier with myself and being more confident I was able to build an IT career.  I went into my 20’s and lived my life with a much more positive perception then I did in my High School years. I really learned that how you view the world and your attitude of your view of the world really made a difference in how you tackle everyday life.

From my 20’s to my 30’s, the transformation hasn’t really stopped. I’ve become a person that has always strived towards improvement. I made a lot of mistakes in my 20’s as many of us do and learned to do things better. I ran into ups and downs still in my life.  Life isn’t as simple as the Disney movies where “You live Happily Ever After” when all the problems and conflicts in life have been taken care of.  Life continues to always throw curveballs at you every step of the way.  I found the love of my life in my late 20’s and married her at 30 years old. We adopted Leia our Husky in 2015 and she’s now my running partner on my No_B.S._Rich Fitness Instagram page. In 2016 we adopted our nephew in order to give him a better home and education. Last year we had our first baby, who’s now changed our lives forever as parents.  Life will always be full of personal struggles, but I’m extremely grateful that I turned things around after High School and became someone that can face the hard parts of life.  I’m now 34 years old and I’m the most driven and passionate I’ve ever been in my life.  I’m driven by my own little family that my wife and I have been building the last few years. The Covid 19 pandemic may have took me away from the gym, but it didn’t stop me from finding a a new way to do fitness training. I’m in the best shape of my life physically and mentally. I still believe I have so much upside still in my fitness life.  Going through my early life struggles in grade school really prepared me for adulthood. While back then I hated life and didn’t expect much out of myself for my future. I would say my 16 year old self would be completely surprised at how well 34 year old Richard is doing now. I hope this story of myself inspires others that are in High School or College that your future is not determined and hasn’t been written yet. You have a lot of time to really turn things around and live the fulfilling life that you want. I’m surprising myself everyday on what I’m doing in my life compared to what I used to think I wasn’t capable of doing. Stay positive about the future and don’t let your mind cheat yourself out of a positive future.

Me at 34 Years Old Stronger Physically And Mentally

Be sure to follow all my latest Fitness content on my Instagram: no_b.s._rich_fitness

I Got My First Covid-19 Dose, No GPS Included

I’ve heard so many weird conspiracies about the Covid-19 vaccine. From the GPS chips that somehow can survive in liquid to one of of the ingredients being the blood of aborted babies. Both of these claims are absolutely baseless and have no proof if their true or not. Instead these conspiracies are extremely toxic and the deeper you read into them the crazier they get. So I’ll just leave it at that. The Covid-19 vaccines are here and it has been approved for use by many countries around the world to fight back against people contracting this deadly virus. I want to talk about my experience with getting the first dose and how I have felt in the first 24 hours. Its good to note that everyone’s body is different so my experience my differ from yours. Before going into that lets first go over what this vaccine is and what it actually protects against & what it doesn’t.

The Moderna Vaccine

Lets first understand the basics about the Moderna Vaccine before I go into how my experience is going with my first dose. The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is an unapproved vaccine that may prevent COVID-19. There is no WHO or FDA-approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19 as of yet. This is probably why many are skeptical about the vaccines. The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine,
tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose. I’m not going to pretend I know what all of this is, but you are welcome to go ahead and do your own research of all these ingredients. Lets go over a few of them though:

  1. Messanger RNA (Ribonucleic Acid): People take RNA/DNA combinations to improve memory and mental sharpness, treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, treat depression, increase energy, tighten skin, increase sex drive, and counteract the effects of aging.
  2. Hydrochrloride: Betaine hydrochloride is also used to treat abnormally low levels of potassium (hypokalemia), hay fever, “tired blood” (anemia), asthma, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), yeast infections, diarrhea, food allergies, gallstones, inner ear infections, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and thyroid disorders.
  3. Tromethamine: This is an acid blood reducer. It can correct acid levels in the body following heart surgery or cardiac arrest.

As you can see these ingredients have been used for many other types of medicines that treat other types of medical situations. The Moderna Vaccine had over 15,000 individuals aged 18 and over go through the clinical trials with at least one dose before it was approved for use. So what are the side effects of this vaccine. There is mild and severe side effects that can happen.

Mild Side Effects:

Injection site reactions: pain, tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm
of the injection, swelling (hardness), and redness
• General side effects: fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea and
vomiting, and fever

Severe Side Effects:

Difficulty breathing
• Swelling of your face and throat
• A fast heartbeat
• A bad rash all over your body
• Dizziness and weakness

What It Doesn’t Protect Against

The Moderna Vaccine has a 92% effectiveness so there is still an 8% of contracting the virus. This is why wearing a mask and keeping a distance are still key precautions to take. There is also the fact that while the vaccine may protect you from contracting the virus, it will not protect you from passing the virus to others still. Many are not aware of this and think the vaccine protects against this. This would be far from the truth. As much as we want things to be normal again, its important to face the hard truth about the risks still involved with Covid-19. As a parent, I will continue to stay diligent in staying healthy and avoiding the risks at all possible. I refuse to allow my nephew and daughter to contract this deadly virus at a young age.

My Experience With The First Dose

Now that we are aware of what’s in the Moderna Vaccine and what the side effects are I’ll talk briefly about my experience in the last 24 hours. I woke up early Thursday morning yesterday after my last workout of ‘The Prep’ program. I filled out a consent form that asks for your information and insurance. The form goes over the side effects and things that can happen after the vaccine is administered. I went and signed. The shot is a simple poke in your shoulder. My pharmacist asked what my dominant arm was and then proceeded to give me the shot in the opposite arm which is my left. He warned that I may experience soreness for the next 10 to 12 hours in my left arm and I can honestly say that was very true. As in good of shape as I am, it still didn’t protect me from feeling very sore and limiting my range of motion in my left arm. This is why he asked what my dominant arm is so that he left me with my stronger arm to still use during my day. The rest of the day the soreness in my arm felt more obvious and so I left work early for the day. The other effect I believe the 1st dose had on me was that my energy levels seemed to drain as the day went on. I was even falling asleep on the couch a bit a little before 6PM. It would take getting up and interacting with my 9 month daughter to jolt me to action in order to not let myself completely have no energy for the evening. However the drain of energy was obvious and I was looking forward to getting to bed last night. My daughter however decided she was not going to allow my wife and I to hit bedtime so easily and stayed up till 11PM where she finally went to bed on her own. Being a parent is never a dull moment. Haha. This morning I woke up and felt a lot better and gained more range of motion and had less soreness in my left arm. I also feel a lot more energetic today so hopefully yesterday is the only mild side effects I’ll experience. We’ll see how the 2nd dose goes in 4 weeks.

Happy Friday!

Sources For Moderna Vaccine Info:

FDA Fact Sheet On The Moderna Vaccine

First Databank

WebMD

RXList

WHO (World Health Organization)