Welcome to my blog, all about inspirational people with amazing stories to share and who have fought their way to their goals and dreams.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interview with Marinda Carr

Marinda's weight loss story is truly inspirational since she lost 100 pounds all on her own with no help from a trainer. If you are struggling and ready to give up on losing 10 pounds, read this story.

Marinda's Story

Q. Where are you from?

A: I was born and raised in Northern California (Calaveras County) but have lived in Minnesota with my husband and son for the last 5 years.

Q. How long have you been married?

A: Michael and I have been married for 6 years and together for 9 years.

Q. Do you and your husband exercise together?

A: Now that we are living our new, healthy lifestyle, yes my husband and I work out together on the weekends. During the week being busy with work and juggling our son’s schedule, we work out on our own.

Q. Were you athletic in your teens?

A: No. I played soccer a few years when I was in middle school and high school but by no means was I athletic. I always had to play defender or goalie because I wasn’t able to do all the running that the other positions required.

Q. You lost a dramatic amount of weight without a help of a trainer, how did you do it?

A: Once I realized that it had to be a lifestyle change and not a “diet” and that weight loss was really just simple math. Calories in versus calories out. I figured I should write down everything I ate and kept a log. My husband once told me (and I am not sure where he got it or if he made it up on his own) but he told me, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” That is so true. I dropped my calorie intake down to 1,200 calories a day and started doing a lot of cardio work 4-5 days a week.

Marinda now!

Q. Where there times that you didn't think you could make it to your goal?

A: There were times that I wished my progress was further along but never did I think I couldn’t do it.

Q. What helped you stay motivated?

A: There were a couple things that kept me motivated….the first being my family and most of all, my son. We went on vacation in 2005 and I was having such a hard time keeping up with him. I was only 23 years old and I couldn't even keep up with my 3 year old son. It was then I realized that I wanted to be the fun, healthy and hip mom for my son. I did not want to be the fat and frumpy mom that is inactive and doesn’t have the energy to go out and play with their child.

The second was all my small victories along the way. Small victories like the first time I dropped a pant size, the first time I went from doing the elliptical machine because I couldn’t run to getting on the treadmill and starting to jog, to being able to run a mile and so on…I continue to have those small victories to this day and know that I will never lose my motivation again.

Q. Did you always have a battle with your weight?

A: Yes, once I hit 5th-6th grade I began to get “chubby” and it all went downhill from there. Middle school and high school, I just got heavier.

Q. What was the hardest thing to give up during your weight loss journey?

A: All my sweets! I am a huge brownie lover but had told myself that when I was initially trying to drop the weight, I could not cheat or eat any of that stuff at all. I told myself that once I dropped the weight and got my new lifestyle under control, then I could have those treats from time to time but that it had to be just that…..a treat! Not something I ate on a daily basis as I had previously.

Q. Who has been at your side from day one through all of this?

A: My husband has been a huge support for me. It is so hard to try and live a healthy lifestyle when you don’t have the support at home. You want your partner to be willing to support the healthy eating so that it makes the journey easier and he has definitely been my support throughout.

Q. What does your exercise schedule look like now?

A: I work out typically 5 to 6 days a week. I like to do quick, intense cardio session by doing speed intervals and then on to weight training. I try to focus on certain muscle group

Q. What is your favorite cheat meal?

A: That’s hard….I don’t have a cheat meal so to speak….but I do love a great brownie every now and again. If I had to choose one type of meal that isn’t the best to eat but I do love, I’d have to go with any kind of pasta dishes! I love Olive Garden! 

Q. Do people turn to you for weight loss advice? What do you tell them?

A: People close to me know my story and know how I did it. People that find out I was heavy and then lost weight, do tend to ask how I did it but I wouldn’t say they are asking for advice. Although I would love to go into personal training/nutrition some day so I could help those individuals struggling like I did for so many years.

Q. What do you think is one of the biggest contributors to the obesity crisis in North America?

A: I think there are a few things that do it. The lack of nutrition taught to kid along with the lack of exercise that a lot of kids don’t get due to watching TV, playing video games, etc. also the portion sizes that people receive and consume when they go out to eat. It seems like portions keep getting larger and larger along with our society.

Q. What advice do you have for our readers who are struggling with their weight loss?

A: I would tell them that they have to be ready to make the change for themselves and not anyone else. I would also tell them that they have to realize that it is a lifestyle change and not a diet. If you watch what you eat, lose the weight and then go right back to your old habits, you will gain your weight back and nothing will change. Another important thing is to realize it is just simple math, the calories in versus calories out and needing to burn more than you consume to lose weight. There is no miracle pill or diet out there that will just take the weight off for you. It takes hard work and determination and most of all, commitment. If you can commit to making the change, you will be successful.

Great words of advice Marinda! This is the thing that people need to realize, it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change that has to remain with you forever, not just until the weight is gone. Congrats on your success! ~Angelique

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fitness Model Chady Dunmore's Story

I had the pleasure of interviewing Fitness Model and Cover Girl Chady Dunmore. She landed the cover for Fitness RX Magazine June 2010. Chady lives in Sacramento California and goes to Los Angeles for work. Here is her story.

Q. How long have you been working out?

- I have been athletic my whole life but training in the gym I would say 3years

Q. How many kids do you have?

-1 beautiful 4year old girl

Q. How did you start up as a fitness and bikini model?

- I have modeled since I was 13yrs old but as fitness/bikini model that happened almost 2years ago. I got discovered by Photographer Mike Byerly who highly suggested FMI (Fitness Model International) conference and said I had what it takes to be a Cover Model. Went to the conference last year and Viola!!!

Q. How many shows have you competed in and what was your best placing?

-7 shows total

-Best placing & highlight would have to be winning the Amateur Arnold Bikini Championships in the Tall Class & Overall:-)

Q. Do you still compete now?

-Yes. I just got my pro card as a bikini competitor and will compete in the WBFF Bikini Pro Diva Championships this Sept18 in Toronto, Canada

Q. You are on the recent cover of "Fitness RX", how does this make you feel?

-On Top of the World.... I still am pinching myself!!! LOL

Q. Have you landed covers of any other magazines?

- I have, but not a national magazine with a 10 page spread on ME!!!

Q. What is your family's favorite activity to do as a group?

-EAT !!! I'm Puerto Rican so a home cooked meal is where we are happiest I think!!

Q. How important do you think it is for parents to keep their kids active?

--EXTREMELY!! My mom had my twin brother and I in sports all through grade school so having a schedule/ playing with a team builds character and goals throughout your life.

Q. What is your family's favorite treat?


Q. You went through a hard time with your pregnancy, tell our readers more about this.

-I was diagnosed with a kidney disease when I was 4 yrs old, so becoming pregnant put me at a high risk. My activity level was limited and I gained a TON of weight....70lbs to be exact!

Q. How did fitness change your life?

-As funny as this sounds, you learn so much about yourself on a diet!! Its a mental game and you teach yourself so much discipline!

My health has improved since I am more conscious of my eating and fluid intake which is so important living with a kidney disease.

Q. Who are the people that stuck by your side and helped you through the tough times?

-black coffee!!! What would I do without him? LOL

-My family!!! AND this amazing man named SID :-)

Q. How long did it take to lose the weight?

-4-5 LONG months I was hardcore though and went through post partum depression, so I was a machine. Building muscle was a much harder...

Q. Where there times that you felt like giving up? How did you get through it?

-YES YES YES!!!! I'm human and there was countless times I would wake up SO sore asking myself...why? Just go back to sleep and be a normal mom....BUT I couldnt. I want to set an example to my daughter that if you believe in yourself, you can make anything happen.

Q. Do you have any advice for our readers out there that have gone or going through the same thing?

-Discipline is remembering what you want. If you can survive the hell...the payoff is HUGE!!! Being healthy and living an active lifestyle is SO important. Setting a goal will inspire another person to... keep the ball rolling:-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kris Fulford's Story

This is Kris Fulford's story. His story very important to me because cancer runs in my family as well, and just like Kris, I find it very important to keep fit and healthy to battle this terrible disease. Please read on.

Interview with Kris Fulford, Birmingham, Alabama

Q. Where are you from?

A. I was born in Selma, Alabama but now live in Birmingham Alabama with my Wife, Jennifer, and Daughter, Mckinley.

Q. You have a family history of cancer which started you on your weight loss journey, tell us about it in detail.

A. Yes, I have had a pretty long history of cancer in my close family starting with one of my Aunts who passed away when she was young, way before my time. Next was my Grandfather on my Mom's side who passed when I was about 5. There were quite a few years until this horrible disease crept back into my life but next was my Grandmother on my dads side. They did not catch her cancer until it was in a very late stage and she ended up passing away from it. Next not to long after that, and just a few years ago, was my other grandmother, from my Mom's side. She had fought the cancer for years but ultimately she lost the battle in Feb 14 2008. Then Lastly, even though not blood relation, my Step dad had cancer as well and he ended up loosing his battle exactly 1 year to the day from my Grandmother's death on Feb 14 2009. Around the end of the year in 2008 I was really upset with myself and the way I had let myself get out of shape. I had ballooned up to an all time high of 242 pounds at my heaviest, I did not feel good and I had no energy. Knowing the history of cancer as well as other medical problems such as High Cholesterol and High Blood pressure in my family, I decided enough was enough and I got to work Feb 8 2009 to make a better, happier, healthier version of me.

Q. Were you always battling with your weight?

A. No, I was always playing sports from the age of about 5 through High School. Then in college I continued hitting the gym pretty hard, eating pretty much anything I wanted the entire time. After I met my wife in College and started dating her more and getting serious I was not getting to the gym as much, then eventually not at all. After we were married and I would get on a kick and workout for a couple of weeks here and there, but nothing steady. Right after we got married I started a new job and I was sitting at a desk 8 hours a day so after that my activity level was cut by about 75% but my calories were not. So the pounds started piling on. I started dating my wife in 1998 and was 165 pounds, then as I mentioned before in 2009 I was up to 242. Granted I was caring around more muscle, it was not even close to being all muscle that I had gained.

Q. How tough was it to lose all the weight?

A. It was tough making the sacrifices in food choices and getting over that first few weeks was hard. The place where I work was not much of a help either, it is a software company and there is always someone bringing in donuts or it is someones birthday so they would have cake or something like that. So my will power was tested all the time. I will not lie and tell you that I was good all the time, there were many times when I gave in and pigged out. I made myself pay for it in the next workout though!! There were a couple of sayings that really helped me through though. "Nothing tastes as good as being Fit Feels" which is so true and "Do not ask for this to be easy, ask for it to be worth it". I knew that if I paid the price and sacrificed now it would be so worth it in the end and I was right!!

Q. What was the hardest thing to give up while you were shedding the pounds?

A. Being from the south I absolutely Love BBQ, and still do. So backing off from the Ribs, Pulled Pork and other forms of BBQ I love was hard. Not to mention the Pizza, Mexican and so many others that were so good and I have a sweet tooth that does not quit. Luckily I found a Protein Shake that helped with these sweet cravings. My workouts were not that hard to adapt into my life because I have always enjoyed lifting weights so that transition was not that hard. The hard thing for me was incorporating vegetables into my diet. I hated veggies and was always a meat and potatoes kind of guy. After weeks of forcing them down I have grown to like a bunch of them now.

Q. Your journey hit another major bump with the sudden loss of your father. Tell us about it.

A. Yes, In June of this year, I received a phone call from my Step Mom who was crying saying that my dad had had a sudden heart attack and I needed to get down there as fast as possible. My dad was an overweight man who was on medication for High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol and was a smoker, so I knew that this would be a possibility one day but that is always one of those it will never happen to me kind of things. Well it did happen!! I live about 2 hours from where my dad and Step Mom do and I made it that day in about an hour and a half, and that included stopping for gas. (Sorry Mr Police Man). The emergency personnel and doctors were able to get his heart back beating for a little bit and he fought for a while. I did not make it in time though, by the time I got there it was too late and I did not get to see him alive one more time. Understandable this was very hard for me seeing as he was still young being only 55 years old and it being so sudden. I turned to food to help me through this time but luckily I had been in fit mode for over a year and had made drastic changes in my lifestyle and habits. I did eat things that I know I should not have but I did not eat as much or as many thing as I know I would have before I started on my change. I did gain weight and most of it was fat I know it was not as much as it would have been before I made the change in my life.

Kris and his Father and Daughter

Q. What made you decide that enough was enough to go further with your weight loss goals?

A. Before my Dad Passed I was thinking of doing an adventure race that was down in his area, so that he and the rest of my family could come out and see me race and hopefully inspire them to get out and be more active as well. Well after this happened to my Dad I wanted to make sure and do everything that I could to make sure I was a fit as I could be so that the history of Cancer, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and now a heart attack would not be something that my wife and little girl would have to worry about. So I decide it is something I would do and I am now entered in that race that takes place on Oct 2. You can enter the race as a team or do it solo, so I decided to enter the race solo and race in the memory and honor of my dad. My wife and I are also running in an 8k Sept 4, it will help with my training for my adventure race but it is also keeping with this goal. One last thing is ever since I was in high school I have wanted that ever so coveted 6 pack. I was never serious enough about my nutrition to have them though. A few weeks after my dad was gone I made a promise to him that I was going to see this through and I was going to get to that 6% Body Fat that I have always wanted then maintain a single digit body fat for the rest of my life. That is one promise that I intend to keep!!!

Q. Did you ever feel like giving up?

A. Seeing as my reasons for getting started was health related and being disgusted with the way I looked, I never really had the desire to quit. Now there were a lot of times when I wanted to eat everything in the house or take on a whole gallon of Ice cream, large pizza or a pound of BBQ all by myself. I kept my goals in mind and stood strong, most of the time any way. :-)

Q. How often do you work out and what does your work out schedule look like?

A. For the first 6 months I followed a 2 day split and repeated it 2X a week. So I would do Chest, Shoulders and Tris On Monday, then Legs, Back and Biceps on Tuesday. Take Wednesday off then Shoulders and Tris again on Thursday and Legs, Back and Biceps again on Friday. Then have the weekend off as well. My exercises were usually 3 sets of 2 exercise super set with 1 minute of cardio (usually on the treadmill) between sets instead of a rest. Then 3 more sets of a single exercise to finish off that body part with the same cardio between sets. The workouts typically lasted 45 - 80 minutes long and always had me dripping with sweat. I started very light with the weights and worked my way up to where I could lift heavy again. I was super proud the last week of my 1st 12 week challenge because I had worked back up to squatting over 300 pounds for my full 3 sets of 8 again, something I had not done since I was 19. I am now following a 5 day split with 1 body part on each day still going with the supersets and cardio between sets instead of rest. Once I hit my goal of 6% I will probably back off the cardio between sets and just do some extra cardio during the week on my bike or running in the great outdoors.

Q. What other fitness related goals did you achieve?

A. After I made up my mind that I was sick and tired of the way I looked and felt and wanted to make a change, I received a notification that a new fitness website called FastTrackToFatloss.com was opening that offered to provide nutrition and workout plans as well as your own personal trainer. So I signed up the day it opened. I started my weight loss journey with the idea of just getting back in shape and loosing weight so my health and energy was better. I was looking for about 20 pounds or so, I lost half of that in the first 2 weeks and ended up loosing 29 pounds in the first 12 week challenge I entered. I did not win that round but was a runner up. So I decided to try again and really work hard and see what I could do. By the end of the 2nd round I was down a total of 50 pounds of fat and had dropped from 27% body fat to just under 10%. This time I was the Co-Winner of the 12 week Challenge with another lady.

I have started running and entering in a few races here and there. I ran in the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June (Before everything happened with my Dad) with a bunch of friends from the FastTrack site. If we would have changed our team from being an all male team to a coed team (We had a member drop out and a girl joined in with us) we would have taken 3rd in the coed division. That was my first race over a 5k and I only did one 5k before that and that was when I was 18. I have several races planed now, an 8k Sept 4th, an Adventure Race (4 mile trail run, 8 mile Mountain bike, 8 mile Kayak) Oct 2 and I am thinking of doing the Tough Mudder in Atlanta Ga in 2011.

Q. Who has had your back from day one?

A. My Wife and Daughter first and foremost, but my entire family and all of our friends are all very supportive. My little girl, who is 5, would come down in my "Man Room/ Gym" in the basement while I was working out and "Help" me with my workouts. :-) My wife was always very understanding with me getting up at 5am to workout or making my own food when they were having something that was not in my nutrition plan and all the extra sweaty clothes from me working out 4+ times a week some times 2x a day. Not to mention all the times with me chasing her around the house all sweaty from working out and her yelling ewwww trying to get away. She has been great and even would take foods away from me when I was about to eat something bad and tell me that is not on your plan!! Love you Babe!!

Q. How do you educate others to stay fit and healthy?

A. After I finished my first 12 week round I knew I wanted to help others do the same thing, then after I finished the second round, I knew I had to help others feel the way I felt. So I started studying to take my Personal Trainer Certification test. So in March I took my ACE Certified Personal Trainer test and passed. So I now try to help everyone I can both on the FastTrackToFatLoss.com site as well as in everyday life. This started as just a way to get myself in better shape but it has turned into a passion of mine and I am loving every minute of it!!

June Mud Run Finish!

Q. Does your state have an obesity problem? If so, what are the reasons that caused this problem?

A. The CDC did a study on obesity trends a few months ago and Alabama was one of the few states in the country with over 30% of the population being considered obese. I think a lot of it has to do with the abundance of fried foods in the south not to mention all of the other foods that are no good for you. There are cities and suburbs in the state where there are a lot of fitness activities that go on but I would say it is the exception and not the norm unfortunately.

Q. Do you have weekly cheat meals? If so, what do you eat?

A. I do I usually allow myself 1 maybe 2 "Treat" Meals a week. I like to call them treat meals because when I say Cheat meal I feel like I have done something wrong, when in fact it is just the opposite. I am treating myself, within reason, for doing a good job with my nutrition and workouts the rest of the week. I will have a variety of foods on my Treat meals it could be, Mexican, Pizza, BBQ, or a nice desert. I do not limit my foods in my Treat meals, I will however watch the portions and will increase my workout and add a little extra cardio on that day to help take care of the extra calories.

Q. Do you have any advice for our readers out there who think there is no way out?

A. First and foremost there is always a way out, it is never too late!! You just have to make up your mind that there is not anything in this world that is going to keep you from reaching your goal!! No matter what anyone says, what you have read, what you have seen, if you want it, it is yours for the taking. Work hard and take it. All you have to do is get on a Nutrition and Workout Plan and stay on it consistently. You may stumble from time to time, I know I did, but you keep going. Next, forget about the scale, judge your progress by the way your clothes fit, your body measurements and if you have access your Body Fat %. That number on the scale means nothing and can drive you crazy. Besides if you are on the beach with ripped abs would you care what the number on the scale was? I know I will not!!

I will be straight with you it is not always easy but back to my previous quote "Do not ask for this to be easy, ask for it to be worth it" Getting fit, knowing you are healthy for your family and reaching your goals is so very much worth it!!!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Peter Haenga Interview

Peter added me as a friend on facebook and I came across his bio and I really wanted his story out there for people to read. So amazing.

Peter Haenga Interview,  Gisborne, New Zealand

Q: when did i start working out ?

A: I started back training way back in November 5th 2008

Q: You have had amazing life journey tell us about that ?

A: Back in 2003 I was diagnose with cancer, but there is more to this story as well. I was brutally assaulted too. I guess I should thank the guy that assault me because without the assault, the doctors would have not found the cancer growth just below the left side of my face .

I also suffered serious head & brain injuries as well from the assault . But toughest moment was when my beloved was diagnose with breast cancer about a year later in 2004 & passed away in 2006 .

After my beloved mum had died from 2006 to 2008 I went from 187 lbs to 264 lbs because i suffered from depression after losing my mum to breast cancer and my only source of comfort was food .

Q: When you look at yourself now how do you feel ?

A: When i look at myself now its a totally change to how I was like back in 2003 having been diagnose with cancer & having to deal with a brain injury & then the sudden lose of my beloved mum .

Today I am  a lot stronger mentally and now physically too . I did carry some blame to for awhile though when my beloved mum had passed away. I thought "why didnt God just take me instead of my mum?"

But over time I learned to let that go and that my beloved mum's journey had come to and end and mine had just begun. Now I serve a purpose, to share my story with others and maybe help others now who maybe have a similar situation to me, and you can come out the other side and give them some hope as well .

Q: When you found out you had cancer how did you get through it ?

A: When i first found out I had cancer, Iwas so scared and I didnt know what to do. What got me through all this was my parents, especially my mum she knew that I needed to come home. Mothers know when their children are in trouble. Also the belief in God that got me through the cancer and having that faith which my mum and dad installed in me and my brothers & sister .

Q: Who are the most important people /person through all this ?

A: The first person would be my faith in God . My beloved mother and my dad & family. Another important person is my online trainer Elise Firestone we met on bodybuilding.com, a social bodybuilding website . Elise has trained me for the last two years. And then there is my nephew, my inspiration. He was the one that turned it all around for me. After seeing me become overweight like straight out of childs mouth saying I was fat, I decided I had to make a change for the better. Then there are countless others: Sam cairns & Gerald Ingram my best friends. Elise Firestone trainer, Tammy Renee world physique magazine . Rebecca Hahn , Candace Howell Stupek , Steve Poytner, Mindy Kurek, Gina Ostarly these people have been greatest supporters .

Q: How long have been in remission?

A: Its been almost 7 years now ive been in remission

Q: How has training hard helped you through all the tough times?

A: Training hard must definitely has helped me through the tough times. Just helped me focused more on feeling good about myself and taking all my frustrations and stress out on the iron and weights. A real good stress reliever for sure.

Q: How often do you train during the week ?

A: Usually 4 -5 days a week I make sure I get a few days to rest but sometimes thats harder to do during competition time though.

Q: Whats my favourite excerise ?

A; Its got to be wide grip chin ups i love doing my back exercises .

Q: Whats does your diet consist of ?

A: Chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, veggies, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli , raw almonds , raw cashew nuts, fish oils, omega 3.

Q: W is your favourite cheat meal

A: Pizza Hut and KFC

Q: Do you have any advice for our readers

Just never give up or never stop trying even when things seem tough. Set yourself goals and go after them and always try to surround yourself with positive and like minded people.

To fail is not failure.Failure is when you give up.

Thanks Angelique for giving me a chance to share my story and God bless you and your readers as well


Interview with Jason Adams

Let me just start off by saying that Jason has worked so hard this year and has come a long way, fighting through pain, 2x per day work outs and has helped so many people like myself in the bodybuilding industry, getting our names out there and promoting us with his blog. Thank you so much, you deserve the best.

Interview with Jason Adams, Lakewood, Ohio

Jason and Sara Schumann

Q: When and why did you decide to start working out?

A: I really don't think there is one specific single answer to this. It is a collection of things. When I was young I always wanted to be like the huge bodybuilders but was in a weird way embarrassed to workout. Can't explain why. Then I got really out of shape and was even more embarrassed by that. I decided to change it a few years ago and joined a gym, but was clueless about how to properly train and gave up quick. Then I started my blog interviewing female competitors and got inspired. And said now is the time. I learned the right way to do it, and now I am on my way. I have a degenerative hip condition and been in pain basically my whole life. So another reason is to prove to anyone that it can be done.

Q: You have recently lost a lot of weight, tell us about that.

A: When I started my "journey" I was 292 pounds. Started trying to learn the diet and got some help with moderate success and dropped about 20 pounds. Then about 14 weeks ago I hired Danny J Johnson to do my diet and it took off. In about 14 weeks with her I have lost over 60 more pounds. As of today I currently weight 210 pounds. So I am down 82 pounds now. It is a combination of dieting and training. I have more to go and still consider myself overweight, but I know I will get there.

Q: How has all this strict working out and strict eating affected your social life?

A: Honestly I never really had much of a social life. But that was by choice. I am not a party person. If I go out, it is just to see a movie. I have more fun alone watching a sporting event or something than going out. That being said, it has changed some things. Really where it affects me is I am currently not working and instead of looking for a job I go to the gym. A friend gets fast food, I have to wait for my chicken in the microwave. But I like the affects it has had. The gym is where I am comfortable, it is where I like to be. So I really feel all effects it has had have been for the positive. Some people may be confused by that, but it is what works for me.

Q: How has this lifestyle change been on you?

A: 100% positive. Obviously I am much more healthy now. But I am mentally healthy as well. It has allowed me to learn a passion. I actually believe in myself, and that is something I struggled a long time with. I am going to tell you something very few know. I will tell you this because Danny J (my trainer) had the courage to reveal her story so I feel I can do the same. I was for a very long time what you would call suicidal. I thought daily about ending my life. Mainly because I considered myself a failure. I saw no way anything good could come of my life. But this new lifestyle has taught me that things to come of your life, you make things happen in your life. I am happy with who I am, I like the person I am, and the gym and what I am doing have been a big help in that.

Danny J

Q: What has been the hardest thing to give up?

A: Most people would say the food or something like that. For me the hardest thing to give up has been negativity. I was just so used to being negative. You spend so much time being down on yourself and thinking you are nothing, then suddenly all this people are calling you inspiring and looking to you for inspiration. It is just weird. You feel you have to be positive. You have to because if someone actually does look up to you or is inspired by you, you feel you have to be positive for them. But even more you have to do it for yourself. Even a month ago if I had a day when my weight was up one pound I would get so upset. Now I can just say "that's fine, it will come back off" and I know it will. Yes I still have bad days, and yes I will still have them, but that are few and far between. I am positive now. So negativity and being down on myself was the hardest thing to give up.

Q: What is your favorite cheat meal?

A: This is the easiest question there is to answer. Meatball sub from Subway. I could live on those. Also my mom's potato salad is right up there to.

Q: How did you used to eat?

A: If I was hungry I ate. And usually it wasn't food that was good for me. If I was at the store buy some ice cream or chips. I worked at pizza shops for a long time and was always eating a lot of that food. I ate some healthy foods but that was in addition to eating a lot more unhealthy food.

Q: What does your diet consist of now.

A: Danny J designs my entire diet. I do not eat a thing without her approval. Right now I am eating 8 meals a day, three of which are protein shakes. Each meal has my protein, veggies, etc. Lots of chicken and veggies. Some people think it sounds boring, but you get used to it. I am going to let everyone in on a really big secret HEALTHY FOOD IS ACTUALLY GOOD TASTING. O.K., so that's not a big secret, but alot of people don't know that. They think healthy food means lots of salads, ad maybe some twigs.

Q: What has been the best thing to come out of this?

A: The answer everyone wants is that I am healthy. Well I have to disappoint everyone. That isn't the best thing that has come out of this. The best thing that has come out of this is my Hero Danny J Johnson. She is what I call the light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been my life. She is the most amazing and inspiring person I know. Having her in my life has made me a better person. I could not do what I am doing without her. As a guy I admit when I first saw her she was just some beautiful woman. But now everyone tells me she is beautiful, or hot, as they say. I simply say that I do not look at her like that. She has gone from some beautiful woman in the fitness industry to being everything to me. I look up to her, I admire her, I am inspired by her, and I am a better person because of her. Sh doesn't train me in just fitness, she trains me in life.

Jason and Jamie Eason

Q: You have a long term goal of competing in bodybuilding. When and where do you think that will be?

A: Actually me and Danny just decided to do the Emerald Cup in April 2012. That is a very big show and I have a long way to go to be ready for that. But I would rather do a big show and finish last than do Bob's Bodybuilding Championship in front of 16 fans and win the whole thing. This isn't about winning for me. It is about proving something. I am planning to at some point next year move to Las Vegas and train there and I know I will be ready. Several people have said that when I compete it will be this huge fitness industry all-star get together for people to support me. I don't know if that is true, but that would mean more to me than some trophy.

Q: You have had a lot of guidance along the way. Who has been the most important people to help you through all the hard work?

A: I want to point out a couple people:

Elise Firestone: Always been so encouraging. YOu are for sure doing my tan when I am on stage

Kayte Steenberg: Just an icnreidbly inspiring woman destined for great things

Terri Chadwick Edwards: Never allows me to get upset always has my back.

Mascha Tieken: Always a huge help to me

Gail Auerbach: Also so encouraging to me

Tisha Rodrigues: Twafy, you are the best and I owe you so much

Lisa Zisa: A great woman always encourages me. Lisa you rock

Ali Dies: Such an amazing woman and an honor to know her

Heather Kilgore: Someone I admire and respect so much

Zoa Linsey: Zoa told me if you act like a bodybuilder and train like you are a
bodybuilder, than you are a bodybuilder. Zoa I am a bodybuilder and thanks for making me
know that.

Tiffany Forni: Tiffany did what I am trying to do and has supported me the whole way.

Michelle Russell: The owner of my favorite arms in the sport. Always supports me. Love

Nicole Gray: Nicole has been so supportive of me, and reading her Facebook posts about
going to the gym always fires me up.

Kala Moak: We met under strange circumstances but she has become so important to me and
my BFF (inside joke). Nicest woman you will ever meet.

Shirley Madera: Just a class woman and so supportive of and helpful to me

Belinda Hope: When I am in need of a quick pick me up, I got to Belinda. She believes in
me as much as anyone.

Jill Crean: Amazing woman with an amazing story. I always say that when I grow up I want
to be Jill Crean. Just an incredible woman.

Sarah Kinney: My studdette. She offered to help me before anyone else and I will never
ever forget her for it.

Kortney Olson: Kortney has a special place in my heart and she knows why. Love ya K.O.

Allison Moyer: Allison is amazing. What I love most is she talked to me for awhile about
my own low self esteem before she even knew me and made me feel better. The world needs
more Allison Moyer's.

Sue Scheppele: Simply put, the reason I fell in love with bodybuilding.

Tonia Moore: Battling her disease and fighting hard to get back. Tonia, luv ya.

LeslieRae Newton: Always been behind me, and supporting me

Tonia Goodman: as inspiring a woman as you will ever meet.

Megan Melone: My pitbull. Always has my back and defends me

Colleen Tanner: A special friend and I hope she knows how good she can be.

Erika Shingary: Erika made me feel accepted and god about myself. Forever in debt.

Macey Leigh: Macey, you know I love you to death.

Vanessa Prebyl: Vanessa is amazing and I owe her more than she knows.

Angelique Kronebusch: Angelique you have supported me from the day we met and you are a
blessing to me.

Sara Schumann: My newest trainer and a special special woman. I have learned so much
from her. Sara thank you.

JT Wood: One of my trainers. JT is a bodybuilder, and didn't look at me as the fat guy
saying he wanted to be a bodybuilder. He saw me as the guy that can be one and made me
feel comfortable. Owe him a ton.

Danny J Johnson: Said so much about her already, but I hope she knows how important she
is to me. Danny when I am 80 years old I still want you handling my diet.

Please if I forgot you accept my apology. So hard to remember everyone. I know I forgot
a few.

Q: Do you think the obesity epidemic is out of control in your country?

A: Sure is. And it is easy to understand why. Every year there is a new amazing video game. Kids are not encouraged to play outside. They grow up on video games and therefore at a young age it starts with the lack of exercise, and like I said about my negativity, you get used to it. So these young people are growing up out of shape. It isn't the kids fault. They are doing what they are shown to do. Parents need to get their kids outside playing sports, eating better. Do I see it changing? Not at all. Because no one is out there trying to educate. That is why I felt I as hard as it is for me to accept it when someone calls me inspiring, I need to embrace it, and so do others because there are so many inspiring people. I asked one girl one simple diet question and she asked me to pay her for it. That scares people away. Let's get a Government funded program where they hire the Danny Johnson's, the Jaime Eason's, the Tiffany Forni's, formulate a plan with those great minds and see how we can better educate the country. Every street you see a McDonald's or a Taco Bell and that makes it hard to pass up food that does taste good and is easier than going home to make it. You have politicians trying to get rid of strip clubs and adult book stores because they pollute the mind or whatever, well why the hell aren't they doing anything to get rid of some of the fast food joints that pollute the body?

Q: Do you feel your story can help others reach their weight loss goals?

A: I struggled with this. For some reason people latch on to me and use me as inspiration. It feels weird and I feel I don't deserve it and there are better choices. But I think it is because I am so open about everything. Yeah, I guess it can help others and if it does, I am flattered and honored. This was always supposed to be my journey, my goal, all about me. It isn't anymore. I was never looking to inspire anyone, but apparently I do. And that's great because all those people who email me and ask for my help and tell me their amazing stories also inspire me.

Q: When you look at yourself, how do you feel:

A: Sometimes I look at myself and feel great about how far I have come and sometimes I feel I have so far to go. But Either way it is a good feeling because as far as I have to go, I will get there. I really feel so much better about the person I am becoming, mentally and physically. Wearing clothes that haven't fit for years is a tremendous feeling.

Q: Do you have any advice for our readers?

A: This journey for me is to get on stage. To have my moment. My moment on stage where I can say "I did this. I did what people said I couldn't do" That's what it is all about, my moment. Everyone deserves their moment. But it doesn't just happen. Make it happen. If someone says you cant do it, don't get upset, embrace it. Welcome those haters. Because those are the people who are going to look stupid when you prove them wrong. Don't expect changes overnight. It takes time, but that time it takes is what will make it so rewarding. There is a line in a song that I think of everyday it goes " I am stronger than they think, they can push me to the brink again, cause now I know I'll win". Let people tell you you can't do it, but NEVER let them actually convince you cant do it. You deserve your moment, you want it, go get it. And If you need someone to talk to someone to ask advice, or someone just to convince you you can do it, I am always an email away elway78@netzero.com.

Angelique, thank you for interviewing me, it is an honor, and thank you for being a friend, you are a special and important part of my life.