Alvar, 44 years old, was 27 pounds overweight before starting Precision Nutrition Coaching. His body, tired of lugging around the extra weight during his intense martial arts practices, showed signs of shutting down.
Nine months later, after losing 12% body fat and revealing rock-hard abs, he’s in the best shape of his life.
This is his story on how he lost the weight, endured against the tsunami that rocked Japan in March, and regained control of his body and life.
Lost 27 lbs and 12% body fat!
- Age: 44 years
- Weight Lost: 27 lbs (from 169 lbs to 142 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 12% (from 22% to 10%)
- Waist Inches Lost: 5 inches (from 37 inches to 32 inches)
The fat ninja
The day you earn your black belt, your instructor ties it around your waist in ceremony. There it sits — above your hips, knot below your navel, your name stitched in white thread on one end — testimony to your mastery of the martial arts.
You’ll take it off and put it back on hundreds of times over the years. Maybe thousands. Every time you do, your black belt will remind you of how hard you worked, how much you’ve learned.
But your belt will also tell you uncomfortable things. Like, how big your waist is getting, for instance. Alvar found this out nine months ago.
That day, he looked in the mirror and noticed his name had been shortened — the first few letters were caught up in the knot of his belt, the white stitching only revealing the last half of his name.
The ends of the belt hung short, a result of his protruding belly. The five extra inches of fat around his midsection were built up slowly — almost imperceptibly — over the past few years, the outcome of late-night eating and skipping meals.
It had been easy enough to ignore the weight gain — it wasn’t like he was obese. In fact, Alvar hardly noticed it until that morning.
But now that he saw it, it’s all he could focus on.
How did this happen?
Alvar the martial artist — the supposed paragon of self-restraint and physical prowess — had turned into a fat ninja.
Taido, the martial art Alvar practices in Japan where he lives with his family, translates to “way of the body”. There are 5 principles of Taido, each meant to help the student excel in their practice. As Alvar went through Precision Nutrition Coaching, he realized these principles applied to more than just his martial art.
Principle #1: Keep your mind as clear and calm as the polished surface of a mirror. This way you will see to the heart of things.
Alvar’s sitting at his desk, among scattered papers and trash. An empty beer bottle and half-eaten bag of chips sit next to his keyboard. He grabs them and tosses them in the garbage.
This is a week after he realized his belt was tighter.
As a PhD student, he’s spending more and more time sitting down. He sits down in class, he sits down in front of the computer, he sits down on the couch to relax from sitting down all day.
All this sitting, it can’t be good for him. And his eating habits. Ha! What habits? He eats like everyone else: when he remembers to.
At least he’s not completely inactive. He practices Taido every week, but his two trips to the dojo aren’t keeping him in as good of shape as he thought. That much is apparent now.
As a Taido instructor, you have to be able to tell and show your students what to do. Right now Alvar’s doing a whole lot of telling.
For the past week he’s tried following Billy Blanks’s Tae-Bo workout DVDs — they’re popular in Japan right now — but all that bouncing around and punching air made him feel stupid. He’s a black belt, dammit. A professional.
Alvar crumples a piece of paper and furrows his eyebrows. Suddenly, he spins around in his chair to face his computer. A website, he remembers. A friend at the dojo told him about a website.
He finds the site, clicks on the Precision Nutrition Coaching banner, and skims the page.
Eat better. Workout. Lose weight.
He skips the rest of the words, scrolls down to the bottom, and enters his email address. A few days later, he gets an email notifying him that the coaching program is launching.
He signs up, even though he really doesn’t know what he’s signing up for.
“All I knew was that it was a binding contract,” he says. “Which was good. It meant I wouldn’t have the option of quitting.”
Alvar knew he was making a change that day. He just wasn’t sure what kind of change it would be. But at least it was a step. At least it wasn’t just talk.
Principle #2: Be composed. Body and mind should be as one.
Your mind is an ever-present evaluator, telling what you can and can’t do.
Sometimes it keeps you out of trouble — perhaps playing on railroad tracks isn’t the greatest idea after all — but often your mind can stop you from reaching your full potential.
It can tell your body “no” and keep it from getting stronger and healthier. That’s because your mind is scared. It fears the unknown. It’d much rather stay comfortable and safe than try something new.
So you have to trick it.
Alvar learns this in the gym, four months into Precision Nutrition Coaching.
He’s lost 20 pounds already. His body has been challenged in new ways and has responded well. His stomach has gone from soft and round to hard and flat. (His son, claiming he “lost is pillow”, is disappointed.) Alvar’s shoulders are strong and broad. His chest and arms are growing.
Still, his mind is wary.
Maybe it’s because training with weights is different than what he’s used to. Even after four months, his mind still doesn’t know what to expect. Will he hurt himself? Will lifting weights help him look and feel better?
Despite those thoughts, Alvar’s standing above a bar loaded with plates.
He’s not exactly sure how much weight he can lift, but he’s slowly learning how his body reacts, how much it can handle.
As he grabs the bar, he pushes back negative thoughts.
Then he lifts.
Three easy reps later, Alvar sets down the bar, grabs his training journal, and jots down the weight he lifted.
But wait. Something’s not right.
He looks at the numbers in his journal then glances back at the bar on the ground. He quickly adds up the weight in his head. Then he realizes what he’s done.
He just lifted an extra 30 pounds on accident. And it was easy.
As he goes through the rest of the workout, he thinks about this.
It’s obvious his healthy thoughts have been translating to healthy actions over the past few months. But he never thought about how healthy actions can translate to healthy thoughts.
With 30 extra pounds unknowingly on the bar, Alvar’s mind didn’t have an opportunity to say, “No.” It simply got out of the way as he lifted the weight.
Now that his mind knows what his body is capable of, it’ll be much easier to convince it next time. And there’s always a next time.
Principle #3: Invigorate your spirit from the source of energy deep in your abdomen. With the right spirit you’ll never fear combat.
You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get fresh vegetables in Japan after the tsunami.
Alvar knows this is a small problem — people have died for chrissakes — but he’d still like to eat healthy.
He’s lucky — he lives in a part of Japan that wasn’t directly affected by the water, the aftershocks, the radiation. His house didn’t wash away. His family is still here.
Still, the tsunami’s effect on infrastructure, food distribution, and availability of fuel and electricity has disturbed his daily life.
Like the rest of Japan, he’s standing up to Mother Nature as best he can.
He splurges on expensive tomatoes and carrots. Six months into Precision Nutrition Coaching, he knows how important whole, healthy food is.
In times like these a simple tomato can mean so much.
If he was weaker, Alvar knows he would have reverted back to old habits. Maybe eaten more rice or snuck in a few bags of chips. At least he would have an excuse.
But thanks to what he’s learned in Precision Nutrition Coaching, he’s stayed strong.
It’s not just the availability of food that has been affected by the tsunami — he hasn’t had access to a gym for close to three weeks, either.
But instead of skipping his workouts, Alvar buys some weights and trains at home — in the sunlight during the day, in darkness when controlled blackouts are enforced at night.
He can feel it — things will go back to normal soon. Well, close to normal.
For now Alvar controls the stuff he can. He feeds his body and mind with food, exercise, and optimism. He continues to get stronger, leaner, more powerful.
In the end, your body and mind are the only things you really have. He understands this.
Spend enough time to make them both strong, and they’ll nourish your soul and enhance your life, even when everything else collapses around you.
Principle #4: In every action, follow the correct precepts you have been taught. By doing so you cannot act wrongly.
Eight months after beginning Precision Nutrition Coaching and six weeks after the tsunami, Alvar is standing in his kitchen, making dinner for his family. He’s cooking chicken and veggies (he’s found a good source), a different kind of fare than what he was eating last year.
Back then he just ate because he knew he needed to. He was never taught how to eat. In fact, that sounded ridiculous the first time he heard it.
How do you eat? Well, first you get some food, then put it in your mouth…
With Precision Nutrition Coaching he’s getting a food education. He’s learning what kinds of food to eat, when to eat them, how much to eat, and how to listen to his body. Because of this, he’s lost a total of 27 pounds and is currently in the best shape of his life.
He wants to help his family do the same. So, chicken and veggies it is.
“I’m no longer eating to just stay alive,” he says. “I’m eating to thrive. And I want my family to thrive, as well.”
To Alvar and his family, exercising and eating well aren’t new things any more.
“It’s like taking out the garbage or brushing your teeth,” he says. “If it’s important, you do it every day.”
Principle #5: Be adaptable in your techniques and maintain freedom of physical movement.
The first belt you earn in the martial arts is colored white, signifying purity. The beginning of a journey.
As you move through the ranks and learn more skills, the belts get darker and darker. Finally, after years of work, you earn your black belt.
But that’s not the end.
Wear that black belt long enough — keep wrapping it around your waist and tying that knot — and it will slowly start to unravel. With enough wear, the black belt will begin to turn white again.
This is a new beginning.
Like earning a black belt, getting in shape and losing weight isn’t only about reaching a destination. Sure, it feels good to lose 30 pounds, but it doesn’t mean you stop there.
Instead, you deepen your understanding. You look back and say, I accomplished that. Now, what’s next?
What’s next for Alvar is he wants to gain more muscle. He’s already lost 27 pounds and 5 inches on his waist. He can see his full name on his belt again.
Now he wants to see what else he can accomplish, how else he can stay healthy and lean.
“Gradually the entire process begins to re-color your whole life,” he says. “You don’t realize the small changes you make at the time, but at the end you step back and say, ‘Wow, what I did a year ago and what I do today are completely different.”
In other words, you often don’t see the extent of the change you’ve made until you’re ready to begin a new adventure.
Want help finally getting the healthy, energetic body you’re after?
For many people, improved eating and lifestyle habits can seem impossible to sustain, especially when progress feels non-existent. What the experts know: Progress is always happening, you have to know what to look for.
That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them stay energized and motivated, and get in the best shape of their lives… no matter what other challenges they’re dealing with.
It’s also why we work with health and fitness pros (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to help their own clients recognize progress and stay motivated through the same challenges.
Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021.
If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.
- You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
- You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.
If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].