Pain from old injuries prevented Richard Hughes from working to his full potential in the gym, and left him with a nasty Advil habit. Meanwhile, his weight crept up so high that he sometimes feared he was one step away from a heart attack.
Precision Nutrition Coaching let him live pain-free without the drugs, while helping him lose more than 100 pounds. These days, Richard’s heart is happy, and instead of serving as a warning of what not to do, he’s a living, moving inspiration to others.
Lost 103 lbs and 20% body fat!
- Age: 49 years
- Weight Lost: 103 lbs (from 318 lbs to 215 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 20% (from 40.9% to 20.9%)
- Total Inches Lost: 30 inches (from 285 inches to 255 inches)
Living with pain
There’s a warmth, openness, and lively enthusiasm to Richard Hughes that you just can’t miss. Talk to this man for five minutes and you’ll find yourself smiling.
But I get the sense that it hasn’t always been this way. After all, Richard used to live with chronic pain. And people in pain don’t usually bubble over with positive energy.
The thing about chronic low-level pain is that you can grow used to it. It’s like gradually losing your vision or your hearing. You forget what things were like for you, before. And you find ways to compensate. You cope.
Which is exactly what Richard did. By shirking at the gym, swallowing a lot of Advil, working so hard that he’d forget to stop for lunch, and gorging on pizza and beer when he got home, he managed to ignore his constant discomfort.
In short, he numbed out.
In a way, Richard’s choices made sense. They allowed him to function. Meanwhile, his weight kept creeping higher and higher. And his energy kept leeching away from him.
The scale registered more than 300 pounds before Richard recognized that he had gone way past chunky to downright obese.
As a massage therapist, that meant he wasn’t exactly a model of health for his clients.
What’s more, it was becoming more and more difficult for him to perform his work well. Some days, he could barely make it from his car in the parking lot to the therapy room.
“I’d get to the building, and I’d need to sit down for a rest,” he says. “Or I’d make excuses. Instead of starting at their feet, I’d start way up at the shoulders. Standing for long periods of time was so tiring.”
The sad reality? Richard couldn’t support his own body weight. At times, he feared he was one step away from a heart attack.
Something had to change. And he knew it.
It was the sight of Jeanne Douthit that flipped the switch.
Jeanne, a Precision Nutrition Coaching finalist, and later, a mentor in the program, had been employed at the gym where Richard worked for a number of years.
He knew about her own struggles with weight. He also knew that she’d achieved considerable success on her own, even before joining the coaching program. In fact, over the years, she’d managed to drop about a hundred pounds, and had earned her credentials as a personal trainer.
In other words, this woman was determined, hard-working, and knowledgeable. So why would she need a coaching program?, Richard wondered.
And then he saw.
Jeanne’s weight had shot back up after the birth of her third child, who had some special needs. In seeking care for him, she’d understandably lost focus on her personal fitness. She joined Precision Nutrition Coaching as a way to address that.
After a year in the program, she’d lost the weight she wanted to lose. But Richard would have expected that.
It was the other changes that surprised him. This time, Jeanne wasn’t just a smaller version of her old self. This time, her body was a different shape. She’d lost her saddlebags. Gained muscle definition everywhere.
What’s more, in talking with her, Richard could tell that the changes in Jeanne’s body reflected changes in her mind and soul. Something profound had happened to her. She wasn’t going to lose her focus again.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I looked up to Jeanne already. She was intelligent. She knew her stuff. She could have lost the weight on her own; she’d done it before. But she trusted PN. And look at the result!”
“It’s one thing to see “before and after” photos of people you don’t know,” he adds. “It was another thing to see and talk to Jeanne in real life.”
If she could do it, maybe he could do it.
Richard’s doctor helped him set a goal weight of 188 pounds.
The number sounded so far away from 318, where he was starting.
“I couldn’t fathom losing that much,” he confesses.
Then there was the gym. At the gym, Richard felt so shaky.
It hadn’t always been that way. A former landscaper, Richard had once loved exercise. But it was during his landscaping career that he’d sustained the injuries that prompted him to switch professions. And although he believed he had healed, in fact, those old imbalances had never been properly addressed.
Besides, it’s one thing to enjoy exercise when you are young and relatively fit. It’s another when you are 49 years old and vastly overweight.
Feeling shaky — and hating it
Richard had cared for his mother when she fell ill with cancer. And when she’d died, he’d cared for his dad. In other words, for a big chunk of his life, this man had been serving as a support for others.
He was solid. Caring. Capable. And he’d come to base his identity on that.
Now, he was the one who needed support. Struggling with simple movements in his workouts, feeling lost and embarrassed. Worried about falling and hurting himself. Worried about failure.
He didn’t like the feeling.
It didn’t occur to Richard at first to ask for help. Asking for help would be like admitting he wasn’t tough enough.
If I can’t do it the way I should do it, I’m a loser, he told himself.
“I blamed myself,” he says. “I felt as if I had to get it perfect.”
Then there was the kitchen.
“I’m not a cook,” he says. “I wasn’t sure how to prepare my own food. And my wife — she cares about me. She wanted me to succeed. But she just wasn’t interested.”
In fact, in the beginning, his wife was more than a little skeptical.
“She’d see what I was doing, and try to poke holes in it,” he says. “She couldn’t see any results at first. What can I say? She’s a Libra. It’s her nature to judge everything.”
Luckily, Richard’s 26-year-old daughter had moved home. She loves creating gourmet meals. So she rolled up her sleeves and got to work to help Richard meet his nutrition habits.
She also helped Richard with the lessons.
“I’m not much of a reader,” he says. “I never have been.”
It’s not that he didn’t like the lessons. He really enjoyed them. “They’re funny and down to earth — just like you’re talking to a real person!”
But he needed a lot of undistracted time to get through them. And sometimes it was a struggle.
So his daughter jumped in to read along with him and help explain if he had questions.
Little by little, day by day, Precision Nutrition Coaching was becoming a family affair.
And between the healthier meals that his daughter was preparing, Richard’s hard work on the lessons, and his renewed efforts in the gym, he started to shed his excess weight.
He was also discovering the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil.
“I used to take Advil at the maximum dose,” he says. “I’d pop it three or four times a day.”
His regular dosing of Advil had come to seem perfectly normal. “It’s like I forgot that people don’t usually take that stuff all the time,” he says.
Now that he was swallowing his fish oil instead, he didn’t need it any more. The pain was becoming a memory. He was starting to regain energy
Even better, he was regaining trust in himself.
“I’ll never forget the day,” he says. “It was about six months into the program. We had to do some lateral movement; I’m not sure what it was, but the first time it had come up I hadn’t been able to do it at all.”
All of a sudden, this time, he was doing it. Sweating like crazy, but doing it.
And more than that, he felt solid. Stronger. Capable of self-support.
Then he injured himself again.
Twice, in fluke accidents at home, he fell, twisting his knee and landing on his bad shoulder.
His knee was wonky. And there were two massive tears in his rotator cuff area.
At first, Richard was devastated. Would his progress be completely derailed? Doctors told him he’d need an $800 knee brace and surgery for the shoulder.
He bought the brace, but he couldn’t face the prospect of an operation. Not now. Taking a year off work was not an option; his family needed the income. Besides, he wanted to finish the program.
In retrospect, he wonders if those injuries might have been a blessing.
Because it’s the injuries that finally prompted him to reach out to his coach, Jason Bonn, who promptly suggested a few modifications.
Start wherever you are.
Use whatever you have.
Do whatever you can.
Those mantras appear in bold print at that start of each Precision Nutrition Coaching workout.
“I don’t know what it is,” Richard says, “But somehow, I missed them. I just didn’t take them in.”
This was his biggest challenge.
“I had to find it within me to accept that it was okay to do things a bit differently. I had to accept that it was okay to do what I was capable of.”
Coach Jay talked Richard through his fears. He reminded Richard of how far he’d already come and the changes he’d already made. “You aren’t giving up on yourself any more,” Jay said.
So instead of quitting, as he was tempted to do, Richard kept going. Instead of blaming himself, he took the support that his coach and his family were so generously offering.
And the pounds kept coming off.
By the end of the program, Richard had almost reached that formerly impossible goal weight — and he’d regained a substantial range of motion in his injured shoulder.
In fact, his shoulder was so improved that his doctor told him he could do without the surgery now. “You’ve learned to compensate,” he said.
And this time, Richard was compensating in a healthy, balanced way, instead of by numbing himself out.
Even his tastes have changed. He no longer craves the pizza and bread that he used to love. “Eating bread now?” he shakes his head and laughs. “It’s like chewing on a sponge.”
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
Now that he’s lost so much weight, Richard’s been fielding a lot of compliments. His daughter took him shopping for new clothes and he’s so thrilled about how he looks in the new, trendier styles that he likes to get dressed up even if he’s not going anywhere. It’s become a bit of a family joke.
“They tease me,” he says, the smile in his voice unmistakeable. “They’ll ask me if I’ve got special plans.”
The teasing is all in good fun. Because now, his wife has lost her skepticism about the program. Having dropped around 70 pounds just by following along with some of the nutritional habits while Richard was a participant, she has since joined Precision Nutrition Coaching herself.
“Her energy’s gone up. Her mood’s better,” he says. “All those little things. I didn’t notice those changes so much in myself at the beginning, but I can see them so easily in her.”
“There’s so much more to this program than meets the eye,” he adds. “The psychological aspects are so important. There’s a benefit in doing unfamiliar things.”
You stretch yourself. Grow. Discover your inner resources.
These days, Richard’s solid in the gym. He’s even taking on new challenges. “Cycling in the winter,” he tells me. “I used to shy away from that.”
The man who couldn’t support his own weight standing up is now pulling his own weight. And aiming higher.
“That’s my next goal,” he says. “I can’t wait.”
Want to read more great stories like Richard’s? Then come meet a few other men, women, and couples who lost weight, started eating better, and took control of their health.
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 19th, 2023.
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.
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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].