Train Loco Readers…How Are We Doing? Today we have an awesome guest piece by our friend, Jordan Grahm. We met Jordan while we were training at Gold’s Venice for several months and we had similar interests and of course we all liked lifting heavy weights. Jordan is an online coach and personal trainer and we asked him to write a guest post for our site on his weight loss journey. If you ever thought you had a rough journey to losing weight, wait until you hear Jordan’s journey…absolutely INSPIRING! Enjoy!
-Eric and Chris
My name is Jordan Grahm. As of today I have lost 200 pounds and transformed my life and my body. This is my story.
My whole life I was overweight. Growing up it was hard being the big kid. I was subject to a lot of teasing, ridicule, and bullying which caused me to develop a very defensive and protective state of mind. There is nothing good about being fat and unhappy through one’s childhood. In 9th grade I started playing football, weighing in at 290lbs standing 5’9” at only 13 years old. The coaches wanted me to keep getting bigger, stronger, and faster so I ate a lot and trained hard.
My mom always motivated me and wanted me to get in better shape so that I could enjoy my life more. She had big dreams for me that included being in good shape. When I was 14, tragedy struck when my mom suddenly passed away. I quit the football team and my motivation to train and get in better shape completely vanished. Food became my outlet to help cope with the depression due to my mom’s death. I was also addicted to recreational drugs, I used them to try to numb my feelings and escape reality but it didn’t work.
I was eating myself to death, and I did not care about my future at all. Doctors told me I would die young from obesity-related health complications; I told them if that happens then so be it. By the end of my senior year in high school at 17 years old I was already around 400 pounds. I graduated high school and stopped looking at the scale. I didn’t plan for my future because I didn’t care. Time went on, I worked a sedentary job and continued to gain weight.
By late 2007 I was well over 400lbs wearing 5XL shirts, depression, food and drugs still had a powerful grip on me. On March 30th 2008 at 3am I was in a car collision that could have killed me. My airbag was just reconnected a couple hours before the crash and saved my life. I know that my mom was looking out for me that night.
In the accident I suffered a separated shoulder and broken wrist among other injuries. It took 5 guys to lift me up on the stretcher. The next day when I went for an MRI I barely fit in to the machine, they were going to send me to a special, bigger one. That day I decided that I had enough! I decided to change the way I lived, change how I ate and start exercising
I started walking my dog 1 mile a day on a hill and it would take us almost an hour to complete the mile. Slowly but surely, we got faster and upped it to 2 miles; my dog was always pushing me to up the pace and the distance. My dog Blackberry helped to save my life; she was my first personal trainer! One day while I was still around 350lbs we walked the hill 10 times totaling 10 miles. Just to show myself that it was possible.
A huge part of my transformation was changing the way I ate. In the past I would consume very calorie-dense foods with little nutritive value. One of my favorite meals was a burger, fries and milkshake. I however would take it to the extreme and typically order the larger of each one and in some cases ask them to custom make me a size that would suit my appetite. I drank a lot of soda as well, totaling up to over 100 ounces per day.
When I decided to stop eating in such a self-destructive manner and focus on my health I cut out all of the fast food as well as the soda. Initially I also had no idea how to cook so I just ate what I was told to be “healthy” which basically consisted of microwaved chicken breast, egg whites, brown rice, broccoli, olive oil and protein shakes. I’m sure you can imagine how boring things were when my food choices were so limited. I believed that I had to stop eating carbs after a certain time of evening or that they would be stored as fat. In fact I believed many of the common myths that permeate nutrition and fitness that people now know to be untrue.
After about a year I was turned on to the concept of flexible dieting by a friend of mine while we were at a car convention. He offered to take the group to the best burger place in San Diego and I declined because I told him I had been very strict with my diet and had already lost a substantial amount of weight with my protocol. My friend proceeded to tell me about an app that can track food intake and showed me how he uses it to enjoy the very burger I had declined, while still reaching his health and fitness goals. I remember that day very well as I was able to have the burger and not feel guilty (after over a year of not eating red meat!). I then researched how to track my food and was amazed at how easy it was. When I first started I would just shoot to get a certain amount of protein per day and fall under my calorie limit, this approach worked well for me at the time as I was still carrying plenty of excess body-fat and was just doing walking/jogging/hiking for exercise.
My beloved dog and I upped the pace of our walks and started jogging some of the hill, this eventually turned into running 4 miles on it 6 days a week. In 2009 after losing well over 100lbs on my hill and local trails and roads, I joined a gym and signed up for a year of personal training. I was in bad shape strength and mobility wise and could barely bench press the 45lbs bar due to my shoulder injury. I didn’t let anything stop me, I kept working hard and training in the gym and running and hiking with Blackberry. I decided to go back to school and studied nutrition as well as taking boxing classes for cardio.
My social life improved greatly as I kept making progress on my relationship with myself, relationships with others followed suit. I got to enjoy parts of life that I had never believed I deserved or was good enough for. I was finally becoming happy!
Fast-forward about 2 years later I had completely transformed, losing 200lbs and bringing up my strength and fitness tremendously. I worked my way up to be able to squat 405lbs, deadlift 500lbs, bench press 275lbs, do pull-ups and dips with weight added to me. I remember when I thought I would NEVER be able to do a pull-up! The first time I did a pull-up I was so overjoyed, for me it was a momentous step forward. I knew that all the hard work was paying off.
In 2011 and again in 2012 I did Spartan obstacle races with my girlfriend, something I never would’ve dreamed of when I weighed over 400 pounds.
The extreme weight loss has left me with a lot of excess skin that needed to be surgically removed. This has been so important to me because I will finally be able to complete my body transformation and fully get rid of the old me. On December 26th, 2013 I had the surgery to remove the excess skin.
My scars from the surgery now tell a powerful story of my battle to overcome obesity. I once felt trapped and unhappy in an unhealthy body. I am no longer a prisoner to the body that my old habits had created. Now I know that I will never stop pushing forward to reach new levels of fitness both physically and mentally, and you better believe that I will bring others down the same road. There have been many obstacles, trials, and tribulations; through those I have achieved my greatest victories.
During my transformation I left my old successful career of real estate behind and got certified as a personal trainer and weight loss specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Now I train hard and enjoy life, helping others reach their goals. I have been able to reach people all over the world and feel so lucky to help them change their lives.
I am so glad to be a trainer because I get to facilitate change in people’s lives and make them feel better. Aside from knowing how to program and guide clients through workouts I also am able to connect with them and relate emotionally. The fact is that the mind is the most powerful muscle that can be built. Strengthening of one’s mind and subsequently the spirit enables people to do things way beyond what their preconceived notions would have dictated.
To me there is no better feeling than being the catalyst to somebody’s improvement. Once I saw how much my life was bettered by prioritizing my health and working on it, I knew that it was something I had to reach out and share with others.
I am so proud of my clients both in-person and online.
I know how it feels to be in the worst shape both physically and mentally.
I know how it feels to pull oneself up out of a terrible place.
If you want it badly enough and work hard, you can achieve anything.
Jordan Grahm is a personal trainer based out of Los Angeles, California who specializes in weight loss. After losing 200 pounds by changing his eating habits and exercising regularly he now works with others to inspire them and help them achieve their goals.
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