ALL ABOUT MENTALITY
Hi. My name is Jordan Greenberg, I am currently finishing up my second year at The John Marshall Law School, and I had a fat stage in my life.
From this before/after picture, there’s a fat, insecure guy on the left and a lean, more confident guy on the right, clearly capturing the extremes at both ends of the spectrum.
AND THEY’RE BOTH ME!!
Was I strong? Hell yes. That was the strongest I’ve ever been in my life. Of course you can naturally lift heavier when you weigh so much more. But pound-for-pound, I was absolute garbage, and this was the most out of shape I’ve ever been in.
But that’s not the end of things, because I’m lean and shredded in the after picture. I had to get there somehow, and it wasn’t easy one bit. I’m so grateful that I reached an extremely low, self-depreciating point, because it forced me to find a way to put all that aggression into something that would eventually change my life forever.
So, can I please share a brief overview of my story? Thanks!
There are actually two stories: 1) BigBerg’s Story and 2) LeanBerg’s Story. Each version of myself possessed a different mentality, so they respectfully deserve their own stories.
A few months before my junior year at Indiana University, I hit an all-time low. I literally swam through an ocean of negative thoughts every damn day. I was getting in stupid fights, boozing too much, smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco when I was not smoking cigarettes, eating Burger King like it was my full-time job, eating McDonald’s when I was not eating Burger King, and I think you get the point now.
There once was an extended weekend when I didn’t even leave my apartment. Luckily, I got some exercise by walking to my door to generously tip the pizza guy. However, like any short-lived, glorified moment such as opening your door to see a smiley, bicycle helmet-wearing pizza guy graciously hand you 3,000 calories of greasy crap, all temporary things come to an end.
Like any fat person, I would go through phases where I thought I was going to get back into fitness and health. I’d try these temporary workout plans and diets, only to see zero results. Something was fudged up in my head. I didn’t eat too many paint chips as a child so it’s not that, but I lacked dedication.
Motivation needs to be permanent if you’re seeking a lifestyle change. Temporary motivation will only change you temporarily, and then you’ll go back to being that person you hated. Yeah, I would prance like a bitch on the treadmill and try to bench a shit load of weight, but that did nothing. Additionally, I thought I could cheat more on eating if I spent more time at the gym. That’s bullshit. Period.
My workout attempts failed, my diet attempts failed, my don’t drink to blackout attempts failed, my don’t fight people attempts failed, my don’t love nicotine so much attempts failed, and for the worst attempt grand finale, I failed to be happy.
Special Note To Dieting: while I regret to announce this, the Fresco Menu at Taco Bell is not healthy, placing fruit in ice cream is not smart thinking, McDonald’s salads are not good for you, and cutting calories does not mirror decreasing your daily desert dosage. You need to cut the right calories, and everything I did at this time was the opposite.
I would constantly get pissed off and blame other people. But finally, a big influence in my life pointed out that I was the common denominator in every occurrence. That was hard to soak in, but it was true. Finally for once, I was angry at myself. I needed to be angry at myself to this degree in order to light the fire and get that motivation going.
This sentence is my transition to my second story.
So now it’s summer, and I’m still fat. LeanBerg doesn’t begin when I become lean. It was never about that nor will it ever be.
It’s All ABOUT MENTALITIY, and LeanBerg was beginning to emerge immediately after I finally took responsibility. You cannot rely on these workout and diet plans to fix you. Sure, they can improve your physique for some time, but they’ll likely not become a ritual in your lifestyle. I needed the latter, not just some physical improvement. I needed a mentality fix more than anything.
The event that stands out most is when I signed up for a private boxing lesson nearby my house. I didn’t put much thought into it. I just decided to sign up, and that was that.
I go in at 7:00AM (that’s sleeping-in for me today), and the guy hands over a jump rope, hits the buzzer, and says I have two minutes until my next breather.
I couldn’t do it. I literally could not jump rope for two minutes during a warm-up and that really got to me. It was pathetic and symbolizes how pathetic I allowed myself to get. It’s just 120 seconds, and it was too hard.
Something happened that day where I realized I’ve been such a pussy lately. I finally acknowledged that I had to go All IN and work hard for something other than placing the perfect fast-food order. I needed to stand toe-to-toe with a physical challenge and not let it get the best of me.
WOAH, THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF LEANBERG.
There’s a major correlation with fitness, health and wellbeing. That’s why they’re grouped together. Not so your Health teachers could feel good that their textbooks are dense, but because they really do correlate.
I, now LegBerg, figured that if I kept working out and dieted by my own research rather than looking up FADs, something good would rise, and it would get me to believe in myself, helping with everything else life offers. I didn’t know it’d lead to an intense addiction that I’m really passionate and proud about, but hey, “It could happen.” (That was my Angels In The Outfield reference, starring Danny Glover).
It’s been uphill from there, and I’ll bullet point it, since I haven’t shown off my formatting skills yet. Think of the training montages in the Rocky movies while you read through this.
- That summer in 2009, I cut around 60-70lbs just from intense boxing, building up my running, and barely drinking alcohol, and ACTUALLY eating healthy. I did not eat fast-food, limited my carbs, ate lots of lean protein, and didn’t binge eat at night. Those are the basics, and they were enough then.
- While studying abroad in London for three months, I literally ran 6-8 miles six or seven days a week and became a force at running. The runner’s high is real!
- In summer 2010, I ran the Soldier Field 10 Mile in a 7:12 minute per mile average. The was a big one, because I made the commitment to run that at my grandfather’s funeral, so thank the lord I didn’t bail on that one. That wouldn’t have been nice and would have resulted in a lifetime of cranky karma.
- I then finally got into lifting weights. I have such a passion for weightlifting and have developed my own style that I’ll guarantee works for anyone. I’m all about high intensity supersets/circuits with middle to high rep ranges, every set till failure, usually working multiple muscles a day, often topped off with running a few miles at the end. Conditioning is more important than strength. Fat people, like BigBerg, are strong. Anyone can lift weights, but not everyone can do it in a way that forces topnotch conditioning.
- Currently, I’m training for the 2013 Chicago Marathon, still lifting five or six days a week, and happy as can be. There are still setbacks, but that goes with anything. I ran 16 miles this week in a 7:50 minute average and know I can do more.
Like I said, it’s ALL ABOUT MENTALITY. Everything put together, from losing fat to jump roping to weightlifting to running to dieting to not drinking as much and more, they all are just factors into becoming happy, altering your lifestyle for the better, and changing your mentality permanently.
Fitness-wise, when you put your body through hell, suffering excruciating exhaustion, sweat and fatigue, the end result is that you know you just went ALL IN for the day and nobody can ever take that away from you. It makes you believe in yourself, and when that’s in your mind, you’re an unstoppable force. Any strength gain or advance in definition is a bonus.
After finally jump roping for two minutes and years of trial and error figuring this stuff out, I know what works. I write every single one of my workout plans and do it all my way. I have final cut, and every decision is pursuant to my discretion. As for dieting, the most important work is done in the kitchen. If you eat shit, you’ll become shit, no matter how hard you workout. Get ready to hear that a lot.
I went ALL IN, and I have not been out since. I love what I do, but the best part of it now is sharing with people and also learning from others. Are you ready to go ALL IN too?