The following is a guest post from Jordan Grahm.
My name is Jordan Grahm. As of today I’ve lost 200 pounds and transformed my life and my body. This is my story.
All my life I’ve been overweight. Growing up it was hard always being the big kid. In 9th grade I started playing football, weighing in at 290 pounds 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 lose weight 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 caused by 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. I didn’t care about my future at all. Doctors told me I would die young, 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 nearly 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 400 pounds wearing 5XL shirts. Depression, food, and drugs still had a powerful grip on me.
The Breaking Point
On March 30th 2008 at 3 am I was in a car collision that could’ve 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 and I barely fit into the machine. They had to send me to a special, bigger one.
And that was it — that was the day I decided that I’d 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 along a hill — it would take us almost an hour to complete the mile! Slowly but surely, we got faster and I upped it to 2 miles. My dog, Blackberry, was always pushing me to up the pace and the distance. She was my first personal trainer.
One day while I was still around 350 pounds we walked the hill 10 times totaling 10 miles — just to show myself that it was possible.
We started jogging some of the hill, this eventually turned into running 4 miles on it 6 days a week.
In 2009 after losing over 100 pounds 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 45-pound bar due to my shoulder injury.
But I didn’t let that injury or anything stop me — I kept working hard and training in the gym and running and hiking with Blackberry. I went back to school and studied nutrition as well as started taking boxing classes. I was finally becoming happy!
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). Fast-forward 2 years and I had completely transformed, losing 200 pounds and bringing up my strength and fitness tremendously.
I worked my way up to a 405-pound squat, 500-pound deadlift, 275-pound bench press, and could do pull-ups and dips with added weight — I remember when I thought I’d never be able to do a pull-up!
In 2011 and again in 2012 I did Spartan obstacle Races with my girlfriend, something I never would’ve dreamed of doing when I weighed over 400 pounds.
The extreme weight loss has left me with a lot of excess skin that needs to be surgically removed. This is important to me because I’ll finally be able to complete my body transformation and fully get rid of the old me.
I’m going to document the entire process in order to help those in similar positions know what it is like. The cost for this surgery is over $20,000 and I have the date scheduled for December 26th 2013.
My excess skin tells a powerful story of my battle to overcome obesity. I once felt trapped and unhappy in an unhealthy body. Now I know that I’ll never stop pushing forward to reach new levels of fitness both physically and mentally. There have been many obstacles, trials, and tribulations; through those I’ve achieved my greatest victories.
Now I train hard and enjoy life, helping others reach their goals. I’ve been able to reach people all over the world and feel so lucky to help them change their lives.
I’m so glad to be a trainer because I get to facilitate change in people’s lives and make them feel better. Besides knowing how to program and guide clients through workouts, I’m also able to connect with them and relate emotionally.
The fact is that the mind is the most powerful muscle that can be built. Strengthening the mind and subsequently the spirit enables people to do things way beyond what their preconceived notions would’ve dictated.
To me there is no better feeling than being the catalyst to someone’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’m 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.
The 3 biggest things I learned that you can use to help your clients change their lives:
1. Take things one step at a time. When the road to a goal is long and arduous it’s best to focus on each individual step one at a time as opposed to the whole large-scale goal.
Setting small goals every week and being accountable for them adds up to incredible long-term transformation. Help your client focus on the positive things they need to get done each week and try not to let them fall into the trap of getting frustrated by not already achieving the big goal.
2. Be realistic and supportive at all times, as well as telling your clients the straight up truth. How many of us have trained someone who wants to lose 60 pounds in 2 months but only wants to workout 3 days a week and is struggling to get their nutrition in check?
This is where it’s important to be real with the client — show them that you’re there for them and that you truly believe they can reach their goal, but also explain that with the amount of work they’re willing to put in, they’ll likely not be able to reach their goal in their desired timeframe.
It’s up to us to guide them to the goal by either setting up a new timeframe or getting them to commit to a more aggressive approach, such as working out 5 days a week and being held accountable for what they eat.
3. Always, always, always know the “why” and connect with them on this point. You need to know why they desire the goal, whatever it may be. I’ve found it beneficial to share with clients a “why” or a struggle you’ve experienced with health/fitness so that they know you understand the emotions behind their desire for changing their body and life.
There are many trainers out there. To stand out from the pack you must be able to develop a bond with your client and then work as a team towards what they want