My name is George, I am 27 and have been on active duty in the United States Marine Corps since July 2002. I have spent a lot of time away from loved ones in countries that I can barely pronounce, but every second of it is worth it to me. I take great pride in what I do and hope my efforts make a difference in many people’s lives. I plan on staying in the Marine Corps for at least 20 years. After that, who knows what will happen, maybe I’ll open a gym, a Paleo Cafe, write a book…
Even early on in my childhood, I had weight and fitness concerns. I spent a good majority of my life, over my ideal weight and very out of shape. I tried sports in high school but lack of drive and guidance stood in the way of success. The first time I remember ever wanting to learn how to get in shape and make a life change was when I attempted to join the Marine Corps.
What had started as the biggest adult decision of my life up to that moment, became pivotal in the most unexpected way. The recruiters took one look at me, put me on the scale, and told me I was 43 pounds over what I needed to be to even sign up, or leave for boot camp. Ten minutes before I was ready to go, but now I felt crushed, rejected, angry. How did I let it get this bad? Even the military didn’t want me.
That was it, I left and made it my mission to prove those recruiters wrong. Any one of the recruiters could have taken the time to care teach me how to help myself so I could achieve my goal to enlist. As it turns out, I didn’t need them after all I started reading, researching, running, working out like a fiend. The pounds MELTED away… 10 pounds… 20 pounds… 30 pounds… It was that moment in my life where I made the decision to never let anyone hold me down or tell me no. Now, when someone tells me I can’t do something, not only do I prove them wrong, I surpass it and show them up.
In four months, I lost all the weight I needed and waltzed my happy skinny ass right back into that office. I was able to sign the papers and start the positive path in the Marine Corps. The same two recruiters had no idea I was that fat worthless kid from months earlier until I told them.
I graduated as the Honor Graduate from Parris Island and was a slim 154 lbs. It wasn’t until I got deployed to Somalia in 2004 I decided to really get serious about fitness. *Functional Fitness, not Vanity Fitness* What had started out as fitness to cure boredom while deployed, turned into an obsession to get as big and strong as humanly possible. I accomplished this goal at a giant height of 5’7 and ended up weighing a solid 253 lbs.
The glory was short lived… someone my size is not supposed to weigh that much. My stressful workouts, my routine USMC forced marches with fully loaded ruck sacks, distance runs… would have been enough for my frame to handle. Add an extra near-100lbs of excess weight I was carrying around, it didn’t take long to develop exercise induced compartment syndrome (similar to stress fractures) and almost losing both of my legs.
I ended up having five operations on both of my legs, spending the majority of an entire year in a wheelchair as well as close to 24 months in physical therapy. 253 lbs of muscle doesn’t stay muscle on hospital food, pain pills, and wheelchair exercise, so to no one’s surprise, I got FAT. I was told they were going to kick me out of the Marine Corps, I would never be able to run again never mind lift weights. Once the words “You can’t…” came out of their mouths… a new mission was born. I had gotten myself into this mess, I was going to get myself out, even if I had to crawl.
During this trying time of recovery and repair, I was blessed to receive orders to Hawaii and when I started physical therapy there, I was introduced to a whole new fitness system. ”Triathlons” became my new goal. Hawaii is crawling with fitness enthusiasts, just as Southern California is, and I started gearing my physical therapy and rehabilitation towards biking, running, and swimming. After about 6 months of therapy and training, I signed up for the first ever competitive race of my life, a Sprint Triathlon.
I had no coaching, no prior experience, nothing except a credit card I put a really expensive bike on and a little google research. I competed in that first race, my time was 56:45 and I placed in my age group and it lit a fire. I spent the next 3 years in Hawaii training and racing in events from the Niketown 30K, Saucony Half Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, and numerous triathlons until I received orders to California.
Once I moved to California, I continued to ride my bike and run but pretty much gave up on swimming. I did some duathlons, bike races, and running events here and still placed in my age division but I didn’t have the same drive that I had before, it was time to move on to something new. At that same time, I was ordered to deploy to Afghanistan and had to figure out how I would continue to train there.
In August 2010, I started Crossfit and it changed my life. I spent my whole seven months in Afghanistan doing Crossfit everyday as well as adopting a Paleo lifestyle the best I could on the chow hall food provided. I can’t believe that I used to be able to compete in triathlons, and thought I was in shape. After one week with Crossfit, I was sorely mistaken.
Since returning from Afghanistan in February of 2011 I have continued to live my Paleo lifestyle, making delicious food to try and encourage people to enjoy the many benefits of this lifestyle as well as joining a strictly Kettlebell gym to really embrace the basic movements which have kept mankind so successful this far, who am I to question it? I am blessed to be fully supported by the members of my gym at Cutting Edge Kettlebells in all the facets of my life from Paleo living… to currently training to break the Guinness World Record for the standing box jump. I couldn’t be happier than where I am and hope I can encourage many other people to experience what I have managed to achieve in this relatively short time.
Converting to a Paleo lifestyle with my eating habits and workouts has been a true transformation. I am always in a state of happiness with lots of energy. I have never been stronger, faster, or looked better and all I can thank is the whole Paleo movement. Be sure to check out all my posted photos of “the many looks of George” on my “Before and After” page.