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Living the Life of a Fitness Model

Grant Kaplan

People always ask me one of two things: how often do I work out and how can they get into this kind of shape. Growing up, I was a big kid, with an even bigger personality. I always had insecurities about being chubby and hated taking my shirt off at the pool or beach. In fact, I would avoid it at all costs. I enjoyed pizza, burgers, chips, and other snacks, as kids do.

You see, I took the long road. I learned from trial and error. And I’m writing this to dispense advice to you to help expedite your journey and avoid dealing with the learning curve that I went through. I speak solely from my own perspective and experience, and appreciate that all of us are different. That being said, I learned very quickly how important weight lifting and actually eating more, not less, was the key to success.

There was no defining moment for my transition into fitness, really. I can’t pinpoint the day or time—just a moment of clarity where I’d realized that enough was enough, that I no longer wanted to feel sorry for myself and that I was going to not only be able to take my shirt off at the beach, but feel proud in doing so. That was six years ago.

I started by convincing my parents to get us a treadmill. I ran on that damn treadmill every day. I ate tons of fruits. I did what anyone would instinctively think is “healthy” and going to get them into great shape. I was on the right track, but I wasn’t close to hitting the mark.

Fast-forward six years. Yes, I work out five or six days a week. Yes, that can be considered excessive. Yes, you can still get into great shape if you go three or four days a week. The idea is to find balance, and then tip the scale slightly more in the direction of health and fitness than the opposite. A fifty-fifty lifestyle will net you much lesser results than if you commit more of yourself to the lifestyle.

I work a nine-to-five grind like everyone else. I have to deal with the same hecticness of schedule as you probably do. Yet I find no excuses and still make it happen five days a week after work and often for an hour or two on the weekend. Yes, I feel exhausted at times, but that’s the price for looking and feeling great in the long run.

I meal prep on Sundays. Five or six meals. Basic. Boring. But guess what? Sugar and sauces are great for your taste buds, but if you’re serious about losing that belly and seeing those abs, then either get real or get out. Chicken, salmon, extra lean ground beef. Broccoli, cauliflower. I bake and pan cook these in a mixed variety, often making stir-fries with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil to coat the pan.

My end goal has never been to compete in a fitness contest. It’s to look and feel amazing. To be able to fit into my favourite outfits while still being ripped. People tell me all the time how great I look and ask me for advice. They ask me to train them. To give them meal plans. I’m not a trainer. I never had someone meal plan for me, although I did once pay for a nutrition plan that got me into doing my own research. None of that stuff is what got me where I am today. It was me making a very clear decision that I no longer wanted to be that chubby kid on the beach, too insecure to take his shirt off for fear of being judged.

The best advice I can give you is that this is your journey. It will require your own research; no one is going to give you the answers. Figure out what works for you, then finesse it to fit your lifestyle. Tip the scale towards a more healthy way of eating and more time in the gym. Research exercise programs. Trial and error.

The progress and gains you see are going to motivate you. Motion creates emotion. And when you’re complacent and can’t get the ball rolling, just know that I’ve been there too.

I want to look at myself as a kid on the beach and let him know that it’s okay, this is completely in his control. Am I there yet? I think I’m close. But anyone who has grown up with insecurities or feelings of self-doubt will know that it’s often more of a mental exercise to overcome these hurdles than it is physical.

When I look in the mirror now, I still see the same chubby kid on the beach with a big personality, but now his shirt’s off and he’s the happiest he’s ever been.

To find out more about Grant and connect with him online, check out his Instagram at Gkapfit 

Photos courtesy of thatquietstorm​