Gary Warren is just one of those guys you can’t help but root for.
If you don’t know Gary, he is the guy behind the scenes helping launch fitness modeling careers and selflessly helping others achieve their dreams.
He is a Fitness/Sports Model & Talent Development Coach and the co-founder of FMI (Fitness Model International).
He also happens to be a Degreed and Certified Allied Health/Fitness Professional.
If you know Gary personally, like I do, you probably already know that he is just one of those guys who is willing to sacrifice all of himself, just to help others.
However, just by looking at his bio you may assume he would be in phenomenal shape…
You see…Gary was once a trainer/group fit instructor/health professional in the late 90’s and early 2000’s…but he let life beat him down…to the point of gaining an extra 100 lbs & sacrificing his health.
His selfless nature combined with a crazy work schedule finally got the best of him…and before he knew it…Gary had put on over 100 pounds.
From what he told me, he started putting everything and everyone before his health and paid dearly for it…with two trips to the emergency room that nearly cost him his life.
He was literally on the brink of having to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life…and for about 10 years he let him self become more and more depressed and apathetic.
As a result, he got fat.
However, one day, Gary decided to fight back. He knew he had to make some serious changes or he would probably die.
He was working in the fitness industry at the time…helping aspiring models from all over launch their careers, but he wanted to look the part…and even more important than that…he wanted to be healthy.
So that day, he decided to take a stand.
Since then, using my abs program and some of the workouts on this blog; combined with the help of various other trainers and friends…Gary has lost over 115 pounds over the past 2 years without touching one fat burner pill, without having any surgeries, without starving himself, and without using any dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
All he did was stay focused and PUT IN WORK.
He just said NO to the BS and simply used good old fashioned hard work and combined that with a solid support system, good planning, proper research, and efficient application of knowledge.
In fact, he attributes good old fashion investigation, planning, & application of issues related to nutrition, exercise, and stress management to be his “secret” of success.
I managed to track Gary down to ask him a few questions about his amazing transformation. Here is our conversation:
Jamin: Congrats on your recent transformation. Losing 100 plus pounds is incredible! How do you feel about it?
Gary: Grateful. There was a time where I didn’t even know I was going to be able to function normally again, much less achieve something like this.
Jamin: I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, both mentally and emotionally. I’ve been sick before, as you were, and the mental demons are practically overwhelming. So as a former trainer who gained a bunch of weight…at what point did you decide to start taking your fitness goals more seriously?
Gary: When I was in the emergency room in January 2009. LOL. I had contracted a severe diverticulitis infection. That was due in part to a combination of stress, lack of rest, poor eating habits/food choices, and little to no physical activity.
You put several years of that kind of behavior into practice and this is the outcome. I ended up in the ER again 2 weeks later with a flare more severe than the first one. I knew right then and there, something had to change or I wasn’t going to be around much longer. Literally.
Jamin: Wow, that’s scary. I had a few similar experiences when I had intestinal inflammation as well. The flares are so bad you just want to die…the pain & feeling is almost indescribable. I totally feel your pain man. So during this time you were sick and your weight was practically off the charts. I’m sure you hated a few things about your situation…but what was the absolute worst thing about being fat? What did you hate the most?
Gary: Hmm….for me, it was seemingly losing the respect of my peers and the influence I use to have on the public as a, “fitness” professional. They never outright told me that but you could see it in their body language. For me, I internalized it as, “Wow, Gary really let himself go. That is sad.” I stopped being able to attain clients. It became frustrating and depressing, which caused me to eat more to deal with it. It was a dark time for me.
Jamin: Yeah, totally. And I would imagine depression usually comes along with that. It’s just a dark lonely road. So ok…you make the decision to change your life and get on the road to health…but at the same time you were extremely busy over there running FMI, how exactly did you manage to find the time to get your workouts in?
Gary: We all find time for the things we want to do in life. This goes for anything and everything we do in our lives. From the people we choose to interact with, to the daily habits we have, our actions display priority.
Pending on the situation, that last statement may sound crude. However, it does not mean it is any less true. I prepared and implemented a time budget in order to make time for both workouts and cooking. The beauty about the HIIT workouts are they don’t take much time complete. If you really want it, you find the time.
Gary running stadium stairs at The University Of Oklahoma
Jamin: That doesn’t sound crude at all, I think you are 100% correct. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, some people use them wisely…others not so much. Plus, success often comes down to the choices we make, so I think you were right on point. Ok, now..OBVIOUSLY talking the talk is much different than walking the walk. These types of transformations take time, commitment, and a ton of effort. How did you constantly stay motivated during your transformation?
Gary: Three words, “Sweat Is Free” LOL. Sweat Is Free is my video log (vlog), that can be viewed at www.sweatisfree.com . The entire purpose of the vlog was twofold. One, it was going to be a motivating factor to stay consistent with my menu.
Knowing you are going to be in front of the camera weekly would keep me accountable. Second, this was either going to be a testament to my success or failure. There would be no middle ground. This was one of my largest motivators, as I did not want to fail. LOL.
(Here is a very inspirational video documentating Gary’s journey http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150327733140411&comments )
Jamin: Word! That’s a very good way to keep yourself accountable, just broadcast your journey to the world. Nice! Wait, you didn’t have to follow one of those boring chicken and broccoli diets to lose all of that fat did you? Share a few of the nutrition tips and tricks you learned.
Gary: Absolutely not. I ate and ate well. I still do. LOL. Nutritious food doesn’t have to taste bad. I became motivated enough to learn how to cook. I am not the greatest cook in the world but I studied and practice enough to be decent at it.
If you take a little time, you’ll find that certain herbs, spices, and healthy fats bring an assortment of good flavor to meals. The biggest no-no’s I have found are processed sugars and sodium (S&S). The more you stay away from them, the flatter your stomach will look and feel.
Jamin: Sounds like you learned a lot, young grasshopper! LOL! So did your crazy schedule hold you back from eating the right foods at the right time?
Gary: At times, yes. However, the majority of the time I made it a priority to eat properly. One of the best “tricks”, if you want to call it that, is to listen to your body. When you’re hungry, eat. Pending on what you eat, that may mean you’re hungry 30min later or 3-5 hours later. Don’t get wrapped up in having to eat so many meals in a day at certain intervals. Listen to your body. It won’t steer you wrong.
Jamin: I agree, totally. Ok, I’ve never been on a 100 pound fat loss plan before, but if I did go on that sort of plan I bet I would be starving all of the time. Right? Correct me if I’m wrong here! Did you get the urge to cheat on your diet and just devour everything in sight? How did you handle those nasty cravings?
Gary: Everyone gets the urge…and yes, I did. I actually planned for it. For the most part, I have 1 cheat meal a week. It helps me stay sane. However, the more I’ve learned about nutrition and cooking food, you can make healthy meals taste good. It’s that whole, find time to cook issue that comes into play sometimes.
Jamin: I follow a similar plan and usually have a cheat meal on Saturday or Sunday. It works for me. Ok, let’s face it, there isn’t a single person on the planet that is 100% satisfied with their physique, at least I don’t know of any…so with that being said…what’s the one thing you could have done better to improve your condition even more over your transformation process?
Gary: I’m not sure there is anything I would change. Maybe stay more consistent with my nutrition, if anything. There were a few weeks where I did not eat as well as I should have.
Jamin: What was the most impressive result you experienced using The 6 Pack Secret plan?
Gary: The introduction to HIIT workouts AND the recommendation for organic foods. It made a significant difference. When I entered into this kind of nutritional and physical regimen, inches started coming off in all the right places.
Gary performing the Bookend HIIT Workout
Jamin: Nice. Ok so since you are now what I like to call a veteran, I’ll let you make the call. What is your best tip for keeping a firm flat belly and building toward the ultimate goal of having six pack abs?
Gary: Consistency. Allow yourself an indulgence once a week but get back on the program right away.
Jamin: What about supplements? Did you use them at all?
Gary: A little. I take a rice-based protein powder and the SoTru supplement line. SoTru is a free trade organic supplement company. However, I need to emphasize that they are called SUPPLEMENTS for a reason. They assist, not do the work of what real food does. If you want real results, you have to make time for yourself in the kitchen.
Jamin: Good call. I agree! Ok Gary, so you have any words of wisdom to all of the busy working peeps out there who want to get stronger and leaner?
Gary: Like I stated earlier, we all make time for things we want to do in life. Make time in the kitchen or financially plan your budget to eat healthy outside of it. In addition, do not discount the importance of rest. It is vital to get your 8 hours of sleep. Those two lifestyle changes will make your workouts that much more beneficial.
Jamin: That’s a solid quote dude. I think I may have to tweet that one, seriously! So what’s next for you in terms of your physique and life goals?
Gary: For my physique, I’d like to have the coveted “six pack” for the company’s upcoming conference this October 2011. I want to attain it naturally though. I have no plans to attain it with any fad short cuts. Attaining it the right way, will be a true testament of how amazing the human body is. So I guess I can say, I am declaring these next few months, “The Summer of the Six Pack.”
In terms of life, I look at recovering my health as an opportunity to help those who are in the same place I was in at one time. Eventually, the Sweat Is Free vlog will turn into a wellness resource site.
Between the Sweat Is Free and the entertainment production, FMI, I believe I found my life’s calling. Through both productions, I fully plan on LIVING life, not merely existing in it any longer. Our mindset will create our reality. There will be peaks and valleys but success is a mindset.
Jamin: Awesome. And I look forward to seeing you at the October FMI conference, it should be an awesome experience. By the way, for all of you aspiring models out there, if you want to launch your career and start booking real life, paying, fitness modeling jobs…I HIGHLY recommend you sign up for one of the FMI conferences.
Top models like Chady Dunmore, Rob Riches, Obi Obidake, Jmiah Williamson, to name a few, have all come through those doors. Plus you’ll also be able to meet many of the top fitness photographers in the world and shoot with them…which is worth the price of admission in itself. This is the real deal guys, and it’s definitely the best place I know of to get a real fitness modeling career started.
Gary’s story is remarkable, and even though he may not have gotten all of the awards and recognition he deserves yet, he remains humble and hungry to work harder and achieve even more. In fact, I have no doubt that his “year of the six pack” prediction will come true. Trust me, nobody works harder than this guy and I can almost guarantee he will be sporting a set of six pack abs by July.
Honestly, I can’t help but applaud Gary’s efforts; not to mention his will, his determination, his dedication, and his resolve. Losing 115 pounds is NOT EASY! It’s almost like shedding a fully grown adult from your body. The feat is absolutely incredible when you think about it!
I truly hope that his story will continue to inspire others out there who think they can’t do it, or feel that life is beating them down to the point they just want to give up. To all of these people I just want to say…hang in there…keep fighting the good fight. Gary is living proof that you CAN overcome!
FMI & fitness friends Frank Jones, Emily Zaler, Holly J Dean, Zack Yanni, Rob Riches, Danielle Pascente, Rob Thompson, & myself (I’m in the white shirt) out celebrating Gary’s birthday & weight loss transformation.
Oh, and by the way, “Sweat Is Free” is Gary’s call to action to himself and anyone else that may have had life beat them up, down, and all around. It’s mission is to teach others how to LIVE life instead of simply existing in it. It’s quite inspirational actually and I encourage you to check it out.
Anyways, that’s all for today. As always, thanks for reading and if you have comments for Gary, feel free to leave them below.