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After a career in the Marine Corps, where my weight and fitness was mandated, I retired to a life of less expectation of lower fitness and alertness. My once toned body became soft and my mind accepting of it. “It’s normal” I justified it. Normal? Who wants to be normal?

After numerous attempts at “committing” to get fit and understanding that at each attempt done alone was doomed to failure I gave in. Not gave up. I needed help. Real help, not the pat on the pat “good job” help but digging deeper into what I should be doing rather that what I thought I should do.

That poor bike..347 lbs straddled over a light aluminum frame. No wonder it creaked, it groaned and over inflated tires bottomed out. But I didn’t stop. Finding cycling clothes in 5x and 6x was nearly impossible so I wore old shirts and cargo shorts. In the woods and away from others I found peace..but not for long. Crashes, bruised ribs, broken helmets and destroyed bike parts were strewn in my path not as obstacles but rather as awards. After I crashed I marked my helmet with an “x” to mark the spot and the date. There are lots of marks.

Forward to June 2018. Struggling up hills and avoiding group rides I did my first Dirty Kanza gravel race. After just 25 miles on this outing I wanted more. More fun, more rides and better health. Both myself and my wife Crystal contacted Dr. Steele for help. Blood tests and results provided insight and we took the first step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Our results spoke for themselves. Red meat, dairy, eggs and grain were out. Sugar, that tasty and evil substance that had made its way into our diet became the enemy. We began to read, really read, labels. That darn sugar is in everything. From a diet heavy in local beef, Midwestern pork, starchy vegetables and processed foods we sought out choices. Real choices. Fish and chicken along with green vegetables and fresh fruit became our staples.

347 lbs on September 1, 2017

313 lbs on July 1, 2018

229 lbs on February 1, 2019

None of it through fad diets shakes for lunch or caveman menus. Through continued and increasing intensive workouts, realistic goals and positive guidance the changes have worked to develop a mindset, a knowledgeable pattern of growth and new challenges.

We often get asked “what do you eat” followed by “I could never give up milk or cheese or whatever it might be”. Giving up is misunderstood as we now make choices, real choices. Fresh fruit and vegetables along with some fish and chicken. I’ll eat an organic egg once or twice a week. Brown rice has replaced wheat products. Sweet potatoes….just try them.

The lifestyle changes are not about eliminating anything but rather making wise, informed choices.

Learning what the body, your body, can tolerate and utilize for nutrition is a lifelong study. Just in our infancy of understanding we know and feel when we make choices based on past experience rather than actual knowledge. Our bodies respond to those choices, both good and bad.

The journey continues. Long distance bike races and a passion for sharing our success rather than self indulgence has become our ethos. It’s not about but rather about you.

Thanks Marcus. Your insight and teaching has made a difference….bring it on!

Nick Kovacs