I don’t have a habit of putting up lengthy client testimonials or detailing my work with clients here on the site. (For more info about my health coaching services, see this page.) Today, I’m deviating from this pattern; partly because I think the story, transformation pictures, and experiences of one of the clients I’m currently working with – Mark – are uniquely powerful. I think they can help motivate others to achieve their health & fitness goals, highlight the power of evolutionary health principles, and show that it’s possible to achieve a lot if one works hard.
A few words about Mark and his regimen
Mark approached me about 9 months ago because he wanted me to help him combat some musculoskeletal-related problems that had plagued him for many years. He’d come across my website and found an article I’d written about lower crossed syndrome that immediately resonated with him. In addition to improving his posture and eliminating muscle pains and aches, he was interested in improving his general health and physique.
My immediate impression of Mark was that he was really motivated to get better and willing to work hard to reach his goals. They say first impressions aren’t always accurate; however, in this case, it definitely was. Mark is one of the most dedicated and hard-working clients I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something, seeing as I’ve been working with a lot of people, both over the web and in real life, throughout the years I’ve worked as a coach/trainer. One of the things I really like about Mark is that he thinks outside the box and isn’t afraid to go against the grain, literally speaking.
Mismatch resolution, which is integral to Darwinian medicine, has obviously been an important part of the work we’ve been doing. In particular correction of muscular imbalances and resolution of diet-genome mismatches have been important with respects to Mark’s health journey over these past few months.
In the 7 1/2 months that have passed since Mark leveled up his fitness game by adopting a Paleolithic-type diet and a whole-body strength training routine, he has completely transformed his physique. He’s steadily lost fat, gained muscle, and improved his general health. Nothing has happened overnight. No magic bullets or quick fixes; just hard work. Mark is still dealing with some lagging musculoskeletal-related pains and imbalances, some of which unfortunately fall outside of my area of expertise; however, true to his assiduous personality, he’s hard at work getting those problems under control. Another goal moving forward is to add some more muscle to his legs, so as to “balance out” his physique.
I’m so proud of what Mark has accomplished so far. With his permission, I’m now sharing parts of a testimonial he sent me a while back. I’ve selected the parts that revolve around the transformation of his physique, which is the focus of this article. In addition to the story, I’ve included some pictures that display his transformation (the before pictures were taken on the 25th of March this year, whereas the after pictures were taken on November 11th, also this year) and a couple of videos that show some of the exercises he’s been doing. Hopefully, you can draw some inspiration from this material.
How Mark changed his physique
Here’s what Mark did to transform his physique, in his own words…
Movement, posture, and musculoskeletal health
I hired Eirik as my coach/trainer in February of 2017. Basically, he sends me an exercise plan with detailed instructions, videos, etc. I then send him videos (via my iPhone) of me doing the recommended exercises and he provides feedback on my form by the next day. I quickly realized that I was doing most everything incorrectly on my own. But, with his guidance and once I started doing things with proper form, I started to feel noticeable improvement within the first month. One of the first things I noticed was my posture improved. For years I looked bent over with my lower back and butt pushed out and my stomach protruding forward. By the end of the second month of training with Eirik, I was noticeably standing straighter. The tightness in my lower back, hips and legs started to lessen and I was able to walk more normally and even stand for extended time periods without pain.
I’ve been been doing various stretches, corrective exercises, and strength exercises, including multi-joint movements such as the deadlift and the box squat, in order to improve my posture and physique. Here are some of the exercises I’ve been doing lately:
– The sumo deadlift
– The dumbbell chest press
– The seated cable row
One other thing Eirik recommended was that I try minimalist shoes (“Five Fingers”) since I have had so much trouble wearing shoes (I’ve only worn New Balance for the last few years and even those hurt my feet). I LOVE the minimalist shoes and now that is all I wear when I’m not barefoot.
These things have all contributed greatly to improving my posture and balance; however, I’m still dealing with some lagging musculoskeletal pains and imbalances, which I’m now trying to eradicate completely. What I’ve had the greatest success with are the things I’ve been doing to change my body composition, general health, and physical appearance…
Nutrition, blood tests, and health improvements
I’ve tried many diets over the years. In the mid/late 90’s I read the books The Zone and Protein Power and began following those recommended diets (i.e. higher protein and fat and lower carb). That worked pretty well and I followed that type of diet for nearly 15 – 20 years. But, a few years ago I began to have food sensitivities to many types of foods (eggs, peanuts, yeast, gluten, etc.). I went through food allergy testing and tested reactive to quite a list of things even though I had never had food allergies/sensitivities before. I wanted to be able to eat those foods again and found out about a holistic food allergy clearing technique called NAET and spent nearly a year being treated for that. It helped some, but I still didn’t feel as good as I wanted to. I took a lot of digestive enzymes, lipotropics, etc. and felt okay most of the time, but not great. I never could seem to get my weight to where I wanted it to be (i.e., I felt I was carrying an extra 10 – 15 lbs).
A friend recommended I read a book about eating for my blood type. I was O positive and I modified my diet again and followed the recommendations in the book for my blood type and felt okay most of the time, but still couldn’t drop those extra pounds around my midsection. In early March of this year I had my physical, and when I got my blood work results there were several things that concerned me. My triglycerides were quite high at 276, my cholesterol was somewhat high at 220, and my good cholesterol was a bit low at 42. My total cholesterol/good HDL cholesterol ratio was 5.23, which put me at slightly above average risk of CHD. My A1c was borderline high at 5.6 indicating pre-Diabletic.
Right around that time is when I read in Eirik’s blog about a book called The Paleo Solution. It made so much sense regarding my recent blood work results, my previous food allergy sensitivities, my extra weight I couldn’t lose, and the way I felt after eating.
On March 25th of this year I began eating a Paleo diet. Within the first few days I noticed how much better I felt. My stomach never felt upset or bloated like I had been experiencing for years. I never got hungry between meals, my sleep became deeper and more consistent, and the extra weight I had been carrying all these years literally started melting off. After 4 weeks I had lost 15 lbs. I was able to wear all my clothing more comfortably and had to start wearing a belt to keep my pants/shorts from falling down.
I had new blood work done at week 5 of starting the Paleo diet. My triglycerides dropped to 69, my total cholesterol went up to 230, but my good cholesterol went up to 75. My ratio of total cholesterol/good HDL cholesterol went down to 3.06, which puts me at less than 1/2 the risk of CHD. 60 days after I started eating Paleo I had lost 18 lbs and my body looked better than ever and I felt great. In the time that has passed since then, I’ve lost more fat and also gained quite a bit of muscle.
I eat 3 meals a day, rarely eat a snack, and don’t get hungry between meals. Every now and then I may have some ice cream, cheese, etc., but I feel so much better when I don’t eat those things that the desire decreases and I’m not even missing them anymore.
I would highly recommend online training with Eirik. In the late 90’s, I worked in person with a trainer for several years and didn’t achieve as much results as I’ve had working with Eirik online. His understanding of the body is incredible. He is meticulous to detail, which makes all the difference. I won’t say it’s easy. I do take it very seriously. After all, I spent nearly 7 years trying to find the kind of guidance/help that Eirik has provided. I only wish I had found him years ago! In addition to working with Eirik over the web, I also recently started working with a local therapist, who’s helping me deal with the lagging hip and musculoskeletal issues that plague me.