Fat Loss Chronicles: The Beginning

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Fat Loss Chronicles: The Beginning

Hi, if you don’t know me already, my name is Trevor Warnke. I am the co-owner of Game Changing Performance in Mundelein Illinois. Over the next few blog posts, I want to relive my 2018 year and walk you through how I was able to achieve 50#’s of fat loss. I will break each blog post into quarters of the year. In each month, I will try to recall the wins and struggles I had each month and lessons I think that I took the most out of each month.


I think going back through my life is a great way to start this post to give you context of some of the struggles as well as triumphs I’ve had over the years. This will help you understand that this year was no fluke, it was years of learning, trying and failing to figure out what is the best formula for fat loss.

THE EARLY YEARS (before 2004)

Fat loss has truly been a life long struggle for me. I’m currently 32 at the time I’m writing this and I only can recall 3 years total since I was 8 years old that I really felt good about my body. This isn’t a blog post about self-love, that is probably a good topic for another day, and I do understand that we all need that but up until this last year I didn’t practice it really so this is from the perspective of how hard I’ve been on myself over the years.

At eight is probably when I first started to realize that I was heavier than most people around me. I started to be more self-conscious of my body and didn’t like to take my shirt off in public. This awareness grew more and more as I hit my teenage years. I had always been thicker than most guys and it really did help out for football. Up until I was 15 years old I never went on a diet or did anything extra though to try and affect my weight. At 15, I started to really focus on football and I started to workout as well as watching my diet. I did this truly for performance purposes and it never really crossed my mind to do it to look better at this time. This was the first time I saw what the effects of diet and exercise could do for my body though. I went from 220 to 170 pounds in a matter of 5 months. I had drastically changed my diet and I worked out 5 days a week. I cut out all sugars after 7pm (soda and ice cream were the big 2 for me) and I started to eat a ton of protein. The crazy thing is, I actually have no idea why I chose do those specific things. At that point, I had never read a fitness magazine or really knew anything about nutrition. It just made sense to cut out the sweets and eat more protein to build muscle. This was the first of a 2 year stretch where I didn’t worry about my body and how it looked. I knew I was performing awesome in the gym and I had become a really good football player in the process.

After football ended my senior year, I stopped worrying about performance as much and that school year I put on 40 pounds. This is when I first started to realize I had a problem with food. Once I no longer had a reason to really train (sports), I realized food was my way to deal with it. I would just hammer foods, sweets in particular all the time. I wasn’t sure exactly what all the cause of it was at the time and I really didn’t know what to do about it either.

COLLEGE (2004-2008)

I went into college my freshman year at 230 lbs, the heaviest I had ever been. I wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach but was actually really embarrassed by my weight. My freshman year I didn’t gain or lose any weight as I was focused on getting used to college and had an on again off again relationship with my girlfriend at the time that kept me pretty stressed out as well.

Something my freshman summer started to change though. I had learned a lot my freshman year about nutrition and training as well as had found some good sources of information to learn from. I officially had ended my relationship and that stress was gone as well. Sophomore year came around and a switch had turned for me and it felt like sophomore year of high school again. I just naturally made good choices. Instead of eating crap at the school buffet, I chose more salads, proteins and veggies. I ran 3 days a week, lifted 5 days a week and just continued to make lifestyle changes that were positive. Over that year I went from 230lbs down to 180 lbs. The 2nd time in 4 years that I had lost 50 lbs.

I was able to keep this weight off and actually build muscle to a frame of 200 lbs and 10% body fat into my junior year and through that summer. I worked for a YMCA and lived on my own my junior summer. I lived everything to do with fitness and my body was as fit as it had ever been. I was excited to start my senior year because I was looking great. I started a relationship early my senior year and to be honest, with that and partying was more than I should have that year just went to crap. My lifestyle slipped away from all the positive changes to choosing sweets and laziness over training and veggies. During my senior year I gained 30#’s and was weighing 230#’s by the time I graduated.

As you can already see, I was on the yo-yo of weight loss from an early age. I would be focused and dialed in, then instead of making great choices I would spin out of control. This is a pattern that would follow me for the next 10 years.

22-26 (2008-2012)

This was possibly the hardest time physically for me in my life. From 22-23 I worked out like crazy and got shredded again. I physically looked great and it was really my only focus. I had graduated but hadn’t found a job yet and knew I wanted to be extremely fit if I was going to be a strength coach or personal trainer so I put all my free time into that while working for my dad. Then one day, I woke up and realized that I wanted to help my dad build his company. When that switch flipped so did my focus on my health. I went all in on the business and pretty much gave up on fitness and nutrition. That was my when my body became unrecognizable to me and honestly has led to most of my nutrition addictions and struggles ever since. I went from 210 lbs and cut to 270 lbs and miserably fat over the next 3 years. This was a very stressful time of my life and my body paid badly for it.

26-28 (2012-2014)

At 26, I ended up leaving my job with my dad and moving to Australia. I knew I needed time away from everything to focus on myself again and get my body and mind back where I wanted it. This was definitely not an easy thing, I had put my body through hell the last 3 years and it wasn’t changing back as quick. Being overseas also came with loneliness and stress of surviving. I worked out religiously and my body started to change again. My nutrition was not great as I was struggling to overcome some really bad eating habits that last few years. I had fallen out of love with veggies and my tastes buds were obsessed with sweets. Not to mention, the food was really expensive so buying quality food wasn’t always an easy financial decision.

After coming back from my year in Australia I had gotten myself back down to 240 so I had dropped 35#’s again. By this point it was getting old having to lose such large amounts of weight often. I was 27 and had lost over 140#’s already in my life from the ups and downs. That next year I moved to Illinois to live with family as I started to build my dream of owning a gym. My nutrition was pretty good and my cousin and I worked out 4 days a week consistently. I had gotten down to 220#’s again and was feeling good even though I really knew based on my body fat I should be down to 200#’s. I still had many body image issues, especially knowing I wanted to open a gym and I was afraid of how I would get clients if I didn’t have rock hard abs and look crazy fit.

28-32 (2014-2018)

These four years were full of some of the highest and some of the lowest moments in my life. Stress was at an all-time high almost all the time. In 2014, is we when we first opened our gym in Mundelein. The joy and excitement of this is still one of the top moments of my life. The biggest struggle was working crazy hours trying to build the gym and then financially trying to scrape by while the gym was growing. It was a tough time of life even though I was having so much fun as well. I gained 40lbs from March 2014 to July, so now I weighed 260.

This is the first time I reached out got nutrition help. I decided to join a coaching program I believe in called Precision Nutrition. It was a habit based nutrition program that worked on slowly changing your habits over time. I also was dating for the first time in years during this time. My life revolved around trying to grow the business and my girlfriend who lived an hour away in downtown Chicago. Let’s just say fitness was non-existent at the time. I was constantly tired and trying to do that nutrition program was tough. I personally think Precision Nutrition’s program is excellent and recommend it a ton, it just was the wrong time for me. I was on that program for a year and went from 260 to 230 but by the end of it had climbed to 242. I chalked that year up to just being the first year as an entrepreneur. I had ended the relationship I was in as well which was an added stress.

Later in the summer of 2015 I started dating again and tried to get back on track with my fitness. My nutrition was still struggling but I was much more consistent with training. No matter what I did though I couldn’t out train the way I was eating. During this time I tried to “cheat” my way to weight loss many times. AdvoCare supplements, juice fasts, super low calorie and everything in between. The stress of being overweight and being a fitness professional was wearing on me a lot. It was stressful not looking the part which in turn made me eat badly because my go to solution for stress is food, specifically sweets.

The end of 2015 ended in a bad breakup. We breakup was mutual but we each had our reasoning. Her reasoning was tough for me though because she said it was due to my weight and my eating habits. That hurt a lot but in a way she was right about what she was saying. I had an awesome Disney trip with my family that Christmas and it was great. There were some moments that really hit me though. There were rides where I had to be worried about going on because of my overall size and time at the pool was never pleasant. I hated that this was so prevalent in my life at all times, even literally at the happiest place on Earth on the best vacation I had ever been on. The pictures from that vacation hit me as well, as I saw how large I had gotten.

In 2016, I set out to do something about that. I knew couldn’t have that feeling that I had just had. My weight January 1st was 273#’s. The heaviest I had ever been which was mind blowing considering I owned a gym. Starting in February, I worked with our chiropractor and did Ideal Protein. This is a ketogentic diet meant to help people overcome Metabolic Syndrome X and help them lose drastic amounts of weight quickly. This was the strictest I had ever been in my life. The rules are you can’t exercise because you are on 800 calories with only one meal of whole foods a day. I stuck to the plan and had awesome results. By June, I had dropped to 230’s in 5 months.  At this time I was 30 years old and had officially lost 200#’s in my life. So losing weight was never a problem for me, it’s keeping it off that is the problem. Even my friends when I see them always ask, will it stick this time because they know the ups and downs I have. Well this one did not, from June to November I went from 230#’s to 265#’s. It was crazy how fast it all came back. I was eating in a binge state for almost 5 straight months. Most of that had to do with being so crazy strict. I think Ideal Protein is a great program as well but knowing some of my eating tendencies it fed more into the issues I have and it didn’t end pretty. I think for the right person it’s an awesome program.

During 2016, I had started dating again and it was a great relationship. A big issue though was we lived an hour apart and both of our schedules were crazy hectic. During this time, I had also decided to open a 2nd location in Iowa, 7.5 hours away. This was a very stressful process trying to travel back and forth between the 2 locations. One of our business partners had left the Illinois facility as well which compiled the stress and the load I had to take on. At this time, I was going back and forth for a few weeks at a time consistently and when I was in Illinois I was travel multiple times a week into the city to stay the night from 8p wake up at 5a to drive back to the gym. As this relationship continued my time was continuing to shrink and since we barely had time together we would always eat out quick so we could maximize our time together. All of 2017 followed along this path until the end of 2017 when we decided to end this relationship. It was hard on both of us because we really were a great fit but our life paths were different and the relationship was physically draining us.


This is where our next few blog posts will take off.

I know that was a really long blog post but I honestly think that the history of how this journey has affected me is really unique to understanding my 2018 year. Also, most fitness professionals have never had to have a nutrition journey like that. I know exactly how clients feel, I know what it’s like to have an unbelievably hectic life and obstacles galore. I know what it’s like to gain weight, lose weight, gain it all back, lose it again, and struggle to find a long term solution. I have a long history of binge eating uncontrollably and I still deal with that today, you’ll learn more about that in the blogs about 2018. The last 24 years of my life have really been a life-long study on what it takes to overcome it all and how to be resilient about the pursuit of fat loss. It’s taken me way more than the “10,000” hours to be an expert at something. That’s why I truly believe I am an expert at fat loss because besides helping hundreds of people lose weight I’ve also journeyed the whole was as well. I’ve tried it all, failed it all and just kept working at it. I never gave up, will never give up and will share all I can to help others fight this battle because the war is still there to win.

Please take the time to read the blogs over the next few weeks about my last year journey. I learned a lot of lessons, I failed a lot and I really think you can relate but also understand how it is a process to achieve fat loss.

Thanks for taking the time to understand my journey, Trev!

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