The success and progress of Exercise.com users is what the site was created for. Hearing about the journeys of members – triumphs, struggles, and everything in between – offers the best sense of accomplishment.
Users such as DCDubs, a certified personal trainer, has one of these stories. Having logged over 164 workouts and lifted over 2.4 million pounds, DCDubs has definitely utilized what Exercise.com has to offer.
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Check out his story below now!
Tell us how you first got into fitness, and what made you decide to become a personal trainer.
When I was growing up, I was always bigger than the other kids. I always fell into that middle range of big, but not fat, but not really that muscular either. If you had to get school clothes in the “Husky” section, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Despite carrying around more weight, I was active in wrestling and baseball and I managed to be pretty good at wrestling. By the time I was 14, I was six feet tall and weighing in around 175.
A few years later I sustained a neck injury during a meet (cervical subluxation and neck strain) and I was told I could never wrestle again. And that is when the weight started to pile on.
By the time I was 18, I was weighing in at 235, and none of it was good weight. I wasn’t “Husky” any more, this was just plain old fat and out of shape. By the time I got to college (WPI, go Engineers!), I knew I had to do something to change.
I started researching exercise, weight loss, diet, and weight training. This is back in the earlier days of the internet where you could find workouts posted on Geocities websites with grainy pictures and spurious pointers regarding form.
Fortunately, I made friends with members of the crew and football teams and they set me straight with Arnold’s 5×5, a dog-eared copy of BSF, and Mike Menser’s Heavy Duty protocol.
By the time summer started, I was down 30 pounds, which was a good start. However, that was nothing compared to what happened over the summer.
My summer job was landscaping. Specifically, I helped to build a golf course near my hometown. This was 10+ hours a day of outdoor activity, 90% of which was digging, shoveling, lifting, and raking.
In the course of three months, I lost 40 more pounds. I was down to 165, and it was the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life. When I got back to college, I noticed that I could really MOVE. For the first time in my life, I was quick, I could do pull-ups, and girls actually talked to me.
I decided to make the most of my new situation and join the track team. I was put in the mid-distance squad and trained to run in the 400, 600 and 800. I learned even more about lifting and the proper way to clean, jerk, and snatch.
Unfortunately, by the time senior year rolled around I had developed a bad hamstring tear, nothing made it feel better or work right, and I was now unable to work out again. Predictably, after college, the weight started to creep back up.
I was dead set against gaining weight again and allowing myself to get out of shape. But I couldn’t figure out a way around my hamstring injury. I had to find something that would strengthen my leg, repair the damage, and allow me to run again.
This is where it gets weird…my solution was powerlifting. The more research I did, the more it became clear that I was training all wrong and usually too much.
I wasn’t lifting correctly, my lifts were weak, my form was poor, and I didn’t get the right amount of rest. Within a year of serious weight training, my hamstring was healed, my flexibility was better than it ever had been, and I had started to put on good, lean mass. I was hooked.
While I was working full-time as an industrial engineer for six years, I was also studying articles on strength training, athletic performance, mobility, and nutrition. After a while, I started to create workouts for friends and build spreadsheets to track progress and body recomposition.
Eventually, I crunched some numbers and I realized that I could train people for a living. Instead of working 2nd shift for 60 hours a week and never seeing my family or friends, I could do what I love to do and still keep a roof over my head.
I signed up for the NASM personal training certification, studied my ass off, and got my certification. Within four weeks, I had found a full-time job as a Trainer at the Boston Athletic Club, quit my engineering job and started my new career.
Every day when I wake up, I can’t wait to get to work. I really can’t describe how good this feels. Working with my clients, writing programs, teaching classes, and running boot camps is what I do now, and it’s a blast!
When did you first start using Exercise.com?
I started a year ago to the date after reading a post by John Romaniello about Exercise.com. The site is a perfect fit for me. I’ve always logged my workouts, but now I have the added pressure of the community to make sure I get in and move some iron.
Can you give us some information on your position at the Boston Athletic Club in South Boston?
I am a Master Trainer at the Boston Athletic Club. I specialize in sports performance, weight training, body recomposition, and injury recovery and prevention.
At any given time, I usually have about 20 clients and I run 1-2 boot camps per week. (For a brief while, I had full reign of a group exercise class on Friday nights. I put together a mix of barbell complexes set to a dirty south hip hop sound track. I have no idea why it didn’t catch on…)
My favorite clients are ones that come in with physical limitations due to injury or surgery because it stretches my training skills and creativity. Training people like this is how exercises like scapular push-ups, face pulls, and Pallof presses are developed.
On a personal level, I also like working with overweight clients that are trying to change their physique. I know what they are going through, all the embarrassment and self-consciousness and lack of confidence, and it makes me so proud to watch them reach their goals.
Right now, I am working on earning my Precision Nutrition certification and entering a new role as a wellness coach here at the Boston Athletic Club.
What are your personal fitness goals?
10% body fat at 220 pounds and earn a starting spot on my rugby team. With goals, its best to keep them simple, direct, and to the point.
I’m currently at around 215 with 15% body fat, so I have my work cut out for me. I need to lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 15 pounds of muscle.
My main weakness is my upper body strength. I’d like to blame it on my long, ape-like arms, but there are plenty of people out there with similar builds that are putting up much more weight than I am.
My plan of attack is to follow a nutrition plan similar to John Kiefer’s Carb Back Loading (if you are looking to get lean gains and you haven’t read CBL yet, DO IT) and to split my normal 2+ hour long workouts into 2 a days with an AM and PM split to keep my metabolic rate up.
I tape in every Tuesday, so if you’d like to see my progress, check out my profile and leave a note! I love hearing from everyone in the Exercise.com community!
What else would you like to tell the community of Exercise.com?
You guys are awesome. Seriously. Right now you are an active participant in changing your life.
You are deciding your own course of action and you are going out there and DOING something. You have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience at your fingertips and you are USING it.
Do you have any idea what kind of advantage this is? Have you noticed everyone else at the gym doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and not going anywhere?
Meanwhile, you are diligently working away, logging your workouts, tracking your results, and become noticeably stronger, fitter, and better than you were.
The motto of my alma mater is “Lehr und Kunst”, which is German for Theory and Practice. What that has always meant to me, is that while learning is an essential part of life, going out and applying what you’ve learned is what really matters.
To everyone in the Exercise.com community: Keep doing.
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Exercise.com would like to thank PRO User DCDubs for this story and for being such a committed member of the site.
If you’re interested in sharing your user story with us we would love to feature it on our blog!