My Transformation 367lbs to Stage Ready Conditioning - Steve Tunks OPA Masters Men's Physique
For many years I have been struggling with being overweight. I have always been known as that "husky" kid in grade school. I did lose some baby fat in high school but deep in my mind, very envious of those around me that where fit and had a chiseled bodies. During most my adult years I would get frustrated at my weight always increasing and trying those fad quick weight-loss diets like "tomato soup diet", "calorie counting", "weight loss pills" and even the "Akins diet".
On March 18th, 2012 I went to support my stepson competing in his first OPA bodybuilding competition. I seen the process first hand; the transformation, dedication, will power and eating regidmand in order to achieve stage ready conditioning. At that moment as a proud family member, clapping and cheering from the cozy seat away from the spotlight - I could vision myself doing the same transformation. Even after telling my eldest son Anthonie Fallone "that weight lifting and his training would take him nowhere in life".
So I ventured out and bought new shoes with a gym membership. I would never forget after a week of changing my eating routine walking into the local Goodlife gym - when a young kid working behind the counter centered me out and said that my account was showing past due and he wouldn't let me work out. Instead of arguing with him I left and decided it was a sign not to work out. The more I thought about it after a week later I went back to the gym asked for the manager - which surprising to me was that same young kid. I presented my case that it is hard enough for an old fat guy to get the balls to come to the gym in the first place - that he could have made a discrete conversation without embarrassing me. After realizing that I was correct and that his system was incorrect - he apologized and gave me a free training session.
After starting and stopping about a dozen times at my highest weight of 367lbs - on June 13th, 2015 - I made a birthday promise to myself. To finally finish what I started and not take the easy way out like I have for many years of my adult life. I set a goal that on March 18th, 2017 would be the date where I would step foot in my first OPA fitness competition. That was exactly 5 years to the date of when I wanted to change my lifestyle.
One of my first plans of action was to make friends in the OPA community on social media. To ask for help and advice on eating, training and support for my transformation. I hired my first trainer that was highly recommend as a online coach who gave me a workout plan and a meal program. Also to include signing up for a local "macro meal" company to supply my readymade meals to insure that there were no excuses in that department of no time to cook & prepare. For the first 6 months I did make huge progress and was content on achieving my goals. I went even farther by going to every OPA fitness show to see the competition and to meet more and more OPA members. After every show that I went to, it just gave me more energy and drive to hit the gym harder and work on the mental part of training. The closer I came to realize that you just trust in the process. The energy, confidence and strength also was more noticeable to myself. Life will give you curve balls, trials and tribulations - I went thru a breakup with someone who I thought was like minded in the fitness community. I did stray from my meals and fitness program somewhat but the more I turned that emotional struggle into fuel for my transformation is where I made the largest mental gains.
The smartest thing I did from there was to go to my son Anthonie who runs his own fitness services with his coach Jaime, Team Re ERA. It was amazing that he used my negative comments that his fitness lifestyle would take him nowhere in life - to actually define the amazing man he has become. I asked for his help and to coach me for my goal of hitting the stage on March 18th, 2017. He changed my routines, trained me, specialized my meal program and even started prepping my meals for me. I asked him to train me 24/7, from early morning wake up calls when I didn't want to leave bed to pushing the last extra reps out of me. I will never forget a few months ago after a late evening workout with him - he looked at my progress and said he was proud of me. At that moment I knew that I had already won! The hard work paid off before the stage and not with my words - but my actions, I showed myself, my sons and close friends that if I could change - being over 367lbs anyone could change! No surgery, no expensive weight loss gadgets or gizmos - just trusting in the process and surrounding myself with positive like minded people.
After starting prep 14 weeks out before my March 18th goal, my son opened my eyes to admit that my old body was not tightening quick enough. That I need to put off the stage for another 4 weeks so that the process would take me to the best that I could be on stage. At first I was very strong willed and stubborn to not postpone it after going thru so much hard work and sacrifice, but I realized he was right and buckled down for another 4 weeks of prep.
Now being less than 3 weeks out to my first OPA fitness show, knowing that over 85% of people who have put off their fitness goal dates - have just quit entirely. After many years of being very self-conscious of having a big belly - constantly pulling and fixing my shirt to cover up the belly, those years of being self conscious of having "man boobies" all are in the past! To get slapped in the face now with extra skin around my stomach. With everything else since June 13th, I sucked it up and began to seek help from OPA members to even resolve this last hurdle.
I wanted to share my transformation to other people who have been or in the same place I was over 5 years ago. No one can make you change, only you can. Only you will make that final commitment to yourself and to loved ones that will change your life for all the right reasons. In conclusion I will say this, for anyone that wants to take the first step - I am a phone call away to go to the gym with you for the 1st time - to walk and then run towards your transformation!