The McCahill Group is proud to recognize Mike Shanley as an aspiring wellness champion! An interview with Shanley sharing his journey and advice follows.
Can you give me a short explanation of your journey to healthy living?
I’ve spent years battling health issues (cholesterol, thyroid, insulin resistance, etc.) and have had a very ‘yo-yo’ weight with terrible diets and unhealthy eating habits. I have never been able to make a life change – my eating habits have always returned to fast food, soda, and sugar. I have a family history with various health issues, and with my age approaching 40 I decided to make a permanent change for my wife, kids, and myself.
I have joined a couple different gyms throughout my 20’s and 30’s and yes, I would lose weight, only to return to where I had started and begin all over again. In September of 2014 I joined the fitness center at Farmer’s Insurance – decent facility, friendly staff, and has everything I needed to get going. My pattern started over again as I said, “I’ll lift weights, lose weight, be healthy, etc.” Each time, that pattern started out with success of sorts, losing weight and feeling better, but I could never maintain that lifestyle until now.
My wife is a very active runner and has always been nutritionally healthy. I realized that I owed it to her and my kids to turn myself around. I started hitting the weights at the fitness center here at Farmer’s in September of 2014, and once I got my routine down, I decided to take it a step further and tackle the eating issue. The Weight Wars challenge, sponsored by the Fitness Center, was a big motivator to stay accountable and hit the ground running.
Nutrition, I feel, is the major contributor to my transformation. I told myself that if I’m going to do this for good, this time it has to be different. I researched macros, good carbs, bad carbs, good fats, bad fats, so on and so forth. I set my daily calorie intake, and then I set my macro ranges to fit in that caloric range and made it a daily ritual to hit both marks. I weighed my portions out and recorded them in MyFitnessPal, planned out my menu a week ahead of time, and meal prepped accordingly. This continues to this day with no plans to change.
How long have you been working out at Farmer’s Fitness?
I started in September of 2014 and continue to this day – so a little over 11 months.
How did you become what Kyle, your wellness specialist, calls a success?
Well I’m flattered that he considers me a success story, and I do appreciate this. I guess it would be based on my physical change and my dedication to getting my workouts in. Also, every 2-3 months I’ve been having Kyle do skin fold test for measuring body fat so he’s been right there to share in my success.
Started weight tracking 1/19/2015 at 264.6Lbs @ 26.6% Body Fat
Currently at 194Lbs @ 16.8% Body Fat (BF% as of 5/29/2015)
Total weight loss to date – 70.4Lbs
Total body fat loss (as of 5/29/2015) – 9.8%
What is your favorite part about Farmer’s Fitness?
Location. I love being able to workout at lunch or right after work. So convenient! It’s such a clean facility with an amazing, friendly staff. I also like the fact that they have free weights along with the machines for strength training. I have attended a class on speeding up your metabolism so the fact that they offer classes is another plus.
Where have you noticed the biggest difference in your life towards healthy living?
Without a doubt, I am a much more confident and happy person. I’ve had a history of depression and anxiety, and have turned my mental state around completely in the last six months, which I owe all to this healthier lifestyle I am leading. Other than the obvious mental/emotional improvements I have gained, I have also recently decided to take up mountain biking. I bought a bike a few years back for this purpose and found that it was too difficult for me, so I didn’t enjoy it. However, over our last camping trip a few weeks ago, I took my bike out again and saw a huge difference in my stamina, and really did enjoy it. I’m planning on jumping into this new activity, and hope it becomes another healthy passion of mine.
Do you have any goals you are still working towards?
I would like to hit 12% or lower body fat, because I prefer a more muscular physique. However, I also want to put on more lean size as well. I love that I can focus and train specific parts of my body with positive results that actually change my overall size and shape. I’m not looking to be a pro body-builder by any means, but I’m very attracted to that lifestyle of nutrition and training. My ultimate goal would be to continue on this same course of living and see where it takes me. I’m less concerned about how much I weigh now and focus mainly on my body fat % and what I see in the mirror (which is crazy because I was that person that wanted to avoid mirrors at all costs)
When I started my lifestyle change with Farmer’s Fitness, I didn’t want to just lose weight. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and simply see a smaller version of what I was a few months before – I wanted something different. I wanted to truly transform who I was inside and out.
I’ve come to realize that training in the gym and doing cardio is the easy part – anyone can do that. The biggest change will come when you change your eating habits. So much of our physical and mental state is controlled by what we put in our bodies. I consider myself sort of a recovering food addict – it’s extremely tough to kick but once you do you will see such an improvement in your life. If I can, anyone can.
When setting up my current daily nutrition intake, I make sure to focus on my macros of fats, carbs, and proteins. Of those three groups, I picked food that is both healthy and enjoyable to eat, and came up with meals based around those food items. Now I’ve heard about the calories in vs. calories out idea, which is true. [One pound is 3,500 calories. If you eat 500 less calories a day for one week, those 3500 calories not consumed will transfer into a one pound weight loss] I feel I have taken that a step further by organizing these calories in a way that my body will use more efficiently.
Right now, 65% of my calories come from proteins, which stimulate the thermic effect of food and boost your metabolism more than other nutrients. You don’t get this from carbs or fats. Plus, protein aids in muscle repair and rebuilding and along with weight lifting muscle mass is increased which also increases the body’s ability to burn fat. Taking in most of your daily calories through protein will speed up fat loss, so of course I’m going to make this the majority of my daily intake.
Carbs and fats are also needed as well. They are not evil like people have been making them out to be. They provide a steady supply of energy as well as regulating your hormones and immunity. Currently, 25% of my calories are dedicated to healthy fats, and 15% comes from mostly complex carbohydrates.
All of this is consumed over 5-6 meals and spread out 2-3 hrs. Meal intervals like this have proven to raise your metabolism.
Now do I have cheat meals, cheat days – oh yeah. If I feel run down or carb depleted I listen to my body and fuel back up. This will usually happen on the weekends when I go out to eat or get drinks with my wife and family. It’s a balance I’ve found that doesn’t burn me out like a more extreme diet would. I don’t dread any meals or workouts. If I do, I will change it up so I can stay on track and maintain this lifestyle.
This lifestyle change may seem like a lot to som e people, but this is what I’ve found to work for me. I don’t mind it and even enjoy putting time into eating the way I do now. Everyone is different, and if you are happy doing things a certain way and it has proven to make you healthier, do it!
Do what you are comfortable with! If it feels like a drain, change something. You have to enjoy what you do or you will not do it for long. Again, everyone is different, and you have to figure out what your magic formula is to healthy living – good luck!