62: Josh Wirfs kicked an addiction and is packing on muscle (M/26)

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He kicked an addiction to painkillers and is now packing on the muscle!

Hear how Josh took control of his health and lost 160 pounds! (72 kg)

“Make it work.”

Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors

Josh remembers wearing “husky” clothing as far back as the first grade, and he weighed 250 pounds (113.6 kg) by the time he was 14.

He tried things like Slim-Fast (weight loss shakes) in his youth, but didn’t find them to be things he could stick with or that worked for him.

At 20, Josh was injured in a car accident that impacted his back, and unfortunately, his treatment for the injury developed into an addiction to painkillers.

He continued gaining weight, and “things just spiraled out of control after that.” Josh reached a peak weight of 350 pounds. (158.8 kg)

How Being Overweight Impacted Josh’s Life

Josh recalls how he was picked on in high school, had anxiety problems, and often felt judged and down on himself.

He describes this period as a time of introversion and discomfort around other people.

The Turning Point

Several things happened that led to Josh’s change of course.

During one of his last conversations with his grandfather, he was told, “boy, you could stand to lose about forty pounds.

As Josh absorbed hearing this, he looked at his father, who wore a look of shame.

A few years later, Josh’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which then turned into a terminal bone cancer condition.

“That was when I really decided that I’m gonna do this, and I’m gonna get serious about it.”

Starting The Weight Loss Journey

Josh’s first step was to address his painkiller addiction. He also found a new job that forced him to be more active throughout the day. He describes “a whole different level of physical labor.

He lost fifty pounds in the first month. (22.7 kg)

Josh signed up for a gym shortly thereafter, sought out advice, but didn’t immediately tell anyone he was trying to lose weight.

Because he felt too heavy to do high-impact activity right away, Josh started with the elliptical machines and swimming. The duration of each steadily increased until he was able to do each for an hour, and then he began training with weights.

Staying Motivated

Josh sought and received support and advice from a trusted co-worker and fitness mentor named Ryan.

“My motivation for getting in shape was proving people wrong. I didn’t want to take any short-cuts.”

One of the qualities Josh appreciated in his mentor was that Ryan pushed him beyond his comfort zone and didn’t go easy on him. He pushed him to train hard and challenge himself.

What Josh Learned About Food, Exercise, and Himself

One of the nutritional changes that really impacted Josh’s lifestyle was giving up sugar drinks. He knew the empty calories weren’t helping his weight situation.

He also stopped giving his business to fast food restaurants. He knew that nothing on their menus was conducive to living a healthy lifestyle.

Chicken breast was a regular staple for Josh, and he learned creative ways to have it frequently. Eggs were another daily item as Josh learned more about lifting weights and increased his protein intake.

This was a major focus for Josh. He ensured that at least 10% of every meal was protein.

Challenges Josh Faced

When Josh first started going to the gym, he battled self-consciousness and worried about what others thought about him. He didn’t let this stop him, and soon it didn’t matter. He focused on being consistent and dedicated to his own goals, and soon he was a gym regular.

Josh also had some physical setbacks. A back injury kept him from lifting weights for some time, but he maintained his healthy eating habits and slowly recuperated until he was ready to resume his training.

At one point, Josh was working 16 hours a day, on night shifts, while his girlfriend was pregnant. Did this tough patch stop Josh’s progress?

“No matter what comes up in my life… crazy stuff… injuries… changing jobs. Eventually working out becomes your release for stress.”

Josh’s Advice For Your Journey

Josh learned a lot at the gym by simply walking up to others and asking about the movement/exercise they were doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t let others keep you from your goals, especially at the gym. Lots of people are actually glad to see you there and are rooting for you to be successful.

Resources Discussed In This Podcast

On Josh’s Workout Playlist

Contacting Josh

Say Hi to Josh by e-mailing him here!

Josh Wirfs Photo

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