James is a 28-year-old software engineer at SendGrid, an email delivery company in Orange.
(If you ever got an email from Spotify or Uber, they made sure it got to your inbox.)
SendGrid is a fast-growing company with folks that work hard, sometimes pulling long hours for days on end to meet deadlines.
Such a job entails long periods of sitting and constant temptations of beer-filled refrigerators and candy-filled snack bowls around the office.
Like many people, James’s intentions were good and he tried to stay active with things like karate, mountain biking, and hitting up 24-Hour Fitness.
But whenever he’d try to jump-start his own weight loss, without something to hold his interest he’d lose momentum and backtrack.
Before James started at RWS, he weighed about 240# at 5’8″.
A difficult flight of stairs used to put him out of breath for 15 minutes.
Many people from the SendGrid office had been training here for years, and constantly encouraged him to give it a shot.
As he puts it, “None of my co-workers would shut up about you. I mostly joined out of spite.”
When James started, considering he was essentially wearing a 60-lb weight vest and lacked cardiovascular endurance, he actually moved pretty well – the physical activity that he’d done, even though it was low-intensity, helped his overall sense of body awareness.
However, there were several things that needed to be scaled down or modified – demanding barbell movements like cleans and snatches were contraindicated by lack of flexibility, and pull-ups were quite a ways off.
To avoid joint injury and speed up progress, James was instructed on substituting kettlebells for barbells until mobility got up to speed, and used assistance bands for strict pull-ups to develop a base level of strength.
It was tough, and there were many workouts that tested mental fortitude and took longer than he’d have liked (especially at the beginning), but he still kept coming back. With the help of a high-protein, low-carb diet, he never felt hungry yet the weight was absolutely falling off of him.
Now, after 18 months of quietly putting in work at RWS, James looks like a completely different person.
He weighs 180#, deadlifts over twice his body weight, reps out strict pull-ups, and can jog over 10 miles without stopping.
“A really good day was seeing my brachial artery actually cast a shadow,” he says.
Not only that, but he stands up straighter, looks more confident, and even smiles more!