As a child, I was always the small, skinny, non-athletic, weak kid that was chosen last for games. I also got picked on throughout my school years. When I played football in the 6th grade, I had to join the Junior Pee Wee team as an “older lighter” because I wasn’t big enough to play with the other kids my age. Middle school was worse, and I hated being the one that others picked on due to my smaller stature. By the time I was 13 and in the 7th grade, I was tired of being small and skinny.
At the time, I didn’t know anything about eating right, exercising or developing muscle. So I began trying to get bigger by eating more food. It didn’t take long before I started gaining weight and family members commented that I looked better. Even some of the kids stopped messing with me because I had some extra meat on my bones. This encouraged me to keep eating and getting bigger.
However, I continued to make bad food choices because I did not get the proper nutritional education from my parents. I remember eating up to five bowls of Fruity Pebbles cereal for breakfast most days. If I didn’t eat sugary cereals, I ate leftover pizza and even cookies or a huge bag of potato chips and dip. For lunch, I routinely went out to eat with my dad or grandparents and would order two Whoppers, fries and a shake at Burger King or something similar at McDonald’s. Dinner didn’t get any better when I ate pizza, hot dogs, Italian subs or fried fish sticks with instant potatoes and other highly processed foods.
It didn’t take long before I became FAT. At 14 years old and in the 8th grade, I was barely 5 feet tall, weighed more than 130lbs and my body fat was in the 30% range. I remember wearing “husky” pants and XL boy’s shirts and instead of being picked on for being small and skinny, I got picked on for being fat and having “man boobs” (Moobs).
It was in the spring of my 8th grade year when the middle school hosted a health fair. During the fair, I had my cholesterol checked and it was 240! I had a high risk of having heart issues and other potential health problems (diabetes, obesity, etc.). It was that day when I decided to change my life forever.
From that point on, I began reading about eating right and exercising. I asked my dad to buy better foods (fresh fruit, yogurt, lean chicken breasts, vegetables, whole wheat bread, etc.) so I could make healthy meals. I also asked my grandparents to do the same as I spent a lot of time at their house after school while my father was working.
I also began using body-weight exercises to help lose weight and get in shape. At the time, I couldn’t do one chin-up and could barely do five push-ups or a few sit-ups. Each day I continued to practice push-ups and sit-ups. I even began jogging (big mistake for fat loss, by the way) because that’s all I knew to do at the time. I also made it a point to participate in PE each day. Previously, I tried NOT to participate and was nearly failing the class. By the end of the year, I participated every day, improved my PE grade, improved my health, began losing weight and received an award for Most Improved Student.
That summer my father and I moved to Florida so we could be closer to my younger brother and sister (they lived with my mother). I continued healthy eating habits, exercised and participated in backyard sports with other kids in the neighborhood. By the time I started my 9th grade year of high school, I had lost 30lbs of fat and was the small, skinny, non-athletic, weak kid again!
I continued to perform body-weight exercises and neighborhood games and sports through high school. My active lifestyle kept me healthy, but it didn’t help me achieve my goals to get bigger or stronger. As I continued to read about exercise, I began dabbling in weight training. However, I didn’t participate in high school athletics until my senior year of high school. As a senior, I joined the weightlifting team and had my first true weight-lifting experience. By the time I graduated high school, the weight training “bug” bit me.
I wanted to learn as much as I could about lifting weights and so began to read magazines such as Muscle & Fitness and Flex. I naively began to follow the workout programs. The result was overtraining and a huge waste of money on supplements. What I didn’t know at the time was that these magazines used ghost writers (people who write from a bodybuilder’s perspective but who may have never actually trained) for most of the articles. In addition, many of the workouts were often falsified or not an actual bodybuilding routine, the workouts were unrealistic for the average person not on steroids or who worked a day job, and the bodybuilders who used these routines were genetically gifted and thus able to get results.
I was unknowingly doing everything wrong by following the workout programs as written in muscle magazines. As a result, I injured my shoulder from benching too much, I ate too many carbohydrates and not enough protein or healthy fats, I “bulked” and “cut” because that’s what the magazines said I had to do, I followed all the fads and didn’t commit myself to training correctly, I went back and forth from program to program, I didn’t train my legs enough and I didn’t use proper warm-ups or mobility work to prepare my body for my training sessions and to prevent injuries.
My progress for the next several years went up and down from all the misinformation. The fitness industry lied to me. The bodybuilding workout programs didn’t work. The supplements didn’t work. I oscillated back and forth between being fat and strong or lean and weak. I couldn’t seem to put it all together, so I continued to read and research. I bought and read almost every book on the subject of training. I trained with other people who were bigger and stronger than me. I tried all kinds of different routines. But no matter what, my progress seemed to go one step forward and two steps back.
After several years, I sought out other training resources and information that exemplified the training philosophy that got me the results I wanted. It was a tough search, but I finally found other reliable sources of information that helped me rethink what I was doing.
I no longer followed the mainstream bodybuilding routines and instead focused on athletic-based programs. I stopped relying on supplements to overcome poor training routines or improper nutrition. And I stopped trying to “bulk” and “cut.” I learned how to listen to my body, and I learned from some of the best coaches in the industry that have helped me form my own training methodologies.
In 2004, I discontinued my gym membership and decided to build my own home gym. During this time, I made some of the best gains of my life. I began training my friends and even my dad. They got stronger, lost fat and gained muscle from the programs I wrote for them to follow. Over time, more and more people began asking me about training and fitness programs and even asked me to write their training routines.
During the fall of 2008, I asked myself why I had not yet pursued health and fitness as a career. I studied health and fitness as an EXTREMELY intense hobby for more than 20 years! It is my passion and the one thing I get excited talking about. I realized that I was not using the talents and abilities God gave me to help others the way He wanted. It was then that I decided to turn my passion into my career.
In the spring of 2009, I decided to start my own fitness business. At the time I worked for an advertising agency, but I continued to attend training and educational seminars. I completed two training certification programs and tried to make time to work on what would be the beginning of my new business.
After a mission trip to Costa Rica in June 2009, my perspective on life completely changed. I began praying for God to guide me and show me what He wanted for my life. I asked for a sign and in less than a week I lost my job! I knew right away this was the opportunity God gave me to open my own fitness business and to have the career for which I longed. It was the opportunity to use the talents and abilities He gave me to fulfill my purpose in life: helping others reach their health and fitness goals.
It took months of hard work, many long days, twice as many late nights, a lot of prayer, much support and the priceless help of many people. From these meager beginnings, Underground Fitness Revolution was born. All the knowledge and wisdom I learned during the last 20+ years now helps me to successfully train others not to make the same mistakes. God used the struggles and failures of my youth and past to prepare me for the work of today.
And now, I encourage you to take steps to change your life. It takes hard work. It takes commitment. It takes dedication. It takes desire. It even takes a little failure. But, you can achieve your goals and so much more if you just decide to change. Begin today!
Dedicated to your health and fitness,
Nathan Trenteseaux, B.S., StrongFirst SFG and RKC Kettlebell Instructor, USC2, Metabolic Training Expert
Owner and Fitness Coach