A Lifelong Journey
By: Derek Wellock
I want to take this blog opportunity and discuss the numbers. The scale vs performance. Double Edge is a performance focus-first gym. We are not a physique focus-first gym. With that said, I want to open up for dialogue the struggle people (especially women) have with the number on the scale and how badly that negatively affects them. Let’s start with a little background on myself. I was a wrestler from the time I was 11 years old and I lived by the scale, literally every ounce mattered with my sport. For 8 years, year around, I had to maintain my weight. This took a tremendous amount of discipline; it was quite discouraging at times. During the off season I would never let my weight get more than 5lbs. above the weight class that I was trying to go into. As I grew, this was adjusted for aging, but from 8th grade through my senior year of high school I only gained 20lbs. The picture you see below is me at 165lbs. during the off season from my junior year to my senior year of high school. I was in the best shape of my wrestling career, at that point.
Going into my senior year of high school I was the most fit I had ever been. I weighed 165lbs. and maintained that weight the entire year, which led me to a state championship title.
The reason I bring up my high school days, which was a long ass time ago, is to bring up a point that body weight and performance went hand and hand at that point in my life. Just like a lot of athletic sports, weight matters. On a side note, I purposely did not squat nor deadlift in high school to keep my legs small. I had to keep my body weight down. That was not smart. Strong legs lead to a strong body. I made a huge sacrifice in my performance by neglecting this fact.
Now let’s take a look at changes post high school wrestling. Boom, 4 years of college, no scale, minimal workouts, and fast food.
In this picture of me, I grew into a nice and plump 235lbs. I am the same height now as I was as a sophomore in high school. My waist and face grew a lot! It’s a long story, but this was a time in my life when I obviously didn’t live by the scale or performance. My body paid the price and I was not happy with myself.
I had a turning point when I saw this picture. I decided to start getting healthy again. I did what I knew from wrestling days. I started to cut weight. I got back into the gym, lived by every pound on the scale and I lost about 60lbs. in the course of 4 years (notice, 4 years to gain the weight and took about 4 years to lose the weight, this was not a 30-day challenge, it was a life style change. This next picture is post Really Big D.
It this picture I was down to 175 pounds. The funny thing is right before I took this picture Jacob and I ate a pint of good old Ben and Jerry’s. I was 27 years old and just started personal training as a side job. I knew the struggle that I went through with weight and wanted to help other people by leading a healthier life.
At age 27 I found Welded. Wow, that was a rude awakening to what fitness really is. The first Welded workout I did was 5 Rounds: 5 deadlifts @ 185lbs and 10 bar facing burpees for time. It was the most pain I had ever felt in my life from a workout. I was hooked. From high school until this first Wod, I had never squatted or deadlifted. I couldn’t squat my body weight when I started Welded. As anyone knows who does Welded, squatting and deadlifting are the foundation of strength for fitness. I had a huge hole in mine. Although I looked lean and fit my performance was very lacking, in terms of Welded. The only performance that I was really good at was running. I could casually run a 5k sub 20 minutes anytime, but that was it.
At 175lbs and about 15% body fat, I couldn’t do a muscle up, handstand push-ups, and about 10 pull-ups. I can say I was a beginner in my new Welded fitness journey.
So for someone who lived by the scale his whole life, shit was about to change when it came to my performance goals of Welded. My new goals were to do well at the Welded open, and get a lot stronger with both the barbell, and gymnastics.
After 3 years of Welded, opening 2 gyms, and the Claire Bear coming into my life, I have gained 30 pounds. Here is a picture as of today.
As you can see in this picture, there are some love handles, 20 of the 30 pounds was muscle, as I can now back squat double my body weight, and deadlift two and half times body weight. Now, let’s talk about performance at 205lbs of body weight. I am a lot stronger all around. I can do 30+ chest to bar pull-ups unbroken, I can do sets of 5 muscle ups, and my performance at all Welded wods is much more balanced across the board. I can honestly say a week out from turning 32 years old, I am the most balanced and fit I have ever been in life.
Now let’s talk about life. At this point, I am trying to lead a healthy life and make sure I live a lifestyle of balance and be a good example of a man for my daughter. This is what I mean by balance. Although I own 2 gyms, I still don’t have time to exercise 2-4 hours a day. I know that some people assume we do, but with the growth of my family and Double edge, that amount of time isn’t realistic for me. I do the Double Edge group class. 1 hour a day M/T/W/F I do Welded, Thursday I do Welded Lean or rest, Friday I do Welded and Saturday I get outside to ride my bike, run or do Saturday group class at DE, Sunday I rest or go outside. That is what I commit to my workouts. When I exercise, I go hard and push to the max trying to leave everything on the table, when I can do advanced workouts I do. There is nothing sexy to my workout routine. What makes me fitter year over year, is my consistency with my workouts.
In the last 4 months I also started Gym Rat Foods which has helped my nutrition become a lot more consistent. I usually wouldn’t eat enough and my workouts suffered. Anyone who knows Leo, Jacob or any of the guys at Double Edge, life and living, it is important to us. I love a good burger; I make sure I eat at least one every week. I love a good beer; I make sure I have a couple every weekend. I have a sweet tooth, so I make sure I satisfy it at least once a week at bare minimum. I would say that 70% of the time I eat really well, and the other 30% I enjoy life. Finding balance is important, but what’s more important is finding happiness and confidence in yourself.
It doesn’t matter what the photographs, scale, or performance say if you are not happy. You need to ask yourself what makes you happy. Sometimes with being a gym owner, I feel like I am supposed to look like Rich Froning, but let’s be honest. Genetics play a huge roll, and for me to live, and train like Rich is impossible at this point in my life. Would I be happier if I looked like Rich? I don’t think so, I would have to sacrifice so much to do that, and when I get there would it make a difference? I don’t know. What I can say is that I am happy and confident right now, where I am at this point, the scale doesn’t matter to me, performance and improving my performance is the most important part of my fitness journey. With performance improvement, physique changes happen, weight fluctuations happen, but as long as I get a little fitter every year and limit injuries, that is a good place for me. I believe that is a good place for everyone. So many people are focused on the appearance and looks of elite athletes, magazine models etc., so they stress out and are constantly down on themselves. This is a negative way to live life and for most of us it is unrealistic to have those goals.
Take time to appreciate yourself and what you train for every single day. Stop focusing on body weight and start focusing on what matters. Do your clothes fit comfortably? Is your performance improving? Are you taking small daily steps to live a healthy life? 4% body fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy; the body needs fat to be healthy. 10-20% for men and 15-30% for women is healthy and functional for the lifestyle for the everyday person. Is your life balanced? If you seek these goals year over year and make it a lifestyle you will be amazed at what happens.
When you focus on performance, physique changes happen, nutrition improvements happen, and weight changes happen. I have seen women gain 20lbs. starting Welded but they are down 4 sizes and look absolutely amazing even though they are 20lbs. heavier. Take a look at what makes you happy and why. Set realistic goals to get to a happy place. If super lean is what makes you happy, realize what you need to sacrifice to get there. If a balanced life makes you happy, realize what you have sacrifice to get there. Take an honest look at what you need to do for your goals. Ask yourself if the journey to reach those goals and when you get them are you going to happier in your own skin. What happens if your genetics don’t let you look like the edited magazine model or professional athletes? What happens to yourself esteem at that point? I don’t suggest living a life of mediocrity but instead find balance, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and learn to be happy with who you are and the journey you are on in this life.
There I am done. See you in group class.
Group Class Workout
Warm Up: 3 Rounds 40/20 Machine Get Warm!
2 Rds: 15 Russian KBS, 15 hollow rocks, 20 air squats
Finish with: 15 PVC PT, GM, 20 scorpions
Strength: Back Squat Every 1:45
5×3 @75% (3rd rep, 3 second pause at bottom)
Lean: 5×5 Moderate Weight no Pause
Buy In: 1000m Row
Ab Mat Situps
Cash Out: 2 Mile Bike
35 Min Time Cap
Buy In: 1000m Row
Ab Mat Situps
Cash Out: 2 Mile Bike
35 Min Time Cap
Mobility Of the Day: Glute Smash (pg. 300)
Improves: Low Back and Hip Pain, Knee Out Position
Skills: Core stability training