A few years ago, one of my childhood best friends of 30 years, was going through a challenging time as he battled multiple forms of addiction. He had just gotten sober and was on the road to recovery. Luckily for him, he channeled those good vibes and began working on himself.

“What happened was initially I was trying to take off the weight, doing the same horrible methods I had tried before with no rhyme or reason. Just basically starving myself and walking a lot – doing no real work. I had lost like 20-30 lbs but hit a plateau, so I reached out to you and that’s when you gave it to me straight.”

“Brotha, I’m here for you however you need me to be. Just say the words.”

“What do I need to do?”

“You need to stop starving yourself and eat like an athlete and pump steel.”

“I’m not a weight room guy.”

“You are now.”

“Ok. When can we start?”

“Right now.”

From that moment, and over the next 16 months, never once did Phil say, “No, I can’t, I won’t.”

Philip “Phil” Gray is an athlete with the spirit of an athlete. He’s always been that way. From an early age he idolized and emulated the greats–Ali, MJ, Jeter, Brady. He knew more about sports than any of us; always acting as everyone’s authority on all news, scuttlebutt, and sport-related facts & fiction. Fun fact, to this day, his interview impressions are second to none.

Phil knew what he was asking for when he consulted me. He knew my background, my mentality and how I worked. He knew it would be hard. He knew it would be painful. And he was right. Except it was harder and more painful than he had imagined. To come from where he was, to get to where he wanted to be, Phil was gonna have to suffer. Plain and simple. And he ate that shit with a smile like a fucking champion. And guess what, he’s still eating it and smiling his ass off.

“I have struggled with weight since high school, taking half measures here and there and constantly going up and down and not educating myself on how to be healthy. Through you I received that education. Once I got sober and learned how to love myself, I decided that truly loving myself would be to take care of my body as well. You helped me achieve that.”

“I’ve lost roughly 70 lbs but obviously redistributed a lot of that weight. The time it actually took me to simply lose 70lbs wasn’t all that long. Maybe like 10 months. But since month 10 I really haven’t lost any more weight but I’ve definitely lost inches and increased muscle. I believe that my sobriety really helped with that because we’re always urged to take the suggestions of people that know. So, I hit the weight room. Then after a few months of some light lifting and more weight coming off, I noticed muscles on myself I had never seen before, fell in love and wanted to continue to take it to the next level. Now I’m a “weight room guy” and love it!! 

Can’t tell you enough how proud I am of you, Phil. You’re an inspiration to your family, to our friends, to me and to many others. What you have accomplished and continue to accomplish IS NOT A MIRACLE. It is a testament to your work ethic, character, desire and determination. You took no magic pills nor implemented any crockpot plan. You simply committed to yourself, put in the work, sprinkled in some sweat equity, and saved your own life.

Cheers to you, Phil. You’re back – forever. Love you bra.


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