Here at This is Fit, my tagline is “Be Your Own Kind of Fit.” Even though I mostly promote HiiT workouts in my videos, I believe that all exercise is good exercise, and that there is no one right way to exercise or get fit.
To that end, I love hearing about people’s fitness journeys! And today, we will hear Fred Lechuga’s story. I met Fred on Google+ and was inspired by his story. I asked him for an interview and he agreed.
Me: So Fred – thank you for agreeing to share your story!
Fred: Thanks for the opportunity!
Me: Ok, so let’s begin. First, please tell me three things you like about me.
Fred: Oh, um, ok… Well, hmmm… your personality is great because you are a very straightforward and honest person. Those are the people I get along with. I am tired of the PC, fake, “everyone has to like each other” crap I come across on a daily basis. So hearing and reading your thoughts is breathtaking. Two, you offer great videos and information for the public to watch in the comfort of their homes. It takes a lot of work to be in the fitness industry but it can also be very rewarding when you have success stories so I am glad people can rely on you. Three, let me come back to this answer…
Me: Take your time. I’ll wait.
Fred: Shall we go to the next question while I think of another thing I like about you?
Me: Um, sure. I don’t know why it’s so hard to think of a third thing, but whatever. Tell me about your fitness journey.
Fred: My fitness journey…
This could be a very long answer, but I will try to keep it short. I grew up as an overweight child who was active (played baseball, played outside all day). However, I was obese because I was addicted to food, especially sugar (damn those Ho-Hos, Suzy-Qs, Soda, Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts, Oreos). As the years went on and on, I became fatter and fatter. Then one day I stepped on a scale and I was 356 lbs. Yikes! So I lost some weight through exercise and better eating.
Then I got married and regained the weight. Here we go again…I was back up to around 350+ lbs again when my wife said she was finally pregnant. That was when I realized I need to get my act together. So I joined a gym, started eating right, finally fell in love with running (which I hated for years) and a couple years later, I had lost over 150 lbs and had run my first marathon (2011). I finished that one in 4 hours and 11 minutes. Since then I have run a 50K during an ultra running group event and another marathon (which didn’t go so well, so let’s move on to the next question).
Me: Ready to talk about the third thing you like about me then?
Fred: Almost, but not quite. If you want more about my fitness journey, you can check out this post or this post from my website. Or, you can watch the video of my story, and if you want to know how life has changed after losing over 150 lbs, I documented that here.
Me: I read on Google+ that you are experimenting with Heart Rate Training. What exactly is that?
Fred: It’s based on a concept that Dr. Phil Maffetone came up with for aerobic zone training. I heard about it last year but came across it again recently and decided to give it a shot. Dr. Maffetone believes runners should attempt to train in their aerobic zone the majority of the time so you are using fat as your fuel, not sugar, which is what is utilized when your HR is too high and you are in anaerobic. According to him, if you stay disciplined and follow the ‘rules’ you will increase your speed at a lower heart rate. He talks about this in detail in his books, so if anyone is interested they should check them out.
When you think about it, if you can control it, yes it makes sense to try to keep your HR within a certain zone when running so you do not burn out while running out of fuel too soon. Overall, no matter what, it is still less stress on your body, which is what I am trying to accomplish at this point because I have been sidelined too many times due to injury. Since I started on my journey, my goal was always to lose weight as fast as possible, to burn as many calories as possible, etc. Well, with this new training, I have realized that the majority of my gym sessions have been with too high of a HR, and now I need to get ‘aerobically fit’ so that my speed gets faster within this aerobic zone.
It sucks to run this slow, but I am trying to be patient and ride it out for at least 3 months.
Me: Fascinating! Coke or Pepsi?
Fred: Neither. I gave up soda (pop) 4-1/2 years ago and have not looked back. I will not lecture about this, but since there is no nutritional benefit from this, I decided to eliminate it. However, back in the day, it was Pepsi. Cherry Pepsi. Dang it, I miss it now. Thanks, Laura.
Me: I’m here for you, Fred.Tell me about Google Glass. Specifically, why you get one and I don’t.
Fred: A few months ago when it was announced I applied for one. I sent them my story, told them how I would use it and they eventually sent me a invitation. However, I originally said no. My wife and I (mostly the wife) said the cost ($1500) was too high, and back then they required you to pick them up in San Francisco or NY. Recently a friend on Google+ (you know, the happening place) asked if anyone wanted an invite. After talking to the boss (wife) and finding out they could mail them to you now, we decided to move forward. I have had them for about a month and it has been great so far for taking pictures and videos, etc.
Hey, if you ever want to try them on, you let me know and I will come over for that calorie-free, flavorless coffee cake you promised me.
Me: Maybe you could bring it here? It’s cold, and I’m delicate. Speaking of calorie-free flavorless coffee cake, which best describes your dietary philosophy?
- Sticks & Branches
- I’ll eat anything that isn’t pinned down
- I’m a gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo raw-foodist with vegan tendencies, but only when Mercury is in retrograde and my eczema acts up
- I try to eat only yellow foods
- I subsist on breathing and my higher consciousness
- Other – please explain
Fred: There are no rules I follow. As my friend John on G+ says, flextarian is the way to go.
Me: But…. but… you need to have a label. You have to fit in a box. You have to. EVERYONE’S DOING IT.
Fred: I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, but I eat meat at some meals. I also like Vinnie Tortorich’s advice, No Sugars, No Grain.
Me: So Vinnie’s life is completely devoid of pleasure, then?
Fred: It has taken a long time to get to this point, but I hardly eat sweets, pastas and bread. Back then I always felt sluggish after sugar and bloated after pasta, so why keep eating them? Now, I try to keep my food real and pure. The fewer ingredients the better.
Me: Because you are against flavor? You’re anti-flavor. You’re a flavorist!
Fred: Because I just feel better the more real food I eat.
Me: Ok, fine. Me too. I just don’t want to go too easy on you.
Fred: I wouldn’t expect you to. What else you got?
Me: Easy there, Sparky. I’m running this show. Anything to add on diet?
Fred: There are very few processed foods I eat nowadays, but of course I’m not perfect and indulge once in a while. I will hardly ever say no to Chicago style pizza. I try to limit homemade chewy chocolate chip cookies to family events and holidays. However, I will say no to frozen pizza and Oreo cookies.
I keep trying to improve my eating habits and one way I do that is to think before I consume the food. I ask myself, “Is this really that good?” I have come to realize, for example, that Oreos are not that great, and for 30+ years, I was eating them because I was associating them to my youth.
Me: Don’t you be trashing my Oreos. OMG I love Oreos. Great, now I want Oreos. And I want my youth back. Damn you, Fred Lechuga.
Me: What’s your favorite fitness-related or motivational quote? And don’t be too cheesy, for cripe’s sake.
Fred: There are so many, it is hard to pick one or even a few. However, a simple one I like is from Zig Ziglar, “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.” If you have a bad attitude, you will never accomplish what you want in life. The right attitude will get you where you want.
Me: Inspiring. Not too cheesy. Approved. Who inspires you most?
Fred: Who inspires me?…Laura, you and This is Fit inspire me, duh. (Can you send me the money you promised me via PayPal?)