Have you ever found yourself looking at a reflection you could swear isn’t your own? A stranger in the mirror. There’s an uncanny familiarity, sure. But it still feels like a stranger. So, what do you do? You search through old photos of yourself, try to find some connection between that reflection and the self you thought was you.
What you find instead is that there’s a seemingly infinite gap between the identity you were and the persona you inhabit now. Down the rabbit hole of reflection you go. Remembering someone…younger, stronger, leaner, faster, more likely to pick a healthy snack instead of the bag of opened chips beside that couch cushion you’ve spent too much time settling into. Someone more disciplined, more energized, more …just…well, more.
It was this moment that first inspired Zach Egolf to turn things around, but it was not the ultimate inspiration. That belongs to his family. This is his story. And so there’s no confusion, this article will now switch to what we in the writing
The Weight of Sacrifice: A Story of Family
Starting a family oftentimes leads to starting down a spiral of complacency. You lose nights of sleep. You lose free time to prepare healthy meals and you definitely lose time to exercise and make the best of yourself.
But that’s what family is about, right? Sacrificing certain things to make time for other things.
Except I was sacrificing the wrong things at the wrong time. I was making short-term sacrifices that I suddenly realized were going to have long-term effects. I had a three-year-old who was all over the place and a one-year-old baby boy who was fully mobile. I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with them, both from a speed standpoint and a stamina standpoint. I was what I would consider overweight and out of shape, and I had to do something about it. Coaching soccer was a trial. Chasing them around the park was exhausting!
I had an unhealthy relationship with food. It was so much easier to grab a handful of candy when I was hungry, or sitting on the couch than it was to make a healthy snack, or get some fruit or add some vegetables to my meals. It was quicker to grab fast food than it was to make time to eat dinner.
It had worked for a few years, so that was just how things were going to work, right? Except it wasn’t working. It wasn’t only affecting me physically, it was also affecting me mentally. I was tired all the time, and cranky. My family put up with a lot of Zach “The Grouch Pouch”.
Self-Experimentation — Taking The Leap
In May of 2018, I decided to experiment with the Keto diet. I figured I’d fall off in a month and it wouldn’t work, and I’d just fully embrace my “Dad Bod” because that was the easy thing to do. But as the months went on, we started enjoying the food. I started seeing the pounds melt off, and I started realizing that I wasn’t just making myself better for me, but also for my family.
Being with my kids became easier. New habits formed. Ultimately, a year after looking at myself in the mirror, I realized I had lost almost 50 pounds. I had shed almost 15% body fat. I looked leaner. I felt better.
But I didn’t feel great.
Losing the weight is one thing, but one of the biggest issues with a diet-only plan, is that you become “skinny fat”. I was lean, but I wasn’t strong. I was skinny. Some folks even said I was “too skinny”.
Evolution: The Natural Result of Dedication
So in November of 2018, I decided to join the gym and stumbled upon an amazing company that created some amazing products that would help to facilitate not only a healthier “me,” but a stronger, better husband and father.
By the summer of 2019, I had put on about 15 pounds of muscle and was no longer embarrassed to be seen without a shirt at the beach. I spent more time with my kids at the pool and realized that the strength I was gaining wasn’t just physical, but mental as well. I felt better about myself, and the gym became a therapy for me; almost like church.
My health is great. I have a much better relationship with food (hell, I even eat Asparagus!) and it’s great to feel the way that I feel, and know that I’ve added time back to my life to provide for my family and see my kids (all THREE of them, now) grow up.
Interview With A Redefined Dad Bod
All right, this is your author speaking. One thing I’ve never been accused of is being a man of few words. So, before we get to the interview portion of this transformation spotlight, I’d like to point out a thing or two. When reading a story of anyone’s transformation, it can be easy to take yourself out of their shoes. This can be for any number of reasons, but from what I’ve found is that there are typically two types of reactions to hearing someone’s transformation story:
- Aversion: Maybe you’re just starting out. Maybe you’re just now considering the idea of considering starting out. But something about someone’s transformation elici
tsa negative response. To pull at random, maybe it’s keto that might cause you to unconsciously check out and think, That’s great Zach can do keto, but I’d never beable to cut out carbs. That’s crazy. That’s resistance speaking, it’s not YOU. That part of yourself that wants to stay comfortable, that might fear failure. If you’re feeling resistance, bring your awareness to that. It’s very possible it’s that resistance that’s kept you from achieving your goals, up until now.
- Relation: A familiarity of situations, or, even better, the ability to relate to aspects of someone’s story, even if the “plot” doesn’t apply to your own journey. It’s the differences we experience that allow us all to teach one another.
All right. You didn’t click on this article to hear me go all self-helpy on you. Let’s move on to the questions! How Zach is helping redefine the dad bod.
What was your biggest obstacle and how did you overcome it?
Time, temptation, the ease at which slipping back into comfort and old habits can happen.
How has Bucked Up helped with your journey?
Bucked UP helps to keep my mind clear and body fully energized at the gym, which in turn helps me to be a better person. It has helped my wife provide sustenance for our newborn (she’s taking the Bumped Up products). The apparel has even given me confidence in the gym and out around, to feel better about myself!
What do you do for motivation?
Never. Forget. My family.
What are your favorite Bucked Up products and flavors?
- Woke AF
What was the one thing that most impacted your success?
Honestly? It sounds so vain, but posting selfies on social media was a constant way of reminding myself of my progress and holding myself accountable.
Any advice you’d like to give to people looking to start their own journey?
Visualize a goal and never lose sight of it. Have short term goals that lead to long term goals. Challenge yourself, but make the challenges attainable. You’re not going to drop 50 pounds overnight, but if you make every day a little bit better than the day before it, you’re eventually going to get to where you want to be, and then you’re going to blow that goal out of the water!