Inspired to start weight training to improve your fitness, health, physique, or confidence? Or, perhaps to lose some of the fat gained during these challenge days with the pandemic? This article will help you.
I interviewed a personal trainer, Elad Michaeli, who has his own fat-to-fit transformation story. Elad also provides us with some general advice to kickstart our fitness transformation journeys.
Elad’s Website and Social Media
An Interview with Online Personal Trainer Elad Michaeli
I had the opportunity to interview through email, Elad Michaeli, a 22-year-old (birth date 22-October (Libra)) personal and online trainer from Israel.
He has had several jobs. He started as a baker (bread, muffins, and cakes) to help bring in money to help his family. I was curious to see what things he baked were his favorites. It turns out he bakes and makes other meals. “Personally, I’m like a mini cook, I like making things in the kitchen (healthy mostly),” Elad said.
He does not have a sweet tooth (unlike me–I love carbohydrates, lol), explaining, “I would say bread is my favourite baked item because I don’t really like sweets. I’m more a meat guy. “
Elad joined the army when he was 18, but he also had a computer-based job. During this time, Elad also attended Wingate Academy where he studied fitness and nutrition.
In 2019, Elad started his personal training business, Elad Michaeli Fitness. Due to the pandemic with COVID-19 in 2020, he moved his training business online.
Elad is also a fitness influencer. At the time of the post, Elad has 118,000 followers on Instagram, and he has posted numerous workout demonstrations (even two with his cats) that could be done from home.
Elad told me that his girlfriend provides vital support for the Instagram page, as she behind the camera capturing the images.
According to a comment on one of his Instagram posts, Elad’s height is 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and his weight at that time was 153 pounds (69.6 kg).
Elad’s Fitness Transformation
While Elad has a detailed physique now, this was not always the case. Elad started his journey being overweight and an insecure 12-year-old, who wanted to make a change.
“Being overweight really bothered me, especially because everyone was laughing at me and made me feel even worse,” Elad explained. Due to the bullying that he endured, Elad was sad and spent time by himself. It was during this time that he decided to improve himself. Elad mentioned a motivation quote that was his inspiration “First they laugh at you, then they will ask for advice.” He admits that his journey was not always a straight path, but he was able to make progress with his brother’s support.
His brother enrolled him into a Muay Thai class, which he stated that he loved on his website. I asked more about Muay Thai, as I found out it is a full-contact combat sport. According to the Tiger Muay Thai website–
Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”; and using eight points of contact the body mimics weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operated as one unit. The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.
With someone who is insecure, it struck me as an unusual sport with which to start. Elad told me that the gym “was quite a small place with 10-15 people and all of them were 20+ years old.” He liked going to that gym precisely because he was the youngest person there. “Being 12 years old at that kind of place was odd but that [is] what I really liked about that place. He continued, “The fact that I could go someplace after school [where there were no kids] made me feel calm, and it was the first step to progression.”
My impression is that Elad being so young would make people cautious about having to hit a 12-year-old, especially if you are a young adult. As Elad grew older and bigger, by 15 years old, the other members of the gym began to spar with him for real. “[W]hen I grew up and was kinda big, they stopped feeling sorry [for] me,” Elad explained. He continued, “When we trained together, they hit me like I was one of them. [I]t made me feel [like I was part of] a small family.”
By the time Elad was 17, the atmosphere at the Muay Thai gym changed–new people joined and the trainer moved. Elad enjoyed being with the people at the gym before all the changes. So, he decided to leave the gym.
Elad’s parents signed papers allowing him to join a small gym. Elad found that the trainers were not helpful. “I remember the trainers that were there [were] extremely lazy. [They] always tried to hide so no one would ask them questions.” Elad admitted that he did not know what he was doing. He explained to me that he constructed a “brutal” training routine and that he had terrible form. He remained without injury, fortunately. He decided to start researching workout information on YouTube and in books.
I asked Elad about the books and YouTube videos that were most helpful to him. He mentioned Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. YouTubers that Elad idolized were Jeff Seid and Lazar Angelov. He copied their workout routines and exercise form.
Elad’s goal is to be “ripped and extremely strong.” Having followed his fitness journey for almost 10 years, Elad has had experience following different diets and training methods (for example, 5×5 and the push-pull-legs split routine). He is trying out calisthenics (see author’s note below), which he is incorporating with weight training.
Author’s note on calisthenics
Calisthenics is a popular fitness option. Calisthenics is mostly bodyweight exercises, movements, and holds. One of the major trainers the calisthenics area is Daniel Vadnal.
The Importance of Being Consistent with Training
“If only people understood how important it is to be consistent. Everything that has value in life is a product of consistency. Success, health, fitness, wealth, friendships, relationships, and all other aspirations are all about consistency.” (Sylvester McNutt III)
I asked for Elad’s reaction. He explained “I couldn’t agree more with Rowan’s quote, I believe [that being] consistent is the key to everything in life because you just can’t watch TV all day and wait for things to happen or get better. You gotta stick to something and work your way from there. My clients’ consistency had a huge part in their success, but I’m always trying to give my full support so they will remain consistent and achieve their goals.”
General Workout Tips from Elad for Our Workout Journeys
While interviewing Elad to learn more about his fitness transformation journey, I wanted to get his thoughts on helping people who are about to start their fitness journeys. With the challenging pandemic and its related lock-downs, people may have added some body fat that they want to lose as we look forward to a new year.
My questions are in bold and Elad’s response follows. (Edited for clarity.)
What advice do you have for a new person who is over 25 percent body fat and wants to start a training program?
“The best advice I could give to someone with over 25 percent is to start slow and progress, usually when my extremely overweight clients are telling me “I’m willing to give it all” and I build a kind of rough diet plan they just give up right away and when I’m building a diet with a low-calorie deficit, using [intermittent] fasting they seem to stick to the diet plan and they get better results.”
Would you recommend bodyweight exercises or maybe starting with elastic bands or dumbbells?
“I’d highly recommend incorporating bodyweight exercises because it all starts from there, being able to bench 200lbs and not doing 20 push-ups with the right technique is just not worth it and it’s not good for you being weak at bodyweight exercises especially on abs. Elastic bands and pair of dumbbells are more than enough. I’ve been using only bodyweight and some bands for 3 months due to the quarantine and I didn’t even lose 1 lb of muscle. A beginner would gain muscle during the process.”
Is there a good basic routine that would be good to start with as a new trainee?
A good routine to start as a beginner is the push-up, incorporating different variations, along with some squat variations and abs workouts. Definitely progress will be shown through this routine.
(Author’s note: This routine can be done at home.)
How much time should be a person work with a program to develop a healthy workout habit?
“Developing a healthy workout routine it’s in the mindset, I believe it can happen after a week, month and even longer it all depends how much it’s important to them.”
What is your advice on a cardio program?
“[M]y advice is to find the type of cardio that suits you the best and stick to that, if you don’t like running you can take your bike and if you don’t like the ground then swimming it’s. Same with cardio need to find something that you can stay consistent with.”
Any other general helpful tips you can think of?
“[E]veryone has their days that the motivation levels are down and they just want to quit but before doing that remember why you started in the first place.”
It was nice chatting with Elad over email about his fitness journey. It is an interesting story, and since Elad is 21 at the time that this post was written, there will be more success stories in the future.
I hope that general advice is helpful for readers seeking to start a fitness journey to lose lock-down fat gain.
If you have any questions for Elad, please leave them in the comments or send me an email.
Is there anything you would have asked Elad that was not asked in my interview? Did you feel inspired or encouraged by Elad’s transformation story? Please let me know your questions and reflections in the comments section.