One Man's Journey Underground: K9 Unit

"The results of my issues had led me to balloon up to 305 pounds.  I felt horrible both physically and mentally.  I went from a guy who enjoyed Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and sparring with friends to a guy who was happy just sitting on the couch while not at work.  When I say I sat on the couch I really mean that on my days off from work I would get out of bed, turn on the TV and either watch movies or play video games and not really move unless I had to get out to get something or the lawn had grown to a jungle-like state and had to be mowed.

That kind of lifestyle would not be good for anyone, but I am currently a K9 Officer so my assignment puts me at the greatest risk of encounters with armed and violent people, because that is one of the jobs of a K9 handler is to find and secure suspects who are wanted for or have just committed serious misdemeanor or felony offenses.  On top of that I am statistically at the top of the risk bracket for officers who are killed in the line of duty either from violent assault or heart attack because of my age and time on the road.  So needless to say that even though I am 6’4” tall, 305 pounds was not a good weight for patrol work and I was doing a disservice to my department and community I serve by not being healthy.  Even knowing that, and feeling that way, I still didn’t put in the work.  I was happy playing video games and living on a half of a gallon of soda a night and two hot dogs for my nightly meal.

While I was living off of horrible nutrition and wearing out my TV I had two close friends suffer stroke events.  One was in the ICU for a month and was in very fragile condition for a long time.  The other was a less serious event, but they were also in much better shape than I was and only a few years older than I am.  The stroke events of our friends caused my wife a great deal of stress not just for our friends, but she started to be concerned for my health as well.  She repeatedly asked me to make some lifestyle changes and go to my doctor.  I finally broke down and went with her to see the doctor.  Of course my weight was an issue and my vitamin D was extremely low due to working nights and eating and drinking nothing but crap.  My blood pressure was normal, but to be honest I was surprised it was.  My doctor also said that my testosterone level was very low, but that he would not put me on a treatment until I committed to making some changes to my diet and fitness habits.  Leaving the doctor’s office my wife was armed with all kinds of “you have to do this now the doctor says so.”

Now, let me be clear, I have always been a big guy and was never really interested in working out so when you say things like 'diet and nutrition' to me all I heard was, "no more bratwurst or cheeseburgers," so I was really reluctant to make the changes, but I knew it was important to my wife and it was important for mine and everyone's safety at work.  I knew I needed to change, but I needed help, again it was obvious I had no idea what I was doing.  Armed with a new desire for change I fired up the computer and started following Travis again on social media.  He happened to post a simple tip about using grapes as a substitute for sugar cravings.  That tip led to me looking at his other posts and evaluating my whole meal situation and needs during my ten hour night shift.  I was armed with a plan now and with the help of my wife for meal prep I started taking my lunch and healthy snack options to work and kept them in my car with me.  I loaded up with a gallon jug of water and was determined to not drink soda while working.  The fruit substitute worked for me and helped me turn a corner that was really holding me back from being healthy. 

The next information I read from Travis was about tips to be active and feel better when you start your day.  I figured the fruit thing worked so I would try the stretching after waking up.  With starting to eat better and just a little physical activity I was starting to feel better, not great, but better.  The eight weeks passed and my doctor scheduled me for some new blood work.  I had lost a little bit of weight and the vitamin D prescription he put me on helped with that level, but my testosterone level was still very low.  I left the office with a script for testosterone.  To be honest I was happy to get the treatment, but I knew that I could not fall back into my old habits and that I actually needed to start to do some kind of fitness activity.  I had a 44 pound kettlebell sitting around that I used while I was grappling all of the time so I decided to knock the dust off of it and start using it again.  It was embarrassing the weight was heavy and I could barely do anything with it.  I was actually ashamed of myself that I had gone from being in reasonable grappling shape to a 305 pound man who had stopped caring about himself to the point a 44 pound kettlebell was an intimidating weight.  At that moment I knew all of the work I had put in to be an officer that my partners were glad was on the way to help them had slipped away.  I was becoming a guy who would just get in the way.

Filled with a sense of desperation I went back to the things Travis told me while doing Jiu Jitsu which I basically boiled down for myself as eat right, get strong and the rest will fall into place.  I knew this would work because it came from Travis and I know he knows what he is doing so I watched the videos, I read the articles at and I started to live differently.  I can now say that with the tips and motivation and philosophy from Underground Gym in four months I am 30 pounds lighter, I’m keeping a food diary for tracking and accountability, I’m drinking a gallon of water a day, and I feel great.  I am starting to see definition in my arms and shoulders.  I attacked that 44 pound kettlebell like I was killing snakes and I ordered two 53 pound kettlebells that I was determined to start using.  Not only am I doing a double kettlebell workout with my 53 pounders, I went one step further and ordered a 70 pounder and have started doing some of my workouts with it and I don’t plan on backing off of them anytime soon!

I can’t tell you what the Underground lifestyle will be for you or anyone else who lives it I can only sum up my experience.  For me I work out at home in my living room at 5am after a ten hour work day.  I keep a row of kettlebells I nicknamed the cast iron crew in front of my TV so if the guy I was tries to show up he has to look at them when he sees the TV.  My rule is I can’t turn the TV on after work until I do at least 100 swings and I am proud to say I have never done just the minimum in four months.  As far as the diet goes my wife and I do the meal prep on our first day off and we usually end up prepping and freezing about 20 meals at a time.  The items in the meals are based off of a nutrition plan received from Travis.  The reason the Underground lifestyle works is because it’s based in tried and true tactics delivered to you by a coach that is honest and out for the people he helps best interest.  Have I gotten information from other sources? Sure I have, but I always compare it to and base my opinion about it from the information I receive from Travis.  I know now that I didn’t need a gym I needed a lifestyle.  Though I don’t move iron in the physical gym I still know I am part of the Underground community, because it is a lifestyle!  If you need a change, if you need help, you need a guide!  Go with Travis!"

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