Luke Ross is one of those people you instantly love. He’s charming, warm, and makes you feel worthwhile. He’s been the best brother an only child can dream of. I love all of him. And over the last few years, there’s been less of him to love. Nearly 200 pounds less, and counting. Here’s our Chaos interview with the man who is being more fit and healthy every day.
1. Change is hard. So hard most people don’t even start. What initiated your life changing path?
Initially, my desire to become a healthier person was driven by the fact that I was about to get married and was thinking about starting a family. The thought of starting a family with someone and then dying before I was 50 basically scared the living hell out of me. I kept thinking to myself, “What kind of person marries someone, has a couple of kids, and then dies all because I was too selfish to make better eating choices and be more active?”
That was back in October of 2011. Since then a lot has changed. My motivation comes from the fact that I enjoy this new lifestyle that I have established. Also I have shown myself, and everyone I know, that I can be healthier than I was; so now there is no reason not to be.
2. We all have goals and dreams and aspirations. But a lot of the time excuses, obstacles, and road blocks get in the way. You seem to have figured out to avoid those pitfalls, how?
There is absolutely NO way to avoid obstacles and road blocks. You need to accept that early in your journey and just make a promise to yourself, “No matter what happens to you today, tomorrow is coming around the corner and you can make it better.”
Anyone that is close to me knows that the last 8-12 months have been full of twists, turns, ups, downs, and a lot of negativity. But every morning I wake up, put my pants on one leg and a time and get my shit handled!
3. Chaos teaches folks to incorporate fitness into their lives. Like healthy eating, we want people to make real changes that they keep, instead of short term changes they HATE. What changes have you made for keeps?
I love lifting weights in a bodybuilding/power lifting style. Out of all the activities that I do for fitness it is what keeps me going back. So I will always to continue to do that. I challenge myself by going for a new personal best, whether it be overall weight lifted or the number of reps that I can do with a particular weight.
Additionally I have really enjoyed the way my body feels when I put good wholesome foods in it. I enjoy cooking these foods and trying new recipes. I know that I will never go back to my old college diet of Pizza, Fast Food, and soda everyday.
4. Speaking of change, what is your routine regarding fitness, food, and mental health.
For fitness my primary routine involves some form of traditional weight lifting. I typically will lift 3-5 days a week and then on the days that I am not lifting I will do some sort of cardiovascular activity whether it be on a treadmill, elliptical, playing a sport, or just taking a walk.
I keep my diet super simple and easy because for me that is what works the best. I eat the same meals at the same times 5-6 days a week and they consist of egg whites, oatmeal, chicken, rice and veggies. My dinners each night I will change up between a few things and then typically on the weekends I am a bit more relaxed with it and might even enjoy the occasional slice of pizza or something like that, but it all comes in moderation.
For my mental health, I am an individual that luckily has pretty decent mental health day to day. I don’t let a lot of stuff really bother me because I know that everything happens for a reason, it’s just sometimes hard to figure that out. At this point in my life I have already had the “Worst Day” of my life. So if something is going wrong, I think back to a couple of those worst days and ask myself, “Is this worse than that?” 99% of the time, people are going to have already experienced something worse than they are right now. If that didn’t kill them, then this won’t either.
5. What have you lost and gained on this journey, and I’m not talking weight?
Through this journey I have lost quite a lot of things. I have lost friends. I have lost grandparents and relatives. I have lost the woman that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with and I have honestly lost a bit of the old me as well.
A few of the things that I have lost are going to be sorely missed but I take comfort in the family that I have, because they are the best.
The things that I have gained throughout all this are indescribable. There are many things that people take for granted, that used to be so difficult for me. It’s insane. I have proven to myself there is nothing I cannot do if I put my mind to it. I have shown myself that I am stronger and more confident then I ever thought possible. Now let me tell you, it is a great feeling to know that you are an awesome person.
6. Life has a way of lifting you up, but damn it, sometimes throwing shit at you too. How do you keep trudging through the muck when you have weeks of not losing, or even gaining weight?
I keep going because I have to. Simple as that! I have to keep going for myself and for all the people that have come to think of me as a motivator for their own journeys. There is absolutely no reason in this world, or another, for me to quit.
7. When or what circumstances triggered old behaviors or bad habits?
Being around certain people that I used to know can sometimes trigger bad eating habits or being around people that aren’t as conscious about what they are eating can sometimes make me have a poor meal choice. But I know that it’s going to happen. So if it does, you just have to plan the rest of your day around that and you can make up for it.
A lot of people feel that if they make a mistake then the whole day or week is ruined. They will then make more and more bad choices. If you make a mistake just be honest with yourself say that was really stupid and get back on track.
8. “It takes a village” they say. Do you have a support system through this journey?
I have the absolute best support system in the entire freaking universe! If you were paying attention early, I said take comfort in the family I have. Well for me, my family includes most of my friends as well. I am blessed with knowing some of the most amazing people that have ever been put on this planet. I don’t consider them to be friends they are just part of my family.
There is no way I could have made it through this last 8-12 months without them. My wife decided that she no longer loved me and left. Just when I was moving on from her leaving, my grandfather, who had been the rock that my family stood on, passed away. After that I lost a couple Uncles and things were just super crappy for me. But because of the people that I have surrounded myself with, I was able to trudge on one day at a time. They let me cry to them, they let me yell, we hit things, threw things, and utterly destroyed things. We laughed, we drank, we sang, and we came out on the other side better then we were when we started.
This journey that I am on has effected more people than just me, it has some sort of an effect on anyone that has been there with me through any part of it.
9. How does this journey continue, is there an end? Or just new beginnings?
The only end in this journey was the end of my old self. I will continue with what I am doing with the understanding that I will have to evolve and change as my body changes.
There will most likely be some new beginnings, new friends, new relationships, sadly some of those will end, hopefully some of those won’t. But the one thing that I truly like about health/fitness/lifting is that no matter what day it is, or how shitty things were, or how great things were, it’s there for me. Health and Fitness will always challenge me and help me work through my frustrations.
This lifestyle that I have developed in the gym is my therapy. If I have a bad day, I go lift. If I have a good day, I go lift. If I have a lot on my mind, I go lift.
10. So, you’re going to be an American Ninja Warrior, right?
YES! I am going to be able to do the obstacles to the best of my ability. I won’t be perfect at them but I will be able to do them.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THE SUPPORT! CHAOS WILL BE FOLLOWING LUKE’S CONTINUED JOURNEY, FOLLOW US, and LUKE on facebook: www.facebook.com/chaoscourse