Ryan Zehr, Certified Personal Trainer & PN1 Nutrition Coach
Since undergoing his own transformation and earning his credentials, Ryan has been busy at work as an intern with the MacroNutrition Coaching team to further his knowledge and better position himself to motivate, coach, and mentor others to excel on their own health and fitness journeys. Read on to learn more about Ryan’s inspiring story.
First, a little background about me…
Travel has always been a big interest of mine. I have worked in the airline industry for the past 15 years, and in doing this I’ve had the luxury of travelling to different parts of the world with my family.
Through travel, I have experienced many different cultures and gained a better understanding of how different parts of the world work. I think this is a hidden secret of development, and did not think of this until I created this post. Travel is a great opportunity for learning and growing – it forces you out of your comfort zone a bit, and shows you that you shouldn’t be scared to try new things.
Though I am incredibly grateful for all of my travel experience, I will say that nothing is like checking out your own backyard, and getting immersed in the beauty that our country offers. This is why I bought a camper to explore more of Canada with my family.
And now the good stuff — my health & fitness journey.
First and foremost – much of my motivation to help others achieve their goals comes from me achieving my own, and feeling great about it. I truly believe you need to “walk the walk to talk the talk”, which translates to being a role model for others.
When starting something new it’s very clear that there needs to be a catalyst to get you motivated, to get your feet off the ground, and blast off into the unknown; I call this finding your “why”. If we look at the beginning of where my journey started, I was in my early thirties; in the middle of the pandemic (the tail end of 2020 and gyms were still closed); overweight (my starting weight was 255lbs to be exact); slow and tired, with no cares in the world. What is even more discomforting looking back, is that I was COMFORTABLE with this!
I looked at my body in the mirror in Dec 2020 and thought “What is wrong with me? I used to be an athlete! Now I can’t look after myself, let alone my family!”. I was hiding Domino’s pizza boxes under my desk so my wife wouldn’t see; I was eating a 3-course meal at McDonald’s. This was a completely hidden and very secretive part of my life that I was ashamed about. This is where I found my “why”. I was sick of being comfortable with looking and feeling the way I did.
My “why” actually started out extremely selfish, as I made a choice to invest in myself and do something about it because NO ONE ELSE WAS GOING TO! This is where my journey began. This is what really lit the spark and made me get angry for allowing myself to go as far into the dumpster fire as I did. My mindset and mental state was everything to get the ball rolling.
I have always been in a team atmosphere whether it is at work, at home, or even on the ice (hockey). I have never taken an individual approach to things and always come at challenges with the belief that there will always be someone there to help and support you. I have adopted this approach to help me become successful, its ok to be vulnerable and ask for help every once in awhile. Almost every journey has been walked before, so it is important to consider this and realize those with experience often want to help. I want to be there for people and support them as best I can.
With my “why” identified, I then had to figure out how to make the changes required to transform myself both physically and mentally, this is where I needed the most help. Accountability was my number one enemy: I was headed full force at this monster who had defeated me so many times before. At this stage I was lucky enough to have some health benefits from my work that covered a portion of a Dietitian. This is where I was introduced to a company called MacroNutrition Coaching. This was my ticket out of the low zone.
The MN Coaching team was able to help me look at my lifestyle habits and assist me to change my mentality on what I’ve been fueling my body with. They required me to have weekly “accountability” calls to review any physical activity I’ve done, acted as a sound board for how I was navigating my week with my lifestyle and personal goals in mind, coached me on what I could do differently, and – most importantly of all – prepare me for the weekends to come. (Weekends were the enemy… but not anymore!).
At the end of the day, you need to find some way to keep yourself accountable through any change process, whether it is weight loss, learning something new, or generally taking a leap into the unknown. One of the best things about the program is that I could still enjoy a “wing Wednesday” or a burger from my favorite fast-food place; I just had to change my perspective around these events. Specifically, I had to (and still do!) look at my week as a whole and adjust my eating appropriately so I could still have those fun foods while maintaining progress.
I love the saying by Lao Tzu, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. I wanted to learn but also teach myself to be better. Finding your why is the ignition sequence to engage yourself and finding the mindset you need to tackle any project. Holding yourself accountable is a key ingredient that will support success in any endeavor.
I am beyond excited to have started into a journey of health, nutrition, and fitness and I want to coach, teach, and motivate others while becoming an influencer of positive healthy change. Changing my environment from ok–to good–to great–to awesome and becoming a beacon of hope that helps keep people accountable and motivated.
My new journey includes becoming a Nutrition Coach with the Precision Nutrition and Certified Personal Trainer with the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), and the learning only continues as I intern for MacroNutrition Coaching.
Lastly, planning and organizing your day to keep on track with your goals is essential; and this doesn’t have to be a weight loss goal – it can be any goal. But this seemingly simple action helped me not only lose 50 plus pounds but reach goals I never thought I could achieve.