A former high school quarterback, Chandler grew up with the cycle of weekly weight training, football practice, and Friday night games. After years of wear and tear on his joints thanks to the demands of football, Chandler decided to go in a different direction with his fitness in college by experimenting with his diet and exercise. Now a member at O2 Fitness Park Place, he sets specific goals to challenge himself and push his mind and body beyond their limits.
When did you start your fitness journey? Why did you start?
I started out playing high school football as the quarterback, so I did a lot of functional training on the field and strength building in the weight room. I was one of the stronger people on my team, so I would workout with the offensive linemen and do practices out on the field 5 days a week. I'd wake up and train in the morning, then go to school, then practice, and then have Friday night games.
I loved it and I signed to play in college but decided not to move forward with it. Then, I kind of transitioned the way I work out and moved into bodybuilding.
What about bodybuilding appealed to you?
I was interested in bodybuilding because I didn’t need to do the sports-focused strength training anymore that I had been doing. There just wasn’t a functional reason for me to do it. I wanted less stress on my joints and wanted to avoid all of the issues that come with that kind of training. My lifestyle became more about putting a diet into my day-to-day life and really focusing my body towards different goals.
How did you know how to change your workouts?
Trial and error. I'd do lifts focused more on bodybuilding and I started to learn more about diet by watching influencers on social media platforms like Youtube and Instagram. That’s where a lot of my knowledge comes from. Changing your diet is huge. If you're trying to change how your body works, I'm a firm believer that your diet is 80 percent of it and your workouts are 20 of it.
I've continued building off the knowledge I gain and base my workouts off of that. I go through phases of trying to lose wight or gain weight. I'll introduce something new into my diet. I'm always curious to see how my body reacts to different things.
Why do you continue to prioritize fitness in your life?
I want to stay healthy and live a long time so I can be around for my kids and my family. I want to be able to do things when I get older and not be challenged by any physical or health ailments. That’s a big reason I continue to incorporate it into my daily life. That and it makes me happy.
What motivates you to get out of bed and head to the gym?
The goals that I set for myself and knowing that to accomplish them I have to get up and do them. No goal you set is going to be done without an attitude of commitment towards it. I used to take it a lot harder on myself if I missed a workout, but I've learned that you can be very flexible if the lifestyle you're living is overall healthy. You can be a lot more flexible with your fitness every day if you eat well. It’s also a mindset thing. If you're not as healthy all the time, you feel regret. But if I eat a pizza and I worked out today, I don't feel as bad.
How do you stay motivated with a healthy diet and consistent fitness routine?
When I see progress toward my goals, it helps me progress further to where I want to be. A lot of my diet has been experimenting. I counted my macros when I needed to cut. I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t.
Do you ever get off track?
With fitness? No. I've weaved it into my day. It's on my calendar. You have to say, "I'm going from this time to this time and I'm going to be efficient with my time when I'm there." If you miss a day, get over and get past it. The more you worry about it, it's going to bother you internally so just get back on track tomorrow. You have to be observant of how often that’s happening. If it's something that continues to come up, how committed are you to what you're doing?
What would you say to someone who wants to start a fitness journey this year?
The simplest thing to do is be active. Do something each day where you are being active. Whether that is walking on a treadmill or going to the gym or doing some sort of cardio or weight training, do your research before you go so you're making the best out of your time there. Get a personal trainer. If you have a plan when you go, you're going to be a lot more motivated to do it. I'm all about efficiency. I like doing something properly so I don’t waste my time. I like focusing on what things are effective.
What inspires you?
I would say first my wife does. She is going down this fitness journey as well, so she keeps me on track and I keep her on track. I'm also very self-motivating. I set these goals and I expect myself to get to them. I want to see how far I can push myself and be the best version of myself possible and really understand completely how my body reacts to different things.
What advice would you give to someone who hits a plateau or who needs fresh motivation?
The biggest thing you can do is switch up the way you're training. Specifically for me with lifting weights and doing bodybuilding, if I get to a point where I'm not progressing, I need to change the way I'm working out whether it's sets and reps schemes, training split, changing up your diet, or introducing a new variable and seeing how you react to them. There are plateaus you can hit but you can get past them.
When you’re doing something really tough, what do you tell yourself to get through it? How do you finish?
I remind myself that I've decided to do what I'm doing for a reason. There's a goal in sight. Why did I want to get to this goal? I tell myself that these are the steps I need to get there.
In terms of my fitness, the hardest thing I've done is an intense cut. At one point I was 205 lbs and I cut down to 183 lbs. My clothes didn’t fit anymore. That was very challenging to do. I thought, "Let's see how low I can go." That was where I was testing myself to see what happened if I cut down very far. It was difficult to do with the lack of calories. That was an extreme example from when I kind of wanted to see what happened to my body and my physique if I did that. I wanted to see what that effect would be on me. Appearance-wise I looked very lean, but I was tired and cranky.
What does "Look Forward" mean to you?
Look forward for progression. Set goals and make a conscious effort to truly determine where you want to go and how you're going to get there. And then get to work.
What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?
I have a goal to be the strongest that I’ve been in terms of actual numbers. I want to focus on what I’ve been doing in the past on the main lifts (bench press, deadlift, and squat) and then work to hit a PR for each of those. I've never focused on hitting a PR and I don’t usually train heavy with low reps. I usually do moderate to high reps on exercises, so this will be different and just something new I'm going to challenge myself with.