How Ron Pereira transformed his Dad Bod by Learning to Love Active Living and Clean Eating and Achieved Fitness After 40 Success
Introduction to Ron Pereira, Famous Podcaster
Ron Pereira is a famous podcast host at Gemba Academy, entrepreneur, father of 7 and an amazing husband! He had spent many years building his castle and seemed to have forgotten about himself. As a teenager Ron was very active in wrestling, had a rock band and was thrilled to keep his health in check. One day he discovered that he was the epitome of the Dad bod, and he decided to do something about it! I had the pleasure of interviewing him and let’s see what he has to say!
What happened to make you want to take the steps to improve your health?
I have 7 kids and was convinced that if I didn’t change the way I lived my life my wife would end up raising them without me. There is also heart disease and cancer in my family so I don’t exactly have luck on my side either.
What was the main goal that you wanted to achieve?
Physically speaking I wanted to lose weight and feel better. Being overweight is no fun.
But I also wanted to improve other areas of my life such as being a better role model for my kids.
And I definitely wanted to be a better follower of Christ by living a more disciplined, intentional, life.
How did you determine what the best eating plan was to meet your goal?
My wife was feeding us healthy dinners long before I fully jumped on board… unfortunately I would ruin it with McDonalds for lunch and even late night runs to Sonic for my second dinner. Not even joking. But, to be sure, I learned a lot from my wife.
I also did a ton of research and ended up initially following more of a Paleo diet. I wasn’t strict Paleo though since I did some dairy and would have a beer every once in awhile.
But, in the end, the biggest change I made to my diet was to radically reduce the amount of processed sugar I consumed. This definitely included any sort of sugary drink like Coke or even Gatorade which is full of sugar. I also cut out fast food… man I used to love Big Macs but can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten one!
The more I have learned about nutrition the more I’m convinced that, in the end, you must put yourself into a calorie deficit to lose weight. This is why diets like keto, or Paleo, or the Zone if you’re into CrossFit all work. They help you get into a calorie deficit meaning you burn more than you take in.
Today I wouldn’t say I eat Paleo. Instead, I’d say I try to eat clean. I do eat more grains than I used to. I eat a lot of rice to help replenish glycogen for my workouts. A rule I try to use is to only eat food that would go bad if I left it out on the counter.
With this all said, my family and I follow more of an 90/10 rule. We eat really clean 90% of the time… but once in awhile we’ll order, and enjoy, some pizza. And, yes, when my 4-year-old brings me a piece of birthday cake I eat it! I definitely believe in balance.
How did you determine what your best movement plan was to meet your goal?
I asked a friend of mine to help me with this initially. He is a CrossFit coach and he started me off slowly with some basic body weight workouts. I remember that first workout: 10 push-ups, 10 crunches (because I could barely do a real sit-up), and 10 air squats. It made me sore the next day. Yes, I was extremely out of shape!
I slowly got into more serious CrossFit and up until a few months ago it’s all I did. Unfortunately, I’d say I was overdoing it a little and I was starting to break down. I was working out hard 6 days per week and it was taking its toll on me. I was getting sick more often and while I never did blood work to confirm I’m pretty sure my hormones (like Cortisol) were messed up.
So, for the last few months I’ve moved to a combination of strength training with a few CrossFit style workouts sprinkled in. I’m feeling strong as ever and my life is far more balanced. I now lift heavy weights (back squat, bench, overhead press, dead-lift, and barbell rows) 3 times per week and I mix in a medium intensity CrossFit style workout 1, sometimes 2, times per week.
How did you fit your movement plan into your busy life?
To answer this I need to mention another pivotal event. When I first started to eat clean and work out a few buddies and I also started a 90-day spiritual exercise called Exodus 90.
For 90 days we gave up alcohol, sweets, all media and TV (including cell phones) that weren’t work related. We also took ice cold showers and committed to “vigorous exercise” over the course of our Exodus.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I can safely say it changed me as a man. You see, in addition to being fat and out of shape I was also extremely lazy when it came to my spiritual life.
So, over the course of these 90 days I learned just how truly addicted we all are to media and how much time is wasted scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
I say all of this to make the point that once I cut all that garbage from my life finding 30 to 60 minutes to work out was quite easy.
I have now developed the habit of working out in the morning and rarely miss. It’s a part of my life now and not doing it feels out of place.
What is the most important change that you have experienced because of the changes that you made?
Gosh, where to start? I’m glad I’m able to show my kids what hard work and self-discipline result in.
And, from a physical perspective, I’m able to be more productive at work and at home. If my son wants to throw the football for an hour I can do it. If I need to crawl around in a 100-degree attic running wires I can do it.
And, yes, I feel great and probably look better than most guys on the beach. But, listen, I’m 45-years-old and drive a minivan… so I definitely keep things in perspective!
Can you describe one of your typical days, including your work outs and the type of foods you are eating?
I aim to get 8 hours of sleep. I can’t stress how important sleep is for my recovery.
When I first wake up I do my spiritual workout which always involves reading Scripture and some spiritual reflections.
Then, on days I work out, I head out to my barn that’s been transformed into a killer little workout space. I work out for an hour or so and then eat for the first time. I normally have a grass-fed whey protein shake made with raw milk from a local farmer. I add some creatine and glutamine to the shake along with a frozen banana. It’s so good!
Then I head to work. I’ll have a cup of organic coffee with a little organic heavy whipping cream and a teaspoon of organic sugar to knock the edge off.
For lunch I normally have a balanced meal. Sometimes it’s rice, chicken, and veggies. Sometimes I may run to Subway where I get a flatbread + chicken breast sandwich piled with tons of veggies. Like I mentioned earlier, I do eat quite a few carbs. I learned early on that my performance in the gym is much better when I’m burning glycogen.
For a snack I’ll eat some nuts or a Larabar. Something like that. And I drink a TON of water throughout the day.
As I mentioned earlier, my wife is very careful with what we eat at home so dinner is almost always healthy. Meat. Veggies. That sort of thing.
How would you recommend other middle-aged people to address waning health in mid life?
First, stop drinking sugar like soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, etc. And once you stop that greatly reduce the amount of processed sugar you eat. Then focus on eating real foods by staying to the outside of your grocery store. You should only go to the middle aisles when you need dish soap and toilet paper! Food in boxes is almost always bad.
After that I think it’s really important to find some sort of movement pattern you enjoy. I really like to lift weights and do short, intense, workouts. But others may hate this. So find what works for you.
If you’ve not exercised in years start slow, slow, slow. Just go out for a walk a few times per week. Then turn it into a slow jog. Slow and steady wins the race.
I’ll also say it can be incredibly helpful to find a workout partner. My wife has a good friend that joins her every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning to work out. They enjoy chatting with each other which is how they get through the workouts. They rarely, if ever, miss.
The last thing I will say is don’t wait until you’re 40! Man how I wish I would have cleaned things up when I was 30. It would have been so much easier. And who knows how many years I took off my life from being so out of shape for so many years.
How do you plan to ensure that these plans are sustainable?
My “why” is solid. I know being fit makes me a better husband, father, and business owner. I also believe it helps me be a better follower of Christ as it reinforces the importance of self-discipline and sacrifice.
But, practically speaking, I have developed the habit of working out and eating clean. It’s the way I live my life now. So I no longer have to think about it. I just do what I know needs to be done.
As you can see, Ron was able to include his lifestyle changes into his life with the help of his wife and kids. You can see on his social media that he includes all but the youngest of his children!
Takeaway #1: You are never too far gone to make changes!
Takeaway #2: You are the only one who can make these changes!
Takeaway #3: You can involve your loved ones rather than leaving them behind!
My book, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating– can help you begin YOUR journey! Buy it now on the banner!