Coach’s note: We are so proud of Larry’s progress and have found his hard work and motivated spirit to be such a positive influence on everyone around him. Keep it up Larry – we are supporting you!
My Calibrated Journey
By Larry Stalica
It has been hard to take that I will be approaching my 40th birthday next June. I have always been athletic but carried around a few extra pounds. I was fortunate to grow up in Brocton NY, the home town of the 1980 winner of the worlds strongest man and power lifting legend Don Reinhoudt. I lifted my first weights in the small garage gym that Don and several professional athletes trained in. Don was very generous with his time and got me hooked on power lifting, I was a stand out high school football player and collegiate athlete. Working out was always a big part of my life. After college I continued to powerlift and compete in several AAUP sanctioned events, winning several in my age group. It seems like it was so long ago as I struggle to even remember the weights I was capable of. I do remember my last competition putting up a total of 1700 lbs for the win. I still have the dusty trophy stored away in the basement. After I completed my undergrad and masters training I worked as a Healthcare Executive with a passion for Artificial Heart and Transplant therapies. My weight and fitness slowly started to get away from me. In 2011, I began to take my fitness a bit more serious again. I had worked with a personal trainer and was beginning to see some significant changes in my conditioning and appearance. I had slimmed down to 250 pounds and was biking 100 miles a week on top of 5 daily workouts. I was feeling great and had seen significant results! Not long after my 35th birthday things fell apart for me physically. I had been slowly losing mobility in my left hip after years of abuse. I will never forget the day after a long bike ride along Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington NC my left hip suddenly locked up. I saw an orthopedic surgeon immediately and was told I needed a total left hip replacement! This procedure was done through a minimum invasive approach, and I was back playing tennis and competed in my first triathalon in no time. I was as good as new for about six months until one day walking up some steps at work I felt a sharp pain in my left hip. I immediately went to the surgeon and was told that my implant had moved and needed to be replaced ASAP. I reluctantly agreed and proceeded. Following the second replacement I was unable to recover. I walked with a cane or crutches for months. I began to gain significant amounts of weight as I was unable to participate in any activities. I knew it would be a mistake to allow the same surgeon to continue my care. I came to Cincinnati and was told that the second replacement had not healed and was in need of having it replaced again. The third replacement did not go smooth at all. It was an 8 hour procedure and my femur shattered as the new implant was placed. My femur was banded back together and I was non weight bearing for three months. I spent this entire time in a hospital bed and was bound to a wheel chair. My recovery was slow and painful. I was able to get back to work in about 8 months. I spent several months in an aqua therapy pool learning to walk again. I finally gave up on physical therapy when they told me this was about as good as it would get. I spent the next year busy at work putting together the team at the University of Cincinnati to start the Heart Transplant program. I am embarrassed to say that I ballooned up to 425 pounds. It was then I decided that enough was enough and it was embarrassing that the leader of the Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute looked like a heart attack himself. It was then I decided I would be fit by 40.
I started watching what I was eating and walking after the first of this year. I came across Calibrated by accident as I live in Anderson and spend most of the summer on my boat the “Recovery Room” that is docked at Four Seasons marina. I saw some of you running out the door one Saturday and I emailed Arjuna that very day. I have always been a high energy guy and new I needed to become part of something bigger than myself to stay at it. I started with Arjuna on the 4th of April. I couldn’t even muster enough strength to do a push up. I will never forget the first five minutes I spent on the assault bike. I’m amazed that I came back for a second work out. I knew from day one that Arjuna and I would be a good fit. I have worked out 5 days a week since that day without missing a single workout.
Since I began at Calibrated, I have lost 109 pounds to date. I have watched my body transform on a daily basis. I have seen people I haven’t seen in months and they hardly recognize me! Every thing I do is easier. Whether it is washing the boat, climbing on the roof or carrying supplies to the boat. I haven’t water skied in 15 years and a couple weeks ago I put on the skis, grabbed the rope, and skied longer and harder than I ever have. That was the defining moment for me. I knew that my body was still capable of getting into excellent shape. I ran a 5K in a workout a few weeks ago! All I could think about was that a short time ago, I was unable to walk at all. I have noticed that my condition has improved each and every day. I am completing workouts faster than I ever could have imagined.
My goals keep getting ramped up as my fitness improves. I am hopeful to be able to complete all the gymnastic skills that are used in the workouts but the end of my first year in CrossFit. I would also like to compete in a competition when Arjuna thinks I am ready.
The thing that has kept me so consistent with my workouts has been the continual progress I have seen. I have made the commitment to be extremely fit by my 40th birthday and I will do what it takes to achieve that goal. I would also like to complete in an RX masters competition next year.
Since I have been training at Calibrated I have noticed improvements in every aspect of my life. My cholesterol is now normal. I no longer take blood pressure medicine. I sleep better. I have always had too much energy but now the joke is that I have become too intense and have gratuitous amounts of energy. I have pep in every step. Getting my health and fitness in order has made me better in every aspect of my life.
The thing that has surprised me the most since I have been training is that I have fallen in love with the Olympic lifts. I was always a diehard bench, squat, deadlift guy! It has been frustrating that my loads have not increased as much as I would have liked them too. I have battled significant mobility issues and Arjuna has been masterful at holding me back to prevent injury. I also have to say that I have fallen in love with the burpee. The first Saturday workout I did at Calibrated had them and I was utterly embarrassed by how pathetic and out of shape I was. When I do them now, they still suck but I feel like a different person. My favorite workouts at the gym usually include the rower, the burpee and a barbell movement.
I have been asked by a lot of people who have watched my transformation for advice on how to see it through. I often reply and tell them that I have no idea because I’m not done yet. But I will say that I have been motivated by becoming the best me I can be. I try to take things one day at a time and focus on each movement and set. If you can’t find a way to make fitness a healthy habit and part of who you are, it will never last. It has been easy for me to stay focused because I know what it feels like to be unable to walk. I often am full with emotion as I run these days, I was told it would never happen again! Well all I have to say to the surgeon is suck it! I ran five 1,000 meter intervals today. But on a serious note, being fit makes you better at everything you do.
I would also like to thank the Calibrated family for being so welcoming to me. I have enjoyed getting to know many of you! Brittany has also helped me more than she knows by putting together the nutritional framework that has made my weight loss successful. I would also like to thank Arjuna for all the time he has invested in me. The first day we worked out together I told him my biggest expectation of him was to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. I also told him that I would promise to be the biggest transformation he has ever seen. He may have looked at me like I was crazy but I believe I am holding up my end of the bargain. I have yet to determine where my goal weight will be. I am excited to see what it feels like to train without a calorie deficit! I have some lofty goals for myself and my performance, I would love to share them but you all would think I am crazy. I will just have to show you all!
If Larry were to name a workout after himself, it would be:
- Heavy Deadlifts
- Medball Ground to Shoulder
- Kettlebell Goblet Squat
+ 200ft sled push cashout
via @brittanysmith_calibrated Proudest moment @calibratedcrossfit is this story by @captain7413 – keep working hard, we are right there with you! “I will never forget the day after a long bike ride…my left hip suddenly locked up. I…was told I needed a total left hip replacement! (Larry went on to get this hip replaced for a total of 3 separate times, due to complications) My recovery was slow and painful. I finally gave up on physical therapy when they told me this was about as good as it would get. I am embarrassed to say that I ballooned up to 425 pounds. It was then I decided I would be fit by 40. Since I began at Calibrated (CrossFit) I have lost 109 pounds to date. I have watched my body transform on a daily basis. I have seen people I haven’t seen in months and they hardly recognize me! Every thing I do is easier. I haven’t water skied in 15 years and a couple weeks ago I put on the skis grabbed the rope and skied longer and harder than I ever have. That was the defining moment for me. Since I have been training at Calibrated I have noticed improvements in every aspect of my life. My cholesterol is now normal. I no longer take blood pressure medicine. I sleep better. I have pep in every step. Getting my health and fitness in order has made me better in every aspect of my life. I also have to say that I have fallen in love with the burpee. The first workout I did at Calibrated had them and I was utterly embarrassed by how pathetic and out of shape I was. When I do them I know they still suck but I feel like a different person.” Full story coming soon on our website @calibratedcrossfit @crossfit #crossfit #crossfitworks #thisshitisreal #burpees