It Hurts So Good


Max, with his friend Mike, enjoying pizza at the end of a night out in 2010

Max Trevino is a 29 year-old facilities lead from Chicago who learned how to redefine his idea of what it means to live a fit lifestyle (with a little help from his friends).

By the end of summer, Max was doing a lot more than burpees

By the end of summer, Max was doing a lot more than burpees

When Max’s friend Danny invited him to workout on Logan Blvd back in March of 2012, he didn’t really know what to expect. Yeah, he’s into sports, but at 230 pounds, Max never really considered himself a fitness kind of guy. As Danny tells it, “He showed the first day not knowing what a burpee is, but now he is best friends with them.”

Earlier that year, Max decided to become more active by joining a weekly bowling league. As the weather got warmer, he found more opportunities to socialize with his friends and be active at the same time. In addition to bowling and meeting Danny (and myself) for high intensity interval workouts on the boulevard, Max joined a kickball team, then came football, “It all just naturally went hand-in-hand with working out, so I took a stand and made a goal to shed the extra weight and feel better about myself.”

Max credits “weekly boot camp and high impact exercises with friends,” for getting him motivated and helping him enjoy exercise. “Having friends there [made] it social and fun. But it wasn’t all games at all.” Max affectionately refers to Danny as the “Workout Nazi,” due to his relentless passion for creating torturous interval workouts and demand for accountability. In order to be prepared for the Saturday morning workout, Max knew he had to be accountable to exercising more than just one day a week. He started adding workouts at home a couple times a week, and took advantage of the gym at his office, where he was able to receive help and guidance about weight lifting from his coworker/lifelong friend, Osama.  With a little persuasion, and by, “supplying endless motivation and positive reinforcements,” (Max’s words, not mine) I was able to convince him to start running more than just the regular sprints at the end of every interval. He started out by running a few warm-up laps around the boulevard before workouts, then showing up an hour before kickball to run around the park, and eventually doing 3-4 miles around Logan Square.  By October 2012, Max ran his first official 5k on the runway of O’Hare Airport.

“I have a great support system, and that means a lot, but change starts with the individual alone. I thanked everyone that ever helped me, and I always received the sentiment back that [I was the one] who did all the hard work, so [I had to] thank myself too.”

Clockwise from top left: Max doing sprints with a parachute; Max and Danny stretching after a workout session; Max jumping hurdles on a Saturday morning; Max at the end of one of his first workouts suffering the wrath of Danny's enthusiasm

Clockwise from top left: Max doing sprints with a parachute; Max and Danny stretching after a workout session; Max jumping hurdles on a Saturday morning; Max at the end of one of his first workouts suffering the wrath of the “Workout Nazi”

Once winter hit Chicago, outdoor workouts on the boulevard were put on hold. Max was still running outside every now and then, but it was his commitment to the Insanity home workout program that really kept his progress going. He started the two month program in January of 2013, and credits the completion of the series for dipping the scale into the, “hunnids.” Currently at 195 pounds, he’s been steadily in the “hunnids” ever since, “…within the last few months, I’ve been consistent with my own programs to keep shedding and toning.”

Max measures success mostly by how he feels, and sets goals to keep himself in line. One of his first goals was being able to tuck a dress shirt in without feeling self-conscious. While he didn’t really notice a change in himself right away, other people started pointing it out to him; his hard work was definitely paying off. Max started noticing his clothes fitting more loosely, “There was no better feeling than when I actually fit into a [size] Large shirt when I would usually wear XXL.” Though he does also admit, “I’m chronic with checking the scale almost every day, and that didn’t always help; I definitely weigh myself excessively.”

Max accomplished his goal, but won't be stopping anytime soon

Max accomplished his goal of feeling good in dress clothes, but won’t be stopping anytime soon

Despite his success in making fitness a part of his life, eating healthier has been more of a challenge. Max knew he wouldn’t be successful if he deprived himself of the things he loves, “With diet I did make better choices, but didn’t keep myself away from anything that I like. My approach for moderation and portion sizes really was key.” He continued, “Everything about getting fit is an obstacle and challenge, but again its all about ‘being accountable.’ I love to eat and party, and though none of that should end when you’re becoming fit or working toward a fitness goal, I would just make sure I was accountable for everything I did outside of the gym when it was time to get busy.”

Max’s advice to anyone looking to begin their own transformation? “Be sure the goals are realistic and then it’s all about work and… Accountability! Accountability! Accountability! I don’t find anyone is too busy to workout or eat healthy. You can workout anywhere. [Sometimes] it’s as simple as taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. You will always have other obligations, but your biggest obligation will always be to take care of yourself, for yourself and for your loved ones. By no means am I the typical gym rat or ‘Workout Nazi,’ but I’ve been sold on the fit lifestyle. It feels good and looks good.”

Max isn’t letting Chicago’s brutal winter get in his way this year either. He joined a local gym and has been working out four days a week. As always, he’s holding himself accountable by checking in at the gym on Yelp (I’ve spied 13 check-ins and counting) and setting new goals; “On Friday I ran 4.5 miles in an hour flat so I’m just training to beat that time.” What exactly is Max training for? In June he’ll be the first runner on a twelve-person Ragnar relay team running from Madison (Wisconsin) to Chicago, running a total of just over 13 miles. “First leg is a lot of pressure,” he says. Don’t stress, Max, you got this!

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