Before Anytime Fitness owner Kenneth “True” Howard became a certified personal trainer and gym owner, he was fat.
From the time he was a teen until he was in his late-30s, he lost both of his parents to heart attacks. Then, for a time, he lost his own will to live.
Howard, now 41, was a member of the basketball and track teams at Fenwick High School back in the day. He also played on the practice squad at Purdue University while studying to earn his degree in organizational leadership and supervision.
He went from lean-and-mean to large-and-lard. He ballooned to 204 pounds in August of 2008 (23.6 percent body fat)—about the time of his mother’s death.
He was stunned when he stepped on the scale in his doctor’s office. He decided it was time for a personal makeover after catching a glimpse of an infomercial for the P90X workout/diet regiment on the internet and realizing he was in no shape to have photos taken for a CD he had in the works.
Howard once was a budding hip-hop artist, songwriter and studio engineer. Now, he is a personal trainer and gym owner. He shed 55 pounds in 90 days on the P90X plan, trimming down to 149 (10.2 percent body fat)—less than he weighed in high school. His weight fluctuates now in a more comfortable range between 160-165.
And he tells anyone who will listen fitness and diet go hand-in-hand.
“They do go together,” Howard said. “And it’s funny that you would mention that because the diet aspect is much more important than the exercise—if you’re going for a particular look.
“You can be the strongest and most fit person, but if you don’t feed your body and fuel your body correctly, it won’t look like it. So, most people when they come into the gym—in addition to health reasons—it’s for cosmetic reasons.
“Diet is 80 to 85 percent of that. You figure you work out for half an hour. Then, there are 23½ more hours left in the day. So, what are you going to do to fuel your body correctly?”
Howard touches on the importance of nutrition—even though he is quick to note he is not nutritionist—with clients that come in to his Orland Park gym on a regular basis. His recommendations?
“Five to six small meals a day—anywhere from to 200 to 300 calories—and consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water every day,” Howard said. “That will ramp your metabolism up and help you to burn more calories even when you aren’t working out.”