This week the Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining down on Rick Koppelman, who was coached by Coach Terri Luna.
What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)
Tell us a little about you in 5 sentences or less. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What are your hobbies? Anything unique about your life that you want to share?
I am originally from Cleveland but have been in the Columbus, OH area for the past 10 years. I am a proud Dad to my soon to be 16-year-old daughter, who was my inspiration to start my journey. Also, my wife Jennifer and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary early next year. I enjoy CrossFit, biking, fitness, and traveling. Thanks to SU nutrition, at the age of 42, I had enough of being obese and committed myself to weight loss, and lost 120 pounds after seeing a picture of myself coaching my daughter’s soccer team which absolutely mortified me and made me realize what a poor example I was setting.
What led you to join Stronger U?
I came across SU through the CrossFit Masters page and saw all the amazing transformations and testimonials and felt like this might be the missing piece in my transformation.
What dieting experience have you had previous to Stronger U? Was there a reason you were or were not successful? Why did you stop?
I lost all my initial weight strictly through dietary change, counting calories, and exercising. I was very successful with that as I had lost the weight in 8 months, however I became “skinny fat”. I tried the low carb high fat/protein diet for a while and that did help me gain some muscle and get stronger, however, I could never lean out utilizing that diet and also did not feel that was something I could sustain the rest of my life.
It’s clear Stronger U worked for you. Why do you think Stronger U worked so well when other programs or diets may have not?
Because it’s easy and sustainable. For me measuring food and planning my meals falls right into my wheelhouse. This is something that I feel I can easily do the rest of my life and not feel deprived. I have paid close attention to how my body reacts and I now know how to deal with scale fluctuations and what do to do to get where I want to be. I’ve been in maintenance now for over a year and have maintained my current weight all while continuing to get stronger.
Can you give some insight on your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
Ha, can you say fast food and junk? And then when I was doing the low carb, high fat/protein diet, it was always so greasy with tons of meat, eggs, and oils.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I now do the cooking and shopping and enjoy it! I plan a protein and then work the veggies and sides around it. I also enjoy things like cereal and ice cream that I would have avoided on other diets which only made me crave it more.
If you exercise or train for a sport, what does a typical week look like? Did Stronger U have any impact in your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?
I CrossFit 5-6 days a week and usually a long bike ride on Sunday. I had already been doing that prior to SU but with the proper nutrition supplied by SU, I have improved in all areas of sport. Speed, strength, and endurance have improved greatly due to SU.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
I joined SU looking to lean out and gain muscle mass and get better in the gym. I lost 20 pounds and set all sorts of new PR’s in the gym.
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
My waist size is now the smallest it’s ever been at just under 29 inches which is over 4 inches from when I started.
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
Wow, only 3? Definitely muscle tone and leanness and amazing vascularity. Also achieved several PR’s in the gym and also have been able to do handstand push-up’s, Handstand walks, Muscle ups and many other movements that I used to struggle with. And finally and most recently I just completed a 200-mile bike ride in two days. Something I never in a million years thought I would be able to do.
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
Without a doubt. I am much more confident in my body which makes you more confident in general. Also, the planning has helped in several areas including being more organized and accomplishing much more in less time.
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
Be patient! This is not a quick fix, but rather a long-term solution for health. Listen to your coach and most importantly be consistent. Understand that weight loss is not linear but rather you will have ups and downs. Learn from them and always try to be better than yesterday. Trust the process. This works but you have to make it work. Put the work in and I promise you will be successful. Also, you learn by trial and error and see what works best for you as you can be successful with various methods. I have learned a ton from so many people here and I’ve taken little tidbits from all to mold into what works for me.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
Do it! This is the most sustainable way to reach your goals but more importantly keep them forever. I am in week 82 and am forever grateful to SU. In addition, the SU community is amazing and unlike anything else out there. I’ve never seen a more supportive group with more amazing people than with SU. While everyone’s journey is different and goals might be different, there is always someone there that can relate to what you are going through.