the best shape of his life at age 30

Adam as a cage fighter, 3 months before I had met him

I actually remember when Adam first said it to me. We were sitting there discussing his upcoming 30th birthday when he turned to me and said, “I’m going to be in the best shape of my life by age thirty”. I thought back to when I had first met him when he was a cage fighter and 50 lbs lighter than he was sitting before me that day. He was in very good shape then – most certainly the best shape he’d ever been in his life – so I had figured he would just end up going back to his old physique. But when Adam and I first started dating, I never had to ask him to stop fighting. He gave it up knowing I wouldn’t be able to watch him in the ring. And even though we never “officially” discussed it, he was right. So Adam went about his transformation a little differently this time.

And so began his journey. I could cry just thinking about it, and Adam would just smile at me and tell me, “Sweetheart, remember the pyramids.” He would always tell me that when I began to feel like he was doing too much and pushing himself too hard. Adam has always been wildly fascinated with the construction of the Egyptian pyramids and the amount of physical labor, planning and work they endured. So that was our little saying when we began to succumb to “first world problems” and/or allowed ourselves to be overwhelmed by things that many people in the past (and present) would not. This is not to say by any means that what he achieved was not difficult, but Adam just always knows how to put things into perspective. And I admire that so much about him.

If anyone knows my husband, they know one thing about him. He is hands down the most dedicated person most people have ever known. When he wants something, he goes for it. There are NO excuses. There is NEVER a reason to not get up at 4:15am each morning to tear himself apart in the gym, regardless of how much he is exhausted and dragging and not wanting to be there. And he never had to work out THAT early every morning; he did it because he wanted more time at home and to see me and our dogs longer, so he did it while we were all sleeping. That way, when he comes home after work, he wouldn’t have to slink off to the gym and spend his time there away from us. He was already done. I’m not sure he quite understands just how much I appreciate that sacrifice he made for us everyday. That first day he told me that he was going to be in the best shape of his life, he taped two pieces of paper up on our bathroom mirror. The first is a condensed version of (a huge influence and Adam’s role model) Arnold Schwarzenegger’s six rules to success:

  1. Trust yourself: Trust yourself no matter what anyone else thinks.
  2. Break the rules.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail: If you are afraid, you will never try. If you never try, you won’t ever succeed.
  4. Ignore (don’t listen to) the naysayers: Don’t pay attention to naysayers. People will say it can’t be done; people will give 100 reasons why this cannot be done. Do not take “no” for an answer.
  5. Work your butt off: You never want to fail because you did not work hard enough and don’t leave any stone unturned. There is no escape to hard work.
  6. Giving something back: Whatever path you take in life, always find time to give back to the community.

The second is “The Way of Walking Alone” by Miyamoto Musashi. They are both still on our mirror 1 ½ years later, and he still looks at them every single morning. I’m his wife and I see him every single day at his best and at his worst – and I can tell you one thing, he has never side-stepped once. He’s never given an excuse why he chooses not to follow through on any day or tried to skip out on his routine no matter how much he would rather do anything but. And in December of 2011, he came across a bit of a hurdle – he herniated a disk with an anular tear. The pain didn’t subside even after he had completely stopped deadlifting, doing back squats, bent over barbell rows, t-bar rows, military presses, or any olympic lift that put direct pressure down on his spine. This affected his progress and slowed his growth significantly, but he understood the severity of the injury and never pushed it; he just had to make changes and find other ways around it. Before he hurt himself, he leg pressed close to 700 lbs., back squatted around 315, and deadlifted 405. After he hurt himself, he started leg pressing around 135 and could never back squat or deadlift again. His back even killed him to sit or stand for a couple of hours…so needless to say, it was pretty significant.

And then in March of this year, we both decided to go pescatarian, which altered his eating routines in a different way. I can’t tell you the number of times I watched him literally FORCE down eating a few cans of plain solid white albacore, straight out of the can, even though it absolutely made him gag – just because he needed the protein. Or all the times I watched him sit there and read book after book on nutrition and how to be healthier and still be able to get the exact amount of micro and macronutrients he needed to be able to develop in the way he wanted. Every single day he carefully plans and measures everything he consumes on our kitchen scale, constantly taking notes on every aspect of what he’s eaten and the results he saw from it. He was always reading up on nutrition and trying to understand the science behind it (because this isn’t just about pushing weight, its also hugely about your diet) and now he can spout off nutritional information about pretty much anything because he’s studied it so much. He’s always eating things he doesn’t like just for the nutritional benefit of it, and saved a “cheat meal” for once a week (every Saturday night). And I have to say, although I was eating pesca with him, I still would (guiltily) give in to sweets and carbs at times, and he never ONCE has made me feel bad about it. In fact, he would even encourage me to eat it because he could sense when I was craving something and always reminded me that I wasn’t making him feel bad by eating it. Adam has even gone out and bought me sweets and brought it home to me just because I didn’t want to have it in the house so I wouldn’t eat it in front of him. 🙂 I just can’t imagine how hard it was for him to see me sitting there eating something I’m sure he would give anything to eat, but really the bottom line is that he stopped eating for “pleasure”. And I’m sure in a weird way, watching me eat that stuff probably somehow made him even stronger.

So here he is, a year and a half later of strict planning, a TON of hard of work, a lot of studying, a whole lot of naysayers and “questioners”, an injury and a setback, and still no motivation lost throughout it all. He started at 235 lbs and lost 50 lbs and gained I don’t even know how much muscle on top of it. And he made his goal. He is 30 years old and without a doubt in the absolute BEST shape he’s been in his life. Better than I could even have thought he would be in by this time, if ever. Baby, you did it. I am so, so, so unbelievably proud of you. You are such an inspiration not only to me, but to many other people, and I know you’ll continue to do great things and I can’t wait to stand beside you and see what else you achieve. Tomorrow is your birthday and even though you’ll be 31 years old, I know you’ll be in even BETTER shape then and continue on this path with each and every year. You can accomplish absolutely anything you set your mind to, and I know that about you because I’m your wife and I know you so well – remember that. Happy birthday sweetheart, I love you SOOOOOO much.


Your #1 Fan

Documenting Adam working out in the gym that he trained in shows you that it doesn’t take a fancy gym with fancy equipment to be able to achieve great results. In fact, the gym he worked out in was a little hole-in-the-wall in our neighborhood and very dated, small and rusted over. I mean, he’s even had to take in our WD-40 to this place to lube up the leg press machine. Come on, now.

So, here it is. I bring you Adam and the little gym he’s trained and worked in 4-6 days every week for the last year and a half.

“You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” – Henry David Thoreau

January 2011, 235 lbs



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  • D. RobertsonAugust 22, 2012 - 3:08 pm

    These shots are amazing and he has outdone himself. You are right when you say he can do anything he sets his mind to. He has never done anything in a normal way. He masters everything he does. Awe inspiring dedication.ReplyCancel

  • The DudeAugust 22, 2012 - 10:00 pm

    Are you kidding me? Adam it’s clear how much work you put into this! Great job, my man! What you did is the kind of things people see in advertisements but never really believe. You should be proud! And Sara, the photos are fantastic! A real work of art! Whatever you’re charging for your photography, it’s not enough!ReplyCancel

  • Your MomAugust 23, 2012 - 1:39 am

    You both amaze me….Adam you are a perfect example of true dedication and control of the body and mind. You look fantastic! You inspire others to do better! Sara you are both a fantastic photographer and a wonderful support. You made us feel it with your story and then the photos knocked us out! You guys make an amazing team! I enjoyed it all……ReplyCancel

  • Brian AdamsAugust 23, 2012 - 5:05 pm

    Adam, some might be surprised by the transformation but having known you for all these years I can happily say I’m not. What everyone has said about your level of dedication is right on. It is inspiring. And I better you feel even better than you look. You know the uphill battle I’m facing and I’ve seen a successful loss of 85 lbs, but considering the ultimate goal I still have a ways to go. Keep it up! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Sara, your photography work is awesome and you obviously have been a huge support for Adam.ReplyCancel

    • SaraAugust 26, 2012 - 9:29 pm


      Congratulations on your weight loss – that is AWESOME! Keep it up! Thank you for stopping by to leave that really nice message 🙂 I know Adam really appreciates it, as do I!ReplyCancel

Sara and Adam are are a husband and wife photography and cinematography team based out of Fredericksburg, VA. Our primary work consists of weddings, engagements, portraits, studio photography, and pets. We are available for travel within Northern Virginia, DC, Charlottesville, and Richmond and would love to speak with you. Please shoot us a message in the form to the right and we will be in touch shortly!