Just over a year ago Adam Goldstein was 240 pounds,working a corporate job when he found out his mother was terminally ill and decided to make a drastic change in his life. After his mom passed away, Adam quit his job and committed himself to a year of soul-searching and improving his lifestyle. Adam left Toronto and embarked on a journey of travelling from Europe to South East Asia and North America, where he learned more about himself and picked up a lot of healthy habits along the way. Through his journey Adam managed to drop 60-pounds and discovered the keys to a healthy, sustainable life. Upon his return, Adam decided to direct all of his knowledge and personal experience with weight loss and getting fit, into helping others achieve their health goals. Today, Adam runs ‘Goldy’s Army,’ a fitness and nutrition program designed to help individuals with a total body transformation. We sat down with Adam to learn more about him and his journey and how he’s helping people to live their healthiest life.
“I’m a guinea pig, not a guru.” – Adam Goldstein
What was the trigger point for you where you decided ‘I’m going to start getting healthier?’
Yes. My mom had stage four cancer for 10 years. It seemed to be pancreatic cancer, the same one Steve Jobs had. I was taking care of her while working 100-hour weeks and never realized how bad her health was declining until it got really bad. I saw her losing weight dramatically and the full effects of chemotherapy. When she passed, I was there; I called the ambulance, I called my aunt, everything happened so quickly I don’t even know how I handled it. But I did and I’m really grateful that I was. Because I was able to call my brother. He lives in L.A. So when that all happened it was obviously very traumatic.
I went from that to back to work thinking I could just double down on my work and would be able to get through it. But, I just felt like everything around me lost colour. I was standing in Bay Street just looking at all the people, like fish, going to their jobs and frowning and not really feeling connected. I just said to myself that I don’t want to live a life where I have regret and the regret would be not making a decision to change how I feel. I was obviously depressed and obviously in shock still. It felt very surreal when Mom passed away but I thought to myself “how am I feeling?”. I couldn’t really answer the question and I wasn’t even crying. So, I thought the best thing to do would be to hop on a plane and get out of here and try to figure out how I feel as opposed to trying to come up with solutions to the issues that I was dealing with at the time.
So, for me it was really important that I quit my job and it was like one of those epiphany moments where I was just sitting in the street thinking I don’t feel anything, I don’t want to continue living like this, and if I’m on my death bed I’m going to have regret. I’ve always wanted to travel and now I have the opportunity. It’s time to prioritize. So, I literally went to my boss and told him I’m out and he was like, dude, do your thing, this is your time. It felt really good. Everyone was very supportive. I thought I was going on leave for three months. Turns out, I was gone for a year and a half.
Is that where you developed a passion for health and fitness?
Yes. I started out reading books by Tim Ferriss; ‘The 4-Hour Body’ and ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’. Also, reading stuff about Ross Edgley who is this awesome, high-performance endurance athlete. And David Goggins. They were my three big inspirations. David Goggins was 300 pounds lost a lot of weight. He had a very traumatic, abusive upbringing and then became a Navy SEAL. He then really focused on pushing the limits of his body and his mind – I’ve always found him super inspiring. I read his book ‘You Can’t Hurt Me’, when I was in Nepal. I was doing the Everest Base Camp trek. And I was 240 pounds. I almost I got hypoxia at 5,500 meters and had to get rescued and evacuated by helicopter back to Kathmandu.
In that time, I was reading the book and I thought, okay I want to make this journey about fitness. I went to Thailand for four months and worked out four days a week, got to meet some of the best personal trainers in the world. I got to train with elite athletes like UFC fighters and the Men’s Russian Wrestling Team. The amount of knowledge and information I was able to absorb in that time while also being in isolation was incredible. I wasn’t drinking, I really wasn’t partying, I was just there to better myself. I got lost in literature, podcast, and the science of health and fitness and used myself almost like a guinea pig experimenting and figuring out what the journey was like. And, that’s how it all started.
What did you find was working and how long was your journey from 240 pounds to where you are now?
Well, it’s continuous. The journey doesn’t end. But I did lose around 70-75 pounds in that time period. Now I’m at 180 pounds, 12% body fat, and I feel incredible. Last week, I ran a mile in under six minutes. I do long distance running. I like to focus on functional training. I feel like I’m now back in touch with who I was as a kid and that I’m at the right place in my life. People say when you lose yourself to find yourself again and find your passion, try to think about who you are as a kid. As a kid, you had no distraction, no social commitment, and no expectations from your friends or your family. You did what you loved to do. For me, it was always just exercise, playing outside with my friends, and competing.
What’s one of the most important lessons you learned about health while you were traveling?
Honestly, developing consistency. Consistency is one attribute that’s lacking in our society especially with the influx of social media and instant gratification. Wondering how to delay that gratification and focusing on developing habits consistently over time leads to consistency. Once you get to a consistent work schedule or workout routine the next step is awareness. When you’re consistent, you learn about who you are, what you enjoy, who you don’t enjoy being around, and you start making better decisions. Am I going to connect with people that are going to help me grow or am I going to give time up? That was the biggest lesson I think I learned – consistency into awareness.
Do you prescribe to any sort of diets?
I do intermittent fasting, basically, I eat from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. I consume around 2,000 calories in the diet. I eat much nuts and seeds of high protein. Basically, a plant-based, whole foods diet. I do eat animal protein as well because I just find that it works for me. Everyone’s different. But yes, that’s basically what I do. If I don’t understand the ingredients, I’m not going to eat it.
How long have you been doing intermittent fasting for and what effects did you feel since you started?
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for eight months now and have found that I’m more focused, my stress levels are down, I get better sleep, and I’m more in touch with my appetite. I think we’ve been programmed as a society to eat three meals a day and not really ask why or understand the impacts of it on our body and our digestion. I found out that by doing the fasting I’m really more in tune and aware with my body. It has helped me not have those hunger urges as well as being able to stay consistent around knowing what times I need to eat, developing that sense of awareness. It had amazing benefits for me.
How long does a program typically last and what does it look like?
Basically, we sit down and talk about their goals and take all their measurements. I don’t like to look at weight. I look at total inches. So, we measure the bicep, thighs, midsection, and over time we can judge based on body composition how they’re improving. This is more effective because people retain water weight, muscle, and fat. I want to be able to focus on inches and then from there they can decide whether they want to do a one month or three months, hopefully they stay on for a lot longer. I think with one month minimum they get a good foundation of how to cook, how to go grocery shopping, etc. I’ll actually do that with them. I’ll go with them to the grocery store buy all the ingredients and make the meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. I’ll take a picture of the food and upload them on their phone on My Fitness Pal as a meal. They don’t have to scan every ingredient one by one – it is just one button. It’s very easy for reference, it’s a little life hack I do to help my clients. In that process I find that they connect on a different level. We’re all so busy, we work 80 to 100 hours a week. We don’t have time for anything let alone ourselves. I really want to focus clients on the idea of you have this work schedule that you follow but what about a light schedule for yourself that makes you feel good. Because, you deserve that.
What’s the best way to start your morning for a productive day?
I like to wake up super early. I wake up at 5.30-6.00 a.m. and go for a run. I’ll drink a litre and a half of water then. I like to get my clients to drink at least three litres of water a day. Sometimes, they’ll use essential amino acids as well. It’s really good if you’re going to do a workout after, maybe listening to a podcast. Obviously, I’ll have my clothes laid out the night before and then when I come back from the run or shower, listen to some good music because I’m running my business, I have different things that I have to do during the day. Right now, I’m focusing on building an online course taking all the things that I’m learning from my clients and making it more accessible for everyone.
What advice do you have for someone that doesn’t know where to start?
Give me a call.