Michael’s advice

1. Calorie reduction and the start of intermittent fasting“I found it easier to have an early dinner as my only meal, especially after a busy day at work where time flies.”

2. Muscular confusion introduced: “I started with slow walks, then gradually added short, high-speed bursts to build endurance until I was no longer out of breath when running. Then I started mixing in strength training …Once your body gets used to the same type of exercise, you need muscle confusion.

3. Evolve from simple calorie counting to being deliberate: “Focus on the nutritional value of foods, increase your protein intake to feel full faster with fewer calories, and watch what you drink.

Exercise Routine: “I exercise five to six days a week, a combination of cardio/cycling/HIIT class or group training at the LifeTime fitness center, weight training, and at least one day a week of active recovery with stretching , yoga or Pilates to improve my mobility,” Grella said.

Biggest Challenge: “The first challenge was not to give up – I didn’t see any material results the first two weeks and I really needed to build both strength and endurance,” Grella said. “The second challenge was back in November when I weighed 187 pounds and had plateaued with my progress. I was going out to eat and drink several times a week, not getting enough sleep. … I had tricked myself into thinking because I exercised and limited my daily calories I led a healthy lifestyle…. I sought professional advice to make adjustments in my life that helped me lose another 30 pounds.

Michael’s top tips:

1. To research: “Research how your body responds to different types of foods, drinks, fitness routines, and supplements. Don’t get discouraged and just consider diet and exercise as check-in exercises. If you’re starting your journey towards better health with a well-thought-out plan, you will accelerate your progress, and seeing results is the best motivation to keep going.

2. To mix together: “Diversifying your exercise routines helps burn more fat faster, increases muscle tone, keeps you engaged and excited for your next workout.”

3. Stretching and good form. “When I first started working with my trainer, he was constantly correcting my form and posture. If you’re not in the right form, you’re not maximizing results and putting yourself at risk of injury.

How his life changed: “My life has changed in so many ways, especially in the last few months since I changed what I ate, what I drank, and started taking fitness classes,” Grella said. “I have never felt stronger, more confident, relaxed and in control in my life, both personally and professionally. My sleep is more restful, I have incredible energy and clarity, and a positive attitude without released.

Looking for reader stories about lifestyle changes: We are looking for stories about changing health habits. Although The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific program, we include names and links for the benefit of readers who want more information. If you would like to share your story of a lifestyle change, please contact journalist Michelle C. Brooks and include your email address, phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). You can write to him directly at: [email protected].