Meet A.J. Scruggs – Profile of the Month

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Goes by: Anthony Or AJ

AGE: 25

LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA

Transition stage: On T for 3 years, pre-op.

Interests/hobbies: Cooking (He’s in school to be a chef), Working out, Ballroom, and Mentorship.

I had the pleasure and honor to get to know AJ for a few days before I actually got to interview him. He’s very humble and giving, but also very determined to achieve his goals. AJ lost a total of 100 pounds in a period of roughly 2 years, and he’s going to share with you the simple methods he used to achieve that goal.


How would you describe yourself?

AJ: I’m a pretty easy going guy. I live everyday like it’s my last and try to leave my mark in some way, shape or fashion. I believe that I was placed on earth to help someone, so that’s me everyday.

How has your fitness, nutrition and health goals changed from the time you decided to transition to now?

 AJ: The choice to transition aided in the wanting to get healthy. I knew that I would be setting myself up for a faster metabolism, which meant that I would be hungrier more and I didn’t want to be the fat guy anymore. It motivated me to use T to my advantage instead of going in the opposite direction in which I saw a lot of guys do: gaining weight and then complain about it later.

I was already big; 255 lbs to be exact and I had to make sure that I wasn’t going to be diabetic, because it runs in my family. I became even more active in my everyday life from taking the elevator to walking, then running the steps at work; eating more often instead of letting my body go into starvation mode, which was a lot harder than eating only when my stomach growled (LOL). Also it made me more creative with flavoring food. I was raised with a Southern family and Soul food was our best tradition. I still made soul food but healthier versions of it.

So how much weight did you lose and, did you only incorporate walking, using stairs and a diet habit change to lose it or did you add any other fitness activities?

AJ: I loss a total of 100 pounds. I did variations of cardio: From dancing, as I grew up doing all types of creative dance including hip-hop, ballet, African, and finally voguing that you see in the Ballroom scene; basketball and jogging were my other forms as well. I played a lot of sports in school and as a kid; so the drills I learned in the sports were and still are a part of my workout routines.

Wow. that’s amazing!! How long did it take you to lose it all and do you feel that you’ve reached your ideal weight now?

AJ: Thank you! It took me about 2 years to reach my goal; a goal that I never thought I would ever truly meet due to a temporary dry spell, with me staying at 180 lbs. Then I switched up the weights with high doses of cardio and I actually dropped lower than my initial goal which was to be 165. I would actually like to gain a little more muscle but I’m not bulking right now. But once I set my mind to it there’s nothing that can stop me.

What motivated you during those times, especially during the temporary “dry spell” you had?

AJ: Well the day I got my letter to start T, my Doctor told me I was borderline Diabetic. That was all the inspiration I needed. Both my grandmother and uncle had and have it. I would not follow suit. I keep that as an inspiration daily to eat when I need to, workout and stay healthy.

There are other guys I’ve always looked up to and when I saw their bodies grow into these muscle machines, I knew I had to keep going because I had come so far. My mother was even diagnosed with the onset and she and I both worked out together and made it a family thing. Still having my grandmother around, because she would go walking with me when I’d go visit her, also kept me going. She’s still around at almost 80 after being diagnosed at 60.

Do you workout at home or in a gym? And do you bind while working out?

AJ: I like to workout at home. That way the only thing standing in the way of my goal is me. No excuses. I have a wii, music that gets me pumped and no one staring at me because I’m not binding. When I do go to the gym I bind lightly and put baggy clothes on… I usually use a stretched out binder from my bigger days and a sport’s bra to hold it in place.

Back home in Baltimore we have a mini gym in the house on the third floor… Bow flex, Ab circle, weight bench, free weights and videos like insanity, P90X and Tae Bo. My favorite though was the addition of the iron gym and I was actually able to do my first pull up! STOKED!!!

Do you have a specific workout routine and diet?

AJ: Routine, I try to focus on upper body (chest, shoulders, upper back) in one day; legs, hips, butt another; abs and lower back at least twice a week in alternating order. to give proper rest and to allow them time to rebuild. I also use my body weight to workout more so than weights.

As for specific diet, I love water and green tea if I have to have something sweet which I try to lay off. The green tea keeps my body regular and kicks out a lot of junk in my system. My snacks are pretty healthy: celery and peanut butter, salad; I like cheese sticks to make sure I get the calcium my body needs; baked chicken, fish and roasted turkey; fresh herbs instead of dried processed spices make food more flavorful. On high cardio days, I up the carbs to burn for energy.

What’s the most challenging thing about staying healthy?

AJ: The most challenging thing about staying healthy is adhering to your own rules… I find that when people make working out a chore (something you have to do), they are more inclined to not want to do it. So I always like to keep it fun for me and make it a challenge for myself to get stronger, get better, meet and beat my expectations.

What are your goals for 2013?

AJ: My goals for 2013 is to get down a few more inches in the hips, thighs and butt area. Maybe later on in the year start my bulking up and get that builder’s physique I’ve always wanted as a kid; but my lower half is my focal point at the moment. Also to continue to be an inspiration to others around me. It worked in my family and as I mentioned at the beginning, I believe that it is my life’s mission to help others.

What advice would you give to people who are still at the beginning phase of a long journey like yours?

AJ: Nothing and I do mean Nothing is impossible. It’s definitely the power of you and what you have a drive to do. Start out with changing one thing and then move on to the next and never look back unless it’s to help the next person behind you to say “this is where I started, you can do it too”. Being healthy is a big part of transition, it’s actually bigger than getting a mustache, because you want to be able to see it when it does come.

You’re awesome and a great inspiration! Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you and to share your story! Anything else you’d like to add?

AJ: Sex counts as cardio. LOL

 

If you’d like to keep up with AJ’s journey, check out his Youtube Channel.

AJ is also raising money for Top Surgery, and every single dollar counts. If you’d like to check out his page and donate, click here.

Do you have any question or comment for AJ? Feel free to comment below!

Peace,

Neo