Body Transformation: Randy “Fit for Faith” Dodge

Randy Dodge is another one of those inspiring people I’ve been able to meet through my fitness blogging network.  His transformation is truly impressive as you can see pictured below.  I’ve also been impressed with the way he integrates the physical, spiritual, and emotional through his Christian faith.  Check out this interview:

Randy’s Transformation (left to right): August/2008, July/2010, July/2011, April/2012

MuscleReview: Randy, I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Could you tell my readers a little bit of general information about yourself (where you are from, family, education, etc.)?
You are welcome. I was born and raised in Maine, raised in a rural setting by single mom with 2 older sisters and a younger brother. I married at 22 (1986) and had two children but my wife divorced me after 16 years (2002).  I raised the two children myself from the age of 7 and 9.  I lived in Maine until 2001, then Florida for a year, then Virginia for 8 years and now in Florida again. I have an associate degree as a physical therapist assistant (1997) and a Bachelors of Science in Biblical studies (2007).

I currently work as a personal trainer running my own business “Lifestyle Fitness Personal Training” with my business name “Fit For Faith.” Lifestyle fits better as it is all about balance in body, soul (mind, emotions, and will I/e decision maker) and spirit.

MuscleReview: Now let’s talk about your transformation. What was it that motivated you to change your lifestyle and physique?

Randy: I stayed single for seven years, focusing on my children, finishing college, and working full time.  I neglected myself and got really out of shape during this time. I was doing short term mission trips to China and met a woman professing to be a Christian interested in doing cross cultural ministry.  We married in Beijing, but she changed as soon as she got to America.  I immediately realized I had made a mistake–she had used me in order to become an American citizen.  Then the true nightmare began: lies to cover an affair she was having and the scheming to become a citizen apart from marriage to me.

A nasty battle followed, but rather than become bitter I decided to be constructive with all the negative energy coming at me.  I decided to push myself physically to reach my full potential without neglecting the spiritual (at times I have to confess to my shame I have turned from my Savior and tried doing things my way). At first I just wanted to be completely healthy, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  But as I improved physically I dealt with a lot of emotional baggage that had crept in my life.  This made made me better spiritually.

Now my quest is to be my very best physically, emotionally and spiritually while giving the others the same grace to do the same.  I wan to encourage everyone I can while they are on their own journeys.

MuscleReview: I noticed the most significant changes happened somewhere between 2008 and 2010. How long did this transformation take?

Randy: The original transformation took 20 weeks.  I was cleaning out the house of personal stuff of my pending ex-wife and I saw a picture from the summer before on the beach (the before picture above: 240 lb. with a 38” waist and 46” belly).  That bothered me, and I began my quest to see abs at least once in my life on July 1, 2009. I set a date in November to have a professional photo shoot and the transformation began.

MuscleReview: What was the most difficult thing for you to change?

Randy: I already ate mostly healthy foods, in fact a lot of organic foods and took good vitamins and supplements for health.  The hardest part was eating 6 small meals that were balanced with lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy added fats. Then as I did more research I realized I had to give up all dairy and fruit to get into single digit body fat.  That was the toughest since I love dairy, skim milk, cheese, and ice cream especially.

MuscleReview: Please tell us in general terms about your diet and exercise program.

My diet seldom changes, though I am always doing research and add healthy foods.  I keep it basic: lean meats (not much red meat anymore), complex carbs, and healthy added fats, minimal amounts of fruit but not daily (none when I am trying to drop body fat).  I rarely consume dairy products–only an occasional treat when I’m not trying to drop body fat.

I have a large bowl of salad every night with a vinaigrette.  I make two 8 quart bowls every weekend with broccoli, spinach, kale, red onion, cucumber, celery, bell peppers (red, yellow, orange and green).

I do one to two cheat meals a week when I am not getting ready for a photo shoot or contest as long as my body fat is in the single digits 8% or less.

Typically I work out 5-6 days a week with weights. I do something for abs 2-3 times a week high reps light or no weight, and I do 30-60 minutes of cardio a day after weight training

MuscleReview: Have you encountered any setbacks like injuries or fat loss plateaus? How did you deal with them?

Randy: A few minor injuries not related to the gym but working as a physical therapist assistant doing home health.  I have strained my back and had bicep tendinitis from catching heavy patients falling. I worked around the injuries treating them with the knowledge I have as a therapist.

I also had some emotional ups and downs as a result of two women I dated since 2001. This led to some comfort eating, lost motivation and weight gain.

MuscleReview: One thing I really appreciate is the way you integrate your Christian faith with fitness. Please talk about how the two are connected in your life.

I realized God was doing something special in my physical transformation.  Before I started I visited a wellness doctor.  I had multiple problems: I was a metabolic mess, leaky gut, chronic fatigue syndrome, high estrogen, low testosterone, hypothyroidism, and mercury poisoning just to name a few.  I give God the glory for my transformation because overcoming all these health issues should have been impossible.

Here are some Bible verses that are meaningful to me as far as health goes:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The body is temporal, but it is the place God dwells on earth and it is also the first impression we give to others.   The better health we have the more we can do for God physically. I saw so many patients (the majority were Christian) in home health who were home bound with bad health basically from lack of exercise and poor dietary habits and I knew that is not the way God wants us to live. I got inspired to help others regain their health to glorify God after I got mine back.

I learned personally as well as working with others that being unfit affects our emotions, just as food and medications do.  What affects the body and emotions also affects the mind, clouds our will, and affects our spiritual walk.

MuscleReview: I understand you’re journey has led you to a career in personal training. How is that going?

God allowed me the blessing of being highlighted in Flex Magazine for my transformation in August 2010.  They did not edit/remove any of my references to God.   God gave me a strong impression March 1, 2010 to start a business taking care of the body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit as they all interact with each other but I did not do anything about it accept write it down in my journal.   On March 17, 2012 God impressed upon me again a desire to get into fitness with my faith and I wrote a poem:

“I will stay where you put me Lord.”

I will stay in fitness Lord since you put me here.
My brothers and sisters may shun me some for which I have shed many a tear.
But I will stay where you put me Lord so you can use me there.
I will stay in fitness Lord since you put me here.
The temptations may pull at me but with my Jesus I have no fear!
But I will stay where you put me Lord to help others in need of care.
I will stay in fitness Lord since you put me here.
The darkness may surround me some and try to quench my light.
But I will stay where you put me Lord for it is in your strength I fight.
I will stay in fitness Lord since you put me here.
The trials may assail me here to try to take away my peace
But I will stay where you put me Lord for in you I find a sweet release.
I will stay in fitness Lord since you put me there.
The scorn of others attacking me for sharing your love through fitness is hard to take.
But I will stay where you put me Lord for you endured so much for our sake.
I will stay in fitness Lord since you put me here.
For in two worlds, faith and fitness, I must stand.
But I will stay where you put me Lord for you will hold my hand.

Finally things got so bad financially in Virginia I decided to move to Florida to be near family again and start my business in June of 2012 and officially launched, “Fit For Faith” in August. The business started really slow and is seasonal to some degree. The slowest season is June to September and the busiest is October through May. It is building as my local network of clients grow.

What else are you up to? Are you pursuing any type of competition?

Randy: My last competition was July of 2010.  I had not planned on competing again though I have done 2 photo shoots since and have another one planned in July. I decided to compete again in bodybuilding August 25 and possibly another September 22 but I am looking at possibly switching to physique competitions in the future.

MuscleReview: Thanks again for taking the time to inspire my readers with your journey!

You are welcome.
God Bless

Note: You can contact Randy through is Facebook page.  He is currently accepting clients, so those living in or near Vero Beach Florida may want to consider hiring him or referring him to your friends.

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