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When Trae Volpe first embarked on his fitness transformation, his life required some drastic changes – including the incredibly difficult act of quitting smoking. Now Trae works as a Krav Maga self-defense and fitness instructor, living a completely transformed life – and he's never looking back.

High school is often the time when one is most active. For Trae, that certainly used to be true. But once he graduated, the downward spiral into drinking, smoking, and overeating swiftly began. Years passed until one day back in 2012, Trae realized he had reached a whopping 220 pounds. He was angry, unhappy, and felt he had no outlet. What's a guy to do?

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Trae began to find his footing when he saw a commercial for STW Krav Maga – the training facility where he is now still currently employed – advertising a punching bag class. It was another one of Trae's many sleepless nights spent watching TV, dreaming of a different life. He decided to look into taking the free trial class; the words “Get ready for a lifestyle change" leapt out at him. He was intimidated, but he filled out the form for the free trial anyway and received a phone call the next morning. That same evening, he attended the free cardio bag class.

“I remember dripping sweat and feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. Still, I didn't quit and I finished the class."

Trae GymThat was it – Trae was hooked. He signed up to become a member and began forcing himself to wake up early to train with cardio bags, kettlebells, and Krav Maga self-defense. The weight started coming off, and Trae began noticing a difference in his overall sense of purpose.

Four months later, he applied for a position at STW Krav Maga as a membership adviser and got the job. He began training harder and more often, but simply being an adviser wasn't enough. Trae explained, “Even though I played a big role in changing people's lives by introducing them to the program, I wanted to be one of the people on the front lines. I wanted to give back and make an impact first hand. I wanted to be a Krav Maga instructor!"

That was how he found himself signing up to try out to join the Krav Maga program. For the uninitiated, Krav Maga is a type of self-defense training that was originally developed for the Israel Defense Forces. The techniques used in Krav Maga borrow everywhere from akido and judo to wrestling and boxing. The training session turned out to be one of the hardest of his entire life. A week later, he found out that he passed! He began training side-by-side with other Krav Maga instructors, and only a few months later, he was off to Houston to get full certification as an instructor – another exhausting training experience. Some months later, Trae was fully certified and teaching everything from kettlebells to strength training to his favorite, cardio bag classes.

In addition to Krav Maga, Trae also discovered the fascinating pull of professional bodybuilding competitions. He landed in fourth place during his first bodybuilding show, The Texas Shredder Classic, but the way his body reacted to his post-competition cheats scared him. Four months of intense prep and hard work seemed to disappear instantly as Trae gained a significant amount of water weight almost overnight.

Trae Transformation 3“This messed with my head in so many ways," Trae admitted. But it's also a testament to the power of support through one's fitness transformation, as many of Trae's friends and fellow competitors explained this was a common reaction. Trae knew what he had to do now that he had seen the possibilities of a future life in fitness, so he learned to adapt and moved on. He's now hoping to compete in his second show sometime next year.

Tre & Bag At GymIn addition to navigating the waters of competition prep, Trae also had to figure out a diet he could make work. When he initially began his fitness transformation, he began researching low carb diets, but he took it to the extreme by heavily restricting his diet to basically tilapia, broccoli, and oats. After so many mood swings, headaches, dizziness, and significant muscle loss, Trae realized he was approaching food all wrong. He had to learn more about nutrition and how to use food as fuel.

Enter 6 Pack, stage right! Trae was introduced to 6 Pack through his coworkers and friends. Come Christmas Day 2014, and what should he find under the tree but his very own Innovator 300. Finding the right diet had been a challenge, but he persevered. Still, figuring out how to best eat frequently was another challenge, one that his bag helped him handle.

“Throughout my bodybuilding prep and to this day, I fill it up with my meals and supplements. I can't live without it."

Trae never dreamed that he would be in the shape he is today, at almost 30 years of age. Once his fitness transformation changed him, everything in his life improved. Not only did he find his career, but he graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in English and married the beautiful woman who had been his supportive girlfriend throughout the entire journey.

“I finally found my calling in life and will never go back. Just like my life was changed and saved, I will continue to change and save lives for as long as I shall live. That is what I was put on this earth to do!"

Trae's future is bright indeed. In addition to his everyday fitness, he has also recently begun adventure training for Spartan Races. “I want to test myself with some of the world's top athletes and see where I rank," Trae explained. Throughout everything, he intends to learn as much as he can about the fitness industry in pursuit of his ultimate goal: to one day open his own facility!

Trae's transformation is the latest in the ever-expanding collection of stories shared in our motivational Transformations Series. Find your calling and start your fitness transformation TODAY! Need some help managing the diet that you know is crucial in changing your life? Jumpstart your efforts with our original meal management bags, gym totes, or gym backpacks, then head on over to our many How to Meal Prep guides to find the right one for your lifestyle!

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