FAMILY
FIRST

Firefighter, husband, father, First In Family: Jedediah Gregory

FINterview-JGregory1

Being First In to me means being part of an enlightened group of people who have unlocked a secret formula to success. I know there isn’t really a secret, but having a coach that gives you goals and a group of people that encourage and assist you towards reaching those goals feels like a secret formula.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself... ​

I’m Jedediah Gregory, also known as Jed.  I’m 34 years old, born in Washington (state) and grew up in Frederick, Maryland.  I live in West Virginia with my wife of 12 years, four kids, and four dogs.

For a little over 6 months now, I’ve been renovating my house by replacing the flooring, building an addition, putting on a new roof, putting on new siding, remodeling a bathroom, and a myriad of other smaller projects.

I’ve been working as a firefighter for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue since 2008.

I’ve worked on the Swiftwater Rescue Team twice, been a paramedic for several years, and I made Master Firefighter in 2014. 

Prior to the fire department, I was in college for Mechanical Engineering and finished with a degree in Organizational Communications.  Throughout high school, college, and the first few years of the fire department, I also worked for my dad’s tree company cutting trees.   

What brought you to the First In Family initially?

My first introduction to FIF was my coach, Adam Gagliardi.  I watched him make a transformation with his fitness over a couple of years.

I knew he was doing some sort of crazy guided nutrition/workout thing from talking to him and seeing him roll around his giant cooler to any station he worked at.  It always seemed like he ate a ton of food, but he kept getting more lean and stronger.  I also watched a couple other people from our department trim down doing “Adam’s plan.”

The biggest difference I noticed is the long-term change in Adam.

Tell us a little bit about your background and history with food.

The real kick in the butt to join FIF was my personal weight loss and gain over the years.

Several years ago, my wife and I started tracking calories and I was working out daily doing Shaun T’s “Insanity.”  I was feeling great and down to my lowest weight since junior high.  Then, we went on a cruise.

We completely stopped tracking, I stopped working out, and I gained all of the weight back with a little extra added on.  We tracked calories off and on over the years with no real results.  We even tried Keto for a few months with great results, but it was hard to sustain and when we came off of it, we got all the weight back.

In January, I saw Adam post something about First In.  I contacted him to discuss the plan, talk about my hesitations, and get some more information.  I am a very analytical person and I needed to understand how it worked.  Adam answered my questions satisfactorily and persuaded me that the cost was worth it.

I’m not going to lie—it’s not cheap, especially for two people.  I took a few days and persuaded my wife that we needed to try this plan. 

What was the turning point in your life when you realized you needed to make a change?

When we started, I was the heaviest I had ever been at 274 pounds and feeling fat and slow at work.  I knew it was time for a change and I needed the guidance to get it done.  How would you feel if you called 911 and the guys they sent to handle an emergency were all horribly out of shape?

I traveled to Kansas last fall to take some advanced training with a couple other guys from work.  The department that hosted the training and pretty much everyone else there taking the training were all in much better shape than the 3 of us.  There was no such thing as being “truck weight” to those guys.

Doing the job effectively does not require you to pile your dinner plate full then kick back in a recliner with a large bowl of ice cream afterwards, despite popular belief. 

What was the journey like and what changes did you make?

I really loved it once I started tracking full macros.  It’s a puzzle for me based on simple math. My coach gives me numbers and my job is to hit those numbers.

For me, the cost of the program makes it imperative that I hit my macros on the nose every single day and not cheat at all.

The plan my coach laid out for me eased me into changing how I ate.  One of my biggest concerns was that I absolutely LOVE chocolate milk.  I was having at least a glass a day for nearly 30 years.  Adam steered me towards Fairlife chocolate milk, which is a little higher in protein and still amazingly good.  I still have a giant glass of it almost every single night, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

A few weeks ago, Adam pointed out that I was eating more calories on plan than I was in Week 0 when I started.

One big change I made, and something the other firefighters might find difficult, is that I stopped eating the shift meals.

Firehouse cooking is usually not very healthy and often the meal isn’t planned until mid-day.

I decided it was too difficult to track everything and often what was made was not worth giving up precious macros for.  Since I’m on a large shift, it doesn’t hurt them if I don’t buy in on dinner with them.  There are several restaurants within walking distance from my station and I can track macros on their menus easily if I don’t feel like bringing my dinner in to work with me. 

How do you feel after making those changes?

I used to wear a size 40 pant and 42 turnout pants.  I used to wear 2XL tee shirts and a 46 turnout coat.  Today, in Week 24, a size 36 pant is loose enough that I need to wear a belt and a 38 turnout pant is comfortable.  I’m in between a L and XL tee shirt and I downsized my turnout coat to a 44 so far.

Thanks to the stair mill, my legs are quickly becoming stronger and more defined.  I’m rarely working out my upper body right now and I’m starting to see veins in my arms just from the loss of body fat.  Adam saw me a couple months ago and barely recognized me.

My first weight loss goal was to hit 220 pounds.  I’ve already passed that goal and set my sights on 195 pounds next. 

What did your friends/family think of your transformation?

Coworkers noticed pretty quickly.  My family also noticed quickly.

We’ve been eating Sunday lunches at my parents’ house for a few months now and my mother has started buying things my wife and I could eat to stay on plan.  She’ll usually have shrimp and scallops for us and still also make all sorts of other food for the kids to eat as well.

I haven’t met any resistance that I’ve noticed so far. 

Were you active or did you workout during your journey?

Once I started dropping weight, my coach Adam started encouraging me to start working out.

First, he encouraged me to do two days a week.  Then three.

Now he’s encouraging me to start doing Zone 2 workouts as well.

I find this as a challenge and I’m working to keep up with his demands (that’s a joke–he’s not demanding).

I both love and hate the stair mill at work.  I set it for a time limit and every time I get on it, I must go further than last time.  It is not fun, but in a good way.

The more weight I lose, the more I want to work out.  Funny how that works.

What does being First In mean to you?

Being First In to me means being part of an enlightened group of people who have unlocked a secret formula to success.

I know there isn’t really a secret, but having a coach that gives you goals and a group of people that encourage and assist you towards reaching those goals feels like a secret formula.

The fact that I have to track everything, hit my numbers every day, and check in weekly adds up to success to me.

It helps that my wife is also on this journey with me. 

What’s next for you and where do you see this journey taking you in the future? ​

I’ve already hit my first goal of 220 pounds and set my second goal at 195 pounds.  I expect I’ll reach that goal without too much trouble given my results so far.

I am far from done, however.

Initially, I just wanted to lose weight.  Now, I want to lose more weight and get fit.

I’m signed up for at least another year at this point and I don’t see an end in sight.

A crazy idea I had and want to pursue is to take the Georgia Smoke Divers school.  It is incredibly difficult and your fitness and nutrition have to be on point to even pass Day 1.  I’ve decided I want to give it a shot in about 18 months or so. 

What was the biggest challenge or change when you started with First In and how did you overcome it?

I haven’t really found any of it to be a challenge.

I’ve used My Fitness Pal in the past, so tracking food was already familiar to me.

When I did Keto, I tracked carbs, so tracking full macros was also familiar.

I’ve actually found sticking to this plan to be quite easy.

My coach gives me numbers and my job is to hit those numbers.  It’s as simple as that. 

What are your top 5 "secrets" for success?

1)    You can still consume the good stuff.  Chocolate milk is my weakness and I still have it almost daily.

2)    Knock out your hardest macro early in the day so you can enjoy the “good stuff” later in the day.  I stack my protein early in the day so I can have more carbs with dinner and dessert before bed.

3)    Stick to your goals if you want to succeed.  Cheating on plan is cheating on yourself.

4)    FIN isn’t about suffering and it isn’t about complexity.  Your meal can be as simple and easy to track as you want it to be.  It can also be a Chipotle burrito bowl if you want it to be.

5)    I never realized how much nutrition played a part in being “in shape.” 

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any advice for someone thinking about getting started?

The cost was my biggest hang up to getting started.

When people ask me about FIN, the first thing I tell them is that it isn’t cheap.

The next thing I tell them is that the money I’ve spent has been well worth it.

The money is what motivates me to stick to plan, and sticking to plan is what keeps me on my goals.   

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ARE YOU READY TO BE FIRST IN?

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Testimonials were given freely and service members did not receive any preferential treatment, discount, or other benefit due to the nature of their service, rank, or position and in no way are the views or beliefs of any branch of the armed forces or uniformed services.