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    Posted May 5, 2014 by
    RichBody
    Location
    Leamington, Ontario
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    "I don’t regret that I hit rock bottom"

     
    Richie Keirouz has the world in his hands. He’s in the best shape of his life, has a great job and an amazing wife and family.

    But life wasn’t always great for Keirouz. In 2004, his life was in a downward spiral and pretty close to rock bottom. He was overweight, drinking, smoking and starting to battle depression.

    The 37-year-old Leamington man was always health conscious. As a teen, he spent hours lifting weights and working out. At 19, he entered into the world of fitness and underwear modelling.

    In 2004, he met his wife Jenn, left the family business and started to work for a local produce company. He felt he needed a change. But, it ended up being the wrong decision and the start of a downward spiral for Keirouz.

    “I started to work 12-hour days,” he said. “All I was doing was working and eating. It really started to take its toll on me. I started to lose interest in training, I stopped and then started to put on the weight.”

    By 2006, he had two kids and was working longer hours. He was letting life and his stressful job get to him.

    “I started to lose sight of what was making me happy in life,” he said. “I think that when things change in your life you have to be really careful that you don’t get caught up in them and go in the wrong direction.”

    At five-feet seven-inches tall, Keirouz’s weight had climbed to more than 200 pounds and his fitness routine was replaced with eating, drinking and smoking.

    “I started smoking because everyone at work was,” he said. “At first I would just bum a cigarette but soon I was buying two packs a day.”


    That’s when things really started to snowball for Keirouz.

    “I was never a big drinker but all of a sudden I was coming home having a beer, glass of wine and within no time I was drinking 40-oz bottle of vodka in two days,” he said. “I found myself looking forward to getting off work so I could get home and drink.”

    His relationship with his wife and kids was starting to suffer, his finances were a mess and his health a disaster.

    “My wife and kids would go to bed and I’d sit in the dark alone and drink, that was my getaway,” he said. “I was negative, always in a negative state and truly felt like the world owed me something.”

    One day, his wife took a picture of him. He glanced at it in disgust and quickly put it in a drawer.

    “I started thinking, ‘what am I doing to myself?’” he said. “I had never seen myself in that light before. I had hit rock bottom. I had always been a positive person, outgoing and that had changed. I’d see people in restaurants and I could tell they were thinking what had happened to me.”


    In 2007, Keirouz decided to take his life back. He started to read self-help books and meditate. He was doing anything to get his mind off the negative state of his life.

    “I was truly happy when I was healthy, in shape and taking care of myself,” he said. “So I stopped smoking, stopped drinking and joined a gym.”

    Keirouz slowly started to notice changes in his life.

    “I started to wake up again with a smile on my face,” he said. “And as I started to feel better about myself my positivity in my life increased. My job got better, my relationships got better and I even got promoted at work.”

    Keirouz decided to share his love of health and fitness and opened Rich Body – Live the Rich Life, a personal fitness and nutritional support system in Leamington that focuses on empowering, educating, training and motivating clients. He also helps clients train to compete in figure and bikini competitions. Rich Body Foods in Kingsville, which will offer healthy meals and a line of supplements, is opening soon.

    “Looking back it’s funny because I didn’t realize how bad my lifestyle was,” he said. “You look in the mirror but you see what you want to see. I realize I had a glimpse into some of the struggles my clients go through daily.

    “You don’t see many people who are overweight that are happy and positive,” he said. “You really have to develop an attitude that people have to make fitness something they want to do, not something they are forced to do. I realized I wanted to help people who went through similar battles that I did.”

    Keirouz is now well-known in bodybuilding as a fierce competitor. In his first competition in 2010, he nabbed first place in the London & Western Ontario Championships and has been placing ever since.

    “When I won, it changed a lot of things for me,” he said. “It really put things in perspective for me. I realized I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I now know what it feels like to be in elite shape and on top of the world. I know what it feels like to be rock bottom. I don’t regret that I hit rock bottom, I use it as a tool and won’t ever let myself get back there.”

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