The idea was planted when I made a call to “The Guru” in March.

The idea turned into a plan a month later when I finally took Kav on his offer.

The result was the best training program I’ve ever been on. SBOAT, a name given because Kav always like to bust my chops, was a program that taught me about some of the considerations needed when programming for an athlete by making me train like one. It also got me into the best shape of my life.

The first trip through SBOAT took place during the Summer of 2017. I was going to originally write this right after I completed the program, but I’m glad I waited. I waited a bit longer than expected, but it gave me time to reflect on the three-and-a-half month journey and what preceded it.

I wanted to make this all one post, but it would be way too long to read. I decided to break this up into two parts. This post is going to deal with the backstory and how it all got started. My next post will be all about the actual program itself.


Tom Bilella with me after his presentation at SWIS.

I made a call to Dr. Tom Bilella, known as “The Guru” in March of 2017. I met Dr. Tom in 2015 when he offered to take a cab ride with me to the SWIS Symposium. He won me over with his presentation and just how he treated me throughout the trip. We met at the airport and he treated me like a good friend. Fast forward about a year later and he was a fixture on Joe DeFranco’s podcast as part of “Operation Rebuild Joe D.”

Joe D. was working on a body transformation of his own and Dr. Tom was providing the nutritional guidance. On the podcasts, they talked a lot about the importance of blood work. They used the blood work to find out what vitamins Joe was deficient in and what food sensitivities he had. Dr. Tom was working with my mom and she was having some success, so I decided to give it a shot. I got my blood work taken care of (I believe the test I got was the MRT 150), went in for my consultation and used the InBody test.

For those wondering, the foods I tested the most sensitive for were chicken, vanilla, pineapple, cucumbers and red meat. Think of food sensitivities like food allergies, they are foods that your body doesn’t react to for whatever reason. Most of the time, in my case, it’s from eating them too frequently. The diet is then put together surrounding foods your body reacts well to. After a break, usually about two weeks, you slowly reintroduce the foods you didn’t test well with to see if your body responds better to them.

I probably should have waiting another month to start the diet because the timing wasn’t well. I was approaching finals for my spring semester of grad school. I wasn’t training or sleeping as much and it made it hard to stick to the plan. Between grad school and working two jobs, I figured it would be best to wait another month until the semester ended.

Me with Justin Kavanaugh after his presentation at SWIS 2018.

This is where Kav comes in. Justin Kavanaugh has been great to me and owe the progress I’ve made in coaching to his friendship and mentorship. For months, he was offering to write a program for me to follow. Every time we talked about my own training, he always made a passing comment about writing a plan for me. I always kept putting it off because I felt bad about making him write something up for me. It’s hard to ask someone who’s done so much for you to do another thing, for free.

Well, he kept poking the bear and I finally decided to take him up on it around the middle of April. I had a nutrition plan in place, so I might as well go all-in and follow a program made by one of the best coaches in the world. I’ve seen the work he’s done with athletes of all ages and knew it would be a home run. I told him why I had reservations about taking him up on the offer. He understood, but said I had to make sure I journaled my progress and followed through with the program.

He decided that it would be best to start the program right around Memorial Day weekend when I was done with school. This would also lead into the summer where I would have a lot more time to train with school being out.

Think of this: I was about to start a program where my nutrition and training were covered by SWIS speakers. My confidence in this program was at an all-time high.