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Health and Fitness

by Eugene Katchalov |  Published: Apr 26, '13


Earlier this week I sent out a before and after picture of myself from 3 years ago until now.  The response that I got on twitter and facebook was quite overwhelming to say the least.  Besides inspiring me to continue working hard on bettering myself physically it appears to have inspired many others to do the same.   This was certainly the impact I really hoped to have with my picture but I definitely underestimated just how many people would reply to it and ask many basic questions as to how I achieved this and, more importantly, how they can achieve similar results.  Instead of answering similar questions over and over, I decided that it would be best if I were to write up a short blog.   I also asked my trainer, Lincon Rodrigues, to write up a short piece describing how I got to where I am today and what everyone can do to achieve similar results.  I thought that advice coming from an expert would be more valuable then from a student J

My Transformation 009 0001

I first met Lincon when I was in London for the EPT in the fall of 2011.  I remember I just checked into the hotel and ran into Elky who was already training with him at the time for his upcoming boxing match vs Lex.  He asked me if I’d like to join them for a workout sometime and I readily accepted as I was really looking to lose some weight (something I struggled with most of my life).  From that first session, I knew that there was something different about the types of trainings with Lincon and so I stayed on and began traveling together with him and Elky as we would slowly start training together.  I certainly didn’t take it all so seriously in the beginning and didn’t nearly expect the changes that I would go through, but as we kept going I noticed that the thing that gave me the most motivation and will to continue, was the actual change in my own body and how I felt.  While I always believed that it’s certainly possible for anyone to get into shape, I never quite imagined that I would ever be able to get there as much as I loved food and as lazy as I thought I was.  So in the end, besides Lincon, I think the biggest motivation and inspiration for myself was actually seeing my own progress.  This slow but steady progress pushed me to want more and to see how far I can actually go with this.  Through a serious of short-term goals that Lincon, Elky and myself came up with, we were able to constantly improve ourselves and get to the point where we are today.


I really believe that some of the biggest reasons most people who want to get into shape but don’t is either a lack constant motivation or a lack of strategy for properly getting there.  While of course not everyone can have their own Lincon, there are still many ways to get what you want on your own no matter the obstacles.  Anything else is just an excuse.  I recently saw a video on youtube which was truly inspirational about a guy who was born extremely overweight and struggled with this most of his life and at one point decided that enough was enough and decided to change.  I really recommend you guys watch it, it’s only 3 mins long but really amazing!


As promised, here is an abbreviated version of something that Lincon wrote, as per my request, to give you guys some good basic advice and guidelines as to how you can start improving yourselves as I and many others have.  (Please keep in mind that English is not his first language, as he is from Brazil, and he has never formally learned it in school and so please don’t pay attention to the grammatical mistakes some of which I’ll try to fix).


October 2011, EPT London, at LA Fitness was the first contact that I had with Eugene Katchalov.  That week we did a couple of fitness workout sessions, maybe 3 or 4 and Eugene was in very bad shape.  I mean it in the whole physical context, not just on the appearance, which was not even so bad. Eugene wasn’t able to stabilize himself straight on the TRX or to execute 3 good quality push-ups… but something about him pulled my attention, in every workout, since the beginning, he put everything he had into every workout, even tho at that time it wasn’t much.  This is a characteristic that is similar with many of the champions that I had the honor of training along my coaching career.  Eugene also enjoyed every moment of each workout, if there was a moment of pain or if for a while he faced a movement that his body was not comfortable with, he would struggle, would fail, fail, fail, but would try again to get it done… there, in these moments, I felt that the charismatic chubby poker player really wanted to have a change. So after we spoke about it, we decided to travel together, with Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier and myself.

We decided together to come up with a good plan, and this is something that everyone of you can do (not need to travel all around the world with a private coach):

  • Analyze the real present situation: Physical, Health, Personal Schedule, Financial Situation;
  • With that we got the point ZERO – now where to go?
  • What is the goal? What is the dead line to reach the goal? How badly do you want it? Is it realistic? How important to my life is it to achieve it? What will it change in my life? What am I able to give up in order to achieve it? Would I change my lifestyle for it? Would I invest money in it? And one very important thing that makes people lose motivation in the middle of the way: WHAT I WILL DO WITH IT WHEN I ACHIEVE IT? For a Japanese pupil of a great martial Arts master, the most important thing for them is to be honored with the Samurai Sword.  Many of them would die miserable if in their lives they didn’t achieve this.  For me, if I get one of these swords it would simply be a pretty souvenir on my wall… just that… nothing changes on my own life. So the point here is that you should choose correctly exactly what is your sword, what is your goal, not just in fitness, but in life, and take time figuring it out. Once you do, make sure to do it in a correct way. Dreaming is nice, but reality is our daily life, so fight for your dreams with the correct weapon: DISCIPLINE IS THE BRIDGE THAT CONNECTS DREAMS WITH REALITY.
  • Then comes the next step: Strategy – build your own army to fight at your side, to support you on the way of your personal conquering. Here is what I mean by this;  how to get from ZERO (today’s situation) until I achieve my goal? – you don’t have to be an expert, but try and put some effort into studying about general health and well-being.  At least understand what it is about, study (knowledge is power), find someone in your family, among your friends, relatives, colleagues that want to grow with you in this way!! Expand your network of friends that know about this and are also looking to better themselves, get into the correct community.  To reach the final goal, you should first make many short term goals; for example, if it’s in regards to fitness, every 2 weeks you should have a goal to achieve.  This should be something on the way that will lead you in the direction of the final goal (I want to run a quarter mile more with no break. I wish to correct my posture while I do my push-ups sets. I will run 10 seconds faster my 5km run…etc) so, every second week you will have a small goal to achieve.  This way, if you miss one training session, you will decrease your chance to achieve it by 1/14 which now becomes more important rather than having something like a year long goal where skipping one day is only 1/365 so not as important.  If you skip a meal or if you overeat with friends, then you won’t be able to achieve these short term goals and so you will be decreasing drastically your chances of achieving the final target because your motivation will vanish away.

Continuing with strategy… Set yourself a realistic Budget for it.  If you can’t afford to, it’s not a reason to give up as even with no budget, doing all this is still a real possibility.  Let’s fight with the guns we have on hand (remember, the best gym in the world is our own body – so many of my clients worldwide work out only in their living room).  If you can come up with a budget, even better, start using it to better select the food that will lead you to your fitness goal.   With the remaining budget, use it to go to the gym that is most realistic to your situation of personal schedule. In addition, see if you can perhaps start taking some healthy omega 3, and also taking protein in powder form.   Would also be great if you could get a few hours with a local coach that will educate you in the correct movements, will instruct you in many of the basics and will give you good advice as you start with your own workouts so as to avoid risk of injury.

Along the way you will find many haters and many people that will distract you, suddenly find a lot of reasons to not go to the gym on that day, or to party untill next morning.  This is fine, you can do it, you can go party and drink what you want, but remember that there is someone out there, some random person that is training, studying, bettering himself, and if you both should face each other, he would have the pleasure of the victory, the reward of the hard work and discipline.

Eugene’s plan is been daily scheduled by us both together, considering his Family, poker career, business, personal relations, so, he is busy full time, but as he wants it so badly, he always finds time and inspiration to keep going.  He has been working out 5 to 7 times a week, depending on which part of the mesocycle that he is in. The food: he eats 6X a day, based on the time of the workouts. Why? Well, people like to say you are what you eat! I like to say: NO! You are what your body is able to synthesize.  If you don’t prepare your body to absorb the correct amount of protein, amino acids, Complex and simple carbs, all the micro nutrients and all the most expensive new wave products, believe me you wont be the bulked monster that you want to be just because you can afford to visit your sport supplements shop weekly. Also a question I hear lot: Lincon, is training 40% and diet is 60%? or training is 20%, diet is 80%… What is that? I answer… Training/Diet/Rest = 100% Discipline so you will collect 100% of your results!!!

Guys, as you start this, you will go to bed every day with a smile on your face because you know that in this day you have done a little step that leads you in the direction your goal.  You will also wake up every morning with a great smile on your face, because you know that you are taking the steps that you should be today in order to walk in the direction of your DREAM!





The post Health and Fitness appeared first on Eugene Katchalov.

Eugene Katchalov has been a professional poker player since 2003 and is a World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour champion. The Ukrainian native has won over $8 million on the live tournament circuit and is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

You can read more about Eugene on his website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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