Just over a year ago Adam Goldstein was 240 pounds, working a corporate job on Bay Street. That’s when he found out his mother was terminally ill and decided to make a drastic change in his life. After his mom passed away, Adam quit his job and committed himself to a year of soul-searching and improving his lifestyle. He left Toronto and embarked on a journey across Europe, South-East Asia, and North America where he learned more about himself and picked up a lot of healthy habits. Through his journey, Adam managed to drop 60-pounds and discovered the keys to a healthy, sustainable life. Upon his return, Adam decided to direct all of his knowledge and personal experience in fitness and weight-loss into helping others achieve their health goals.
Today, Adam runs ‘Goldy’s Army,’ a holistic fitness, nutrition, and accountability program designed to help individuals build awareness and transform their lives from the ground up. We sat down with Adam to learn more about him and his journey and how he’s helping people to live their healthiest life.
“I’m a guinea pig, not a guru.” – Adam Goldstein
HOLR: What was the trigger point where you decided “I’m going to start getting healthier?”
My mom had stage four cancer for 10 years. It seemed to be pancreatic cancer, the same one Steve Jobs had. I was taking care of her with the help of my brother while I was working long hours. I didn’t realize how rapidly her health was declining until it got really bad. I saw her losing weight dramatically; the full effects of chemotherapy were visible. When she passed, I was there; I called the ambulance, I called my brother who lives in L.A., I called my aunt – everything happened so quickly I don’t even know how I handled it. But I did and I’m really grateful that I was.
It was all obviously very traumatic. I went back to work thinking if I could just double down on my work, I would be able to get through it. But, I felt like everything around me had lost colour. I was standing in Bay Street just looking at all the people, like fish, going to their jobs and I was not really feeling connected to anything. I was obviously depressed and in shock still. It felt very surreal. I thought to myself “how am I feeling?”. I couldn’t really answer the question – I wasn’t even crying. So, I thought the best thing to do would be to hop on a plane and get out of here and try to figure out how I feel as opposed to trying to come up with solutions to the issues that I was dealing with at the time.
It was really important to me that I quit my job. It was like an epiphany moment where I was just sitting in the street thinking I don’t feel anything, I don’t want to continue living like this, and if I’m on my deathbed I’m going to have regrets. I’ve always wanted to travel and now I have the opportunity. It’s time to prioritize. So, I literally went to my boss and told him I’m out. He said, dude, do your thing, this is your time. It felt really good. Everyone was very supportive. I thought I was going on leave for three months. Turns out, I was gone for over a year.
HOLR: Is that where you developed a passion for health and fitness?
Yes. I started out by reading extensively – ‘The 4-Hour Body’ by Tim Ferriss, stuff about Ross Edgley who is an awesome, high-performance endurance athlete, and David Goggins. They were my three biggest inspirations. David Goggins was 300 pounds lost a lot of weight. He had a very traumatic, abusive upbringing and then became a Navy SEAL. He then focused on pushing the limits of his body and always spoke about cleansing his mind through enduring – I’ve always found him super inspiring. I read his book ‘You Can’t Hurt Me’, when I was in Nepal when I was doing the Everest Base Camp trek. I got hypoxia at 5,500 meters and had to get rescued and evacuated by helicopter back to Kathmandu. I was around 240 pounds then.
At the time, I was reading the book and I thought, okay, I want to make this journey about fitness. I went to Thailand for four months. I worked out four days a week and got to meet some of the best personal trainers in the world. I got to train with elite athletes like UFC fighters and the Men’s Russian Wrestling Team. The amount of knowledge and information I was able to absorb in that time was incredible. I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t partying – I was just there to better myself. I got lost in literature, podcasts, and the science of health and fitness. I used myself almost like a guinea pig experimenting and figuring out what the journey was like. And, that’s how it all started.
HOLR: What did you find was working and how long was your journey from 240 pounds to where you are now?
Well, the journey doesn’t end – it is all about continuous improvement (Kaizen). But I did lose around 60 pounds from then to now. Now I’m at 180 pounds, 12% body fat, and I feel incredible. Last week, I ran a mile in under six minutes. I do long-distance running. I like to focus on functional training. I feel like I’m now back in touch with who I was as a kid and that I’m at the right place in my life. People say when you lose yourself to find yourself and your passion again, try to think about who you are as a kid. You had no distractions, no social commitment, and no expectations from your friends or your family then. You did what you loved to do. For me, it was always just exercise, playing outside with my friends, and pushing the limits for what I thought was physically possible.
HOLR: What’s one of the most important lessons you learned about yourself while you were traveling?
Honestly, developing consistency. Consistency is one attribute that’s lacking in our society especially with the influx of social media and instant gratification. Focusing on how to delay gratification and developing habits consistently over time leads to a greater sense of awareness. When you’re aware, you learn about who you are, what you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy, and who are the people in your life that matter. It allows you to live with intention where you start making better decisions for yourself and owning those decisions every second of every day.
I started asking myself what is my time here worth? Am I going to connect with people that are going to help me grow or am I going to give time for people who don’t deserve it? That was the biggest lesson I learned – consistency leads to a greater sense of awareness. Once you tap into awareness, life becomes more real and you start feeling alive and life becomes really fun. You start doing things you care about most, all the time. You find your tribe, your purpose, and your happiness.
HOLR: Do you adhere to and prescribe any sort of diets?
I don’t like the term diet – I think it has a negative connotation. I prefer the term “Liveit”, a positive lifestyle. I practice fasting for cellular regeneration (google the word Autophagy), boosting my immune system, and metabolism. It helps me focus and gives me so much energy due to the fact that when you aren’t eating food, your body uses fat storage as energy to fuel the body (google the word Gluconeogenesis). Eating natural, plant-based whole foods liveit has helped me produce amazing results in the gym in terms of developing lean muscle mass and fueling my body. It helps me not care so much about calories and instead focuses on nutrient-rich foods that can help fuel my mind, mood, and body. You need to think of your body as a high-performance sports car. It’s not just gas that you use, but also oil, the brakes, the tires, etc.
I don’t like compartmentalizing holistic health. For me it’s all-encompassing – meditation, fasting, being mindful of what you eat, learning about body movement, mobility, and safe exercise. What’s most important is being able to create a plan that keeps you consistent. Pushing you forward towards your goals every day. I did it for myself and I’m here to help others in understanding their potential for themselves.
How long have you been doing intermittent fasting for and what effects do you feel since you started?
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for eight months now and have found that I’m more focused, my stress levels are down, and I get better sleep. I’m more in touch with my appetite. I think we’ve been programmed, as a society, to eat three meals a day and not really ask why or understand the impacts of it on our body, our hormones, and our digestion. Intermittent fasting has helped me not have hunger urges – I’m able to stay consistent around knowing what times I need to eat. I have developed that sense of awareness.
How long does a program typically last and what does it look like?
Basically, we sit down and talk about the goals and take all the relevant measurements. I don’t like to look at the weight. I look at total inches. So, we measure the bicep, thighs, midsection, and over time we can judge based on body composition how they’re improving. This is more effective because people retain water weight, muscle, and fat differently. Then we start creating routines both morning and night and I coordinate our workouts based on the client’s availability and work schedule. We will then book a time to go grocery shopping together and cook at their apartment. I will create a meal plan and make the meals with the client in-person – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. I’ll take a picture of the food and upload them as meals on their phone using the app My Fitness Pal. Not having to scan every ingredient one by one helps my clients level of adherence to developing a new skill over time.
In this whole process, I often find that we connect on a different level. We’re all so busy, working 80 to 100 hours a week. We don’t have time for anything let alone ourselves. I really want my clients to focus on the idea that the time they take for themselves is not just important, but also healthy. After the cookoff, I’ll create a workout plan and we’ll get started. Right now I’m offering programs that are one-month long and three-months long.
What’s the best way to start your morning for a productive day?
I like to wake up super early. I wake up at 5.30-6.00 a.m. and go for a run. I’ll drink a litre and a half of water then. I like to get my clients to drink at least two litres of water a day. Sometimes, they’ll use essential amino acids as well. It’s really beneficial if you’re going to do a workout after. Obviously, I’ll have my clothes laid out the night before and then when I come back from the run or shower, I listen to some good music. Because I’m running my business, I have different things that I have to do during the day. Right now, I’m focusing on building an online course taking all the things that I’ve learned and am making it more accessible for everyone.
I was recently working with Kupfert and Kim as well as Impact Kitchen’s Chef Jerry to film different recipes and meal prep Chef Style! It’s important to learn about how to prepare food, save money, shop on seasonality and meal prep like a boss where the food will taste incredible. With the Help of Executive Chef Jerry at Impact Kitchen, I am able to bring that value to the table. One meal we made was “Farm-raised organic salmon with cauliflower mash accompanied with a salsa verde and lemon sauce.” It was incredible.
What advice do you have for someone that doesn’t know where to start?
Give me a call or send me a DM