From Tiny to Nick

Tiny and I were inseparable. He was my camera assist for two years. I took him on every show with me, partly because he was a reliable A.C. and partly because he was the most hysterical 360 pound man I'd ever met.  He always knew how to cheer me out of a foul mood. But after those two years, a shift began to happen. Tiny was getting frustrated with not getting shooting jobs, and the mask he wore of the "fat jolly guy" was wearing off. He was beginning to realize that the chances of a production company hiring a 300 plus pound shooter was slim.  This began affecting his work, which in turn, affected our relationship.

I told Tiny it was time for us to part ways. It wasn't until this interview that he told me that the things I told him on that day were the worst things anyone had ever said to him. We were shooting Breaking Bonaduce in Boston. I told him that I had always hoped that our relationship would end with him shooting beside me, but it was going to end with a clean separation right there. "Find another operator, your'e not learning anything from me anymore," I said. We were both pretty upset.

After this, Tiny started getting his life under control. Opportunities started coming his way and he realized that he was going to have to take himself seriously for others to do the same. He buckled down and made a goal to lose 100 pounds in one year. I remember when the shift happened.

Tiny was trained not to care about his image. Size 50 Dickies and 4XL white hanes shirts were his uniform. In the beginning, the weight came off pretty quickly. Tiny knew he had a long way to go so he didn't even bother buying new clothes. They'd just be too big pretty soon. A piece of cut rope from art dept. would work just fine as a belt for now.

After some time, Tiny and I started working for different companies and didn't see each other as regularly. I heard through the grapevine that he was getting shooting gigs and was looking great. It wasn't until I saw him in person that it took my breath away. Tiny had transformed himself completely. He was unrecognizable. He wasn't Tiny anymore...now, he was Nick.




The most interesting thing to me is that he changed his life while working in reality tv.  He now hovers at a healthy weight of around 200lbs...a far cry from the 365lbs that he once reached at his heaviest.  As soon as he started being accountable and taking himself seriously, the jobs started coming...the ones he wanted. Tiny is a representation for me of the fact that you CAN change your life while working on set or in post. You just have to want it bad enough.

Nick's Tips: How'd he do it?



Crafty:

  • Look for the things with the fewest ingredients or for whole foods like fruit.

  • Keep snacks under 200 calories

  • Bring canned tuna for a protein snack

  • If you're eating because you're bored, slug a WATER instead; know the difference between boredom and real hunger

  • Drink green tea or kombucha

  • Make requests. Production wants an alert crew, they'll oblige more often than not.

  • If you're overly tired, it's because of what you're putting into your body.


Crew Meals:

  • Avoid white starches/carbs like pasta,white rice or potatoes

  • Ask for dressing and sauces on the side

  • Start looking at meals as FUEL instead of food. Ask yourself, what is going to make the next 6 to 8 hours of my shift easier versus what is going to put me to sleep?

  • Throw a fruit carb in a few hours post lunch to energize you for the last few hours till wrap time.

  • Get off the sugar roller coaster. You want coffee post lunch because your lunch made you sleepy!


Working out:


  • There's always time for at least 30 minutes of cardio.

  • Quick runs or intervals take no time, do them pre or post shift. If you're eating right, you'll have energy for this.

  • "Condition yourself to do more!" The time spent in the gym makes lugging around a camera easier.  The camera doesn't feel as heavy and he doesn't get out of breath while shooting because he's physically conditioned himself for it.

  • Working out helps you sleep better.  Better sleep equals a sharper mind at work.

  • Find a workout partner, especially if you're on the road. Nick used to play minor league baseball; competition drives him, and he uses that as a tool for fitness.

  • You don't have to be a gym rat...just do something physical! Nick says to use guys like Jesse Fleiss as inspiration..."that dude is always doing something active!"


Strategy:

  • Work out on shift days. Take a day off from the gym on your day off. That way you get one complete day of rest from work and fitness before the work week starts again.

  • Tackle one thing at a time. Pick one thing you KNOW you're doing wrong and go after it. Once you've made that change, tackle the next thing.




The hardest thing to do is get out the door. But once you do, you'll be so glad you did. Some of us need to lose a few pounds, some of us need a lifestyle overhaul. Every person needs their own wake up call. Nick's best advice is to be honest with yourself and your situation. "The more you do, the better you'll feel," Nick says. And I couldn't agree more.

Pain in the neck

Somewhere on my journey to 10 pullups, I got a little wacky. I was "greasing the groove" so much that god knows what I was doing to my back and neck as far as straining the heck out of them. Not surprising that a few days before I got my PR, my back started hurting. The right side of my upper thoracic spine was burning. I know that myofasical release is key to pain management. I attacked my entire upper back with my foam roller and tennis balls. I felt like a cat trying to scratch an itch with anything it could find to rub up against. No luck. Crap...I feel like I'm on fire.

I did some research into referred pain patterns. Sometimes the spot to rub is nowhere NEAR the spot that hurts. (read that last sentence again....just to make it sink in!)

The scalenes...or bermuda triangle of muscles...is located in the front part your neck above the clavicle. It's the weird ropey muscles that poke out when you gasp or say, "eek!" My Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Claire Davies said to investigate massaging this area for upper back pain. Huh? Massage the side of my throat for back pain? Dumb.

So, the next day, I'm dragging myself around Target, hunched over in pain, purse hanging open with its innards spilling out onto the floor, and a scarf strapped around my neck that's strangling me like a noose. Graceful? Never. Completely annoyed by this point, I grab the scarf to rip it off my neck and accidentally jab my finger into the side of my throat. THERE IT WAS! I jabbed right onto a trigger point in my neck so bad that my knees went weak. I literally saw spots. People in the kitchen appliances section must have thought I was nuts. I was standing there between the toasters and the slow cookers with my finger jammed into my neck and trying not to throw up on my shirt.

I rubbed...hard. For a good 5 minutes. The harder I rubbed, the less the burning in my back became. I'd found it.


If you hurt, RESEARCH trigger point therapy and try to implement the techniques on yourself. Ask me. Ask your trainer. The body is an amazing thing. Everything is connected to the next. Stop thinking of your body as individual muscles and bones and start thinking of it as an interconnected web. Good luck!