My Personal Journey to a Better Life

Real Health in a Real World


The information on this website is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only.  It is an opinion blog based on personal research and experimentation.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult with a licensed professional healthcare provider before undertaking any diet or lifestyle change.

WithorWithoutBacon Copyright 2015

Charlotte, NC  United States

All pictures are property of withorwithoutbacon, jrsphotography, or have been used with permission, and may not be copied, printed or published without written consent. 

The next day I was at CNYMMA waiting for them to open.  I walked in and set up an appointment for my intro class.  I loved it.  I had no idea what I was doing but I loved it.  I signed up for a 1 year membership that day and I never looked back.  

At some point in the winter of 2008, I was bundled up under blankets, miserable, suffering from strep throat.   I was flipping through the channels mindlessly, trying to find something to watch.  I came across a channel that had two guys locked in cage fighting each other.  There was a ref, judges and a small group of spectators watching these two athletes go at it.  I had stumbled across a marathon of an early season of the UFC reality show “The Ultimate Fighter”.  I couldn’t believe what I was watching and how I hadn’t heard of it before.  What rock had I been living under? I was immediately hooked, I watched every episode that they aired over the next couple days, started setting my DVR for any UFC/MMA show I could find and when I got back to work, was hitting up all sorts of websites trying to learn about it.

Hayastan MMA has become a home away from home.  I love my teammates, my coaches and the workouts.  I am continuously being challenged, and you can’t put a price on the emotional and mental benefits of the training.  No one can predict the future, but whatever it entails, and wherever I end up, I know participating in martial arts will be part of my life.  

Foods you should definitely be eating to those you should avoid at all costs.  Get to know about Protein, good and bad Fats, and how to manage the very tricky Carbohydrate intake.

Shortly after, I grabbed a small local circular when I popped in a convenient store.  I have no recollection of why, but I did.  I tossed it in my car and it sat there for a couple days.  One day I was pushing things aside and it flipped over.  On the back cover, there was a picture of two guys training MMA.  Turns out they ran a small school in a nearby town.  


From photography, to gardening, to martial arts, to technology and entertainment, we all need to relax and take time to enjoy things that make us happy.  Here are some of my interests.

Mixed Martial Arts

A collection of recipes and guides to some of my favorite meals, sides and snacks.  Real ingredients, satisfying and healthy. 

After almost a year of training, I had progressed in skill and rank and was making some great friends.  I knew I wanted more, but I wasn’t really interested in competing.  I was approaching my 7 year anniversary at my job, the same job I had after college, and I was getting tired.  I approached the owners of CNYMMA and handed them my resume asking if they needed some business helped.  As luck would have it, they did.  Within a couple months I transitioned to running the same location I had been training at.  My life was now fully immersed in Mixed Martial Arts.

Although the career wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be, I continued training and look back fondly at my time at CNYMMA.  I moved to Charlotte roughly 1 year later and one of the first things I did was search out a reputable martial arts school.  I found a couple and after talking to my coaches back home, realized I had a connection to one of them from grappling tournaments we used to attend near Buffalo NY.  I walked in, chatted with the coaches and owners, and new that was the place for me.

Think exercise is a chore?  Don't have time?  No more feeling like a hamster in a wheel for hours on end.  Get results with functional strength training. 

6 years later I’m still training there.  Every day I learn something new, and even get to pass my knowledge and experience on to new students.  I have helped out running the business during an emotional transition period when our coach unexpectedly passed away, and even joined the competition team as I am finally pursuing my bucket list item to fight in an amateur cage fight.