Hi I’m Nate – a native of northwest Indiana, living in Chicago. I’m a husband and father with a passion for aesthetics and helping others transform their bodies and wardrobes. Welcome to Iron & Tweed!
Growing up, I was always a weak, pudgy, little kid. I wasn’t obese by today’s standards, but in the 1990’s, I was usually the second or third fattest in my class.
I was that kid in the pool wearing a t-shirt that believed he could actually fool people into thinking he wasn’t fat.
Though I shot up to over 6 feet tall by my freshman year of high school, I was still weak and soft. During one of my earlier attempts to get in shape at 16, I could barely bench press 115 lbs or squat down to parallel with my own bodyweight.
I’ve never played an organized sport and I didn’t run a full mile until I was 23 years old (causing my feet, ankles, and knees hurt for weeks).
I was the epitome of skinny-fat.
As I entered adulthood as a hard-living construction worker, the long hours resulted in an over-reliance on fast food. My local Burger King staff actually used to greet me with “the usual?”
At the time, I managed to hide my skinny-fat body fairly well and people tended to think I was just a “big guy.”
If by big guy they meant that I was 6’ 2’’, 200 lbs with a 38-inch waist and13-inch arms, and unable to do a single pull-up, then yeah, I was a “big guy.”
So I quit my dead-end job, enrolled in college at 23, and began the journey of turning my body into something I didn’t want to hide at the beach.
That’s when I hit a little snag.
I quickly found out that when transforming a skinny-fat body, no matter what you do, at first, the results are going to be disappointing.
When you try to lose weight, your natural lack of muscle makes you look emaciated even before your abs are visible. When you attempt to pack on muscle, you end up getting fatter with negligible muscle gain.
It’s been an extremely long road for me. I’ve gone from 200+ lbs of chewed bubble gum down to a very slim 165 lbs (at 6’2’’). My weight has been up and down more times than I care to count.
As a result of these bulking/cutting cycles and figuring out how my body works, I’ve finally landed at a fairly lean 195 lbs.
Though I sometimes wish it had been an easier path, in the end, I’m actually happy that getting into shape wasn’t simple for me.
People who respond very quickly to any form of diet or exercise aren’t forced to learn very much. They try something, it works, and they do it some more. Job done.
I, on the other hand, have spent considerable time on every legitimate diet and training program out there. I haven’t been out of the gym for more than 5 consecutive days in the last 6 years and intend to continue in the same groove.
My Fitness Goals
Is my body where I want it to be?
Do I think I’m perfect in any way?
Not even close.
But I am extremely proud of how far I’ve come and I’m working harder than ever to get a little more muscular, a little leaner, and to improve some weak points.
I don’t have plans of developing a “bodybuilder’s” physique, however. I still want to fit into normal clothes with minimal alterations and I’m not interested in maintaining 6% body fat year-round.
I enjoy eating cheeseburgers, french fries, and ice cream way too much for that.
My ultimate body goal is simple – to look athletic in clothes and on the muscular side of “normal” when I strip down for the beach.
Growing up in a steel-mill town isn’t exactly the perfect setting for a young man interested in learning to be well dressed. Even though my hometown is only about a 30-minute drive from downtown Chicago, the atmosphere is very different.
Being from what is essentially the South Side of Chicago, dirty jeans, work boots, and a hoodie is the off-duty combination of choice for grown men everywhere. Usually worn while running errands on a Saturday afternoon and even at the local watering hole.
I’ve literally never personally known a man who wore a suit to work.
In Hammond, Indiana, people automatically assume that you’re attending a wedding if the shirt you’re wearing has a collar and buttons.
I’ve always wanted to be well dressed, but didn’t have the real life influence. In high school, I would spend hours on the Ralph Lauren website dreaming of the perfect wardrobe, and of living in a place where I was free to dress like a proper man without needless criticism.
After high school, I spent several years working different manual labor jobs – forklift mechanic, roofer, mover, sheet metal worker, etc.
Since I spent most of my time in the regional blue-collar uniform, I never really had the opportunity to develop the personal style that I desired. I was in my early 20s and still dressing like an overgrown teenager.
It wasn’t until I went to college, at age 23, that I finally had the opportunity to dress as I pleased every day. Even with that new found freedom, it still took me nearly 4 years to finally nail down my personal style.
What can Iron & Tweed do for you?
I created Iron & Tweed to help guys like you shave years off their self-improvement journey. I’m here to condense everything I’ve learned into bite-size articles that will have you on the fast track to looking and feeling your best.
Tired of being ashamed of your body?
I’ve been there, overcome, and can provide the guidance you need.
A major benefit of having an extremely stubborn body is that I’ve learned a ton. Aside from earning a Fitness degree, I’ve acquired some serious experience points in the gym.
I’ve been forced to learn so much and to put in an insane amount of effort to get my body to make even the smallest changes, that I’m now a walking muscle encyclopedia.
Furthermore, I understand that not everything works equally well for everyone. We can’t all be talented athletes – something most of the genetically gifted personal trainers fail to comprehend.
Want to improve your style to be more attractive to women or make more money at work?
I’ve been down that road too, and am here to save you years of headaches (and credit card bills).
Learning to dress well on a student’s budget was another blessing in disguise.
Walking into a store and buying whatever is on the mannequin is easy, but it doesn’t really teach you anything. Finding inspiration online and the scouring thrift stores and sales racks to put together a respectable wardrobe, on the other hand, is very involved and a great learning experience.
The Bottom Line
I understand that not everyone is looking to devote their entire lives to researching style and fitness, but everyone I’ve come across is interested in improving their body and their wardrobes. Everyone wants to look good.
I won’t feed you any bullshit like “1 easy trick for 6-pack abs!!!!” or “Earn $10k more per year by wearing the right shoes.”
I only want to give my readers “evergreen” content. This means that everything I write was applicable 10 years ago, is current today, and will still be valuable to you in the next 10 years.
My main goal is to inspire my readers to take charge of their lives, find their confidence, and feel the innumerable benefits of improving their physical appearance.
I know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but that’s far too few to explain how much my life has improved since getting my body and wardrobe in shape.
Please take a look around my site and shoot me an email on my contact me or follow me on social media at:
All the best,