My fitness journey started back in 2010. While at work one day, I decided to weigh myself using a scale in the Shipping Department that was used for freight. The number on the scale read 307 pounds. I knew I was overweight and had been my whole life, but seeing that number was truly a slap in the face. I was feeling really down at that point and finally decided it was time to make a complete lifestyle change.
I set a goal to get my health back in order before I turned 30, and lose 100 pounds. I knew it was a big goal and I had failed many times before, but I wasn’t going to fail this time. I decided to get completely off the grid so I wouldn’t fall back into old habits. I dedicated an entire year to myself and reaching my goal.
I decided to buy a bike. I have bad knees, so riding a bike was a great way for me to get moving with low impact. I started riding around the lake near my house every day — around 10 miles. I slowly started increasing my distance and at one point I even rode around the lake five times.
Riding my bike was a way for me to just be alone and work out some of the demons that I was dealing with. I’ve always loved food and going out to eat with friends, but I knew I had an addiction and made the choice to completely remove myself from those situations. I made every meal at home and swore off fast food.
After a year passed — with many ups and downs — I reached and exceeded my goal by losing 120 pounds. I still remember Christmas that year like it was yesterday: I was visiting with family members I hadn’t seen in a whole year and the reaction I got was priceless. There were some shocked faces and a lot of tears.
I was beyond excited that I had reached my goal, but there was a downside: I continued to lose weight and eventually got too skinny — down to 170 pounds.
People would often ask me if I was sick. I had no muscle mass and found myself back in a bad place where I didn’t like how I looked.
I started researching how to gain lean muscle and came across Dr. Jim Stoppani. I found the program called Shortcut to Shred and still remember the first day of the program and thinking, “What did I just get myself into?”
But I continued to push through. I started to really enjoy lifting weights and doing cardioacceleration and HIIT. I also watched Jim’s videos, which were a lifesaver because they helped me understand proper technique for each lift and move. I was able to get back up to a healthy 190 pounds, but this time I built lean muscle mass and completely changed my body composition.
Around 2014, JYM Supplement Science launched Pre JYM; I had only tried one pre-workout and didn’t like it at all. I ordered Pre JYM and was hooked from Day One. I watched all of Jim Stoppani’s videos on proper dosing and how companies used concentrated formulas and proprietary blends.
I continue to educate myself and read more articles each day because it has truly become a passion of mine to help inform people what real science can do and how much misinformation and low-quality products are out there. Once the entire JYM System came out, I had all I needed in the form of supplementation: Pre JYM, Post JYM, Pro JYM, Omega JYM, Vita JYM and ZMA JYM.
Being a member of JimStoppani.com gives me literally thousands of programs to try. I’ve done HIIT 100, Daily Grind, Super-Man, and I’ll add Train Like Jim workouts in between programs. I’m currently in the Summer Shred Challenge and I’m going to tackle SS8 next!
One of my biggest tips for maintaining weight loss is to be consistent. I don’t believe in diets, but rather in an overall lifestyle change. The word “diet” to me means something short-term.
One of many great things about being a member of JimStoppani.com and the JYM Army is that they show you how you can still enjoy your favorite foods and maintain a lean physique. I had no clue how to calculate my macros, which is where Dieting 101 saved the day. I now know how to slowly drop carbs when needed and add them back, depending on my current goals.
It has been over seven years now since I started this lifestyle change, and one of the biggest things I’m proud of is not only losing the weight but keeping it off for six years. The fear of going back to where I once was drives me to continue to get better each day and enjoy life, because it is short and you never know how long you have.
I can never thank Jim Stoppani and the entire JYM Army enough for all the support they have given me over the years. The only way I can think of to thank them is by passing on the knowledge that I have gained and helping as many people as I can along the way.
From always being known as the shy, quiet, overweight kid to being the outgoing person who people go to for advice for their fitness and health questions, I can truly say that I am happy where I am in life, but never satisfied because I want to continue to learn and improve each day.
I love helping others and letting people know that anything is possible if you really want it. I always say, “when you make working out something you want to do and not have to do,” then you will succeed.
I am lucky enough to have found an amazing wife who loves living the same lifestyle I do. We train together at the gym six days a week, meal prep together, and we would much rather go lift some bars with weights then go out to the bar!
We actually got married in Vegas on the same day in 2014 that Jim and Justin were at Mr. Olympia. I told Jim and Justin that I really wanted stop by and say “thanks,” but as you can imagine, it was a crazy day and I ran out of time. When I tweeted Jim, he replied and said, “Don’t worry about it, you have more important things to do.”
It is crazy to me how to this day he finds time to tweet his followers and reply to all the questions that people have. That is one of many things that sets him and his entire team apart from others — they truly care. One day, I hope to meet Dr. Stoppani and shake his hand and finally thank him in person.
Today, I still go by “Big Mike” and always will, but I am no longer 307 pounds with 40 percent body fat. I am happy to say I now weigh 195 pounds with 15 percent body fat. My goal is to get below 10 percent and I am confident that I will make it happen, because I am dedicated to this lifestyle and have all the tools and programs I need with the JYM System and training programs at JimStoppani.com.
Thank you again, Dr. Stoppani, for passing on all of your knowledge and not only helping me, but millions, reach their fitness goals.
Keep grinding, JYM Army!!!