Unlike most people, I began my fitness journey intent on gaining weight. In high school, I was very thin and skinny, and oftentimes referred to as a “stick.” At the time, I also had long shaggy hair; guys would say that I looked like a girl and had “girl shoulders.” I was around 120 to 130 pounds at the time. I had never worked out a day in my life.
My father had been training at the local YMCA ever since I was a young boy, but I was never interested in joining him or lifting weights. I was the kid who played video games online with my friends and did not fit in with the popular crowd.
In my senior year of high school and my first few years at college, I played guitar in a local metal band touring around North Carolina. I was very passionate about music and meeting new people and other bands at shows that we played.
After playing in the music scene for a while, I began weightlifting at the student recreation center at my college. I had met a few guys who lived in my residence hall who enjoyed playing sports, video games, and working out. I enjoyed playing sports and hanging out with them, so I began tagging along with them to the gym and following their routines.
I decided to watch some of his videos, and I was blown away by his knowledge about exercise, dieting, and supplementing. I incorporated some of his exercises into my routine, and then I finally made the commitment to a program and began Shortcut to Size.
After I began the program, I was instantly hooked. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was not this skinny kid that everyone made fun of and walked over. I was someone trying to change my life for the better.
I’m currently a 22-year-old graduate student and I cannot believe how much fitness has changed my life for the better. Before I began my journey, I would eat take-out and fast food nearly every day of the week. I never ate breakfast, and my diet consisted mostly of fried fatty foods. Had you told me then how my life would be now, I would have never believed you.
I’m currently 195 pounds with about 15 percent body fat. When I started, I was a little over 130 pounds, and skinny to the bone. My transformation has taken me just over three years.
The most valuable lesson I have learned is that fitness can change your life in more ways than just physical. You learn more about yourself when you go through changing your day-to-day routine so much. You learn how dedicated you can be when you try to change your life and you actually stick with it.
Before I began Jim’s programs, I never stuck to anything, and I would only go to the gym when my friends were going. After I made the commitment to changing myself, I began to see exercising as a form of therapy and enjoyment – it was my time of the day to work on myself and my goals.
My biggest key to success was staying consistent. Once I had the internal desire to make a change, and I had the steps to follow from jimstoppani.com, all I had to do was show up each day and do the work.
When I put in real work using Jim’s science-based programming, I was able to achieve results I had never imagined. People I went to high school with or who had been friends with me early in college can’t even recognize me anymore – a feeling I take pride in.
Along with proper programming and nutrition from jimstoppani.com, I also use the JYM supplement line. I began with Pro JYM and Post JYM. Once the support line of Vita JYM, Omega JYM, and ZMA JYM came out, I also began supplementing with them every day. I also drink around five Pro JYM shakes a day to get two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight – all knowledge I gained from reading articles on jimstoppani.com.
The toughest obstacle that I have faced during my journey would be personal negativity from those around me. People would mock me for eating large protein meals when I was very small trying to put on muscle. People would also mock me for lifting “light” weights at the gym since I always focused on form and did not want to get injured. The college gym atmosphere is generally filled with ego lifting and poor form.
I also have scoliosis, which made it hard for me to perform certain exercises or to use heavy weight on certain movements. Dealing with that negativity and staying positive through it has been my hardest challenge. To deal with it, I do my best to not allow it to enter my mindset. When you control your mindset, you control your reaction and attitude. This will allow you to block out obstacles and stay focused on your goals.
I plan to continue living an active lifestyle as I transition out of college and into the job market. I plan to “Wage War on Inactivity” and stay active each day – including active rest days!
I also plan to continue using the JYM line and learning from Jim Stoppani, using his website and his book, the “Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength.”
If you’re someone looking to make a change, I would strongly encourage you to check out Jim’s YouTube channel. From there, check out jimstoppani.com and try out a program. The only person stopping you is yourself.