From the age of eight until I was 17, I was constantly bullied and taunted for being overweight. I slipped into depression, which only perpetuated my weight gain. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year of high school that I found a positive outlet: fitness.
I was able to get down to a healthy weight by the start of college with swimming and weight training. I was able to maintain that for quite some time, but unfortunately, I slipped into the party crowd and my partying developed into alcoholism. As a result, I gained weight and ended right back at the beginning.
At my heaviest, I weighed 240 pounds with 35 percent body fat. It wasn’t until I experienced a life-changing event in 2013 that I sought help for my alcoholism, and I’m proud to say I’ve been sober ever since.
In 2014, I started with a few programs I found online and was able to shed some weight, but I wasn’t able to gain much muscle mass. Then I came across Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size program. There’s something about how he explains things and lays out his programs that clicked with me. So I gave it a shot and was able to achieve some results. The same thing happened when I tried Shortcut to Shred. I started to cycle his programs and began using the JYM System (Pre JYM, Post JYM and Pro JYM) and results came but eventually stalled. The problem? I didn’t fully commit and take the diet plans seriously.
Then I decided to join JimStoppani.com to gain access to all of his programs and articles. I read Dieting 101, restructured my diet and added all but Alpha JYM to my supplement list. This May, I started Super Shredded 8 (SS8) and within a few short weeks my weight went from 213 pounds to 203 pounds.
I also read some of the JYM Army Profiles and was inspired, so I joined the JYM Army and found out about the Summer Shred Challenge. The SS8 program doesn’t pull any punches. It was tough, but the results I got were nothing short of amazing. From start to finish, I gave it my all and stuck to the diet. At first, the diet part was a big change since I’ve never once stuck to one, let alone counted macros. In the beginning I hated it! Having to get up at 3am every day for a long workout, being a new father and helping my wife while trying to maintain my program discipline was a struggle at times. But I was determined not to give up.
What helped me through it all was the JYM Army! Doing something with others who are going through the same thing is very inspirational and motivating – more so for people like me who don’t have a gym partner. By the end of the Summer Shred Challenge, I had ropped 26 pounds and my body fat went from 20 percent to around 8 percent.
My family and co-workers are amazed at how much I’ve changed physically in just a few months. My wife can’t even believe it! I achieved something I never thought possible. I gained much more confidence not only in the gym but in life as a result of my transformation. The challenge lit a spark that ignited my fitness torch, and I intend to run with it and crush future goals. It’s ingrained a sense of pride that I want to pass on to my children.
After the Challenge, I started Back and Fourth Training; it’s a challenging change of pace after going through the super intense SS8 program. I’ve made amazing friends and I’m looking forward to making even more. I recently joined the Super-Man Challenge and I’m hoping to add that to my list of accomplishments. A few other programs on my “to-do list” include HIIT 100 and Down and Up Mass.
The advice I’d like to give others is this: Do NOT underestimate yourself. Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, stay dedicated and accountable to it. Look for the small changes when going through a program. Taking progress photos and measurements are a great help and I encourage you to do both. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Trust in what Jim has laid out in the training regimen — he won’t steer you wrong. If you face them head-on, you’ll not just reach your goals, you’ll crush them!