My name is Levi Kabella. I am a 22-year-old senior in college studying Pre-Medicine Psychology with a minor in Biology. I aspire to become an orthopedic surgeon and help others who experience the physical setbacks I experienced.
My fitness journey began when I was in elementary school. I participated and excelled in football, wrestling, track, and soccer. Unfortunately, while playing varsity football in high school, I tore my ACL three times and menisci twice, resulting in five surgeries, all on my left leg.
Why did I keep playing after multiple major injuries? Because nothing was going to stop me from playing Division I football — except tearing my ACL a third time, thus ending my sports career before it had a chance to begin.
Following the end of my sports career, I realized life consisted of more than sports. I began shadowing surgeries and decided to pursue a career in medicine and science.
Throughout this time period, I experienced multiple family tragedies: My grandma died of cancer at age 59. I saved my grandpa from being crushed by a tractor (an accident that ultimately resulted in his death at age 63). My aunt received a diagnosis of endometrial stromal sarcoma that metastasized (now in remission, thankfully). And most recently, my mom experienced multiple stroke-like events referred to as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
The last family emergency hit me hard, and I did what many 21-years-olds choose to do during difficult times: I increased my partying and unhealthy eating to distract myself.
I gained a significant amount of fat while losing muscle mass. In high school, I weighed 175 pounds and could bench 300 pounds. I did not keep this strict regimen in college, but I did my best to maintain a decent physique.
Following this family emergency, I stopped eating consistently and weighed as much as I did when I was a sophomore in high school (155 pounds).
At the end of my junior year in college, I realized something needed to change. I hated the way I looked and knew I was not a healthy individual. This is when Dr. Stoppani entered my life.
I wanted to lose my love handles and return to the physical form of my high school days. I stepped on the scale one time and weighed 155 pounds. I did not step on the scale again until I wrote this article, so I could give some sort of progress report since I did not take measurements or body-fat percentage.
I strictly used the mirror to observe my progress. Following the completion of Shortcut to Shred and Super Shredded 8 — about 14 weeks’ worth of programs — I weighed 165 pounds. During Shortcut to Shred, I utilized Dieting 101 and the Shortcut to Shred diet outlined by Dr. Stoppani.
I did not take all of the supplements outlined in the diet due to monetary restrictions, but I did purchase Pro JYM, Pre JYM, and Post JYM — all fantastic products that seriously contributed to my success in both programs.
During Super Shredded 8, I continued the Shortcut to Shred diet because I never went below 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.
After four weeks of Super Shredded 8, I progressed to Intermittent Fasting Carb Cycle (IFCC). I utilized IFCC until the end of Super Shredded 8. I am now beginning to reverse diet to build some muscle mass through Full-Body Shortcut to Size.
My motivation to complete the programs and stick to the diet came from my fiancée and future wedding. I am getting married in October of 2019 and am determined to be at my physical peak when that time comes. The quick and visible results have definitely contributed as well. Being able to look in the mirror and be proud of what you see is a fantastic feeling.
My advice to others who are either struggling to continue their fitness journey or just starting it: Keep fighting.
Life is full of adversity and difficult challenges. Training hard in the gym relieves so many of life’s pressures — it’s just not worth skipping! Feeling and looking your best allows you to tackle other challenges in life with an unrelentingly positive attitude. If you’re mentally tough, the body will follow!
I hope my story serves as inspiration for those who are struggling, and I wish the best to those who are succeeding.