Fitness, to me, was always something that was just a part of life. I played multiple sports in high school, and after high school I joined the Marine Corps, so we were always working out. I was always “fit.” But I never really looked like it. I didn’t know much about nutrition or a proper training program.
There was also the underlying factor that always stopped me from truly reaching my best that I refused to face: my drinking. I began drinking when I was in high school and drank constantly until September 10, 2016, which was the day I quit. Coincidentally, this was shortly after I found the JYM Army and Jim Stoppani.
Drinking consumed many aspects of my life. I still made it to work and managed to function, and do the things that I needed to do, but if there was an opportunity to drink, I was going to take it. The weekends were consumed by blackouts and terrible hangovers. I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that almost took my life, spent a night in jail, and woke up in random cities — all because of my drinking. I was going down a destructive path and refused to see the reality of my situation. I just kept coming up with excuses.
Eventually, I realized that my ways were only going to end with me in one of two places: in jail or in the grave. I needed to change. At the beginning of my fitness journey, I weighed around 190 pounds. I had been this weight since 2008, and I was this same weight in 2015 when I got serious about weight training.
In September of 2015, I separated from the Marine Corps and this is when I really got serious about lifting and transforming my body. My biggest hurdle was my lack of knowledge and the ignorance of thinking that I knew it all. I went from 190 pounds to 250 pounds in a matter of seven to eight months by just eating whatever I wanted, drinking very often, and training hard on most days.
As you can guess, a lot of this was fat. If you would have said the word “macronutrient” to me, I would have thought you were speaking a different language. This is when I found Jim Stoppani and the JYM Army and my outlook on fitness changed forever.
I began soaking up all the knowledge I could on Jimstoppani.com. I began to change the ways that I ate and trained. I started by following his Shortcut to Shred program followed by several weeks of Super Shredded 8. I have also done Daily Grind, Shortcut to Size, and I am currently following the Power Pyramid program.
I battled several injuries through this time that made it challenging to stay consistent. I had my knee scoped in April of 2017 and found out that I had a torn ACL for the second time in a three-year span, as well as some residual shoulder issues from when I tore my rotator cuff several years back.
Through those injuries, I struggled somewhat to be consistent with my nutrition, but I was still much more consistent than I had been before I discovered Jim — and it really showed. With Jim’s Dieting 101, JYM supplements, quitting drinking, and the programs I did, I dropped from 250 pounds and probably 25 percent body fat down to 230 pounds and somewhere in the high teens in body fat.
I believe that I’ve been successful in my fitness journey due to my consistency and drive and my passion to be in the gym. I love to train. My love has really shown through to my friends and family. I receive compliments from them all the time and I’m very thankful for their support. It means the world when your passion isn’t shared with others, but they’re willing to support you in your endeavors.
I would advise anybody wanting to begin their own fitness journey to be patient. This takes time and it takes a lot of hard work. You didn’t build the current body you have in a couple weeks, and the body that you want won’t be built in a couple weeks. Patience and consistency will win out if you let them. And that’s what I’m doing — staying patient and nailing my training and nutrition so I can reach my goals.
Ever since I embarked on this journey, I have wanted to compete on a bodybuilding stage. I admire the hard work and dedication that it takes to get to that point. My day will come because I know I have the drive to put in the necessary work to get there.