Written by Lisa Snyder
I’m 27 years young and a co-owner and tattoo artist at House of Kolor Tattoo and Piercing in Batavia, New York. I gained most of my weight because I was depressed and unable to exercise due to health issues as a kid. I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor at the age of 14: I underwent two surgeries and another surgery and radiation at age 17. This year is 10 years tumor free!
I started my journey after my last surgery and radiaton. The goal I had at the very beginning was to lose body fat. I was fed up with having to stretch my shirts out after drying them so they didn‘t cling so tight and trying to squeeze into size 20 jeans that were too tight. So far, I’ve lost about 80 pounds. I was 230 at my heaviest and am now currently about 150.
Of Jim’s programs, I’ve done Shortcut to Size and I started Down and Up Mass before switching to HIIT 100 for the Holiday Shred Challenge. Since I started using Jim’s programs, my strength and muscle gains have skyrocketed!
Nutrition wise, I’m a calorie counter. It has kind of become an addiction in itself. However, I do enjoy a cheat meal once, sometimes twice, a week (shh!), and I’m actually in the process of following Jim’s Dieting 101 guide. I’m used to keeping my calories between 1,600-1,800 a day. I’m nervous to increase my calories, but I’m trusting the process.
The supplements I take are Jim’s Omega JYM, Vita JYM, ZMA JYM as well as Pro JYM, Pre JYM and Post JYM. I’m a strong believer in the JYM line and I make sure to recommend it whenever anyone asks what supplements are the best.
In the beginning of my weight-loss journey, way back when, my motivation to continue to improve my fitness was the weight loss that I saw, my pants getting looser and my confidence! Over time, it morphed from losing weight to realizing that I loved the feeling I got from lifting weights, the pump and the muscles I was gaining. I stuck with it long enough that it became a habit, not quite an obsession, but if it is, then so be it.
I began idolizing fit women – and men, too, of course! I found the JYM Army and like-minded individuals who share similar goals as mine. Seeing others succeeding and what they can do motivates me. It also helps me hold myself accountable for making major lifestyle changes when it comes to my eating habits. That’s the hardest, as we all know.
Making sure I have time for the gym isn’t too much of a problem since I own my own business and don’t have children yet. My husband and I have been together for six years (married for one). He’s accepting of the fact that he has to share me with the gym!
The key to succeeding in fitness is to be consistent and dedicated. Just because you slip up and eat a bad meal or miss a workout doesn’t mean you should give up. I have a quote tattooed on my arms that reads, “ Temptation may break me, Procrastination may bind me, But motivation will push me, And devotion will save me,” to remind myself to never go back.
The toughest obstacle I’ve had to overcome was believing in myself. I’ve always had low self-esteem. I’m my biggest critic. But I have to believe I’m worth it. My friends and family are very supportive of my fitness goals. I cannot thank them enough for the motivation they give me! My husband doesn’t like muscular women, but that man has stuck by my side and supports me. He even puts together my fitness equipment for me!
A lot of my tattoo clients ask me questions about their fitness goals and how to go about achieving them. The best advice I can give is to be consistent and dedicated. Work freakin’ hard when you’re in the gym (or wherever you’re doing your workout), but have fun with it! Take progress pictures and forget the scale – go by how your clothes fit instead. Love yourself, you’re only human. Eat dessert once in awhile because it’s all about balance!
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, so make sure the “diet” you’re doing is something you can sustain for life because there’s no quick fix. Remember to look back at how far you’ve come and be proud of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, either, because you’re uniquely you for a reason.
I plan to continue my fitness journey by building more muscle (duh!) using Jim Stoppani‘s workouts, but I may also try my hand at powerlifting. I hope to continue to inspire others to achieve their goals!