Written by Nick Burns
In the past, fitness has always been average and cyclical in my life. In my military days and throughout college, I usually hovered around 15% body fat or below year-round.
Unfortunately, like anyone in this busy world, in the past few years my career took off, I started a family, and life got a hold of me. I let myself go, and from then on, I told myself to never let that happen again.
My initial goal was not only to get back under 15% body fat, but to also take it much further and achieve ultimate success in the single-digit body-fat range with the hope to one day compete.
I’m very close to approaching that day and becoming way more than just “average.”
On Day 1 of my transformation, I weighed in at 215 pounds and roughly 20% body fat, the heaviest I’ve ever been.
Eight months later, I can proudly say that I’m currently in the single-digit range at 8%-9% body fat and 180 pounds, which equates to 35 pounds lost and 11%-12% body fat reduction. (The above before and after photos, however, are six months apart.)
Without a doubt, I’ve also been able to pack on a lot of dense muscle in the process, but the numbers are unknown.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve completed many of Jim Stoppani’s programs, including (in sequence): New Year’s Challenge, Super Shredded 8, Rep Max Runner, Summer Shred Challenge (SS8, again), 4-Minute Muscle Full-Split, and I’m currently on Down and Up Mass getting ready for the fall.
My nutrition was all based around Jim’s Intermittent Fasting Carb Cycling (IFCC) protocol and Dieting 101 tactics. I’m currently following the same process via a reverse diet schedule to increase size.
The biggest motivations for me these past eight months have been the JYM challenges. I’ve been doing Jim’s programs for three years now but never actually joined them, usually just doing the workouts but not actually enrolling.
Little did I know it was the secret to my success. I’ve found the challenges to be very enjoyable, and the accountability of posting the weekly photos and seeing others progress has really pushed me to give it 100% — me being very competitive and probably the military in me.
I cannot go without mentioning the JYM Army. There, I gained great relationships with fellow JYM members where we can all provide the motivation, push, and education to accomplish our goals.
At the beginning of my new fitness journey I switched jobs, which really helped me pursue my ambition. I was a traveling consultant on the road Monday through Thursday every week, eating unhealthy foods at restaurants with every meal, and away from my family.
With my new job, I can focus on my family, which increased my happiness, and at the same time, I’m able to really pursue my passion around the fitness and nutrition industry with the gym being much more readily available and a place where I can decompress every day.
The biggest key to my success was just finding something I really enjoyed. I love Intermittent Fasting because how easy it fits into my lifestyle.
I’ve been doing it off and on for the past few years, but with my new lifestyle change, I was able to stick with it. I’m not a big breakfast guy, so this tool was great for me to accomplish my goals and it’s something I can sustain for the long run.
I also cannot go without mentioning my family. The love and support from them, especially my wife, was also a major contributor to my success.
When it comes to obstacles, unfortunately, the biggest contributors were injuries. I’m not in my 20s anymore and some of Jim’s programs are pretty taxing, so not allowing myself to fully recover properly caused injuries and set me back further.
Nonetheless, there is a silver lining. I can now say I focus on a thorough and proper warm up, cool down, and stretching session to mitigate these setbacks. I cannot stress it enough to people I speak with to have this incorporated into their regime.
Everyone wants to know my “secret.” Here’s the thing — there isn’t one secret to getting in great shape. What I do tell people is to find something you enjoy and can consistently maintain. Because patience and consistency are the secret to results that last a lifetime.
So, find something you enjoy doing! Stop confusing yourself listening to the mainstream about all these crazy diet fads (unless you really think you can sustain it) and find something you love and can stick to 10, 20 years from now.
To this day, I’m still pushing toward my biggest goal in fitness: competing. One day, I will hit that goal, but I won’t stop there.
Throughout this voyage, I plan to share my transformational journey and educate/impact the lives of others for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Start your own success story with proven programs like Super Shredded 8 by becoming a member of JimStoppani.com.