- Transformation Start: When I signed up at my local gym in October 2012.
- Milestone: When I dropped about 50 pounds on my own.
- Milestone: When I met my coach T.Chan in Mid-April of 2014 and finally broke away from the 250lb mark and dropped all the way down to 200lbs flat.
- Milestone: I blew everyone away with my progress and everybody started telling me how I inspire and motivate them so much that they want to start living a healthier lifestyle.
- Transformation End: My transformation hasn't ended yet and I'm still trying to break away from my current weight of 158.2lbs to get to a lower weight where my body fat would be at a 5%.
Q: What was the driving force that made you decide you wanted to start your fitness journey?
I knew if I kept living how I was and being at my heaviest weight, it'd eventually lead to health problems. It was either now or never.
I made a promise to myself that I’d stick with it and never ever give up even if I didn't see or make any progress at it. No matter what, I would and will still keep going until I take my last breathe on Earth.
Q: What was your lifestyle like prior to your change?
I really didn’t do much. I played lots of video games, watched movies and anime, and ate whenever/whatever I wanted when I felt hungry. Also I drank soda like it was water. I had a major sweet tooth too!
But those habits took their toll on me. Daily activity was even difficult and made me winded. Simple stuff like going up the stairs and just moving around in general. I knew I had to change to make life easier on myself.
Q: Most transformations create a support group for the transformer. Who were your biggest supporters and how did they help?
My biggest supporters would be my family and friends. They’ve supported my journey since day one, always telling me if other people could lose weight, I could too.
Second, would be my coach T.Chan. He never gave up on me. We broke through so many plateaus and have gone through many diet plan changes together. I wouldn't have gotten this far without his coaching and diet plans.
Last but not least is my iron family. We call ourselves the "Iron Saiyanz”. We are all gym friends and met each other at the iron paradise (aka the gym). We always look out for one another and encourage each other to always become better.
Q: For every supporter, there is likely a hater. Did you have any haters? How did you deal with their presence? Have you turned any of your haters into fans?
There are many doubters/haters most definitely but I just keep doing me. I focus only on what I need to do. If anything, I turn their negative energy into a positive energy by using their negativity as a fuel.
There were some that said “this or that”, but in the end those same people ended up apologizing for what they said before.
I have done the impossible. I reached my goals by losing all that weight. I broke away from obesity. It doesn’t really matter what was said or thought at this point.
Q: What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
Sunday: Chest, Abs + 40 min of cardio
Monday: Legs + 40 min of cardio
Tuesday: Back & Biceps, Abs + 40 min of cardio
Wednesday: Chest + Triceps
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Arms & Abs + 40 min of cardio
Saturday: Shoulders & Back + 40 min of cardio
Q: What motivational tools did you use to stay on track in the gym?
Whenever I need some motivation, I look at all my progress photos. Every day I do a self-assessment to make sure I’m staying on track.
With that said, my parents are probably my biggest motivation because they immigrated to the United States from Cambodia, escaping from the Khmer Rouge war with nothing at all, and lived in a country they call home now, but where they originally didn't know anyone or speak any English.
I want them to be proud of me, I want them to know that they didn't go through all of that hardship just to end up seeing their own youngest son giving up on his life and digging himself slowly to an early grave.
They already experience the loss of their loved ones. I can't bear to imagine if I was gone too. It would be extremely selfish of me to leave my parents, my brothers, my sister, niece, nephew, and all my family and friends behind. I always carry that mindset on my shoulders daily and throughout my fitness journey.
Q: Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Don’t lift with your ego.
- Lifting weights can build muscle. Cardio can burn fat. Figuring out how to incorporate both of them into your workouts will set you up for success.
- Rest Day. Always listen to your body and don't overdo it
Q: How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
I am still going strong by going to the gym at least 5-6 days a week and taking 1-2 days as complete rest days.
My transformation hasn't hit its final form yet and I believe I can still do better. I’ve still got plenty of goals to crush.
TRANSFORMATION DIET & NUTRITION
Q: What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?
I pretty much stick to strictly clean eating. I eat mostly whole food sources. To help me stay on track throughout the week, I try to meal prep every Sunday and Wednesday.
I make sure I hit my macros throughout the day and everything is measured and weighed out to the exact numbers I need to meet my goals.
Q: Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
I've learned low-carb diets aren’t always the best route to go down, especially if you’re focusing on adding lean muscle to your frame. I didn't know much about carbs at first and started cutting all of them out completely until the point I felt super weak, light headed, and would always puke or throw up every time I finished my workout.
I thought it was just because I was pushing myself and that it was how I should feel on a diet, but in reality I wasn't eating enough. Learning about proper nutrition is the best thing you can do to improve your training sessions and accomplish your goals.
Q: Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
I learned a lot about the different types of carb sources out there. Also, I learned how important carb timing is to having a good workout. Finally, I learned you shouldn’t feel the need to restrict your food sources. As long as you’re hitting your macros and calorie needs, you’ll look great.
Q: Can you provide us with a sample daily eating plan:
1 1/4 scoop of whey protein
2 kashi bars
2 oz of banana
4.5 oz of 93/7 ground beef
1 cup of Broccoli
1 oz of Cashews
5.5 oz of Chicken Breasts
1 cup of Mixed Bell Peppers
1 oz of Almonds
4.5oz of Top Round Steak
1 cup of Broccoli
1 oz of Cashews
1 1/4 scoop of whey protein
1oz of Almonds
2 oz of banana
Q: Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
Yes, I do only once a week. One meal, and then it's back to my normal meal prep/clean eating again.
Q: What supplements did you use during your transformation?
For supplements, I use whey protein, BCAAs, pre workout, creatine, protein bars and multivitamins.
Q: Which supplement do you feel ultimately contributed the most to your success?
I would say whey protein. Sometimes I simply can’t eat a protein food source and whey protein is the easiest and fastest way for me to get my protein.
For example, in the morning (since I work out very early in the day) I don’t always like training on a full stomach. Whey protein helps me ensure my body has all the protein it needs to get through my workout.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
Q: What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Be patient and respect the process. It will take time. Some may see results faster than others, but for most it takes time. Give your body the right amount of time for changes to start happening.
- Don’t cheat on your diet. I’ve done it many times and it will just make your journey towards your goals much longer and harder to reach.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get yourself a professional coach or dieting nutritionists who has years of experience and knowledge to help out with your fitness journey. The best investment is investing in yourself and good health.
Q: How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
My advice would be to always remind yourself why you are doing all of this in the first place. Always do a self-reflect, so you know that your head is in the right place, you're heading in the right direction, and not losing focus.
Finally, always surround yourself with people who have the same mission as you. They will always have your back and help push you even further.
YOUR LIFE NOW
Q: What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
I've gained a lot of respect and redeemed myself from the ground up. There’s nothing that the people that ever doubted can say anymore. I proved to myself and everyone what I was capable of. I showed them to never underestimate me.
Now everyone wants to train with me or wants me to train them. I get questions from everyone on how to lose fat. Everyone want to know what the secret to my success was. I'm always willing to help out and give tips and advice if anyone ever needs it from me.
I've gotten my parents and entire family to start taking care of themselves. They’ve all signed up to a gym membership and now they have been going to the gym on a daily basis. I became known as the king of transformation now aka the shrinking man (Lol)!
Q: What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
I want to be at the best I can possibly be. When the time comes and I take my last breath on Earth, I want to know that I won't regret anything. I want to know that I've gave it my all. I want to leave behind my own legacy for many generations to come.
Q: Where can others follow your journey?
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to thank Muscle and Strength for this opportunity to allow me to have my story to be featured in this transformation article for others around the world to see. I hope it encourages others and shows them that anything is possible.
Lastly, I want to thank all of my family, friends, my coach T.Chan, and my IG followers for supporting my journey since day one. Y'all the real MVP! Thanks again Muscle and Strength, it's an honor!
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