Body Transformation: Jordan Grahm Lost An Amazing 160 Pounds

The trauma of his mother's death resulted in a downward spiral. After a car crash, Jordan Grahm found the motivation to hit the gym and lose weight.
Editor's Note: Everyone is different and these results may not be typical for the average person. To achieve these results you need to be willing to put in the work both in the gym and in the kitchen. Use this transformation for motivation for you to make the changes you want!

Before Stats

  • March 31st, 2008
  • 380 lbs
  • 6'1"
  • 30% +
  • 45 lbs

After Stats

  • June 1st, 2011
  • 220 lbs
  • 6'1"
  • 16%
  • 275 lbs

Lifestyle Prior To Change

What was your lifestyle like prior to your transformation?

All of my life I was overweight. For many years I struggled to control my problem with food. In high school, at 13 years-old, 5’9″ and 290 lbs, I played football as a lineman. Football training was getting me in better shape and helped me to burn a lot of the calories that I was eating. Unfortunately I fell off track two weeks before my fifteenth birthday when my mother suddenly passed away.

The trauma of that event led me down an emotional and physical spiral which resulted in my becoming morbidly obese. In late 2007, at nearly 400lbs, I was maxing out XXXXL shirts and size 48 pants. I ate somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-10,000 calories a day all while doing absolutely no physical activity. Numerous doctors told me that if I do not change my lifestyle I would die from an obesity-related complication.

Jordan GrahmWhat was your low point or turning point?

March of 2008 I was in a bad car collision which left me with a grade 2 tear in my shoulder's AC joint. This car crash was the catalyst that turned my life around. I distinctly remember that after the accident when I went to get an MRI I barely fit in to the machine.

The technicians were suggesting that I might have to go to a different facility to get my test done due to my size. That day I decided that I needed to transform my life completely and embrace a healthy lifestyle. Numerous doctors told me at first I would need surgery or would die, I told them that I will do the hard work myself.

Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?

Having a separated AC joint and never undergoing surgery to correct it made the progress of my upper body lag behind my lower. I started out in the gym after losing the first 100lbs by walking and running and was barely able to bench press the 45lbs bar for 12 reps due to my injury.

With lots of dedication and hard work, I was able to keep pushing forward and bring my bench press up to 275lbs while also losing another 60lbs from when I first joined the gym.

Please provide a timeline including when you started the transformation, and include major milestones:

  • Transformation Start: 3/31/2008 When I was in a serious car collision.
  • Milestone: 10/2008 was able to do 2 push ups with good form not from the knees.
  • Milestone: 9/2010 30 push ups in 30 seconds.
  • Milestone: 1/2011 Squat 315lbs.
  • Milestone: 10/2011 Squat 405lbs, Bench 275lbs, Deadlift 500lbs.
  • Transformation End: Ongoing.

Jordan's Training Approach

What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?

During my transformation I tried a variety of different weight training splits, most were bodybuilding oriented. Recently however I have found that training for strength not only really increased my overall strength but my physique as well.

I started doing a lot of compound movements with heavier weight and fewer reps which really worked well. The routine that I found to yield the best results has been Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 routine with some accessory work.

Jordan Grahm

Please add a workout that worked best for you:

  • Monday - Legs and Cardio
  • Tuesday - Chest, Mid Back, Triceps and Cardio
  • Wednesday - Foam roll, stretch, agility work, walk at least 1 mile.
  • Thursday - Shoulders, Lats, Triceps and Cardio.
  • Friday - Deadlift, Quads, Abs and Cardio
  • Saturday - Foam roll, stretch, agility work, walk at least 1 mile.
  • Sunday - Foam roll, stretch, agility work, walk at least 1 mile.
Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat (Warm Ups) - Ramping Weight 3 5, 5, 3
Squat - Working up to 90% for top set 3 5, 5, 5+
Leg Press 5 10
Leg Extension 5 10
Leg Curl 5 10
Chest, Middle Back and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press (Warm Up) - Ramping Weight 3 5, 5, 3
Bench Press - Working up to 90% for top set 3 5, 5, 5+
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 5 10
One Arm Dumbbell Row 5 10
Skullcrushers 5 10
Shoulders, Lats and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press (Warm Up) - Ramping Weight 3 5, 5, 3
Military Press - Working up to 90% for top set 3 5, 5, 5+
Pull Up / Chin Up (Can be weighted) 5 10
Dips (Can be weighted) 5 10
Cable Tricep Extension 5 10
Deadlifts, Quads and Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift (Warm Up) - Ramping Weight 3 5, 5, 3
Deadlift - Rep Out with 225 pounds 1 AMAP
Deficit Sumo Deadlift w/bands 5 5
Leg Extension 5 10
Ab Wheel 3-5 10-15

Jordan GrahmPlease detail your cardio approach during your transformation?

When I was close to 400lbs I started by walking on a hill with my dog starting with 1 mile. Slow but steady and full of determination. I started bringing the distance and the pace up of my walks, they became jogs then runs, and even uphill sprints. I would also take my dog hiking at least once a week at local trails.

In 2010 I started taking boxing which was great cardio and I was also running a few times a week up to 5 miles at a time. When I decided to stop mainly focusing on the cardio and backed off from doing so much I was able to lift heavier weights and saw even more improvement in my body composition with the addition of lean muscle.

The cardio that I kept in has been just enough to burn some extra calories and keep my heart healthy and conditioning on point.

Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. The mind is so much more powerful than many give it credit for. If you stay focused and determined, you can achieve so much. When I was morbidly obese I did not know that I would ever be able to lift the weights that I do now, or be able to box or complete obstacle races.
  2. Exercise is the best form of stress relief that exists, working out has helped me to clear my mind in ways that I never knew existed.
  3. Heavy weights are your friends, but form is crucial. If you focus on good form, the heavier weights will come and you will make great progress safely.

How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?

I am currently doing a power/hypertrophy split routine however I have enjoyed the 5/3/1 program immensely for about 6 months and will likely be going back to it soon.

Jordan's Diet And Supplement Plan

What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?

I learned how to track my food intake and therefore had a great deal of satisfaction with what I was eating. I found that I did not have to completely eliminate any one type of food, but I had to be smart with my portion sizes, macronutrients and micronutrients each day. This way of eating made it so that I could still enjoy my favorite foods in moderation and obtain great results.

For the most part I would just have a set calorie goal and a protein goal, as long as I met those I did not fret too much about the ratio of carbs and fats. As I advanced in my training and nutrition I did carb-cycling where I had high, medium and low carb days corresponding to my workouts on those days.

Jordan Grahm

Can you give an example of what your daily meal plan looks like?

My current diet varies slightly day-by-day but there are many things which are staples in it. I switch out the meals sometimes as I do not really follow a time schedule, just make sure to get in all of my daily macro and micronutrients.

  • Breakfast: 4 whole omega-3 eggs scrambled with baby spinach, Western Bagel Perfect10 bagel, 1-2oz Light cheese.
  • Snack: 2 scoops whey protein, 1-2 servings cereal, 8oz lowfat milk or 4-8oz chicken breast, 100-200g baked sweet potato.
  • Lunch: 8oz chicken breast, 200g baked sweet potato, 2 cups broccoli, 2tbs natural peanut butter.
  • Snack: 2 scoops whey protein, 1-2 servings cereal, 8oz lowfat milk, 2tbs natural peanut butter or 4-8oz chicken breast, 100-200g baked sweet potato, 2tbs natural peanut butter.
  • Dinner: 10-16oz chicken, turkey, steak, or fish, 1 baked potato or 1 cup rice, 2 cups broccoli/spinach/green beans, 2tbs natural peanut butter.
  • Snack (depends on training and if I've already hit my macro goals): 2 scoops whey protein, 1-2 servings cereal, 8oz lowfat milk, 2tbs natural peanut butter.

Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?

At the beginning I thought that I had to just eat chicken, brown rice, and vegetables in order to reach my goals. Anyone who has tried eating just those things knows that it can be very hard to stick to and quite boring. Once I learned how to track my macro and micronutrients I was able to incorporate a variety of foods in to my eating plan and stay right on track.

Jordan GrahmPlease list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. Tracking your food intake is one of the most important things you can do.
  2. Drinking a LOT of water is your friend. Go for your bodyweight in ounces or at least your goal bodyweight in ounces each and every day (more if it is hot/you are doing tons of cardio/etc)
  3. Making sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables is important for the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.

Did you allow yourself cheat meals?

Yes, every now and then.

What supplements did you use during your transformation?

Morning:

Evening:

  • Controlled Labs Orange Triad: 3 tabs
  • Sometimes I would also take a pre-workout but I have since stopped taking them. I also take whey protein powder some days to make sure I hit my protein goals.

Advice For Others

What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?

  1. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. Sometimes the results you want take a while, be patient and persistent.
  2. Instead of thinking of transforming your body as a quick process, think of it as a lifestyle change that will last with you many years to come.
  3. No matter what obstacles stand before us, there are always ways to prevail. Never surrender, never quit, and always keep pushing forward.

How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?

I constantly look at pictures of myself from when I was in my worst shape and know that I will never, ever return to that state again. Constantly ask yourself “how badly do you want it?” and think about all of the things that will change in your life along with your body and health.

Transformation Video 160 pounds Weight Loss

Your Life Now

What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?

I am on a mission to continue getting in to the best shape of my life. I am also looking forward to competing in powerlifting in 2013 which is something I never would've imagined when I was close to 400lbs.

What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?

There is unlimited potential in each and every one of us and we must keep working hard to unlock it.

How Can People Contact You?

How can people contact you?

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6 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 07/07/2014 - 04:19
Hasan c

I salute u and inspired from u, and learned to never give up.

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Posted Wed, 12/04/2013 - 04:35
Brandon

This is very motivational. I have been trying to slim down and bulk up for quite sometime now. Seeing this story really gives me the motivation to get up and get going. I am sorry for your loss man, you are in my prayers, but as everyone can tell you are one strong individual. Nothing and nobody can ever take away the success that you achieved. God bless.

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Posted Sun, 04/28/2013 - 19:47
Thomas

MR.Jordan,

Congratulations, that was outstanding.

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Posted Fri, 02/15/2013 - 22:26
David.L

I just watched your video and i'm very inspired. Good on you for making the change and i know your mum is very proud of you mate! Keep up the great work and keep on getting jacked!

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Posted Wed, 11/28/2012 - 06:50
shasank

U r the most motivating person i have ever met.

Thanks & take care

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Posted Tue, 11/20/2012 - 15:09
JSardano

Truly an inspirational story. With all that happened early on in life and you still made it through. As a current big guy (6'1'' 355 lbs (formally 425 2 years ago) I understand where binge eating and depression plays a huge roll. I did not have the misfortune of loosing my mother, nor did i get into a bad accident, but I had my own personal and life events for depression. Ironic also because i was also heavy my entire life; I also played football using the number 77 from 2nd to 12th grade. I am involved in a Semi Pro football team now and find that i need to loose the fat and gain the muscle mass to keep up with the speed and power of the league guys. Life always has its ups and downs. Its people like you that inspire us Fatty Lifers to keep on it! Congratulations on your success and hope you have many more years of it ahead!