- Transformation Start: January 12, 2013, when my nephew Kayden was born.
- Milestone: When I dropped from 300lbs to 299lbs, I shouted!
- Milestone: When I curled DBs larger than ten pounders for the first time at my gym - that felt amazing!
- Milestone: When someone on Instagram, a friend of mine, asked for advice for the first time. That really made me want to start helping people.
- Transformation End: At 190lbs, I decided that my weight shouldn't drop anymore, and I officially ended my cut and transformation.
What was your lifestyle like prior to your change?
Before the transformation, I was VERY different than I am today. Obviously physically, but more so mentally. I was bullied. A lot. I was beaten up, insulted, ousted, and just all around felt like trash. I was very antisocial and didn’t do well in school. I was also suicidal. I just wanted to end the pain, really. I was embarrassed by my body, my fat, my out of breath nature, my stretch marks - I hated myself.
What was your "low point" or "turning point"?
My biggest low point was after a particularly bad day, I really cannot remember what happened, but I tried to kill myself. I attempted to down bleach, but gagged after one sip. Good thing I’m squeamish. My turning point was January 12th, 2013 when my nephew Kayden was born. It was at that point that I looked at myself in the mirror, not really looking at the image, but at my life. I saw a pathetic, sad, alone, depressed, anxious kid who knew that, at this point, he had a new purpose in life: to take care of a minutes-old nephew. I decided to make a change.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
Short answer: many. For starters, I needed to be able to get to the gym. At 16, I had no car, but I did have a job. I lived in Warren, but worked in Madison Heights, Michigan. My mom and sisters were able to drop me off at work, and I realized that the Madison Heights Anytime Fitness was down the road. That solved one issue, but the issue of really not knowing what I was doing was another obstacle.
I started researching everything under the sun and really got into YouTube. It helped me so much, with people like Michael Kory, Matty Fusaro, Elliot Hulse, and many more. They taught me so much, and I think they really drew me into starting my own channel to help people in my same predicament.
My high school coaches Shaun Tahrebandi and Russ Shifferd were also great resources. They helped me a TON, giving me a lot of one-on-one help and answered every question I had. I had a lot of questions.
Also, of course, the big ones who led me further than most and gave me motivation, inspiration, supplement knowledge and so much more, MuscleandStrength.com obviously. This website was the pillar of my transformation. People contradict me when I say that, but I’m not kidding. All my workout routines, supplement knowledge, actual supplements, motivational stories, etc. all came from here. I will never promote and support a company that I do not both use and love.
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
I trained more in a bodybuilding style than anything. Monday was push, Wednesday was pull, Friday was arms & abs, and Sunday was legs. The other days were 1-2 hours of cardio (usually 2) and I constantly changed up what I did.
|Exercise||Sets & Reps||Notes|
|DB Bench Press||5 sets of 6-8||This is my favorite chest exercise but I haven't done it in a while. I'm focusing on barbell bench press right now.|
|Exercise||Sets & Reps||Notes|
|Bent Over Row||5 sets of 6-8||My favorite back exercise!|
|Exercise||Sets & Reps||Notes|
|DB Iso Curls||5 sets of 8-10||Favorite bicep lift. I started using 5 pounders and now I use 50s!|
|Exercise||Sets & Reps||Notes|
|Leg Extensions||3 sets of 10-12||Favorite leg exercise at the time. Now I'm a squataholic!|
What was your approach to cardio during your transformation?
Cardio was VERY important, and I did it literally every day I was not lifting. I took zero days off. I remember waking up at 4:00 AM before class and going out for an hour run while the air was cool. That's the best time to do cardio in my opinion.
Please share 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training, and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- I learned that rest is as important as the actual training itself.
- I learned that I needed to seriously be careful when lifting; so far I've never been injured (knock on wood). Always remember to wear a good belt when doing compound movements!
- When it comes to all types of training (lifting, cardio, etc.), have fun! Wake up and don't say "I have to go workout." Say, "I get to go workout!!"
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
I'm currently still training in a split, but doing a lot less cardio and actually bulking up. I'm really focusing on gaining size right now, not losing it.
Transformation Diet & Nutrition
What was your diet/nutrition approach like during your transformation?
I started out using fad diets like the grapefruit diet, the salad diet, and the juice diet (seriously, look it up.) None of those worked, unsurprisingly, and I started to get hopeless. I heard all the YouTubers I mentioned earlier talking about flexible dieting (Michael Kory did a VERY good three part video on calorie control, check it out) and I started doing that. Essentially, flexible dieting, or IIFYM. It boils down to you eating what you want as long as you stay within your allotted calories for the day. I did that, weighed my food out, tracked it in MyFitnessPal, and it worked tremendously well. I still do it to this day, and it’s what I recommend to everyone. Well, perhaps not people with special issues (ex: diabetes,) but mostly everyone.
Can you provide us with a sample daily eating plan?
Protein mixed with oatmeal every morning, two fish oil pills, a multi-vitamin, and 5g of creatine. Boneless skinless chicken breast with rice for lunch, sour patch kids pre workout (simple carbs,) scoop of whey post workout, depending on the day, possibly some Chipotle or McDonald's post workout. Like I said, I was a FLEXIBLE dieter. Snacks in between like protein bars, fruit, veggies, or ice cream. Dinner was usually eggs or egg substitute, chicken, turkey, or lean ground beef, and rice or potatoes for my carb source. Every day is different, though. Some days I go out to eat, and on some super-busy days if I was really behind on my calories, I could be seen eating whole pizza and watching Netflix marathons. It happens.
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes that you made and learned from?
Biggest mistake I made was really letting tracking macros control my life. I wouldn’t go out with family to dinner because I wanted to be 100% accurate, but as you read above, I became much more lax, and my progress didn’t change one bit.
Please share 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- I learned how calories are broken down into protein, fats, carbs, and, to a lesser extent, fiber, and what each does.
- I learned that the "norm" of dieting and nutrition in general is a bit outdated.
- I epecially learned that people will judge you if you're eating ice cream and losing weight.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
I allowed myself refeed days. I did a video on cheat days on my YouTube channel, and since I’m sure you are all subscribed, you’ve probably already heard my position against them. I prefer refeed days for the sole reason that it is still an overfeeding, but it is controlled.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
Advice for Others
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Set a goal. Make it realistic - don't say "I want to lose 90 pounds in one month."
- Do a lot of independent research. I can't stress this enough. I tell people all the time to do research on supplements, training methods, everything! Maybe after reading about my story you'll want to look into flexible dieting. Great! Research it and know the ins and outs of it.
- If you take just one piece of advice from the adventure of a transformation story, make sure it's this: life is not fair. People are not fair. People and life will team up together, get you alone, and beat the snot out of you. It happens to everyone. It's how you overcome the obstacles set in front of you that determines your success.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who's having trouble staying on track?
I stay motivated as long as my nephew calls me and smiles at me. He reminds me of why I started, and now my niece (his newborn sister) will make sure I continue on this path. Honestly, finding your own motivation is really up to the type of person you are. Everyone is motivated for different reasons, for some it’s financial, for others it might be self-esteem based, or maybe it’s to be fit enough to outrun the zombies during the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Regardless of your goals, motivation is extremely important.
Your Life Now
What is your life like now that you've made a transformation?
Honestly, I feel like a cloud that used to hover and block my way is gone. I see the world in beauty, and even on the worst of days, I couldn't be happier.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
In addition to the poop machines I call my niece and nephew, the desire to help people that were in my position find their way really motivates me. Nothing better than seeing someone you helped reach their own fitness goals.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Remember, if you’re feeling hopeless, alone, depressed, and just want to shut it all off, you are still loved no matter what. There is someone out there who believes in you, and you owe it to them to continue. Also, if you see that kid sitting by himself at lunch and people are picking on him, go over and say hi. Just say “hi, I hope you are having a great day.” That small gesture of kindness can make a world of a difference to him.
How can people contact you?
Don't be shy! I am very kind and easy to talk to. Feel free to ask about fitness, life, or we can just chat. My door is always open.