Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
I had absolutely no physical activity and my diet was horrible. I would eat anything and not realize what I was doing to my body. I was drinking between 2 and 3 liters of soda a day. I would eat morning, noon, and night…and then some. When I was hungry, I ate anything I could get my hands on. In free time, I would spend it downing shots of whiskey and vodka drinks, instead of doing something productive. I was a smoker, a heavy drinker, and completely non-active.
What was your low point or turning point?
When I stepped on the scale, the number was a huge shock to me. I didn’t think I was anywhere close to that number. Between that, and the variety of health issues including constant heartburn and acid reflux, profuse sweating, and back pain, I knew a change was necessary.
It was also time to show my family that I would be there for them in the future. My beautiful wife Kim has stuck by me through thick and thin. We had a daughter, Olivia Carlie, in April 2010. I needed to be a husband and father now and for many years to come. It was a change that was overdue.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
The day I started my weight loss journey, I also quit smoking. I was smoking about 2 packs a day for nearly 10 years. I have not touched a cigarette, nor have I had any desire to smoke, in over a year. At first it was difficult, but every time I had a craving, I looked at my baby daughter and it reminded me why I started this transformation.
What was your transformation timeline??
- Transformation Start: November 2010
- Transformation end: December 2011
Nik's Training and Cardio Approach
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
At first, because the whole gym lifestyle was new to me, it was a complete learning curve. I needed to teach myself how to exercise and lift weights properly. When I first started, I focused strictly on cardio. I was doing a variety of cardio routines including the treadmill on increasing inclines, elliptical with 30 second sprints, stationary bicycle, and the rowing machine. Once I dropped to 315 lbs, I started lifting weights and beginning to learn proper techniques and how to get stronger.
- Monday - Back and Triceps, 30 minutes steady state cardio
- Tuesday - Chest, 20 minutes HIIT cardio
- Wednesday - Shoulders, 30 minutes steady state cardio
- Thursday - Off, 30 minutes steady state cardio
- Friday - Biceps, 20 minutes HIIT cardio
- Saturday - Legs, 30 minutes stationary bike
- Sunday - Off
|Monday - Back and Triceps|
|Wide Grip Lat Pull Down||4||10-12|
|Reverse Grip Lat Pull down||4||10-12|
|Close Grip Lat Pull Down||4||10-12|
|Iso Lateral Row||4||10-12|
|Iso Lateral Dorian Yates Rows||4||10-12|
|Seated Cable Row||4||10-12|
|Cable Tricep Extension||4||12-15|
|Overhead Rope Extensions||4||12-15|
|Seated Tricep Pushdown||4||10-12|
|One Arm Cable Kickback||6||15-20|
|Tuesday - Chest|
|Machine Chest Press||4||10-12|
|Dumbbell Bench Press||4||10-12|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||4||10-12|
|Incline Dumbbell Flyes||4||8-10|
|Wednesday - Shoulders|
|Dumbbell Overhead Press||4||10|
|Front Dumbbell Raise||4||10|
|Side Dumbbell Raise||4||10|
|Front Barbell Raise||4||10|
|Iso Lateral Shoulder Press||4||10|
|Behind The Back Cable Lateral Raise||4||10|
|Friday - Biceps|
|Barbell 21's||3||7, 7, 7|
|Standing Dumbbell Curl||4||10|
|Standing Hammer Curl||4||10|
|Incline Dumbbell Curl||4||10|
|Saturday - Legs|
|Seated Calf Raise||6||20-25|
|Seated Leg Press||5||10-12|
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
I started off just walking on a treadmill at a steady pace for about a half hour. Little by little, I both increased the speed and incline. Then came jogging. Then came sprinting. Mix up your cardio approach. It is great to do a half hour on the treadmill. But don’t make it a habit. Throw in some sprints, some elliptical work, some rowing machine, and some bicycle. The ropes were a great addition to my cardio routine as well. I also used some kettlebell routines that really got my heart rate up.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- A combination of steady state cardio and HIIT will drastically increase weight loss in comparison to just steady state cardio.
- You do not have to be in the gym all day, every day. However, you have to put in quality time when you are there. 60 to 90 minutes in the gym 5 times a week WILL make a huge difference.
- Keep a record of what you are doing in the gym. Documenting your achievements will not only make you feel good, it will push you to the limit every time you enter the gym.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
I currently work out 5 times a week, which includes cardio and weight training. I usually take a rest day during the week and on Sunday. However, if I don’t have some extra energy or have some stress that needs to be relieved, I go to the gym.
Nic's Diet and Nutrition Approach
What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?
I needed to count how many calories I was consuming a day. My diet focused mainly on chicken, lean steak, and fish. I also would consume a salad for either lunch or a snack about 5 times a week. For snacks, I usually went with fruits and/or vegetables and Greek yogurt.
Can you provide us with a sample daily eating plan:
Upon waking up, I always drink 1 glass of water, followed by a whey protein shake. Here is an example of a day:
- Breakfast: 4 to 6 egg whites and/or 1 cups steel cut oats; whey protein shake w/ 1 banana.
- Snack: Greek yogurt & either an apple or banana.
- Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, lean steak, or 1 can tuna; fresh assorted vegetables (Tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers), light balsamic vinegarette dressing.
- Snack: Granola, mixed berries, almonds, Greek yogurt.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken; with 3 types of vegetables (broccoli, corn, peas, spinach, zucchini).
- Snack: 1 scoop whey protein/1 scoop casein protein/1 cup almond milk/1 cup water & 1 Greek yogurt.
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
I learned never to skip breakfast. You have to sometimes visualize your body like you car. Your car needs fuel to run, much like your body needs nutrition in the morning to get started properly. I also consume at least a gallon of water every day. Many years went by when I used soda instead of water. I would love for soda to be removed off of all store shelves, but I know that will never happen.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day – DON’T SKIP IT!
- Start a food journal. You will not believe how many calories you consume unless you do. And make sure you are honest. The only person you are going to hurt by not writing down everything you consume is yourself. I guarantee the number of calories will be surprising.
- Dieting does not mean you cannot go out to dinner. Choose carefully what you are going to eat and drink. Most restaurants offer their nutritional value charts on all of their entrees.
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
To this day, I still allow myself 1 cheat day. These days, I allow myself to eat whatever I want, however I simply control the portion size. I have learned one thing as far as dieting: if you have a craving, satisfy the craving. If you don’t, it will get out of control and you will end up eating a heck of a lot more and feeling miserable about it later. At first, the cheat days were a little ridiculous because I would just stuff my face. Now, they are just another day and the urge to cheat really is no longer present.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
- Daily Multivitamin
- B-6/B-12/Folic Acid
- Before workouts: Jack3d (2 scoops in 8 oz water).
- Post workouts: 3 scoops whey protein powder, 2 scoops BCAAs, 10 oz water.
Advice for Others
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- You have to be ready to make this a lifestyle change. There will be sacrifices along the way. But they are well worth making you healthier.
- Do not get discouraged. It took how many years to get to the body you have now? Exactly! It will take time and hard work, but it will change. It takes just that one person to give you a positive comment – trust me, it may be the best feeling in the world.
- Every single human body is different. Some things that may work for others may not work for you. You are the only one that can find what exercises and types of cardio give you the best results. Experiment in the gym. Do not be afraid to try something new!
How do you stay motivated?
I have fell in love with the gym. When I don’t get there, I become moody and get upset at myself. That being said, I also had to realize that rest days are necessary as well. I always keep a photo nearby to when I was my heaviest. That is all the motivation I need.
If you are having time staying on track, you may need to take a step back and ask yourself why you are doing this. If your heart is not 100% into making a change, it will never work. You can have all of the support in the world, but only you are going to make it happen.
More from Nic Huszar
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
I feel absolutely great. I still want to lose about 20 more pounds, in which I know I will achieve. My prior health issues have all disappeared. It is absolutely amazing what weight loss and physical activity can do to the body.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
Once you see your body change, that is more than enough motivation to keep you on track. If I don’t get to the gym, I get upset. Luckily over the past year, I have acquired my personal training license and have started working at Club Metro USA in Franklin Park, NJ. Working with others and discussing the exercise and fitness world is a great experience.
Anything else you would like to share?
One day, I would like to open my own gym and specialize in teens and young adults who feel that their weight is a problem and would like to change.
I would like to thank the following people and organizations for their endless support, motivation, and words of wisdom:
My beautiful wife Kim Huszar, my mother Carolyn Huszar, Mark Pinhasovich, Club Metro USA, and Rafael Arroyo, my fellow personal trainer and training partner. This is dedicated to my beautiful daughter Olivia.
How can people contact you?
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to speaking with others about health, fitness, weight training, and dieting. With the right mindset, workout regiment, and diet, anyone can transform their body into what they want!