For the November 2011 Transformation Spotlight I've selected forum member "wisedude" (Alex). Alex's transformation has taken place over several years, and mistakes were made along the way. Initially Alex dropped all the way down to 130 pounds (he's almost 6 feet tall) because he wasn't lifting or eating properly. Determined to correct his errors, Alex began to eat more (and healthier) and lift hard. This hard work paid off: Alex packed on more than 20 pounds, almost doubled his max bench press and is still ripped!
BEFORE (April 2007 / 160+ pounds / 95 pound max bench press ):
CURRENT (AUGUST 2011 / 151 pounds / 180 pound max bench press):
Why did you decide to make a transformation?
I'd always thought about getting big or cut, and how much it would improve my life. I never really tried it though because I always wrote it off as genetically impossible for me. When I saw John Stone's transformation slide show I was inspired to try to recreate it for myself.
What sort of planning did you do before you started?
I read quite a bit on the JSF Forums. I realized that most of what I'd been eating was very unhealthy, and also saw that I rarely exercised. I decided to commit to running or biking on my stationary bike and figured out an assortment of healthy foods that I would enjoy eating on a regular basis.
What were your initial goals?
My initial goal was to get a six-pack. I realized not too long after I started really researching and working out that there were a lot more checkpoints on the road to success. I eventually decided just to try to shave off as much fat as possible before figuring out how big my genetics would let me get!
What was your diet and supplement intake like?
The only supplement I have really used is a daily multivitamin. Diet-wise I started off a little wrong. I cut back big time on the food and exercised a ton initially so I think I lost a lot of muscle with the fat. Now I try to eat a more reasonable amount of food while ensuring that its as healthy as possible. I eat a lot of scrambled egg whites, cheerios, Nitrean protein powder, sliced turkey, chicken breast, turkey burgers, and vegetables.
What was your training like?
Initially I didn't lift much, I just biked quite a bit on my stationary bike. It wasn't until I'd dropped from my original 160ish pounds to 130 pounds that I realized how crucial it was that I begin to lift. It was slow moving at first because I didn't eat nearly enough, but once I hugely increased my caloric intake I saw huge gains in strength. My max bench press went from 95 pounds to 180 pounds in about 8 months.
What obstacles did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?
After initially losing all the weight I became very frustrated when I was unable to gain any additional muscle. I kept going for over a year just floating around the 130 pound mark and looking rail-thin. I was too afraid of regaining my fat to really increase how much I was eating. Eventually I just pushed myself to eat healthy foods all the time, and while I often felt full and was very concerned that I was getting fat again, the mirror and my numbers clearly indicated otherwise. I also faced criticism from friends and family about how strict my diet and exercise regimen had become. It took a lot of focus to push through and stay on track, but I'm sure glad I did!
How has your life changed?
I'm never self conscious about taking off my shirt in public, I'm always excited to play a sport or go exercise, and I get a lot more positive attention from everyone around me. Maybe it's because I respect myself more now, but I've gotten a lot more respect from the guys I regularly come into contact with. People just seem more inclined to take someone seriously when they're in good shape and can take care of themselves. Most importantly, I walk around every day feeling proud of what I've accomplished and I think that feeling is visible for everyone I meet.
How did John Stone Fitness and/or the JSF Forums help you?
The forums showed me that being in shape wasn't just for the genetically gifted or some sort of superhuman. I realized any average person could reach their goals if they tried hard enough. This realization is what initially prompted me to begin my journey. Through further exploration of the website I learned about dietary management and I learned how to plan a lifting regimen, both of which proved instrumental in my success.
What advice would you offer to others?
Take pictures of your progress. It'll be liberating to see yourself change and it will be a constant source of pride and motivation. Additionally, never give up! Anyone can change if they try hard enough. Keep at it, and find a friend to go the way with you if you need help staying on track.
What are your future plans?
I'm coming off a summer cut right now, and I'm excited to really start eating again. I can't wait to break the 200 pound limit on bench press!
Any closing thoughts?
I just want to thank the entire JSF community for being here. It's such a friendly helpful place, and I don't think I would've made it if I didn't have such an awesome place to keep visiting.
Fantastic job, Alex! You've made some incredible changes, and I have a feeling you're just getting started!