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December 2009 TSM: zero

Discussion in 'Transformation Spotlights' started by John Stone, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
    Staff Member Owner

    Jan 20, 2004
    Likes Received:
    For the December 2009 Transformation Spotlight of the Month I've selected forum member "zero" (Chris). Just a few short months ago Chris weighed 238 pounds and was over 40% body fat. Well, just look at him now! The transformation from March to November is simply astonishing. Since March Chris has lost over 80 pounds of fat and completely changed his life in the process. Chris proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that if you are willing to stop making excuses and put in the work anything is possible!

    Before (March 2009)
    Weight : 238 pounds
    Height : 5'8
    Body fat : ~42%

    size xl/xxl t-shirts
    Size 42-44 trousers

    Current (November 2009)
    Weight : 156 pounds
    Bodyfat : ~14%

    Size s/m t-shirts
    Size 30 trousers

    Before, During & Current Pictures


    Why did you decide to make a transformation?
    As a kid I was always climbing trees and all the usual active kid stuff. I spent my formative years a little overweight, enough to attract hassle at school. By 16 I was in good shape, martial arts training 4 days a week and at home the rest of the time. But college (aka partying) took over.

    My weight very slowly crept upwards over the years until it reached its peak at 17 stone (238 pounds) just as I'd turned 27 at the beginning of 2009.

    A variety of effects crept in. Depression was one, worsened by weight, worsened by depression (and so on). Back pain... standing still for 10 minutes was almost unbearable. Climbing stairs felt like I was doing it under water in lead trousers. If I did any work on my bike in the garage I'd be drenched in sweat. It's hard to express how hard it was to do pretty much anything. There was a low level sickness feeling most of the time. There is no doubt in my mind I'd have found myself with serious problems in the near future.

    The real tipping point was in fact my future career. Put it this way, it's not compatible with obesity. So several very good reasons!

    What sort of planning did you do before you started?
    After some browsing the internet and some books I'd decided on aiming for 2 pounds a week weight loss. In all honesty wasn't sure I could match it in the beginning!

    I used exrx's handy calculator to work out my daily requirements here then worked out the calories split over three meals to give a total deficit of 1000 calories a day and 7000 calories a week (~2 pounds of fat).

    Photos one day a week. Same place, same time, same shorts. Front, back and side pictures.

    I decided to measure my weight daily. Primarily to keep a daily focus which, incidentally, really helped, but it's not for everyone.

    Recorded my daily weight using OpenOffice Calc, which is free by the way and highly recommended!

    One major thing was clearing a space to workout. This took weeks to get sorted out! 4 decades of junk, no floor, damp... a lot of work.
    But having a gym at the end of the garden is terrific, well worth the effort. A garage, basement or spare room would have done nicely but the shed was as "indoors" as I could manage.

    Ironically, considering my journal title ("Phase 1> Deporkification"), it was a pig sty in the past.

    What were your initial goals?
    First priority was getting to a "normal person" level of fat, the kind that doesn't get you stared at, but to keep lean mass where possible. Having a body to be proud of, rather than thoroughly ashamed of, would be a real bonus. Just feeling healthy was a big thing too.

    Overall I was clueless about what I should be aiming for in terms of a weight target. My initial arbitrary overall goal was to aim for 182 pounds. But it's been more about aiming for the 2 pounds a week loss combined with mini short-term goals. So that things weren't too intimidating I decided to aim for half a stone (7 pounds) at a time (weight is more commonly given as stone's in the UK).

    What was your diet and supplement intake like?
    Right now I'm a full time student (paying for study myself), so money is tight. I didn't want to have the excuse "I can't afford x/y/z this week, therefore, I must give up". So, no supplements, no protein shakes, no extra vitamins. It all goes into good food.

    I drink 2-4 litres of water a day and nothing else. I don't miss the carbonated stuff.

    Its very rare I drink alcohol, maybe once or twice a year. I did more than enough of that sort of thing in my party days.

    In the beginning I kept a very strict food diary. I took it out with me everywhere and wrote in everything. It was more about remaining focused and changing patterns of bad eating behaviour.

    I attribute a lot of my food success to keeping a strict diary early on. It's worthwhile, at least until you can trust yourself to keep to the numbers in your head and keep out of the fridge when you ought not to be in there.

    Macros, never did worry about them. Over-complicating previous attempts was a factor of failing. But having the sort of balance in mind is useful.

    Throughout the cut I've eaten three meals a day. This month I'm on 4 meals a day + 2 snacks. It's been considerably easier and I've been a lot less hungry.

    Breakfast is same every day. Fruit varies but always 80g of porridge + 100g yoghurt.

    Other meals vary but there are common elements. Snacks tend to be made up of nuts/seeds, yoghurt or fruit. Have a look through the deporkification journal for examples.

    A past excuse was "don't have time to cook". Not cooking excludes the best food that can be had, and now I see that not cooking was a massive disadvantage. Almost none of the meals I prepare take more than 15 or 20 minutes.

    My eating and drinking habits are pretty rigid. I made a decision to change, knew it would involve the odd sacrifice. But in absolute honesty I don't miss my old diet at all. I enjoy food more than ever, it costs me FAR less and its not slowly killing me. ;)

    What was your training like?
    Initially I only had dumbbells, which were great to get started and still get a lot of use. Then I got myself a bench and a bar. But things really got interesting when I built the squat rack (it's had a lot of alterations since). With a squat rack there isn't much you can't work on!

    March to October my lifting workouts were spread over 3 days and 1 or 2 days of 40 minute treadmill sessions. Now I'm lifting 2 days a week (I do hope to go back to three) and no cardio other than my warm up.

    Sessions are based around compound lifts with other elements to strength where I feel it's useful.

    What obstacles did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?
    Junk food was something I'd turn to if things weren't going well in life (this was often). Some people crawl into a bottle, I climbed into a pizza box. Curiously I'd also treat myself if things were going well in life.

    I dealt with it by ditching it. If it's nutritionally baron, beige, deep fried or from a takeaway I don't eat it. At first it was dealing with the habit, but now I keep away--not only because its junk, but also because it no longer has a hold on me. It will always represent a slippery slope I'm never going back down. Rewarding/consoling myself with food isn't a habit I ever want to get back into. Now that my tastes have changed a microwave meal or frozen pizza is about as appealing as the prospect of licking a hobo.

    Keeping up with gym sessions is something that I needed to get used to. I'd failed previous weight loss attempts because I was vague about days to lift. Structuring and planning lifting sessions has kept me going. Also my gym is the shed. It's a big shed (by UK standards) but it's essentially outside temperature with holes you can fit a badger through.

    So when it's snowing it can be difficult to get out there. It really was just a case of just getting on with it. It's not a decision process, I'm going in. There are special efforts to warm up well. Even below freezing it's not so bad.

    Getting out of drinking diet cola was a huge thing for me. I had a very unhealthy dependence on caffeine. If I ran out I'd go out at 3 AM to buy more. I'd get through 2 litres a day, minimum. It gave me a ridiculous appetite. This isn't everyone's experience but absolutely was for me.

    I began by taking a drink of cola, drink of water alternately. Eventually having much more water, later to nothing else. I'd attempted two failed cuts with cola as my only vice, next to no calories. When I ditched the cola my appetite dropped back, diet fell into place and things began happening.

    How has your life changed?
    At a party in September a friend I've known most of my life said "You wont be the same Chris any more if you lose all of it!" Not in any mean-spirited way, perhaps it was the nostalgia speaking. I've been in a state much of my adult life. I'm already not the same me.

    I'm in much better health now. Stairs are no longer threatening, I've got plenty of energy at all times, I'm very rarely hungry (no really). Overall I feel more "human" and less "upright manatee".

    It's quite sad to say but people do treat you differently. I did expect a slight change not this much. Looking back I did lose out on jobs in the past. It's sad in this day and age that this kind of discrimination still goes on.

    There was a time not so long ago the future looked pretty grim, its looks a lot brighter now. :nod:

    How did JSF and the JSF Forums help you?
    Seeing what amazing work people have achieved in relatively short time periods was hugely impressive, revolutionary even. What is achievable if you attack it hard enough, consistently, for as long as it takes. Not people with personal trainers, but mere mortals-many without a gym membership.

    I found the sticky threads and general lurking to be very informative. There's so much misinformation out there in internet land, I can only hope people who need this information find their way here.

    Keeping a journal has been tremendously useful. Keeping track of thoughts and progress most days helps keep the daily focus going. The feedback has been uplifting and helpful, too. :)

    Actually I'd like to this the opportunity to thank those who took the time to read and leave messages on my journal! Thanks all, you really did help!

    What advice would you offer to others?
    Stay focused!

    Concentrate on what your eating today, on your workout today. If things go wrong just don't do it again tomorrow!

    Work on your nutrition as hard as you work in the gym.

    Put effort into planning your diet, results will follow. Go out and buy smaller plates. Without even thinking about it you'll be on smaller portions and your planned smaller meals won't be lost on a massive plate.

    Don't miss gym sessions! You miss one, you miss the next; before you know it you're not using it anymore. Life happens, but make up for the session as soon as possible.

    Don't start at a level you can't keep up. It's not about torturing yourself.

    Work your way up to a level that fits into your life and energy levels. But keep it intense. You should be breaking a sweat and getting out of breath but not regularly throwing up. It might make good television but its not useful.

    Track your progress... and celebrate it! If it's losing half a pound, looking better in the mirror/pictures or lifting heavier weights it's all progress! Even just feeling better. If one thing stalls don't despair, just keep going and it WILL fix itself.

    Don't stick to a plan that isn't working. If you have no energy or are constantly hungry review your diet. Keep it relatively simple, something you can live with. If you are lifting and a certain exercise is causing pain (of joints, etc.) then lower the weight, check your form. If its still hurting don't do it! There's almost always an alternative.

    (The above advice is based on my own past mistakes)

    What are your future plans?
    The grand overall plan is to build up a more muscle mass but most importantly maintain it indefinitely and fit it into whatever happens with my life.

    This is going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.

    Any closing thoughts?
    Thanks first of all go to John Stone for all his work building, maintaining and striving to improve this marvellous institution that is JSF at the same time as providing hope and inspiration to millions! :claphigh:

    Thanks to everyone on the JSF Forums for making it the place it is! You should all feel very warm and fuzzy because this here community is truly outstanding in its content and atmosphere, if your reading this then that's you! :D

    Whatever you're up to here, quitting something, cutting down or building up, very best of luck to you!

    Thanks very much for your time, Chris. Congratulations on your mind-blowing transformation!
  2. CA$ON

    CA$ON Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2007
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    Congrats!!!! You did an awesome job! VERY QUICK too. :tucool::bow::bow::bow:
  3. BJ

    BJ Active Member

    Mar 31, 2009
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  4. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2005
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    Congrats on a well deserved honor! :tucool:
  5. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2004
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    Congratulations, Chris! :bow:
  6. themethod88

    themethod88 Active Member

    Jun 28, 2009
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    another incredible, inspiring transformation. awesome job bro :tucool:
  7. gazareth

    gazareth Senior Member

    Aug 1, 2006
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    That is a phenomenal transformation. Well done sir!
  8. pabloville

    pabloville Active Member

    Jan 22, 2009
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    Congrats Chris, cant think of anyone else that deserves this more than you...AMAZING transformation, great work!:tu:
  9. Seanthomas

    Seanthomas Active Member

    Jul 23, 2009
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    Absolutly amazing transformation man! Keep it up!
  10. mLU

    mLU Active Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    Gratz man, you did a hell of a job!:tucool::tucool::claphigh:
  11. DanielPGraham

    DanielPGraham Active Member

    Sep 21, 2009
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    Congrats Chris, i was wondering when you were going to make it onto a transformation of the month!!!! Well done. Hope i can achieve results that you have.
  12. Merk

    Merk Satan is my spirit animal

    Oct 29, 2005
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    Truly amazing....congratulations. You are an inspiration to us all :bow:
  13. robmac

    robmac Active Member

    Jun 3, 2006
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    Congratulations, Chris. You've been an inspiration for me since I discovered your journal a couple of months ago. :bow:
  14. George

    George Senior Member

    Apr 18, 2004
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    Fantastic work! I like how you kept things nice and simple, too. :)
  15. dejavued

    dejavued Senior Member

    Apr 9, 2007
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    way to go buddy! like i've told ya before..... u really dominated 2009!!! damn u look great! :dreamy: :bow: :claplow: :claphigh:
  16. digitalnebula

    digitalnebula Plagiarist

    Jan 19, 2005
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    Wow!! :eek:

    Way to go!
  17. Bendit

    Bendit Active Member

    Oct 18, 2009
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    Incredible transformation :bow:
  18. modmaven

    modmaven Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2008
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    Hey, Zero, you're our HERO!

  19. Phoenix

    Phoenix Active Member

    Nov 25, 2007
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    Magnifico :claplow:
  20. carguy

    carguy Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2005
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    Hey Chris, way to go.:nod: That last side-by-side comparison shot is amazing. I hadn't realized how much muscle you managed to add while losing all the weight. That's only going to get better too. Plus, I like your straight forward way of expressing your dedication to staying fit for life. This will help a lot of people.

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