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June 2009 TSM: Merk

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

  1. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
    Staff Member Owner

    Jan 20, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Ronn (forum member Merk) has certainly seen his share of ups and downs over the past decade. After an early interest in bodybuilding, Ronn allowed himself to slip into a life of drugs, alcohol and fast food. It didn't take long before these bad habits ravaged his health and personal appearance. Read on and discover how Ronn overcame his demons in this brutally honest interview...

    Name: Ronn Merkley
    Age: 24
    Location: Mississauga, ON
    Height: 5'6"
    Weight Before/After: 210-220 lbs. Before / 145 lbs. After
    Body Fat % Before/After: 20%+ Before / Approx. 6% After
    Years Involved In Fitness: Lifted weights on and off for 10 years. Have taken bodybuilding seriously for 2 years
    Favorite Bodyparts: Legs
    Favorite Exercises: Breathing Squats
    Favorite Supplements: BCAA's, Glutamine, Glucosamine, Fish oils, Creatine Monohydrate, and REAL FOOD.

    May 2005.jpg May '05 side 210 lbs 2.jpg

    P1030532 (Small).JPG

    MM June 10, 08.jpg back db June 20 2008.jpg

    Why did you decide to make a transformation?
    I’m going to have to tell you this story doesn’t so much start at the decision to make my physical transformation but rather many years prior leading up to that very point (it’s like a Quentin Tarintino movie!)

    Well, I've been strongly interested in bodybuilding and bodybuilders for most of my life. As a young child I aspired to be just like my Dad (and still do!). He was and still is a very strong, muscular guy and has a 6 pack that looks better than guys half his age - truly inspiring. But it wasn't till years later I would find a magazine that would truly start me off on my journey.

    At the ripe age of 13 (11 years ago) I came across a 1996 collectors edition of MuscleMag. It was a tribute to Arnold and his accomplishments. I remember seeing his photos and I was hooked... that's what I wanted to look like. I still have that magazine to this day.

    Shortly after finding that magazine I joined the high school weight room in hopes of becoming the next Arnold. Of course I had no idea what I was doing in terms of dieting and working out, but I did my best and trained everyday on my lunch hours. As time went by I became discouraged because I wasn't looking anything near like Arnold as I had hoped and I started to fall away from the gym.

    After awhile of being on and off from the gym I finally stopped working out altogether and sadly enough picked up on a path of self destruction. I seriously spun out of control! Near the end I was smoking 6 grams of marijuana as well as drinking a 24-pack of beer DAILY! On top of this I was eating at McDonald's and Wendy’s regularly, eating junk food, and consuming large amount of pasta before bed. As the weight started to pack on the more depressed I became which in turn had me indulging more in these things. It was a vicious cycle.

    It wasn't until May 2005 that I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and I didn't recognize the man staring back at me. I had went from being a fairly fit teenager to a substance abusing, overweight young man.

    I knew right then and there I needed to change, my life depended on it.

    It may seem like I’m being overly dramatic but seriously….I know myself well enough that had I chose to keep going down that path in life I would have become much worse and at that rate I wouldn’t have lived long.

    I tore through my house ridding the junk food from my pantry, the beer from my fridge, the pot from my table, and everything else that was associated. I packed it all in one box, called up some of my friends and told them they had 10 minutes to come get it. Sure enough there they were right on time, lol. When asked if I was sure I wanted to do this and receive nothing in return I simply replied.

    “Take it, take it now before I change my mind”

    The journey began…

    What sort of planning did you do before you started?
    I started to search the Internet looking for the answers to the questions I had…

    How do I lose weight? ...

    What is the quickest way to get a 6 pack? ...

    What do I eat? ...

    How do I train? ...

    Not only that but I ultimately was looking for motivation/inspiration, easier said than done I can tell ya. In a world full of smoke and mirrors it was hard finding that real deal someone that had truly done that very thing I was looking at trying to do myself. I spent days searching the Internet…

    Until one day I came across a site called bodybuilding.com. It was there I found that very thing I was looking for, that inspiration, that motivation. What had happened was I was surfing through the site/forums and stumbled across a transformations thread. It was FULL of people like myself that were overweight but who had successfully transformed their bodies and their lives for the better. I spent what seemed like an eternity looking through this thread, reading every one of the stories, looking at all the pictures. It was truly amazing seeing all these people that had succeeded.

    But oddly enough I still didn’t feel that “urge”, that “motivation” to get my ass out of my computer chair and hit the weights….not until I came across the pictures of one particular transformation. There was something about it that I connected to, there was something realistic about it, it’s hard to explain I guess. But as I began to read about this persons trials and tribulations the more and more I felt like I wasn’t on this hopeless quest to a healthy life.

    That person?

    John Stone.

    No joke.

    Seeing the work John had done in his life was truly unbelievable! I remember thinking that this is eventually where I would like to be in my life, fit, healthy, drug/alcohol dependency free…

    The motivation was there! Everything else just fell into place. With the knowledge I had (or lack thereof) I pieced together a “diet”. LOL, reflecting back at what I was eating and doing, it’s truly a miracle I even made it half as far as I did.

    Anyways, I also found this daily dual session workout on bodybuilding.com that seemed pretty intense and looked like it would be geared for the very fat loss I was pushing for.

    Mix that all in with a dash of 1 hour of daily cardio and wham-o! You have my planning.

    What were your initial goals?
    My initial goals were pretty basic, I think. I just wanted to lose weight and feel good about myself. But as time has gone by my goals have changed drastically. Back then I just wanted to lose the beer gut I had and “tone up” whereas now I’m very much geared about putting on muscle and being as symmetrical as I can.

    What was your diet and supplement intake like?
    Initially I was a supplement fiend. I was taking just about anything I could get my hands on to help me lose weight. Fat burners, diet suppressants, Ephedrine, energy boosters, you name it, I’ve used it.

    But as time has progressed, learning along the way, I’ve come to understand just how “effective” a lot of these supplements truly are and stopped using them. I used to think these guys that said took very little supplements and were in awesome shape were liars and steroid users. But you know…there is something to all that “I don’t really take anything” jazz. At this point I might use a cheap creatine at times, isolate protein powder, BCAA’s, fish oils, and that’s it! Nothing fancy, nothing special, in fact all these things I use you can pick up at your local Walmart.

    Now, my diet...

    I was only eating veggies, chicken, steak, tortilla wraps, peanut butter, and protein shakes. Now looking at all this you wouldn’t think it would be all THAT bad, right? If you could have only seen how much of the peanut butter I was slabbing onto those tortilla wraps and when you’d keel over. The scary thing about this is, just eating these few things and in the quantities I was…I still lost weight! It just goes to show you just how bad my dieting and substance abuse was prior.

    But as time has progressed, again, I’ve learned a lot. Learning proper dieting, what foods are the most effective for the goals I have, when to eat them, and at what frequency, was the best thing taught to me (something I didn’t learn until just a couple years ago)

    What was your training like?
    As mentioned earlier, I was doing a daily dual session workout I found on bodybuilding.com. What I would do is say back and biceps twice a day. First session was in the morning and then the other was 7 hours later. Plus, an hour of cardio on top of that before my morning workout!

    I did this style of training for a couple of months. After that I switched to more of a “traditional” training style. What I mean by that is I was training each body part once a week usually matching up a major body part with a minor one (i.e. Back/Bi, Chest/Tri) I’d train for about an hour each session I was in the gym and I’d go to the gym 4-5 times a week.

    What obstacles did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?
    In the beginning I went through the initial withdrawal phase, for those who are reading this that have quit drugs/drinking or at least tried you know just how difficult it can be. But somehow I managed to stay strong and come out on top. I did fall a couple of times in the beginning, I won’t lie. But those times I had fallen I just picked myself up and kept right on going. Sure it pissed me off afterwards, it was frustrating to see myself fall back down, but instead of becoming negative about the situation and give up I chose to dig my feet in deeper and kept on fighting.

    Falling down doesn’t mean utter and total failure. The times you fall, they are learning experiences. It’s what you do with these experiences, these lessons, that will determine your success or your failure. If I allowed these things to keep me down, it would have meant I failed. I failed to accomplish the things I had set out for myself.

    Failure wasn’t an option.

    I know drug and alcohol addiction is something that you've wrestled with. Can you please tell us a bit about your struggles in those areas, and how you managed to overcome your drug and alcohol dependencies?
    Honestly it’s something I still struggle with to this day.

    For me drugs and alcohol are ways to run from my problems. It’s so easy to run from our problems vs. facing them head on. I used to hate dealing with problems. It was so much easier to smoke a bowl or have a few brews to take the load off. As the problems began to mount and become worse so did my drug and alcohol problem.

    But what did “escaping” do?...nothing.

    All I was doing was prolonging the inevitable. It was only a matter of time before my problems would catch up with me and they were there regardless if I was able to see it or not. Then came the magical day I took a stand and stopped running and dealt with my issues head on. Biggest issue I had was admitting I had an actual problem. It’s true when they say that admitting is half the battle. I found that was the hardest thing was to openly admit to myself and others I had a problem. It isn’t like I had to admit it to anyone else, they all knew, LOL.

    Everything else after that seemed like a piece of cake by comparison.

    It isn’t easy staying on top of these problems. But it has become easier. I’ve learned where I can go, who I can talk to, and what I can/cannot do over time to keep these issues under wraps. I really wish I could say I’ve defeated this demon. But for me to have defeated it means it is dead on gone… it isn’t. It’s still a constant struggle. Though each and every time I’m under the pressure of giving in and I resist I believe it makes me stronger and makes dealing with it the next time that much easier.

    It has been over 4 years clean from drugs. Alcohol I cannot say so much, though I am happy to report that I count on both my hands how many drinks I have had in the past 2 years and that during this amount of time I haven’t been intoxicated. I will have a glass of wine or a beer with a meal on a special occasion but that’s about it.

    How has your life changed?
    Totally! In so many ways! Physically, mentally, emotionally. My life has taken a 180 degree turn. I went from a pure negativity, destructive lifestyle to very positive, healthy lifestyle. I’ve went on to battle a lot of inner demons and come out victorious! It’s truly an amazing feeling being free of a lot of the garbage I was putting myself through.

    How did JSF and the JSF Forums help you?
    Becoming apart of the JSF crew I have went on to continue a healthy lifestyle, learn a lot about myself (physically and emotionally), made close friends, met the woman of my dreams, and JSF has kept me continuously inspired and motivated to keep going down the path of a better, healthier life.

    What advice would you offer to others?
    I’m not too good at giving advice. However, I can pass on a piece of wisdom that was passed onto me that really stuck…

    "...believe that the sort of life you wish to live is, at this very moment, just waiting for you to summon it up. And when you wish for it, you begin moving toward it, and it, in turn, begins moving toward you." Suzan-Lori Parks

    This quote right here cannot be any more true in my personal opinion. I went from rags to riches basically and it all started when I believed I could do something. The sky is the limit. The only person in the life that can stop you…is you.

    Do you have any advice for people who are currently struggling with addiction?
    Right now for those of you that feel like you are a slave to your addictions and that there is no way out. I can tell you there is.

    John, Mastover, and I are proof that there is a way out, you too can be free.

    But it isn’t going to be an easy feat.

    There is going to be struggle, there is going to be pain, there is going to be loss, and there are going to be days where you wish you were dead. But in the end when you look back at the journey to freedom you’ll say to say to yourself it was all worth it.

    Your going to fall one way or the other, but don’t stay down. Pick yourself up and keep moving. Each time you fall you learn, you learn more about yourself and learn where the potholes are in the road to success and how to avoid them.

    What are your future plans?
    Well I’m not one to look to far down the road. But my plans for today are getting me that much closer to a rock solid 170lbs @ 8%BF….that and have bigger calves!!

    Any closing thoughts?
    I’d like to thank John Stone and the rest of my JSF family (Maya, 1FastGTX, Ryanator, Iroc, Kree, Mastover, digitialnebula…) for being there for me during my highs and lows. Regardless of what hand of cards life has dealt me, you have all been there for me and without all you I wouldn’t have reached the success I achieved to date.

    Thanks for taking the time to speak with us about your incredible transformation, Ronn!
  2. needachange

    needachange Active Member

    Sep 6, 2006
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    Awesome transformation Merk!
  3. Shamie

    Shamie Senior Member

    Jan 21, 2004
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    Now that is a lot of beer.:D Very inspiring to read your history. You are very deserving of transformation of the month. Truly impressive change in your before / after photo's.
  4. dbfield

    dbfield Active Member

    Aug 16, 2007
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    Congratulations and good luck on getting to your goals.. Very motivating! :tucool:
  5. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

    Apr 29, 2005
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    Ronn, congratulations on your well deserved recognition.
  6. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2005
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    Lots to be proud of! You are a strong man on many different levels and an inspiration to thousands. No better representative for such an award.

    CONGRATS!! :claplow:
  7. George

    George Senior Member

    Apr 18, 2004
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    Great job, Ronn! I had never known how far along you've come in terms of drugs and alcohol. Truly inspiring.
  8. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2004
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    Congratulations, Ronn! :)
  9. ignition

    ignition Active Member

    Mar 11, 2009
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    wow - i don't step out of lurking much, but had to say congrats on the transformation. a great story. :bow:
  10. J_W

    J_W Well-Known Member

    Jan 14, 2006
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    What a great transformation! You've really turned your life around. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Ronn :).
  11. freep5637

    freep5637 Active Member

    Apr 30, 2009
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    Ronn nice job! I have a similar story but mine was about 5 years of getting sober and relapsing. It is no fun! You're an inspiration. Three months ago I got sober for the last time and transformed my life losing 30 lbs and gaining muscle. 17 more lbs to go! You should give AA a shot though. Seriously if you want to be even more positive and stay that way forever with no slips and only a handful of down days it's the way to go. I think what worked for me and got me liking the program was taking control of my physical along with my mental and spiritual side. With that trifecta I'm positive that all of my goals in life will be fullfilled. I had the other two before and relapsed but once I decided to get in shape I became unstoppable! Congrats man I hope my after pics in a couple months are as awe inspiring!
  12. Merk

    Merk Satan is my spirit animal

    Oct 29, 2005
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    Thank you all for your kind words :) It all means alot to me. Being recognized for my achievements by JSF has been by far the greatest highlight.

    Though word to the wise, use spell check and proof read articles you have written at least 10 times (you should be able to recite the entire thing verbatim) before it is published.

    Seriously, there is nothing worse than reading your own work after it has been posted somewhere and catching errors. You just know that there are people that have read it and laughed at your stupidity :dunce:
  13. Carole

    Carole Well-Known Member

    Jan 30, 2005
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    :) Thank you for sharing the inspiring account of your ‘transformation’ and the pictures of your beautiful body………I believe as a result of your candor others, and not just those who struggle with similar ‘demons’, will find renewed motivation in continuing the daily struggle to ‘persevere’ and become the very best they can be.

    :) OBTW young man I feel certain no one will be laughing at you :tu:
  14. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
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    Great job buddy
  15. Catalyst

    Catalyst Active Member

    May 20, 2009
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    Incredible story! Congratulations and keep it up!
  16. dejavued

    dejavued Senior Member

    Apr 9, 2007
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    awesome job! :tucool:
  17. Reno_1ted

    Reno_1ted Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2004
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    Nice work, great pics as well, superb back shot in particular. Inspiration to all. :)
  18. TheRyanator

    TheRyanator Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2004
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    I have been looking forward to today for the last several weeks since I knew you would be featured up here!

    Great work man, glad you are getting the chance to show off your success, but most importantly share the things that got you there. Keep up the good work man...its an inspiration! :tucool:
  19. vertigo88

    vertigo88 Active Member

    Dec 28, 2006
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    Incredibly motiving story! Congratulations on overcoming so much. 24 beer a day! :eek: Amazing transformation :tu:
  20. Akira-Kai

    Akira-Kai Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2008
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    I was waiting for you to win this! It was only a matter of time! :tucool:

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