A Real-Life Transformer: How Jake Lost 70 Pounds in 9 Months se
Meet Jake, a 24-year-old Rebel from the UK who lost over 70 pounds (32 kg) in 9 months!
Jake, like many new Rebels, once lived an entirely sedentary lifestyle:
“I would usually slump out of bed in the late afternoon straight to my computer. I’d browse the internet, browse forums, sitting around in my underwear. It was very rare for me to leave the house and I’d usually just go back to sleep several times a day out of sadness at what my life had become.”
But then Jake found Nerd Fitness, began strength training, and rediscovered his self-confidence.
Let’s learn how Jake channeled his inner Transformer and changed his life.
Steve: Thanks for doing the interview man! Was there a specific moment when you decided to make a change? What inspired you to get started?
Jake: It was around March 2012 when I was trying to get some motivation. I’d tried quick-fix diets and easy exercise before, but nothing really worked. I’d come across Nerd Fitness and started reading through articles like Optimus Prime transforming one bit at a time, and found lots of inspiring material. Around Easter, I just thought, “I’m going to change.”
Steve: Nice, Optimus is the man! Well, truck/robot. You get what I mean. So here we are, 9 months and 70 lbs later. Let’s jump right in and find out how you did it. What has been your exercise strategy?
Jake: Well, when I’d tried to get fit in the past I’d been doing a completely misinformed dumbbell routine that I’d give up on after about a week each time.
So with those dumbbells hanging around, I decided to do the Rebel Strength Guide (RSG) Dumbbell Division. But I couldn’t even get through the warm-up without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack. After that, I did the Basic Training from the RSG and made progress pretty quickly. I walked down to the local shop every day (about half a mile one way) even though it was a real struggle.
After that, I followed the RSG’s Body Weight Brigade. These days I’m back with the Dumbbell Division though, and I do cardio on non-lifting days (usually heavy bag boxing work).
Steve: Haha, glad to see you really got your money’s worth. Before you started strength training, how was your progress?
In the past, I’d had an exercise bike, and then a treadmill, but I didn’t have the motivation I needed. I always ended up giving up, saying it was too hard and not worth it. Now I wish I’d started years ago!
I’d say strength training was the biggest motivator for me, not just to work out, but to watch my diet as well. I’d bet Duke Nukem didn’t get balls of steel eating pizza and drinking chocolate milk all day (while munching on doughnuts).
Steve: So no more treadmills or exercise bikes. Do you work out at the gym, or at home?
Jake: I’ve had people tell me I need to go to a gym to make any real progress, but I don’t like the idea of having to pay membership and drive to and from somewhere when I need to work out. I have a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a foldaway bench, and a pull-up bar here. When it’s convenient to do today’s workout, I can just put on some music and get started.
Steve: That’s all you need! Let’s change gears for a second. What has been your diet strategy?
Jake: Well, prior to deciding to make a change my diet was massive amounts of pizza, anything with cheese, cereal, lots and lots of carbs (way more calories than I needed). You made a great case for Paleo, and I decided to follow it 100%.
Every meal was a small amount of meat and lots of vegetables, both of which were quite a shock, as up until then I was actually vegetarian (though I never ate vegetables, just cheese, and carbs). I used a calorie-counting website to help me keep track, and I stuck to it as best I could apart from special occasions. These days I’m a little slacker about it, but I’m still strict with my kcalories and about 75% of my day is still Paleo.
Steve: What was the toughest change for you to make?
Jake: It was probably sticking to an exercise schedule. I’d always be missing workouts and making excuses. I found some interesting ways to motivate myself, from music (the song Die Hard by Guyz Nite is great during workouts for me) to inspiring speeches by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Pizza remained my kryptonite and was the hardest thing to keep restraint with.
Steve: How did you track your progress? How often did you weigh yourself? Did you take any other measurements?
Jake: Since I started, I’ve been taking progress pictures and weighing myself once a month. I also have other measurements like fat and muscle percentage and visceral fat levels, once I got some electronic scales that can measure such things. I weigh myself about once a week additionally but that’s off the record. The only other measurement I’ve been unintentionally keeping track of is my waist size. I’ve had to buy two new belts since I started, and laying them out I can see the progression from one to the next as each one gets too big.
Steve: What was the most important change you made that helped you succeed?
Jake: Probably eating less and eating healthier, as I think that was the biggest contributor to the weight loss. Exercise has been really important as well, but if I’d kept eating the way I did I think I would have just kept gaining weight.
Steve: We do always say diet is 80-90% of your success! What kind of support system did you have? Friends and family? NF Community Boards?
Jake: I had friends and family giving me a lot of support. I’m a bit shy with forums, but I would visit the Nerd Fitness boards from time to time. A day-to-day encouragement I had was a couple of wallpapers I made for my desktop with characters saying something motivational (which are super cheesy sounding but still were a good motivator).
Steve: Have you tried and failed to get healthy before in the past? What made this time differently?
Jake: I’d tried lots of the easy fixes, like eating lots of small meals throughout the day, drinking more water (while changing nothing else) but none of them made a difference on their own, and I didn’t want to have to actually put any effort into it. This time everything was laid out by you, so I knew exactly what to do. I didn’t have to think about workouts, I just followed the Strength Guide. Without having to try to wade through an internet’s worth of conflicting advice, it was a lot easier to stick to.
Steve: What would you tell somebody in your situation right now to help them? Somebody who’s tried and failed but ready to try again?
Jake: Look at it this way: a tasty snack lasts the 5 minutes it takes you to eat it. But looking awesome? That’ll be 24/7! It’s a long road, but if you start right now, it won’t be long before you’ll be really glad you did.
I’m looking forward to playing more airsoft (similar to paintball) – I had to stop because I was too unfit to play, but now I should be able to cope with it a lot better. In a year or so I want to compete in a Tough Mudder course!
Steve: Your physical appearance has changed…what else has changed about you?
Jake: I’m a lot more comfortable in social situations and I’m much more positive in general. I make more of an effort to be nice to friends and family and help out whenever I can.
Steve: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Jake: I used to be a big Star Wars fan when I was younger. I was even thinking about getting a set of Stormtrooper armor at one point. These days though, Lord of the Rings is definitely more my favorite.
Steve: Favorite video game of all time?
Jake: The first video game I ever played was the original Doom in 1993 (I was 5 and pretty bad at it) and I’ll always remember Half-Life and the first Operation Flashpoint.
Steve: If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be, and why?
Jake: Shapeshifting would be cool. Like turning into a bear while being a passenger in a car. I’d probably be in hundreds of photos across the internet within a week. Although I guess I’m already shape-shifting now, just slowly, hahaha!
Steve: Quote to live by?
Jake: I actually have one since I found out what my blood type is. “The secret to life? Listen to my blood type: B+!” It’s a bit cheesy, but I do believe that being optimistic and positive is the best way to experience life.
Why Jake was successful?
Jake found ways to keep his motivation high and stay dedicated – Whether it was inspiring speeches by Arnold Schwarzenegger or awesome pre-workout music, Jake knew exactly where to go when he needed motivation on those days when he just didn’t feel like exercising. This is one of the most common things I hear that Rebels struggle with, and the driving reason behind our awesome free resource, NerdFitness.TV. Since Jake had a plan, he didn’t fall off the wagon when he got tired or had a bad day. Instead, he went to one of his go-to pump-up sources and then knocked out his workout.
He continued to try new things until he found a type of exercise that worked for him. Cardio and exercise bikes just didn’t work for Jake. He tried them but fell off the wagon quickly. With strength training he was able to maintain the muscle he already had, get stronger, AND lose the fat surrounding his muscles. As we all know, “appearance is a consequence of fitness.” Jake focused on getting stronger and making small wins with his diet and had faith his appearance would adjust as a result. I’d say it worked, eh?
He had a plan – Jake started out with dumbbells and no real strategy or game plan. With no concrete plan or strategy for measuring progress, he found himself constantly discouraged and thus usually gave up quickly. He found Nerd Fitness, picked up the Rebel Strength Guide, and stuck with it! After attempting a workout that was too difficult, he made an adjustment and tried a workout plan that fit his fitness level (instead of just giving up, which is what most would have done). He didn’t need to scour the internet for the newest way to lose weight, but instead just said, “okay, this is what I’m doing.”
Want to know what the best workout plan is? The one you actually do – whether it’s an NF ebook, one of our free workout routines, or something entirely different. Just pick one and start TODAY. Make adjustments as you go, learn as you go, and be consistent.
He meticulously tracked his progress – As evidenced by this series of photos, Jake was incredible in tracking his progress. If you’re new to Nerd Fitness, this is a common theme among success stories: diligent notes and tracking. Jake knew that he was getting better and better, and thus found himself even more motivated to continue his training. If there was a snag, he was able to identify it right away — not months later after looking disappointingly in the mirror. He didn’t just focus on the scale either (which can be a liar).
Jake emphasized eating right – Jake reports eating “massive amounts of pizza” and “lots of carbs” before his transformation. After? Now Jake eats meat and veggies, aiming for 75% Paleo. As we like to say around here, diet is 80-90% of your success. Hell, we even have a rule that “you can’t outrun your fork.” If you just started trying to get healthy but haven’t started transforming your diet yet, get started today. Start small: cut out a slice of pizza or a can of soda a day. Eat one more piece of fruit or one more helping of vegetables.
Don’t underestimate the power of the smallest changes to your diet!
Questions for Jake?
Now, not everyone can expect to have as drastic a transformation as Jake, but there’s no big secret as to how he transformed:
- He put a emphasis on his diet
- He built a the habit of working out
- He had a solid plan to follow so there was no confusion
- He tracked his progress
- He stuck with it for months and months!
There’s no reason you can’t do the same.
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