One of the best parts of running Ashotofadrenaline is hearing from others, especially when they have amazing stories to share. Like the story I want to share with you about Mark.
Mark first emailed me back in January sharing his goal to win a 12 week fitness challenge through his work. Mark and I continued to email back and forth whenever nutrition or workout questions would arise.
Well, Mark just emailed me and I have to say is, “Wow.” His hard work, dedication, and focus has paid off. He has yet to know if he won his work challenge but I’m pretty sure you will agree with me that he definitely is already a WINNER.
Now, I know that many of you after seeing Mark’s transformation are going to ask, “How did he do it?” So, I asked Mark if he would be willing to share his journey with you.
Mark before you started your 12 week fitness challenge, what did your diet and exercise regiment look like?
Before the challenge, I didn’t have any exercise routine and I had a poor diet. I would eat junk food every week, pizza, french fries, chips, cookies, it didn’t matter. I would just shove it in my mouth and feel guilty after but I kept doing it. I used to be active, but then I had two kids and there was no time for the gym. However, even when I was at the gym I never got the results I wanted.
Would you be willing to share what your typical day of meals / snacks looked like during your 12 week fitness challenge?
My diet is pretty strict with very few cheat meals. Breakfast would be a smoothie consisting of protein powder, cottage cheese, avocado, spinach, kale, and soy milk. Snack would be four egg whites or a protein shake. For lunch, I have a chicken breast with broccoli. Afternoon snack is a pork chop and spinach, dinner is chicken and salad, and another protein shake before bed. It does get pretty boring eating this sometimes, but the results make me feel good about it. And it’s hard to work out effectively when you aren’t putting the right fuel into your body.
Why did you chose bodyweight exercises over the gym as your preference of workouts and what plan did you follow?
The main reason I chose bodyweight workouts is because I couldn’t afford the gym, both from a monetary and time perspective. I commute over an hour to work each way and with two kids under two and a dog; I have no time to go to the gym. After doing research online, I realized it was a total myth to say the only way to change your body is through the gym. I didn’t have a set routine, other than 90% of my workouts were High Intensity Interval training. I rarely worked out more than 30 minutes at a time, but I would do two workouts a day. A lot of pushups, situps, burpees, and chinups. Once a week, I went swimming where I did sprints in the pool. That was the hardest workout. I also made the most of my time. When I was out with my dog, I did burpees and hill sprints while he wandered around or chased me!
Some people would think that 12 weeks is a long time to stay motivated. What kept you going?
I had many reasons to stay motivated. I was in a 12 week challenge with a group of other people and I was determined to beat them. However, I also wanted to be the type of dad that my kids would look up to and be able to run around and play with them. So I did this as much for them as for myself. I also looked at pictures of other people that have transformed their body and I knew if they could do it so could I. I also got to the point where I just enjoyed pushing my body to its limit!
How has this body transformation changed other aspects of your health or life?
I have a lot more energy and confidence now than I used to. Before I started this, I had pretty low energy and confidence. Now I am happy with what I put into my body, I have loads of energy, and I’ve started getting the rest of my family to eat healthy too. My two year old son loves green smoothies now!
Mark, what was your weight in the past picture and what is it currently?
I didn’t focus so much on my weight but I would say I lost about 15 pounds. At the start of the 12 weeks, I know I was close to 190 pounds and by the end I was around 173 pounds approximately. I concerned myself more with inches lost and gained. I lost 7 inches on my waist, put 4 on my chest, and 2 on my arms! And I didn’t lift a single weight other than what nature/God created depending on your beliefs provided!
The end result of all of Mark’s training and healthy eating….
Just in case you forgot where Mark started from here’s another before & after pic side by side.
I love transformations like this. Not just because Mark has a different body but because he has changed his lifestyle and it’s sweeping over the rest of his family too. Why was Mark successful? He had several exterior motivators: job challenge, his children, and visual reminders of where he wanted to be.
So often people begin a fitness journey and make a goal of “I want to be big or I want to be strong.” But this goal is too ambiguous. What does big or strong mean? Mark had a 12 week deadline. Yes, health and wellness is a lifestyle but it’s important to have check in points so that the goal is attainable and motivation remains.
Mark recognized the importance of diet. So many people write me and ask me for the perfect workout to gain muscle and to lose fat. The reason I have enjoyed following Mark’s story so much is because he realized that WHAT he was eating was essential in his fitness journey. You can NOT get optimal results unless you are willing to change your eating habits as well as get your sweat on.
Lastly, Mark made the most of his time. None of us have time to work out all day and even if we did, who really wants to? Instead, seize the moment. Instead of sitting down watching his dog run around he did burpees. Little things DO help. Take the further parking spot, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and carry a shopping basket instead of pushing a cart.
Your body will not only thank you but ask for more.
Thank you again, Mark for being willing to share your fitness journey with so many. I know that you will continue to inspire many as well as continue to gain strength and health.
A really great transformation story, Todd! Mark did a great job and fought through those weeks! The result is what he deserves. I’m impressed by those people who changed their life for a better feeling. Thanks for the story and motivation for others.
Hi Mark, I just purchased your bodyweight overload program. I look forward to starting it tomorrow. I do have a couple of questions. Am I supposed to do 8-12 reps of EACH side/arm or only 8-12 for both sides of an ‘angled’ pushup/pullup? So the set would be 4 for the right arm then 4 for the left, or 8-12 each side?
Also, when an exercise has ’60 second rest’ written beside it on the workout sheets, does that mean I have a rest after that set before continuing with the other exercises or between sides?
Sorry if I have missed that somewhere in the pdf file.
*EDIT, sorry Todd not Mark! 🙂
Great article Todd. Kinda what I was looking for. A discussion with someone who transformed using bodyweight only.
Awesome story and results:) Todd, thank you for putting up this site. what did Mark’s workout program look like on a daily basis?
You are very welcome Chip! He spent most of his time goin HIIT which is a great way to burn off fat and get lean. 🙂
Hey Todd. I really want to get into better shape. I am very slim and have a hard time gaining weight. I am hoping that you will be able to help me out with ideas of how I will be able to do this. Please I really want to get bigger. Thanks Josh
Thanks for the comment. Here is a great article to start with… calisthenic muscle building.
I was hoping you will be able to advise me.
Currently i do some situps, pullups ( 5 at the mo, 3 sets ) Hindu pressups, Diamond Pressups 3 times a week. I always try and do one more than the last effort.
Due to family commitments, i get up at 5am every morning to do these.
what routine can you advise me to follow for me to build up a little bit of bulk, not too much as i am also training for a Triathlon.
I eat only whole foods , nuts and lots of fruit so i know my diet is a healthy one.
p.s. Great website by the way..
Yeah, I totally understand that challenges of family commitments. I’d recommend starting with the 3 month program but make sure you are eating clean and eating a lot. Most people forget that in order to get bigger you have to eat big. They workout like crazy and then get frustrated because their size isn’t increasing. Its because they are not eating enough.