How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?
I started the program at 198 pounds and around 25-to-26% body fat. The current photos are 9 months later and represent a body weight of 163 pounds and 14% body fat.
What has happened so far on the program?
Since starting the program, I haven’t had to do anything other than follow the nutrition guide and workout routine from the book/workbook. Prior to reading Bigger Leaner Stronger, I had zero understanding of macronutrients/micronutrients, let alone how to incorporate them into a diet.
After gaining a better understanding of the importance of properly maintained nutrition, I dialed everything in by purchasing a meal plan from Muscle for Life. In the 9 months I’ve used the program, my strength gains have been unreal—comically unreal.
Bench press has always been my arch nemesis and my chest has always been, what I consider, severely underdeveloped. My chest has been a constant stress since my early twenties—I would avoid certain clothing in fear it would pronounce my “moobs.” I went from struggling with 115 pounds for 2-to-3 reps to knocking out 185 pounds for 5-to-6 reps and a 1 rep max of 225. This has been one of the more profound self-esteem-boosting parts of the entire program; on top of the strength gains, my chest has tightened up and I’ve gained my confidence back.
Squatting was a new concept to me and after reading Bigger Leaner Stronger, it sounded pretty important; it also came very naturally to me. My body seemed to pick up the form naturally and since I started, I’ve never looked back. I started the program squatting around 135 pounds and now work at 255 pounds for 4-to-6 reps on my leg days.
Deadlifting was also a new concept and it seemed to be the king exercise in the Bigger Leaner Stronger program. Deadlifting did not come naturally, however, and I struggled with my form for months. For the longest time, my deadlift matched my squat and I couldn’t lock it down. Eventually, I was able to lock it down with the help of a coach, and I’ve since taken it from 135 pounds to 305 pounds for 4-to-6 reps.
I love doing the military press! I’m not great at it, but I work towards improving it every time I’m in the gym. I started working with just the bar and have since increased it to 105 pounds for 4-to-6 reps.
What workout split from the book did you use?
I like direction and being able to follow a guide. Because of this, I got the Bigger Leaner Stronger Year One Challenge and simply followed the 5-day workout splits laid out in there.
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
There was nothing in particular that kept me from buying the book, other than the philosophies in the book were new to me since I was starting out as a beginner. I had no idea where to start or what worked. Thankfully, I found Bigger Leaner Stronger at the onset of my fitness journey.
What do you like most about the program?
The program is exactly what is says it is—there are no secrets and no bullshit—it just works. Honestly, if you told me 9 months ago thatI would have dropped nearly 40 pounds and would be in the best shape of my life (naturally), I wouldn’t have believed you.
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
I’ve program hopped for the better part of my gym life (which has never been consistent or longer than a few months) and most of the work I did was accessory work—go figure.
I like how this program is laid out—it’s straightforward and easy to follow. Going into Bigger Leaner Stronger, I thought the workouts wouldn’t be enough and that I would need more of a “pump” during my workouts to get results. However, that was not the case. I found that when I gave my workouts 110% and focused on the basic principle of progressive overload, the results came.
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
Adult life snuck up on me pretty quick. I got married, had children, and I’m a police officer in a relatively large city. I transferred to an investigative role and was basically confined to a desk. We ate out a lot, I stopped playing sports, and my activity level dropped significantly. It took a photo with my wife for me to realize she was still as effervescent and beautiful as the first day I met her and I had slowly changed. I was overweight and started having health issues related to my stomach and blood pressure.
Initially, I was disgusted with myself, but knew I could put in the work and get back on track. I found Bigger Leaner Stronger on Amazon and burned through the pages in two days. I was reinvigorated and focused. Fast forward 9 months—my body confidence is back, I have what feels like unlimited energy, and I just feel all-around “good.”
I don’t do a ton of cardio; before I started I couldn’t run a mile in less than 12 minutes and I would have to walk a majority of it. Now, I’ll burn through a mile in 7.5 minutes without any issue. The worst part about the Bigger Leaner Stronger program is having to buy all new clothes!
Who would you recommend this program to and why?
I would recommend Bigger Leaner Stronger to anyone looking to get back on track or lock down their health/fitness. You don’t have to over-complicate things to achieve success, but you do have to be willing to put in the work and follow the basic principles. Consistency and time are key, and if you follow Bigger Leaner Stronger, it will get you to where you want to be.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re like me, I work better with structure. If you don’t know where to start with planning, get the Bigger Leaner Stronger Year One Challenge workbook. I thrive on repetition and having things laid out for me, so grabbing the workbook was a no brainer. About halfway through the workbook, it’ll “click” and you’ll get it in terms of how to structure future workouts.
Although, I don’t plan on deviating from the workbook until I’ve logged every workout for the first year! I’m your typical, average, early thirties dad—I don’t have super genes, my parents weren’t professional athletes, and I don’t buy into the ideology that only certain body types can achieve great results.
Recognize what you need to do and do it. Put in the time, stay consistent, don’t dwell on mistakes/slip-ups, and you’ll get the results you want.