“Seeing the changes that I’ve made already has just helped me make sure I never ever want to go back to the person I used to be and am so much happier and more confident in my own skin.”
The Slippery Slope
After high school, I accepted a soccer scholarship to a big university to play soccer, and early on in my freshman year, I ripped my rotator cuff, basically ending any chance I had of playing. I lost my scholarship and eventually left the school with no backup plan because it had always just been “sports”.
While the injury healed I didn’t have a chance to work out or stay active and began to gain weight, and by the time my shoulder was fixed I had no desire to stay in shape at all and just kept sliding further and further up the weight chart.
Eventually, I just accepted that this was me now and gave up on caring. My diet was mainly fast food and whatever junk I thought sounded good from the store, but hardly ever anything proportioned or healthy.
The Wakeup Call
At the beginning of 2018, I woke up and realized I couldn’t even put my own shoes on and knew something had to stop. With the help of one of my good friends, who is an actual fitness nut, I began researching new diets and exercise routines and we hatched a plan.
On May 1st, 2018, I stepped on the scale and saw it said 378.6 lbs. I nearly fell over.
I knew I was heavy but to see a number that high instantly put true fear into me. I was worried about life, longevity, health issues, and multitudes of other things. So on May 1st, the journey began, and I prepped my first few days of meals and then everything else so that I couldn’t be tempted to have just a quick little snack or anything else.
It was about this time that my fiancé had gastric bypass surgery and was on a limited food intake as well, so we thought it would help both of us. The weight came off fast, and I nearly threw a party when I lost my first 50 lbs.
The Real Change Begins
By this time my clean strict diet was 2nd nature and I rarely had urges to cheat. Every 3-5 weeks I would go have sushi, a big steak, or Korean BBQ of some kind as a reward meal, but for the most part, I was content with the diet I was eating.
I would (and still am) eating two meals a day consisting mainly of lean ground beef, chicken, eggs, turkey bacon, avocados and organic peanut butter for a snack. It is insanely strict, but I look at it like this: I had fun eating whatever-whenever I wanted, and it got me overweight. So it was time to do whatever was required to get it off and get myself back to a place where I was happy with who I was.
In October of 2018, I ran my first Tough Mudder in Northern California. I was running about 8-10 miles a week on the treadmill at the gym and lifting weights 5 days a week and I felt phenomenal. But I very quickly became aware that I was still too heavy and had much progress still to achieve when I was on the course. I ran the race with my best friend and fiancé, and together we crossed the finish line in a little under 4:30. It was an amazing experience and sort of re-lit my desire to push harder and farther in my training.
I kept up with the training and increased to 12-18 miles a week running, but this time I was doing it outside on trails and in the hills to incorporate realistic elevation changes and to get some fresh air. Many people dislike treadmill miles and once I began to run outside I understood why.
I live a little over a mile and a half from my local LA Fitness so I started to wake up and run to the gym, sit in the sauna and stretch out for 20 minutes, and run back every morning. It was the perfect split that I needed and combined with 6 nights of weights per week I went solo into my second Tough Mudder in April of 2019 and managed a race time of 2:56 on one of the tougher courses in the Tough Mudder line up in the country.
The race is at Glen Helen off-road park and the hills there are absolutely insane. My Garmin tracker registered almost 2,600 feet of elevation gain over the 9-mile course. It definitely pushed me to my limit.
One Year Later
On May 1, 2019, with 1 year of life change under my belt, I stepped on the scale and it read 257.7 lbs. I had lost 121 lbs. in a year and had gone from a size 54 “loose fit” Dickies to size 36 501 Levi’s and from 4XL-Tall t-shirts to XL t-shirts.
I felt accomplished but knew that I had so much more to go. I’ve kept up on everything and plan to for as long as I possibly can. Seeing the changes that I’ve made already have helped me make sure I never ever want to go back to the person I used to be and I’m so much happier and more confident in my own skin.
What’s next for Jordan?
I would still like to lose another 30-50 lbs. I don’t necessarily have a goal weight, but more of a performance goal. I am fairly hooked on running obstacle course races (mainly the Tough Mudder series) and for now, I know that I will need to be down closer to 200 lbs. to be able to run the time and distances I want.
My short-term goal is to be able to run either the 8-hour “Tougher Mudder” race and complete somewhere in the area of 17-20 miles in those 8 hours. Or to be able to run the 10 miles “classic” race both Saturday and Sunday in one weekend with both race times being under 3 hours.
My long-term goals include a sub 1-hour 10K on road, as well as completing the 24 hours “World’s Toughest Mudder” and managing 50 miles.
How Training Changed His Life
The training was really the missing part of my routine, and I feel what has helped me stick to my diet and help achieve my goals. When I started this journey, I changed my diet and not really my activity level. I started eating really clean, whole foods that were calorie deficient and since my job has me working mostly on my feet, I didn’t really need to train much.
I was walking 5-6 miles per day at work, so my activity levels were already fairly high. But after about 3 months, I realized I was getting soft and had no muscle development and that my skin wasn’t really shrinking. And the thought of looking deflated scared me, so I stopped on the way home from work one day and signed up at the gym.
I started with a 3 day per week routine just to get everything used to moving and working again and eventually ended up in the gym 6 days per week. Once I started to see muscle growth and my body actually changing shapes rather than just shrinking, I was hooked. I used the gym as the place to go whenever I was craving something off-diet, or down on myself about something, or thinking I should have been making more progress.
It turned into the place I went when I just needed everything to go right, and because of that some of my initial weight and performance goals got knocked down quicker than I expected. When I ran my first Tough Mudder I was on course for almost four and a half hours, and while I never stopped moving on course it was clearly a snail’s pace. Once I dove harder into my training my race time dropped to 2:56!
Don’t give up, anyone can do it. Honestly, I think the hardest part of everything was to get started. Not cheating on your diet or giving up when you’re having a rough week is obviously a challenge. But one of the biggest and hardest things to overcome is that fitness and diet advice is usually given by people with single digit body fat, cut physiques, and years of discipline and dedication under their belt.
While it is easy to think this is motivation, it really was intimidating at first. A few friends that have jumped on the get healthy bandwagon said it best. A lot of the advice or influencers or even coaches don’t understand that you can’t just “stop being fat”, and it’s hard to take advice from someone who looks like they’ve never had the same struggle or barrier of entry that you are currently facing.
Changing your life and body is a long-distance race, not a sprint. But so much on social media makes it seem like if you don’t lose 150lbs in 6 months that you’re a failure and clearly weren’t drinking enough of their special cleanse they’re promoting.
I have a friend who helped me a lot the first few months and made me check in every day. He said it didn’t matter if there was progress or not. As long as I had a better day eating/exercise wise than I had been having, it was a good day, and that really is what pushed me through until I was able to stand on my own and be my own motivation.
I’ve had people reach out to me on social media after posting my story that said they were also too intimidated by a lot of the people in the fitness world to start, and that seeing my story had helped them want to get back at it. I’ve helped them the best I could, but I think the biggest problem for heavy people currently is that there just aren’t enough not-perfect-physique people in the industry to ask for advice.