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Derek Hendrickson

This competitive eater stays lean even when feasting with the help of intermittent fasting, JimStoppani.com programs, and JYM supplements.

Derek Hendrickson

Written by Derek Hendrickson

I was 22, sitting in my doctor’s office going over my latest results. My blood pressure was high, I was pre-diabetic, I weighed 315 pounds, a terrible family history, and high cholesterol.

My doctor looked at me and told me if I kept on my current lifestyle that I wouldn’t be alive by 40.

My reply: “I’m here for a good time, not for a long time.”

When he didn’t laugh, I knew it was bad.

I was finishing up college and drinking almost every night. After drinking, we would naturally get food, and I would get my grub on BIG TIME. Whole pizzas and orders of breadsticks would go down with ease. Taco Bell was my second and fourth meal. I worked out and played sports, but only saw strength gains.

As I left the doctor’s office, I realized it was time to maybe reel things in a bit. I did what anyone does and went on a crash diet.

I became a cardio bunny and continued lifting heavy weight. After seeing minimal results, I found Jim Stoppani on bodybuilding.com. There are so many people out there, but Jim drew me in. A doctor who is covered in tattoos is a guy I could get behind!

I started reading and changing my diet to a few meals a day, utilizing the Shortcut to Shred meal plan. With Muscle & Fitness Raw, Shortcut to Shred and Shortcut to Size, and continuing the diet I was on, I dropped down to 205 pounds.

I wanted to be less than 200 pounds, but never got there. I was never happy while dieting. I missed out on countless fun times because I had to watch my calories. I lived in fear of becoming fat again and then would adopt a “who cares” mentality and feast on certain days, derailing my hard work.

As my journey progressed, I got married and life went on as I sneaked fitness into my relationship, as my ex was not a fan of it. Life has been the toughest obstacle in my journey from start to finish.

I maintained my workouts, entering Jim’s challenges and maintaining my physique by playing with my carbohydrate intake and utilizing cardio.

I got the opportunity to be a test subject for another supplement company, which was a dream come true. I gained some weight back and went back up to 235 pounds. They gave us diets and workouts and I saw gains, but then the bomb dropped. Jim changed the industry and I was onboard with JYM Supplement Science.

I bought Pre JYM, Post JYM, and Pro JYM, and the gains began. I started hearing rumblings of intermittent fasting (IF) in the fitness community but never really tried it until Jim endorsed it. This day would forever change my life. I am the type of person who goes all in when I decide to do something. I gave IF one month, and now I have been doing it for over two years.

I'm a competitive eater, so for me, I need to have a large stomach capacity for 10 pound-plus challenges.

Using the Intermittent Fasting Carb Cycling (IFCC) lifestyle, I have been able to gain 10 pounds during a bulk, and since May 2018, I have dropped 18+ pounds on a cut while having 29 food challenge wins in seven states.

By the time this gets posted, I will probably have 30 wins in eight states. I utilize a 19/5 fasting breakdown and end my fast with Pre JYM and Pro JYM, head to the gym, finish with my carbs, Pro JYM, and Post JYM, and head home to feast.

On low-carb days, I'm below 70 grams of carbs. I tend to have 4 to 5 low-carb days, 1 to 2 medium days (110g-150g), and then a challenge or a high-carb day for 1-2 days (220g-800g).

This lifestyle allows me to be flexible and enjoy food and drinks with friends and live life! It’s a party in the Hendrickson household when 4:30pm rolls around and I get to eat.

When I’m not participating in one of Jim's challenges, I do full-body workouts six times a week. I focus on compound movements but utilize isolations to maintain my status on Team Big Arms and Big Eats.

My friends and family have supported me since Day One. I just got back from my hometown and a lot of people could not even recognize me.

I used to not get a lot of attention at the local watering holes, but now I get compliments on my hard work from random strangers, especially when doing food challenges. "Where do you put that?" "How can you eat that much and look like that?"


I have gotten to work out with Will Kucharek, who is a huge source of motivation for me. I also met Jim at the 2018 Mr. Olympia and got to thank him for continuing to inspire and motivate me.

I plan to continue my food challenges and hopefully compete at Nathan’s Famous on July 4th one year. I also plan to step onstage for a men’s physique show next year and show off my loose skin to let everyone know that if I can do it, they can do it! I'll continue utilizing Jim’s challenges to mix up my workout programs.

To anyone who struggles with portion control, living out of Tupperware, and doesn’t get full from the eight-meals-a-day plan, give the IFCC diet a try.

You have to start out like squatting – you can’t just walk up to the rack and bust out reps using 225 pounds. You need to build your way up to where you want to be and let your body tell you where it wants to go.

I’m 100 pounds down for eight years now. Every year I get better because I learn more and more about what works for my body and my life.

Key reminders I tell myself almost daily are this: Everyone starts somewhere, no bad days, progress over perfection.


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