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Brian Dinger

Growing up chubby doesn't mean you have to stay that way – this JYM Army solider is living proof of that.

Brian Dinger

Written by Brian Dinger

When I started my journey, my goal was to lose weight because I wasn't happy being obese for most of my life. But I won't lie, I wanted abs too! When I finally put all the pieces together and started working on that goal, I ended up losing 100 pounds in 10 months, going from 250 pounds to 150 pounds and dropping from a size 40 to a size 29.

While I was losing that weight, I did resistance training but didn't focus on lifting too much; I didn't get into full-fledged lifting until after I lost the weight. I started benching only 80 pounds, but each month I got stronger and reached 225 pounds in about a year while gaining 10 pounds of muscle mass. I didn't follow any of Jim Stoppani's fitness programs at first, but this year I tried Shortcut to Size, saw great results and passed it on to my friends.

Nutrition was an important part of my success. Over the years, I've varied from a max 500-calorie deficit to a 500-calorie surplus to find that sweet spot. I stick to eating lots of lean protein like chicken, tuna and other fish, while my carb sources are usually from brown and jasmine rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes and fresh fruits. It's a fairly simple plan but the key is to flavor your meals! I knew I couldn't get all the essential nutrients just from my meals, so I've always required a good protein powder and BCAAs and that's really all I take since they're quick and convenient.

The biggest obstacle for me was figuring out where to start, and it was overwhelming because of nagging injuries I had gotten. I was so sick and tired of feeling like crap mentally and physically. To stay motivated, I kept telling myself I didn’t want to go back to feeling that way. That's what helped me stick to my goals; I was scared to go back to those dark places. Being scared can do a lot when it's a driving force.

It’s taken five years and I’ve had to make some big changes: I gave up soda and fast food entirely. That was huge for me because I used to live off that kind of food. I prepared healthy meals, but I was tempted to eat junk all the time. That can take quite a toll mentally and the biggest key was to tell myself to never give up and remind myself why I started. I still tell myself those two things to this day.

After all the hard work I've put in, I've received so much positive feedback from friends, family and even strangers. People still can't believe I was that fat kid who used to weigh 250 pounds just a few years ago. All of the support and positive feedback has helped me grow and has pushed me far more than I could have imagined.

I always tell people who ask me for advice that you should never give up because you're only cheating yourself. I also tell them to make working out fun and to push themselves to the limit so they can find out who they are when they’re outside their comfort zone. It still surprises me that people actually ask me for fitness and nutrition advice. That's my main goal: to help others reach their goals. I get so happy when I help them and it drives me, knowing that people look up to me and I refuse to let them down.

I will keep pushing myself to my limits each and every day while tweaking my workouts and nutrition for the specific goals that I have for myself. One of the goals that keeps me going is to become a sponsored athlete and I will never give up until I reach it!

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