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Ephraim Hayes

This Indianapolis native set lofty fitness goals and reached them, losing 140 pounds in a little over a year in the process.

Ephraim Hayes

Written by Ephraim Hayes

My name is Ephraim Hayes, I’m 36 years old and from Indianapolis, Indiana. My initial goal when starting on my fitness journey was to get back into normal sizes so I didn’t have to shop at big and tall stores anymore. After I met that goal, I wanted to get onstage and do a bodybuilding/physique show. That seemed outrageous to me at the time, but I always believe in shooting for lofty goals.

It took 14 months for me to lose 140 pounds. I went from 330 pounds down to 190 and from 36% body fat down to 7%. I was so heavy before that the only scale I could use was on the shipping dock at work, which was embarrassing. I went from an XXXL shirt size down to a L and from a 42 pant size down to 30. Although I’ve lost a lot of weight, I haven’t lost much strength. My 1RM for bench and deadlift are the same now as they were when I was 330 pounds.

I cycled on and off of Jim’s Power Pyramid Program. I highly recommend this program to anyone. I would follow this for four weeks and then do a periodized program for four weeks before switching back to the Pyramid.

Since none of us can out-train a poor diet, I completely overhauled my nutrition. I started following IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and tracking everything I ate in MyFitnessPal’s calorie counter app. I started weighing my food and hitting my macros daily. I enjoy the scientific approach to weight loss.

As far as supplementation, I do a shake for breakfast, take creatine and BCAAs while working out, and a scoop of Pro JYM protein afterward. My goal is to be able to meet my daily protein needs through natural food sources, but I’ll double-up on the protein shakes if needed.

The biggest motivation for improving my fitness was my daughter. I wanted to be able to keep up with her and be able to play outside with her without getting winded. She was almost 9 when I started and I wanted to show her what a healthy lifestyle looked like. She helped me stay motivated by going to the gym with me and cheering me on. She’s my little cheerleader and is always on me about nutrition. She actually prefers my healthy meals to what we used to eat before.

The biggest lifestyle changes for me to reach my goals revolve around nutrition. I use Sundays to prep meals and I get up early every day to prepare my breakfast and lunch before going to work. I had to learn what a normal serving size looked like. Giving up sugar and fast food was also a huge change. I used to go through two boxes of Zingers a week; my dream was to find an all-you-can-eat donut buffet. I’m happy to say I’ve given up Zingers and donuts cold turkey and don’t even miss them. I used to joke that my veins were full of cream filling!

A major key in my success has been my very strong support system at home and at the gym. My fiancé has been fantastic and patient through my transformation. Looking back, I’m surprised she even started dating me. I was embarrassed to even look at myself in the mirror. My support system has been wonderful at the gym, as well. We all push each other, share ideas and pick each other up when we’re struggling. It’s a real team and we share in each other’s successes. 

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was spending so much time away from home and at the gym. I love it when my family comes with me to the gym because we still get to spend time together. My daughter is 10 now and programs her workouts before we get there. I love it! Also, in an effort to get through my workouts faster, I’ve picked up the intensity of my workouts.

I get a lot of positive feedback from people in my life, especially when they haven’t seen me in a while. The funny part is seeing people at work that I haven’t seen in a while and they have no idea who I am, even after I say hello. I’ll hear them ask, “Who’s the new guy?” To this day, I still get compliments at the gym, but it took months for my brain to catch up to my new appearance. I still felt like the “fat guy,” even after losing a lot of weight. It always took me a long time to start buying clothes in the next size down.

The best advice I can give people is to be patient and consistent. It’s easy to look at a transformation and say, “Hey, I want that!” But what most people don’t see is the struggle in between the before and after photos. It takes a crap ton of hard work, effort and dedication to reach your fitness goals. Stay the course and good things will follow. It’s about making a complete lifestyle change and not following the latest fad diet.

I don’t plan on changing much in my fitness goals moving forward. I still plan on lifting hard every day and eating right. I want to work on my overall conditioning and help other people along the way. My goal for 2016: Complete the Spartan Beast obstacle race.


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