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Eric Gagnon

Simple goals led to a dramatic transformation in both body and lifestyle for this JYM Army soldier.

Eric Gagnon

Written by Eric Gagnon

My goals during my fitness journey were plain and simple: I wanted to look good with my shirt off and, for the first time in my life, have abs. I know those are kind of silly goals, but that was my driving motivation. Eventually, my goals took on a whole new meaning. I became healthier and developed better habits, not just in terms of eating, but also in life.

It all started when I entered a contest. While I knew I was competing against thousands of people, I still thought I had a chance. I never lost motivation like I have in the past because between the workouts and my diet, I was seeing results fast. On almost a day-to-day basis, I could see my body changing. It wasn't easy and I had to make some changes in my life, like not going out to eat as often and not eating the usual junk food.

Overall, the biggest challenge was meal prepping, especially since I work in a firehouse where we cook amazing food. I would be the one eating prepped food from the night before. While it always wasn't as tasty as the firehouse food, I knew that all the progress I was making wasn't worth the taste of one meal. I learned a great deal of discipline during these months and it paid off.

I’ve lost about 40 pounds total since I made the decision to change my lifestyle. My strength decreased a little bit, but I can still lift a lot more than I thought I'd be able to with that much weight loss. I lost about three inches around my waist, so none of my clothes fit anymore, which I guess is a good thing! This transformation took me about 5½ months using mostly Shortcut To Size and some HIIT training. My diet consisted of a carb-cycle type diet. For supplements, I took Pre JYM, Vita JYM, ZMA JYM, CLA, green-tea extract, BCAAs and omegas.

As far as why I succeeded, I'd have to say that the constant progress and changes I could see are what kept me going. I did contests in the past with no rapid results and I would just give up. The toughest obstacle I had to overcome was avoiding the temptation of all the foods I loved so much but weren't healthy for me. I knew that it would feel so good to eat them for five minutes, but then I would feel guilty for the rest of the day.

The overall feedback I’ve gotten from my friends, co-workers and family has been amazing! They are an awesome support group and are genuinely happy for the change I've made and how I look now. Everyone is noticing. So if you want to start a journey like mine, the best advice I can give you is that even slow progress is progress. Don't think because you aren't shedding pounds fast that you can’t do it. It takes time. Remember, if it were easy, everybody would do it.

Take the challenge, step up to it and be better than you were yesterday. As for me, I plan on trying to get a little leaner from where I am now (10.5% body fat) and start a clean bulking program to put back on some of the weight I lost, but in a healthy way – adding muscle, not fat. Good luck to anyone in the JYM ARMY who decides to make the change. Believe me when I say it will be worth it!


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