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Erika Childress

This newlywed adopted a new mindset and a new work ethic to change her body.

Erika Childress

Written by Erika Childress

A couple years ago, I was one of the many stubborn women who hated the idea of diet and exercise. I was stuck in the mindset of, “I’m not fat, so I don’t need to eat healthy and I don’t need to exercise.” My boyfriend, Jon, (now my husband) had dropped a ton of weight over a few months and encouraged me to start working out. I tried going to the gym a couple times and I absolutely hated it. It was hard, I felt weak, and I didn't think it was necessary for me to be there.

We had just gotten engaged and he had moved to Alabama while I went to Western Michigan University. I finally decided after experiencing the stresses of college that I wanted to start lifting weights. I refused to do cardio, so I started by following a workout plan for women. I used this program for about a month before Jon introduced me to Jim Stoppani's Micro Muscle/Shortcut to Size.

At the time, I was 18 years old and I weighed around 150 pounds. I didn’t even realize you could measure body-fat percentage, but I would say that it was definitely in the upper 20-percent range. Looking back now, I can see how unhealthy I really was, despite thinking that I wasn’t. I wanted to get stronger and more toned, especially since I was preparing for a wedding.

Although I was working out, I wasn’t dieting or doing much cardio at all. Jon showed me the MyFitnessPal calorie counter, but it stressed me out. I may have used it twice the entire time I was in school. I used Shortcut to Size over and over again for weeks. I could see myself getting beginner strength gains and slight muscle definition, but nothing substantial. I ate what I wanted and did cardio when I felt like it, which wasn’t often.

The summer after school, I moved down to Alabama to prepare for our wedding. This is when Jon and I both started getting more serious: We bought Pre JYM for the first time, I started adding cardioacceleration between sets, and I started counting macros using Dieting 101.

I hated it at first. I wanted to have a cheat meal every other day, and I would get emotional over having to do cardio. If I didn't have Jon encouraging me (and pushing me rather hard, actually) I probably wouldn't have seen any changes. He helped me build willpower and determination in the gym and with my diet.

One thing that definitely motivated me to eat better was the way bad foods made me feel. I had suffered from horrible stomach cramps that left me paralyzed with pain my entire life, simply due to eating poorly. Since following Jim’s nutrition plans, the stomach cramps have completely gone away.

Since starting Jim's programs, I've finished Shortcut to Size, Shortcut to Shred, Super Shredded 8, Super-Man, Back and Fourth, HIIT 100, and Daily Grind. I’ve also started Fitter, Faster, Leaner, Down and Up Mass, and I'm currently doing 5-3-2 Strength. When I first began, my max squat was 95 pounds. I can now squat 215 pounds. I could hardly get 10 reps of bench press with just the bar, and now my max is 130 pounds. Although I haven’t lost a lot of weight — I'm around 140 pounds — my body-fat percentage has decreased dramatically to around 17 percent the last time we measured it.

A year ago, I still had to push myself to get to the gym. Now, I hardly ever miss a day. It has become something that I'm passionate about. It’s something that I make a priority. It started as a discipline, now it's one of my favorite parts of my day.

If you're like me, in a position where you want to change but don’t really want to go through the process of change, I highly recommend finding a good workout partner who isn’t going to let you give up. Keep in mind there are over 50,000 people in the JYM Army who have your back. The hardest thing for me, hands down, was to push through hunger, through the soreness and through the fatigue on certain days to meet the goals I wanted to meet.

Give yourself completely to Jim’s workouts, nutrition and tips – they work. Don’t quit. And when you fall, get back up again. Don’t let a bad day hinder you from making the change you want to see in your life. If I can do it, you can do it. Trust me.


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