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Jim McNab

This schoolteacher lost nearly 100 pounds and slashed his body fat in half – and he's just getting started.

Jim McNab
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I recently came across a man named Jim McNab whose physical transformation blew me away – one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. I reached out to Jim and asked him to share his story for the next JYM Army Profile. Well, he did just that with an articulate, well-written, first-person account of his journey from overweight and unhappy to healthy, lean and motivated to improve himself even more. Here is Jim McNab’s story, in his own words…

 

In thinking about my transformation, I’m sure my story is very similar to that experienced by many other people. I was never overweight or obese as a child. Growing up in Pompano Beach, Florida, I had a pretty active childhood (probably because I was a kid in a pre-Xbox generation). I spent the majority of my childhood engaged in active play: climbing trees, swimming, playing sandlot football and baseball games, etc. I was also of average weight in my 20s.

The only time I ever really attempted lifting weights was during the summer of 1992, when I joined a Gold’s Gym and started a nutrition/exercise plan with a trainer there. I got great results in a very short period of time, but my collegiate social life began to supersede anything health and fitness related, and I very quickly dropped out of the gym after about three months. Still, I didn’t start to put on weight yet.

Fast forward to age 29. I moved to rural North Carolina, got married and within a year, my wife was pregnant with our son. As she put on pregnancy weight, I did as well. I gave no care or attention to what I ate; I simply ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. This was not a good plan, especially considering my family history of heart disease, kidney issues and diabetes.

Slowly, over the course of about 15 years, my waist ballooned from 32” to 46.” My shirt size increased from a size L to XXL. I can remember the absolute and utter shame I would feel each time I put on clothes, only to find that they were too small and too tight. At the end, I was stuffing myself into size 44” pants when I really needed a size 46” because the biggest size pants my local Eddie Bauer carried was 44”. Purchasing 46” waist pants would mean admitting that I’d grown to the size that they no longer carried in the store. In other words, I’d passed into the land of having to buy “fat pants” or clothes from the Big and Tall section. This was a huge blow to what tiny shred of ego I had left.

I grew to hate mirrors and avoided them at all costs. I was disgusted with how I looked. For five or six years, I was so self-conscious that whenever we went to Florida on vacation, I wouldn’t go swimming in a pool without wearing a rash guard shirt (swim shirt). Yeah, I was that guy. I was humiliated and embarrassed down to the core of my being to be seen shirtless in public. I felt self-conscious, like people were looking at me whenever I ate out in public. The sad part is that the worse I felt, the more I seemed to turn to high-fat, sugary, processed foods to comfort me.

As a 7th grade school teacher (my current profession), I found every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t exercise or do anything. I have about an hour commute from my home to the middle school where I teach and a lot of times, I’d find myself at McDonald’s or some other drive-through after work. I was the guy who would get a gym membership and have the ID tag on my keychain – and that was about the extent of my participation at the gym. I’d tried several times in my 30s to hit the gym and take charge of my weight, but I always found an excuse to quit.

When the school year ended in 2013 and summer rolled around, I found myself left with a lot of questions. My dad had died earlier that year at age 74 of a massive stroke, after more than 20 years of heart-related issues. I wondered why he never did anything about his weight or his health. I also wondered how in the world I could have allowed myself to get so obese. I was so obese that I literally had to hold my breath to bend over and tie my shoes. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and I wanted out of the prison I’d eaten myself into.

I couldn’t erase the image I had of my dad after his stroke as he struggled to speak and was frustrated at his inability to communicate in even the most basic way. This became my anchor, my focal point. I planted both feet firmly in the ground and I decided that I wasn’t going out that way. I knew my father’s side of the family had a genetic predisposition for heart disease and diabetes. Couple that with kidney issues and I understood the potential for issues with several vital organs that I could suffer. If I were a betting man, my genetics put the odds against me. I decided that I needed a plan, something I could implement that would allow me to win.

My biggest excuse was always that I was too tired to work out after work. Teaching 7th graders will suck the energy out of you, and I was almost 46 years old, so things weren’t going to get any easier. I knew from my brief stint with lifting weights in my early 20s that there were three essential elements to fat loss: nutrition, cardio and weight training. However, I didn’t even know where to start. I’d often said, “I want to get healthy” or “I want to lose weight,” but the problem I discovered with these statements was that they were too broad and not specific. How do you measure “getting healthy”? Without something specific to shoot for, I knew I was already setting myself up to fail.

I talked to my wife (a registered nurse) about what she thought I should do and she suggested we buy an elliptical trainer for the house. We purchased a top-of-the-line True Fitness Elliptical trainer for the house and set it up in our bedroom. That pretty much took away any excuse; the equipment was only steps away from my bed.

On June 27th, 2013, I stepped on the scale for the first time in over a decade and was shocked to see that I weighed 264 pounds at 5’8,” and it was mostly centered around my belly. My Fitbit scale showed my body fat was at 42%. While I now understand that this scale uses a less-than-accurate method, this at least gave me a baseline number to use in the beginning.

Even though it was summer and I didn’t have any specific time to wake up, I set my alarm for 4am and was up every day at that time. I would eat breakfast and by 5am, I was on that elliptical like I was getting paid for it. At first, I could only go for 10 minutes with no added resistance before I was winded. But I never failed to get on that elliptical. Every morning.

Over the course of the summer, I’d joined a gym and lifted weights with no real program or plan. I just knew that muscle is a fat-burning furnace and unfortunately, I went about that part of my plan in a bit of a haphazard way. However, by the time school started back on August 24th, 2013, I’d gone from 264 to 224 pounds! By that time, I was on my way and there was no stopping me.

I hired a personal trainer who introduced me to supplements, in particular, pre-workouts. He had one pre-workout product (which I won’t mention by name) that caused my heart rate to rocket up to 198 bpm when I was on a stair climber. I began to break out into cold sweats and felt like I was going to have a heart attack. From that point on, I was scared of pre-workouts and viewed all supplements with a high degree of suspicion.

This trainer also used a hodge-podge of training methods, moving one week from Max OT training to cross-training the next. For those unfamiliar, Max OT basically involves training with the maximum amount of weight for very low reps. Under this program, my chest day (and it was only chest on this day) consisted of three sets of flat bench (3-5 reps at max weight), two sets of inclines and one set of dips – that’s it. I look at that now and laugh because I know how much I do currently for chest in Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size program.

Anyhow, I injured my biceps after only a few months of training with this method. During this “program” I was definitely leaning out, but that, along with a poorly designed diet, was making it difficult to build muscle and I was, in my wife’s opinion, malnourished. My typical training diet consisted of about 1,800-1,900 calories.

I decided my injury needed time to heal. I took a month and a half off from lifting to recover, and during that time, I searched the Internet for a plan that might be better than the one I’d been using. That’s when I found Jim Stoppani. I’d been buying my whey protein, but it wasn’t until I was on a break rehabilitating that I began to search the other elements of the site and discovered Jim’s Shortcut to Size and Shortcut to Shred programs. I remember reading Jim’s diet for the Size program and thinking, “Wow! Look at all the food!” When I talked to my wife, who got her graduate degree in nursing from Duke University, she said, “This guy’s plan actually makes sense.”

I was immediately taken with Jim’s credentials; his work at Yale is most impressive, as is his experience at the University of Connecticut. As I looked at Jim’s programs, I realized that I was sorely lacking variety in my diet and exercise plans. Not long after reading all I could find by Jim, I signed up for the 7-day free trial on JimStoppani.com.

When the free trial ended, I joined the paid subscription for the website, which gave me unprecedented access to a huge number of programs, diets, videos, exercise databases, articles on training, nutrition, supplements and more. It was a virtual tome of information related to all things relevant to my life as an emerging bodybuilder. (Yes, I found that I’m addicted to bodybuilding, just not with the purpose of competition). For me, the decision to become part of the JYM Army was a no-brainer. I pay more than $14 a month for satellite radio and that subscription does nothing to further my fitness goals!

I decided when I went back to the gym to roll with Jim’s Beginner to Advanced Program. During my injury, I watched and read as much as I could on Jim’s site about supplements and decided I would also try his JYM line. Granted, I was still skeptical of supplements. Since my harrowing experience with the aforementioned pre-workout, I’d tried several other products, only to find that the results they promised just weren’t there. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that most supplements promised quite a bit but fell short on the delivery. My thinking was that if they were only partially effective, that surely must be better than taking nothing at all. What a fallacy!

I started back to the gym with a bag full of JYM Supplement Science products: Pre JYM, Post JYM Active Matrix, Post JYM Dextrose, Pro JYM, Alpha JYM (Hey, I’m 47 now and can use all the test-boosting help I can get!), Vita JYM and Shred JYM. My initial reaction to Pre JYM was memorable. It kicked in on my way to the gym and it just flat out made me feel awesome! I had energy, but not the stimmed up, jittery energy I’d felt with other pre-workouts. This was a clean-feeling energy.

Post JYM was just as amazing and effective as Pre JYM. Another immediate difference I noticed was with Pro JYM: I never knew that protein could be so delicious. S’mores and Chocolate Cookie Crunch were an instant hit and if you’ve ever tasted either, you know why! I can honestly say that I’ve never worked out with more intensity or for as long as I have since I started using the JYM line.

With Shred JYM, I can tell it works and it does a fantastic job of blunting hunger while elevating my metabolism. One of the things I’m impressed with is the synergy with which these products work. They were designed with science, research and real-world experience in the gym, and they were designed to work in conjunction with each other. I hadn’t experienced any supplement company that had designed their products with such synergy before.

Another thing that impressed me was the transparency of the JYM line. This was the first time I was 100% sure of what was going into my body and the dosages as well. After one month of continual use of the entire JYM line, the products exceeded every expectation I had. I finished the Beginner to Advanced program and moved on to Shortcut to Size (Micro Muscle on jimstoppani.com). I’m currently on Phase 3 of the program and continuing to lose fat. I’ve started incorporating cardioacceleration into the workouts, where I usually run on the treadmill for 1 minute at 10.5-11.0 MPH between sets. I’m also adding lean muscle. I’ve added an inch to my biceps and, if I’d measured my chest before, I’m sure I’d find that it’s grown as well.

My wife has noticed the improved lean muscle I’m adding and for the first time in a long time, she’s also happy with my diet; it’s not only doctor-approved, but wife and RN approved, too! Even though I’m doing Shortcut to Size, I implemented the Shortcut to Shred diet because I still have some body fat to lose. I’m getting a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and dairy and I’ve never felt better while still getting lean!

The bottom line for me with regards to supplements is that they’re a tool. They supplement the nutrients I’m getting from whole foods. I’ve spent a small fortune on other supplements during the time of this transformation, and I’d love to have just a quarter of that money back to invest in JYM supplements. I trust the science behind the products, I trust the man behind the label and I know for a fact that these supplements just plain work.

If I had to sum up Jim Stoppani and JYM Supplement Science in one word it would be: integrity. Integrity means decency, honesty and wholeness. Jim Stoppani is a decent person who is obviously passionate about bodybuilding, the supplement industry and helping people achieve their goals. I believe in Jim’s honesty because he doesn’t deal in proprietary blends or cheaper, bastardized formulas of his original formula. Why would any company put out more than one formula for, say, a pre-workout? Why not just produce the best possible formula and pour all the science, research and marketing into that one product?

I believe and trust that the ingredients on Jim’s labels are: a) there for a specific, scientific reason, b) are clinically validated and effective doses and c) the highest quality possible. Wholeness comes to mind when I think about the fact that Jim’s supplements aren’t abbreviated. There is nothing lacking in any one of his products. There is nothing lacking in his approach to providing the public with every possible product needed to attain one’s fitness goals. Integrity is a word that a lot of people use, but Jim Stoppani has earned it with his tireless devotion to the public and the JYM Army via social media, free videos, Google Hangouts, his subscription site and app, his work and his development of JYM Supplement Science.

In about four weeks, when I finish Shortcut to Size, I’m going to start Super Shredded 8. This was Jim’s recommendation in one of his many tweets to me in response to my seemingly endless queries!

I currently weigh 174 pounds at around 18% body fat. That’s not bad considering my 264-pound, 42% body fat starting point.

Obviously, I get all of my JYM supplements, and they have a motto on their boxes that says “Start Something.” But the word “Start” has been crossed out and replaced with “Finish.” That statement is incorrect. I’ll never be finished. I’ll never get to a specific endpoint, like one would have at the end of a race. This is a complete and total lifestyle change and it takes fundamental changes and habits that continue on for life.

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