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Larry Kelsch

Injuries and health issues set him back for a little while, but this JYM Army member made a great comeback by focusing on a goal and sticking to it.

Larry Kelsch

Written by Larry Kelsch 

My overall fitness journey actually started when I was a 14-year-old athlete who just wanted to be buff like Arnold Schwarzenegger and improve my strength for the three sports I played.

In high school and college, I became enamored with how the body’s physical appearance can be changed over time through hard work and dedication. But I was equally addicted to how physical activity improved my mental health. I would often say when starting a workout program, “Man, I forgot how good I feel mentally after working out.”

The positive physical and mental benefits that I experienced were convincing enough for me to pursue a lifelong journey of wellness and health so that I could make a difference in other people's lives, too. My experience and passion for physical activity led me to a rewarding career as an elementary school physical education teacher. For the next several years I continued, as Dr. Jim Stoppani says, “waging the war on inactivity,” and educating my students on the importance of participating in lifelong activities.

I also continued to pursue my own personal fitness goals. With more research, I implemented HIIT workouts into my fitness plan, and followed a simple nutrition plan that consisted of six meals a day, plus dabbling with some supplementation. My wife and I also started to build our dream home gym in our basement, a place where I would start and complete many fitness programs.

Unfortunately, with success came some bad luck, too. Over time, injuries began to pile up. I battled, and continue to battle, lower-back problems. These include a protruding disc that led to painful sciatica. There was an eight-year period during which my sciatica would take two or three months at a time to heal with intensive physical therapy.

Along with this injury came a biceps tendon tear, which required surgery, as well as various shoulder problems. To top it all off, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was on medication by the time I was 36. Here I was, thinking I was in tip-top shape. Needless to say, it was a huge hit to my ego.

Not only did I have to battle through various injuries recently, I also had to endure a heartbreaking family event that led to months of abusing food and alcohol. This unhealthy lifestyle not only had a negative impact on my physical health, but also played a huge role in the downfall of my mental state.

The depression and anxiety that I was dealing with had a firm grip on me and was starting to affect every aspect of my life. I knew that I needed to find a way to pull myself out of that deep hole of negative thinking. After a heartfelt discussion with my wife, I realized that I had to be stronger, not only for her, but for my two children as well. It was time to end months of feeling sorry for myself and become a better role model for my family and students.

The question was: “How do I do it?” It was a rather easy question to answer, because like so many times before, it was the one passion in my life that has gotten me through so many rough patches. The answer was none other than following the motto: “Sound mind in a sound body” through physical fitness. 

As I approached the ripe old age of 41, I made up my mind to do the best that I’ve ever done in transforming my body. I didn’t want good results; I wanted great results. On a daily basis, I would tell myself, “Don’t give up, no matter what.” I was determined to find that level of fitness that I had always envisioned.

I knew that I would have to do more research so that I could learn how to train smarter and get better results with proper supplementation and nutrition. Having completed many different fitness programs, I had a good base for what to do, but I was never really satisfied with my results.

I needed to get out of my comfort zone a little more. I started reading articles online and watching YouTube videos by many different fitness experts. There was one person’s articles and videos that always stood out to me: Dr. Jim Stoppani's. The dedication and wealth of knowledge that he put into these article and videos was impressive, to say the least.

The information he presented was always clear-cut, easy to understand, and with no bull. As an educator, I truly respect this and try to emulate him when teaching my students.

Last winter, after being pretty much sedentary for three or four months due to various setbacks, my weight had ballooned from 185 pounds to an unhealthy 220 pounds. My body fat also increased from below nine percent to well over 20 percent. These were the highest numbers I had ever seen in all the 27 years that I have been training.

I decided that I would finally implement all of the knowledge that I had gained from Dr. Stoppani’s research, and try his Shortcut to Shred program for the first time. It would also be the first time that I would actually follow macros, which is totally different from my previous dieting experiences. I also used most of his JYM supplements: Pre JYM, Pro JYM and Post JYM, ZMA JYM and Omega JYM. (I also used CLA.)

My goal was to lose 12 pounds of unhealthy weight and reduce my body fat by at least five percent. The end results were amazing! I lost 13 pounds and more than five percent body fat.

I was so excited and proud of my accomplishments — but I didn’t want to settle. I decided to do another round of Shortcut to Shred and improve on my mistakes from the first six weeks, like adjusting macros, being more consistent with supplementation, and upping the intensity with cardioacceleration.

After making those adjustments, I had lost a total of 25 pounds in 12 weeks after my second round of Shortcut to Shred. My body fat was around 10 percent. I was well on my way to achieving the results I had always wanted when trying other workout programs and supplements, but never did.

The program that I thought could help me over the top was the highly touted Super Shredded 8 program. After completing two consecutive Shortcut to Shred programs and continuing to learn more from Dr. Stoppani and the amazingly supportive people of the JYM Army, I was ready to once again give it my all.

The goal from this program was to continue to lose body fat while gaining lean muscle. As with Shortcut to Shred, I would use the same supplements and watch my macros. My plan for the first four weeks was to take in one gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, 0.5 to 0.75 of fat per pound of body weight, and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

I did this for the first four weeks, then starting cutting carbs during the last four weeks. This was the only difference from the diet in S2S, during which I kept all the macros the same throughout, unless it was a carb-loading day. The end results were astonishing to me!

In 20 weeks, I lost 38 pounds and cut my body fat from over 20 percent to about seven percent. For the first time in my fitness journey, I had produced results that I was super proud of! The feedback that I received from colleagues, family, friends, including the JYM Army, inspired me even more. I feel blessed every day that I discovered Dr. Stoppani’s research and was able to apply it, with phenomenal results.

I continue to win the battle over injuries and other adversities in my quest for lifelong wellness. I am looking forward to trying some of the other programs, as I feel I’ve just scratched the surface of what I can accomplish.

The most important piece of advice I can give people is to always have faith in the process! I am a firm believer in building character through adversity. Every time you overcome an obstacle, it only makes you stronger. A special thank you to all those people on the JYM Army Facebook page who continue to inspire, encourage, and dedicate themselves to the fitness community. Never give up – no matter what!


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