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Ricky Bova

Here's living proof that being overweight as a child doesn't mean you have to be overweight as an adult.

Ricky Bova
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Written by Ricky Bova

As I kid, I battled obesity. It wasn’t easy to be healthy with so many convenient – and unhealthy – food choices available. I also watched hours of TV and spent most of the day on my PlayStation. I was teased for being that “fat kid” in school and on top of that, when I was only 15 years old, I was diagnosed with a form of arthritis that affects every one of my joints, something extremely rare for someone of my young age. I won’t ever forget that day: Everything just started to hurt at once. No one could figure out what was wrong. Emergency rooms, neurologists, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The experience really took a toll on my confidence and my ability to do things that I loved. I had to quit playing football, a sport I really fell in love with.

It took me about a year to get back on my feet afterward. But medications had my condition under control, so I started getting back into sports. I never got back into football, but I did discover tennis and wrestling. I continued both throughout high school and even managed to wrestle for a year at the college level, but I could never really turn the corner when it came to getting into shape.

At college, I gained the freshman 50 – 50, not 15. It was bad. With the combination of cafeteria food, drinking and a mostly sedentary lifestyle, I really plummeted down a hole.

My weight skyrocketed to 250 pounds, and the worst part was that I didn’t even realize what I was doing to myself. I’d go to the gym because it was free and it made me feel like I was doing something good. But my workouts consisted of the stationary bike or the treadmill. If no one was looking, I might have picked up a weight. I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself in front of those guys who were muscular and in shape.

I studied Fire Science and went through a firefighter academy. I struggled to keep up during rescue drills and I ran out of air in my bottle way before anyone else did because I was so out of shape. Firefighting had been my dream since I was a little tyke. I always thought it was the coolest job in the world, and there I was, at the beginning stage of my dream and barely keeping up. Things had to change.

As a junior, I decided that it was time to turn that corner. I began to lift, just getting into the gym and doing whatever – no rhyme or reason. But the problem was, I was still eating crap. My friends and I took a trip to California in 2012 and I told myself, “When I come back, it’s go time … and this time for real.” I’ll never forget that day: March 4, 2012.

I stepped on the scale at 224 pounds and measured around 23% body fat. I picked up Kris Gethin’s 12-Week Hardcore Trainer program and started investing the little bit of money I had on protein powders, creatine, fish oil and multivitamins. Eating healthy at school wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. At first, I wasn’t fond of eating giant servings of protein and veggies, but with time I got used to it and started to enjoy it.

After three months, I was down 30 pounds and people really took notice. It was refreshing to start getting so many compliments from people. I needed more, though. That’s when I found Shortcut To Size and Dr. Jim Stoppani. I took all of Jim’s advice about nutrition, supplementation and training and packed a solid 15 pounds of muscle onto my newly skinny frame. I knew that I had found a source of information that was solid gold!

Jim’s way of fitness became my way of fitness. I continued to bulk up and decided to really find out what my body was capable of in the beginning of 2013. With the help of HIIT 100s and 1-2-3 Lean (before it was Shortcut To Shred), I was able to drop down to 170 pounds at 6.5% body fat and get into the best shape ever. I even took second place in the Labrada Lean Body Challenge for my age group. In the following months, I brought my weight back up to around 230 after a dedicated bulking routine and programs like Super-Man and Six Weeks To Sick Arms. I’ve knocked out other programs such as Super Shredded 8 – a hell of a program if you haven’t tried it! I’ve brought my weight down to about 185 pounds at 7% body fat. I even managed to beat my last Lean Body Challenge performance, taking first place in my age group in 2015.

Based on Dr. Stoppani’s advice, my training consists of rep ranges as low as 2-5 and as high as 21-30. The varying rep ranges keep my muscles guessing and in a constant state of change. I keep things quick and intense because I like to keep my heart rate going with cardioacceleration. Instead of resting, I bust my butt doing cardio between my sets to make the most of my time in the gym.

My diet consists of around 1.5 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per pound of body weight daily. My carb intake will be anywhere from .5 grams to 2 or 3 grams per pound, depending on the phase of dieting I’m in.

The lift that the JYM Supplement Science line provides has been a game changer – from that very first sip of Pre JYM and the clean, amped charge I get, to the last sip of Post JYM and the delicious taste of recovery, all the way to every scoop of Pro JYM and all the JYM products in between. There is no better, more researched or more proven brand in the industry.

My journey has been full of highs and lows. There are some days when I’m physically spent or just can’t seem to find the time to fit in a workout. Those are the days you have to push through and see to your goal. Those are the days you truly transform. The content from Jim and the unyielding motivation from the JYM Army have fueled every single step I take. I’m not on this journey alone.

Wake up every day and attack it with drive and purpose. Make fitness a lifestyle, not a fad. Stay dedicated and stay determined, but never forget to enjoy life. Life is a precious journey, but a short one, so make the most of it. Train hard, be polite and have a hell of a lot of fun along the way. Progress, never perfection. JYM strong!

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