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Vanessa Jones

In less than a year, this 30-year-old mother turned her body around 180 degrees with the right training and eating habits.

Vanessa Jones

Written by Vanessa Jones

A brief overview of my life: I’m a 30-year-old student nurse, married to a soldier, and we have a beautiful little boy who is 21 months old. While pregnant, my husband and I moved overseas, to a place where I didn’t know anyone. It would be fair to say that I comfort-ate – a lot.

After giving birth in December 2015, my bump no longer hid the weight gain, and I was left with a body I resented even more than I did before, weighing in at 191 pounds. Post-natal depression got the better of me for a little while, but I refused to let it beat me. That’s when my fitness journey began.

My goal was to shift the 68 pounds I had gained during pregnancy. I started out with steady-state cardio. I combined this with sit-ups and side bends in the hope of toning my “fluffy” stomach. By July 2016, I reached my goal weight, and I kept finding excuses not to work out.

Almost a year later, in May 2017, I started the same regime again. Despite the weight shift, my belly still resembled a muffin top. This is when my husband properly introduced me to Jim Stoppani’s workouts.

In June 2017, I made a pact with myself – if I wanted to see change, I had to make one. I changed my thought process of my end goal being the classic six-pack. I lost motivation quickly if things didn’t happen overnight and wanted to remain positive, so I simply aimed to have a better body today than I did yesterday. I just wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin.

I read Jim’s articles online (Dieting 101, Muscle Building Rules, Rules to Live By) and found all this new info very overwhelming, so I decided I would first adapt my diet. I had been trying to keep my meals clean, but had no idea about how much protein I should eat, or that fats shouldn’t be avoided (well, apart from trans fats).

I was very much the kind of girl who thought that lifting weights would make you manly, and that eating a couple of eggs after a workout was all the extra protein you needed. Yes, I had a lot to learn. I still have a lot to learn.

July 2017: My husband deployed and I put my game face on. I started the Shortcut to Shred program, acquired my husband’s Post JYM and protein, did meal prep for my son and I to make life easier — as well as to stay on track — and announced on Facebook that I was going to be logging my progress. That way, I knew my friends and family were going to be expecting to see a change, and it would make me think twice if I was going to try to find excuses. I made myself accountable. I took my starting picture and posted regular updates of how I was doing.

Halfway through Shortcut to Shred, I wasn’t sure I was making much progress, as the scale never budged. I questioned the exercises I had adapted to be able to work out in my spare room with minimal equipment. I decided I would wait a couple of days until I reached the halfway point, then take some pictures to compare against my first ones.

Well, I couldn’t believe the difference! I was so obsessed with looking for the daily changes that I never really saw my body change.

It was halfway through the program that I found the JYM Army. I shared my progress up to that point, and was totally blown out of the water by the encouragement, motivation, and support. I’ve never known anything like it.

It didn’t take long to realize why the group is referred to as "family." It is filled with such amazing people and such positivity. This group, alongside taking progress pictures, is definitely what motivated me.

I had days when my son wouldn’t nap, so I couldn’t work out in the mornings, but instead of finding excuses, I thought about my JYM family and some of the situations people face, yet still find time to work out. So I kept my gym kit on and worked out in the evenings if I needed to. I kept telling myself — literally out loud — that it was going to be a fraction out of my day and I would feel so much better for doing it afterward.

Fast-forward another three weeks to the final day of Shortcut to Shred. I could now visibly notice a difference in the mirror. I ditched the scale, so I have no idea what it even says these days. I just know that for the first time ever, I feel confident with my body image, something I have never felt in my adult life, all from nine months of working out.

I now have muscles, my bum is more perky, my love handles are virtually gone, and I can feel abs. Now I wish I had taken "before" pics of my whole body as well as measured body-fat percentage!

I have shared my final progress with my friends and family, and if I had a dollar for every time someone messaged me to ask what my secret was, I’d have a nice supply of JYM supplements sitting in my cupboard!

My friends told me they genuinely can’t believe the results from the Shortcut to Shred program, and that I’m in the best shape they’ve ever seen me in. It’s fair to say there has been a S2S bang among my friends, as many have started the program. So, apart from the exercise and diet, I would personally say that a positive mind set, a good support unit, and progress pictures are the way ahead!

A positive mind can change everything; however, we're human, so on the days when our minds get the better of us, a good support unit like the JYM Army will be there to pick you up and motivate you.

As for the progress pictures, it’s a great visual to be able to physically see those changes that you might not notice when you look at yourself every day. After all, lifting all these weights has you flexing in the mirror constantly, right?

I was sad to finish Shortcut to Shred, but I have come to learn that change is good. So I am now doing the Giant program and loving the challenges that it brings. Although I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I’m comfortable in my own skin, I now want more — a more defined back, shapelier legs, and a good set of triceps!


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