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Margaret Lynch

The female winner of the 2020 New Year's Challenge found her "Why" and accomplished more than she thought possible.

Margaret Lynch

Written by Margaret Lynch

When I was younger, I considered myself to be athletic. I usually participated in school sports. I was skinny at 5’6” and 116 pounds and never had a problem with my weight, thanks to being young and a fast metabolism.

Fast-forward to when I started my BScN (nursing degree). I became overwhelmed with the workload and stopped putting time in for myself. The weight gradually crept on. I have always struggled with time management in the past and had poor coping mechanisms for stress. I felt like I didn’t have enough time to exercise, so I continued to put my health on the back burner.

Exercise-wise, I had no real consistency. I would put in a few weeks, make minor dietary changes, then look in the mirror and expect huge results. I cycled through fad diets: shake diets, low carb, low fat, low calorie, and I distorted my body image and metabolism. I would turn to “Insta- influencers” and wonder why I didn’t look like that.

In my “before” photo, I was 26 years old — and at my heaviest weight, approximately 140 pounds. I felt lethargic, sluggish, anxious, and unhappy. But then, I finally said enough was enough. I needed to get my health back on track. I wanted a healthy lifestyle. I had to find my “why.”

Margaret Found her Why?

Why do I want to be healthy? I want to be a role model for my family, friends, and for my patients. As a nurse, I want to have a healthy lifestyle to avoid obesity-induced chronic diseases.

When I stopped looking for temporary motivation and determined my “why,” that’s when I shifted my mindset away from an ideal body image to more of a healthy lifestyle.

I was introduced to Jim Stoppani back in 2017 by my friend Karol, who was teaching me everything that he learned through Jim. He sent me the Iron & Ink: The Forging of Jim Stoppani video from Bodybuilding.com, and I was like, Wow, this guy is the real deal.

I needed to educate myself and learn from someone who spent their whole life/career dedicated to fitness instead of watching these Insta-influencers. I started reading a lot of Jim's articles — Dieting 101, 10 Rules to Live, Train and Eat By, etc. I soon realized that I was under-eating and was not supporting my workouts with proper nutrition.

Making the Change to a Better Life

When I decided to commit “full ass” to fitness and to a healthy lifestyle, it was a complete game-changer.

I started tracking macronutrients and introduced supplements to support my goals. I was following the Dieting 101 meal plan and supplementing with Pre JYM, Post JYM, Pro JYM, Omega JYM, ZMA JYM, and Vita JYM.

I think a turning point for me was in November 2018. Jim Stoppani gave me a shout-out for my Transformation Tuesday picture on the JYM Army Facebook page.

That support meant so much to me, as it marked 11 months of being consistent at the gym. I was in the best shape of my life at the time, and it really motivated me to go further! I kept strength training at the gym, and I realized how much I loved bodybuilding.

Taking on the Challenge... and Winning

In January 2020, I decided that I was ready to commit to completing a Jim program. I registered for the New Year’s Challenge (Super-Man program) and was 100% invested.

It was five weeks long. I incorporated other training techniques that Jim recommended to complement the program. I added in cardioacceleration between supersets, and I also did HIIT functional circuits of two to three times a week.

I didn’t go into it with the mindset of winning. Instead, my goal was to get into the best possible shape that I could in five weeks. Improving your health is always a win.

To my surprise, I ended up winning top female for the women’s category!

I really never thought I would be able to achieve this level of fitness. I feel strong, energized, confident, and happy!

I dropped down from 20% body fat to 17% and from 132 pounds to 124 pounds. I went up in all my weights at the gym. This transformation happened in only five weeks. I was at 28% to 29% body fat when I started my fitness journey.

Margaret's Advice for Others

The best fitness advice I can give to someone is to just start, and to find your reason “why.” Big changes take time, but if you can change your mindset and strive for a healthy lifestyle, then the results will not only come easier, but will be more sustainable.

One of the toughest obstacles for me was to get out of my head and trust the process. It’s easy to want to give up when you don’t see immediate changes. But I promise you, you will get there! Keep going!

I started with changes as small as giving up Starbucks and drinking black coffee. Surround yourself with like-minded, supportive individuals. And stay in your lane! Try not to compare yourself to others. Instead, strive to become the best version of yourself.

Invest in your health now and reap the benefits long-term. It’s not about just looking good, it’s about being healthy and thriving!

Inspiration to Keep Going

This is the third year that I have been consistent with fitness, and my life has improved in so many other areas. Fitness has really inspired me to continue my education. I am currently working toward achieving my Masters of Nurse Practitioner and my goal is to be able to work with clients with chronic health issues and help them achieve a state of wellness.

I love fitness and I will continue to dedicate time out of my day for exercise as an act of self love.

After having so much success following one of Jim’s programs, I completed the Oscillating Periodization Program (OPP) as well. I’m 29 years old and I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.
I went from feeling self-conscious at the gym, to having friends, family, and even strangers come up to me and say that I inspire them. Some even ask for advice! I direct them to JimStoppani.com because I really believe that with proper direction and education everyone can achieve their goals.

I’m currently doing 6 Weeks to Sick Arms. Jim has so many programs to choose from to keep you progressing so you don’t plateau. The hard part is deciding which one to do first!

As an air ambulance nurse, I work very unpredictable hours, my sleep gets distorted, and it’s hard sometimes to put in the work.

But as Jim says, “there’s always time.” Learning how to adapt and make fitness work with your lifestyle is the real accomplishment!  I sincerely want to thank Dr. Jim Stoppani – you changed my life.



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