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Nicholas Maneotis

His fitness journey has been similar to that of many others: ups and downs, successes and struggles.

Nicholas Maneotis

Written by Nicholas Maneotis

A little preface in regards to getting fit: I had hit the jackpot — I was 21 and had scored a high-paying job that would set me up for a great future.

Or so I thought.

At the time, I weighed about 220 pounds. I had gained a few pounds since high school, but it wasn't anything too out of control. Fast-forward four years: I was 25 years old and weighed 335 pounds.

My job was stressful and my life was sedentary. I ate out constantly to escape the stress and mundane inactivity, day after day. I was weak, with no muscle mass, and I was miserable at my desk job in the financial sector.

I had the textbook high blood pressure that ran in my family. I hated how I looked and felt. I hated every minute of it, and I hated what I had become. I had to make a change. 

The first change I made was not necessarily one for my health, but it ended up being just that.

I quit my well-paying job to go back to school and do something different. I tried the full-time school thing with a serving job at a restaurant at night. But the pay was too inconsistent and the food too good.

I realized that it was time for yet another change. I needed a full-time job to pay the bills while I attended school at night. This is when my life really changed.

My friend worked construction and got me a job installing windows. It was extremely physical work and I quickly shed about 45 pounds. But it wasn't enough.

Thinking I could eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight considering the nature of my job, I ate out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I began to pack the pounds back on. Soon I was 315 pounds again and looking every bit of it.

My work put on a "Biggest Loser" event and my friend that had gotten me into construction joined up. We grew up together and were both husky as kids. He had since gotten into fitness but still had a few pounds he wanted to lose.

He crushed the competition and I just had to know how. He told me about this Ph.D. in physiology who had these great fitness programs on Bodybuilding.com, so I read up.

Enter The Doc, Jim Stoppani. My friend told me that he had done a program called Shortcut to Shred and I was immediately intrigued.

I had never really lifted seriously before, and I had certainly never heard of cardioacceleration or even thought about macros. My lifting partner at the time and I dove in head-first. I just wanted to try the program and see where it could take me.

I literally had no expectations. But the weight came pouring off as I followed the program. I went from 311 pounds at the start down to about 275 pounds!

I loved how I felt. I loved the results so much that I decided to do the program three more times! I also did a round of Super Shredded 8 and Shortcut to Strength. I ended up losing a total of about 80 pounds in less than six months and was feeling great.

Then the rebound happened. I was feeling so good that I felt like I could slack on my diet a bit. We were building a house at the time and living with family. It wasn't conducive to meal prep or eating well, so we ate out. A lot. For five months.

I let it spiral out of control and soon fell back into my same patterns. In January of 2018, I had had enough. I was back to 285 pounds and looking and feeling like crap.

Shortcut to Size to the rescue! It beat me like I owed it money, but I did two rounds, plus some HIIT 100. I went from 285 pounds to where I currently sit at — 229 pounds — in less than five months.

I've always been a results-driven person. When I see the weight start falling off, or a new muscle showing itself, or a new vein I couldn't see before, it excites me and keeps me motivated!

I started at over 30 percent body fat and I am currently at about 21 percent! At 32, I feel the best I have since high school.

One of the hardest things to dial in is food. But I found that if you eat at home at least six days per week (I grill chicken or steak with roasted red potatoes or salad 4-5 nights per week); make a healthy sandwich or have steak or chicken leftovers for lunch; and try and find healthier menu options when you do go out to eat, you can get pretty spectacular results.

I also have a two-scoop protein shake post-workout — after my 17 gummy bears, of course — and a protein bar as a mid-morning snack.

However, I have stalled a bit on the weight loss. I can see some body recomposition happening, but it's time to buckle down on the macros. I am going to go with intermittent fasting with carb cycling to try and get even leaner. I also decided to try SS8 again to see how shredded I can get. I'm on a roll and I won't stop this time.

The thing I love so much about my journey is how many people I have inspired because of it. People constantly ask me how I did it (and are a little disappointed when I tell them diet and exercise!), but they have so many questions and kind compliments on my results.

I always tell people to find a support system. I try to get everyone interested in fitness to join the JYM Army page because it's so inspirational and uplifting.

I feel like with the proper support and attitude, combined with results, anyone can do it and stay motivated!


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