Joe is my hero.
About a year and a half ago, I received a random email out of the blue from a Rebel named Joe. It turns out he had been following the workout and diet advice from Nerd Fitness for about four months and had lost a tremendous amount of weight. Over the next six months after that, Joe continued to email me on a monthly basis with new updates. He continued, month after month, to have jaw-dropping success.
Fast forward to a year ago – we posted Joe’s full story here on Nerd Fitness. At that point, Joe had lost almost 130 pounds in 10 months – to this day it’s still the most epic transformation I have EVER seen. If you’re new to the site, make sure you check out Joe’s story – it’ll inspire the hell out of you!
Well, it’s been just over a year since Joe shared his story, and I tend to get a few emails every week from people asking how he’s doing! Did Joe backslide, give up, or keep going strong?
Well, I’m glad to report that Joe has continued to kick ass, and has even picked up a few new hobbies!
Joe’s February progress report
Now, just because we shared Joe’s success story a year ago didn’t mean that Joe stopped pushing (or stop sending me updates!).
After finding success with his health and fitness, he’s expanded his hobbies: Joe is building his own freaking Final Fantasy costume to wear at C2E2 this summer in Chicago!
Here’s an update I received from him just a few days ago:
Things are going swimmingly with me. I’m building strength and working on my running! I’m also working on improving my balance and my core strength: having fun with headstands and will nail those handstands soon enough! I’m still in my size and the shirts fit just fine around my midsection, but are getting a little tight on the chest area. I’m not going to complain!
I’m also playing some lovely Ni No Kuni (so great!!) and working on my cosplay too! I turn the big 30 this month, and I’m very glad that I am entering this decade of my life in a healthy fashion :) I still have more room for improvement, but who doesn’t!
An interview with Joe
As you’ll see above, last month I had a chance to catch up with Joe and see how things have gone along his journey. I hadn’t planned on sharing this video publicly, but with Joe’s NF ‘anniversary’ so close, it just made sense. I’m hoping it will inspire a lot of readers…and come on, it’s so much fun to see just how happy this dude is. You can tell he really has become a different person compared to where he was just two years ago.
If you have time to watch it, it’ll be worth your time
Mini Q&A with Joe
Yesterday, I asked NF readers on the Nerd Fitness facebook page if they had any questions for Joe.
I picked a few, and had a few questions of my own to send over to Joe:
Steve: How does it feel to be a hero? You’ve inspired thousands of people with your story and transformation – Is it weird!?
Joe: I’m a hero?? I must say it was a little weird at first, but now it feels great! If I could be an inspiration for someone then I’m totally up for it!
Steve: What are your top 3 tips for sustained success?
1. Always remember where you started and that you didn’t get to where you are by doing nothing.
2. Plan ahead if you plan on traveling or going out to a restaurant with friends. Look at the menu ahead of time and figure out what you can eat.
3. Don’t beat yourself up over a misstep. If you indulged and ate a piece of cake at a party, that is no excuse to proceed and eat poorly later that day!
Steve: I know you went to Brazil for a wedding and took some time off. Was it tough to get back on track when you got back after?
Joe: Yup. I went on a two week vacation and the first thing I did was get back on track with working out and eating properly. It was painful and I did have to drag myself to do it, but that awful feeling went away the second I started working out again
Steve: Are you still strength training? What kind of workout are you following?
Joe: I am still strength training! And I basically follow the Rebel Strength Guide. I just increase the weight as it becomes too easy. I’m working primarily with dumbbells but will take on barbells this year. I’m also experimenting with kettlebells, but I’m still learning.
Steve: How have you dealt with loose skin? Has it tightened up over the past year since losing all that weight? (from the pictures it looks like it!)
Joe: It has tightened up some and takes time. I really just stay hydrated and try to make sure what I eat is low in fat. I consider it a battle scar that will heal with time.
Steve: Once you were halfway to your goal, how did you keep the fire burning? Most people get part way, feel good about themselves, and then give up.
Joe: It’s so easy to get that mentality, but I had to keep focused on what I wanted long term. I didn’t want to fail myself. I know I would have been disappointed in myself had I given up.
Steve: What are you working on now? You’re already doing pull ups and running more. What’s the next dragon to slay?
Joe: I’m working on doing unassisted handstands (headstands are a go!). Pull ups and running have worked their way into my routine, so now I’m working on increasing strength and running distance. I’m also working on increasing my balance and core strength. This May I will be participating in the Tough Mudder race, so I’m currently training for that
Steve: What would you tell somebody who sees how far you’ve come in two years and gets overwhelmed? How did you not get overwhelmed with how much weight you had to lose?
Joe: I would tell them to take it one day at a time and only think about your long term goal when you need to motivate yourself. Think about short term goals and objectives when measuring your progress. Don’t look at how far you have left to go, look at how far you’ve come
How did Joe continue to succeed?
He rewarded himself with things that rewarded him back – If he reached a new weight loss plateau or hit a specific strength goal, Joe rewarded himself with better fitting clothes, which in turn inspired him to want to stay in shape so they would fit great. Since he’s taken up the hobby of constructing his own Final Fantasy costume for an upcoming convention – he’s focused on looking like a total badass, and needs to stay in shape!
He didn’t let small slip ups stop him - Joe recently spent a few weeks down in Brazil (where I am right now!) for a co-worker’s wedding. While on the trip, Joe allowed himself to eat bad foods and enjoy himself while traveling. As soon as Joe returned from his trip, he didn’t spend ANY time feeling guilty or berating himself for what he ate. Joe made a conscious decision to eat some ‘bad’ food and have fun while traveling, because he knew he would get right back on track as soon as he got home. Sure enough, Joe got right back on the horse and never slowed down.
Joe was “boring” - Joe didn’t chase quick fixes, he didn’t constantly change his workouts, and he didn’t freak out if the scale moved slightly in the wrong direction. Rather than ride a rollercoaster, Joe chose to drive on cruise control: he ate the same healthy ‘boring’ foods, he progressed through the same ‘boring’ workouts, and he kept a level head throughout. You know what’s NOT boring? All of the amazing stuff Joe does on a daily basis now that he’s healthy!
He changed the bad stuff and kept the stuff that made him great - I got a chance to grab a beer with Joe in Chicago last fall when I was in town and find out more about who he is and how he operates. Joe had a few things about himself that he wasn’t thrilled with (specifically not being able to fit into an airplane seat comfortably), so he chose to make changes to his diet and habits to live better. However, Joe ALSO loves to play video games, and it’s a huge part of who he is…so he still allows himself to have marathon gaming sessions. He fixed a few things that needed adjustments, and stuck with the rest of the stuff that defined who he was.
He always asked “what’s next?” - Joe didn’t crash diet and run himself stupid to lose all that weight. He didn’t starve himself to hit a specific number on the scale so that he could then start eating ice cream and lasagna all day. He looked at each day as a new battle, and an opportunity to live better. Over the course of losing all of this weight, Joe’s goals gradually shifted. Instead of “I’d like to fit into these pants” or “I want to eat right six days this week,” his goals became things like “I wonder if I can do a pull up,” and then “how many pull ups can I do?” Now, it’s, “how long can I hold a handstand?”
Where will you be two years from now?
My favorite part about this whole Joe story isn’t that he transformed himself. Yes, losing that much weight is a phenomenal accomplishment. But my favorite part is that Joe continued to find new dragons to slay, new skills to learn, and new hobbies to pick up.
Joe didn’t suffer from “good enough” syndrome” - Joe instead saw what he accomplished and then wondered, “What else am I capable of?”
Thanks again Joe for inspiring so many.
Do you have more questions for Joe?
If you’ve been inspired by his story, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you. Thanks for leaving a comment!
PS - Yes of COURSE I’ll post pictures this summer of Joe decked out in his costume when he gets to C2E2. Duh.
PPS – Yeah, I’m proud to say that Joe had his success by following the Rebel Fitness Guide and Rebel Strength Guide. They spoke his language; he applied the diet advice and actually followed the workouts for months and months! I don’t care WHAT plan you follow, but pick one, stick with it, and make adjustments along the way. I want you to be the next Joe.
Here’s the real secret to success: pick a plan that resonates with you, and then stick with it, making small adjustments along the way. Just get started! If you DO need a plan to follow, I’d be honored if you checked out one of my guides - they come with a 100% year-long money back guarantee. Just email me if you don’t get the results you want and I’ll refund your money, no questions asked.
photo source: calendar