It is with a ton of excitement that I introduce you to the completely reinvented Jason Sadler! After turning 30 years old and being upset with the way I looked/felt, I embarked on a 90-Day Challenge sponsored by Tyler and Mimi Ford. In 90 days I lost 44 pounds, 15% body fat, and 6″ off my waist!
Here’s the whole story:
Photo credit for the awesome professional shot above to Laura Evans Photography. Let’s not waste any time, here are comparison photos of what I looked like 90 days ago from the front, back and side. The photos below have not been edited whatsoever and were taken on a Canon T4i by my loving girlfriend, Caroline.
HOLY CRAP, RIGHT!? I can distinctly remember taking the before photos and thinking, “I’m out of shape, but it’s not that bad…” But with the comparison photos, it really shows how out of shape I let myself get over the past few years. My posture was going, my bathing suit was about to pop off at any given moment, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel now! Well, I can:
Why did I do a 90-Day Challenge?
First and foremost I want anyone who reads this to know that I used to be in pretty good shape. I played basketball at the collegiate level about 10 years ago, but those days were left behind when I tore both ACLs in my knees. I used to be a gym rat when I worked a normal 9-5 job in 2004-5, but ever since starting IWearYourShirt, fitness and nutrition have taken a backseat. I thought I knew what eating healthy was, I thought I knew what a good workout was, and it’s obvious that I was wrong and let those things slip away.
Almost everyone has seen a friend do a 90-Day Challenge, and heck, I have to say I was super inspired when I read David Siteman Garland’s 90-Day Transformation. I figured if 90 days was working for lots of other people, it wouldn’t hurt to try it for myself. I had just turned 30 years old (May 15) and knew I wanted to do something to get back in shape. I sent out a tweet that I was fed up, I put a post on Facebook that said I was determined to take action and then Tyler Ford emailed in. Tyler and his awesome wife Mimi are Body by Vi coaches, but had no interest in trying to sell me on anything. Tyler wanted to help me set goals for myself, have supplements/products at my disposal and be a coach in my corner to cheer me on. After an hour on the phone I was even more excited to get started, and Tyler and Mimi Ford were going to be my official 90-Day Challenge sponsors (what can I sponsor next, right??).
So I had 90 days to change my thought process about food, to structure my day around exercise and to lose weight and get back in shape. Was it hard? Absolutely. Were there times I wanted to give up? Of course. Am I glad I stuck with it? HELL YES!
What was my
diet nutrition plan like for 90 days?
You can spend hours on Google and fitness forums reading secrets, tips, tricks, and lots of other junk. The information that keeps coming up no matter where you look: Eat smaller portions (you shouldn’t feel full), eat more often throughout the day (5-7 meals), drink over 100 ounces of water a day, carbs are limited to fruits and veggies (they do make veggie pastas), no processed sugar (honey and stevia are your friends), no soda, less salt, and for me no dairy or alcohol.
By this point you’ve probably thrown your hands up in the air and said, “I can’t give up my ” or “You work from home, it’s easy for you.” Both of those statements are absolutely garbage. If you want to make a change in your life, if you want to feel better, you need to change the way you think about food and about your daily routine. Not only can you save a butt-load of money each month by eating healthier (I saved about $1,500 a month, no joke), but you can spend 1-2 hours and prepare your meals ahead of time for an entire week. I started this 90-Day Challenge thinking I was going to change my eating habits for a few months, but I realized it’s a lifestyle change. When something awesome happens, you don’t have to celebrate with cake or a night of drinking with your friends. We’ve been trained as a society that food/drinks are rewards and they shouldn’t be, because the types of food we reward ourselves with are the worst ones for us.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox and focus more on what you should eat. This blog post outlines exactly what I ate, with slight variations, for the last 30 days of my challenge. It took me 60 days to fine tune my “diet” and figure out what worked best for my schedule and for my body. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have headaches or food withdrawals when I started, or that I felt like I was hungry all day long, but it takes time to reset your body and break your habits. For years I’d pretty much eaten three large meals a day with a couple snacks (not healthy ones) thrown in. In less than 90 days I’ve recalibrated my body to a new schedule that makes me feel and look better. The human body is pretty awesome.
I did use the Body by Vi shake mix and vitamin packs from the beginning. Were they my saving grace and stripped all the fat off my body? Absolutely not. But did they give me a slight edge whether it was a delicious tasting meal replacement shake or a daily vitamin packed full of stuff my body craves? Definitely. I’m a firm believer in eating your weight in grams of protein each day, so for me to eat around 230 grams of protein, I added in an extra scoop of a standard whey protein with the Body by Vi shake mix. You can see the results for yourself. If you’re thinking of starting your own challenge or just want to get back and shape and want a simple supplement company to get on board with, contact Tyler and Mimi Ford to get more info about Body by Vi products. I definitely recommend them. (Not to mention the Body by Vi shake mix is delicious!)
Oh, and no cheat meals. I didn’t do the carb-blowout day once a week for a reason. Why? You don’t need it. You may crave the heck out of those foods, but give yourself the chance to work hard for 90 days and then think about doing cheat meals/days. Stick with eating healthy for just 90 days and I promise you’ll survive without pizza, Chick-Fil-A, beer, ice cream, etc, etc. When you want a cheeseburger, make a black bean turkey burger. When you want chocolate, eat some fruit. Heck, tell your friends on Facebook that you want something and they’ll keep you honest. When you crave bad things, replace them with things that aren’t terrible for you. Will I sneak in a cheat meal or treat myself to popcorn at the movies again? Probably, but I’ll keep those unhealthy binges to a minimum because I don’t NEED them anymore.
What were my workouts like for 90 days?
Ahhhh yes, everyone wants to know how many crunches I did in the past 90 days right? Well, I can tell you exactly how many I did: ZERO. The new Jason Sadler physique was made in the kitchen. Okay, so not totally made in the kitchen, but I firmly believe that 90% of getting in shape is your nutrition and the other 10% is fitness. At least I tell myself that so I eat healthier.
Having worked with different personal trainers in the past, I knew there were tons of different things I could do or try, but that I wanted to keep my routine simple. Not only because I’m busy and don’t have two hours to spend in the gym each day, but because you don’t need to work out for multiple hours every day to see results.
For the first 60 days of my challenge, I worked out 4-5 days a week and maybe one of those days was a cardio day. Which day did I do my ab exercises? No days. When I started I wanted to do workouts that slightly resembled Cross Fit workouts, but without the destroying of my body and therefore my spirit. I would focus on doing weight training for one or two muscle groups (chest and back, back and bis, tris and shoulders, chest and legs, arms and back, chest and shoulders, etc) and in between each set I would do 50-100 jumping jacks or jump ropes. My workouts lasted about 30-45 minutes, usually longer if I worked out with my lovely girlfriend, but I always worked up a great sweat and focused on what I was doing. For the next four weeks I actually stopped doing any cardio at all, maybe once a week playing basketball at the YMCA, and just focused on weight training. I stuck with my two muscle group splits and would do superset workouts, low weight heavy rep workouts or workouts with very little rest in between each set. Obviously I might know a little bit more about weight training than the everyday-person, so definitely think about getting a personal trainer (it’s worth it!). None of these workouts were rushed and every movement I did with a weight in my hand was purposeful, in perfect form, and with 100% of my strength and effort. You can see by this photo that I was progressing nicely:
I’d lost 30 pounds and 9% body fat in 60 days. Not bad huh? But then something bit me in my slightly smaller ass – I wanted more. For some reason the thought got in my head that I wanted to get down to 10% body fat by day 90. In fact, I professed this goal on Facebook a couple times. I knew that losing 6% body fat in 30 days would be tough, but that I could do it!
I increased my cardio workouts, setting a 1,000 calorie goal along the way, and streamlined my weight workouts to one muscle group per day (chest, arms, shoulders, legs). I also upped my water intake to over a gallon per day, but nothing really changed in my diet. Towards the very end of my challenge I did cut fruit out of my diet, but that was really only for the last week. I can honestly say I’m proud of myself for hitting that 10% body fat goal, even if it was only by .1%. I never set out to “get ripped” or “have a 6-pack” when I started this 90 day challenge, I just wanted to feel and look better. I am, however, very proud of what my body looks like and I don’t want this to go away…
Don’t be afraid to think differently about your workouts, but be realistic when you’re getting started. The more you can get in the gym and get workouts done, the more you’ll want to get better at it. The less you dread working out, the easier it will be to make time for it, and everyone has 20-30 minutes a day to get some exercise (with or without a gym). Think of a gym membership (or personal trainer) as an investment in your health.
Biggest challenges during the 90-Day Challenge?
Now let’s talk about the hurdles I overcame while doing this challenge. Yes, I do work from home, but I have a very busy schedule and a very active email inbox. One of my biggest challenges was to disconnect throughout the day to make myself food, to get to the gym, to take showers, to sleep, etc. When you work at a 9-5 job, you have structure. I have zero structure. It’s hard to convince myself to put on pants some days, so you can imagine it was even harder to cook meals.
I also did a bunch of traveling during the past three months that included trips to Anaheim, Nashville, NYC, Memphis and Cape Cod. It’s incredibly hard to stick to a nutrition plan while fending off TSA agents and visiting the BBQ capital of the world. But I did it. I packed my Body by Vi supplements in my bag, I brought protein bars in case of long flights/layovers/emergencies, I picked the healthiest options off menus (or just didn’t open the menu and asked for grilled meat and veggies), and I avoided temptation where I could. I’d by lying to you if I didn’t slip up here and there or didn’t have a bigger meal than normal for my girlfriend’s surprise birthday dinner in NYC, but I stayed on track.
Another big challenge? Oh you know, just completely restructuring my company during these past few months. Dealing with website redesigns, letting people go, finding new clients, creating new processes, and all the stress that goes along with all of that. Yeah, that’s enough to distract you.
But you know what? No matter what it was, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to breakdown. And I have my family, friends and the IWearYourShirt community to thank for that. Lean on your friends and family and don’t be shy to ask for help. Heck, I’m happy to lend a helping hand to anyone, just don’t give up!
Where do I go from here?
NOT BACKWARDS! I know from experience and from other people telling me, the worst thing to do is sit back and relax at this point. Yes, it’s awesome that I lost 44 pounds and it’s fantastic that I’m down to 10% body fat, but I’m not stopping now.
Am I going to indulge in a few of my favorite foods/drinks that I gave up for the past few months? Yep! But I’m not going to gorge myself, and I’m certainly not going to break my routine. If I’m going to eat a burger from Five Guys, it’s not going to be a fully loaded burger with a large fry. If I want to drink a craft beer with Sean, it’ll be one or two at the most. If I’m going to the movies, I’ll grab a small popcorn and sneak in some of my healthier snacks. I will NOT go backwards.
I’m going to keep the same nutrition schedule and continue down this healthy road. As I mentioned in the video above, I feel freaking great. I want to continue to feel this good every single day. I also wouldn’t mind keeping my newfound abs around and fitting better into clothing. It’s amazing how good it feels to wear clothing you haven’t worn since college. Then again, I do wear t-shirts for a living, so I guess that isn’t a huge concern for me.
For right now, I’m enjoying the accomplishment of this challenge. I’ll still be hitting the gym to do a weight workout today and I’ll still be eating 5-6 times today. This is a lifestyle change, not just quick fix. I’m NOT going backwards!!!
Final thoughts and thank yous!
My girlfriend Caroline has been amazing throughout this entire challenge. Not only has she made changes along with me, she’s pushed herself to keep up and she’s kept me from breaking down and skipping a workout or eating a bad meal. She’s had some awesome accomplishments as well these past few months and maybe we’ll get her to do the next photo shoot. Eh? Eh? Thank you Caroline.
Thank you to my Mom for understanding that I do love her homemade mac-n-cheese, but I don’t need it in my life. You may think I need to gain a few pounds back, and don’t you worry, I will, they’ll just be lean muscle! Thanks for all the support, Mom.
Thank you to my t-shirt wearing partner in crime, Sean. You were a huge help while we traveled to get me to work out, to keep me from ordering something bad off a menu, and to continue to encourage me. You’re like the red-headed brother I never had, but always wanted. Gracias mi amigo.
Thank you Tyler and Mimi Ford for reaching out to me and holding my hand on this journey. The Body by Vi products have been a huge help, your coaching has been super helpful, and I hope a ton of you reading this who want to make a transformation of your own will submit your Name, Email, and Phone Number in the form above.
And to everyone who has commented, Liked, tweeted, emailed, shared any of these 90-Day Challenge posts: THANK YOU! Honestly, your support has helped me get over so many small hurdles and has kept me focused and determined. The IWearYourShirt community is fantastic and I appreciate you guys letting me share my personal goals right along side by business goals.
So what are YOU waiting for? Whether it’s a 90-Day Challenge or to just put down the Diet Coke you’re currently drinking and grab a glass of water. Give your body a chance to be the well-oiled machine it’s supposed to be. Start your own fitness challenge and don’t give up because you don’t see results in two weeks. I personally guarantee that if you stick with any sort of plan for 90 days, you’ll see the results and you’ll feel as great as I do right now.
Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments, I’m happy to answer anything…
**Update: My thoughts from exactly one year later**