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Want to get in shape for 2004?

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27 replies to this topic

#1 of 28 OFFLINE   John Stone

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Posted January 06 2004 - 03:16 AM

I know there are a bunch of my fellow HTF'ers who would like to get in shape this year, so I thought this might help.

On January 6, 2003 I was pretty much at rock-bottom, both physically and mentally. I decided to improve my life by changing my eating habits, working out and adjusting my negative attitude. I wanted to make permanent, sustainable changes without resorting to drugs or fad diets. With just one year of hard work my whole life has changed immeasurably for the better.

I've posted a special one year anniversary "thank you" to all my supporters on my transformation web site, along with some words of encouragement for those of you who are ready to make a drastic change in your appearance and health (or even if you just need a little motivation to get back in the gym.) There are also before/current photos up there, and a bunch of other resources that may help those of you who are looking to get in shape.


#2 of 28 OFFLINE   AllanN


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Posted January 06 2004 - 06:08 AM


Thanks for your anniversary essay on the year behind you, the goals you have accomplished and the future of your endeavors that have inspired many individuals myself included. I’m sorry to say that before this writing I had not expressed my gratitude to you and your efforts in documenting your transformation. I have found your site to be the best portal of fitness and health information available on the internet and a strong personal inspiration to myself to get back on track with my own health and fitness.

The holidays have come and gone and I defiantly took more liberties than you did in eating and working out. It's time to get back on the saddle and look forward to another year with new challenges and goals to accomplish. Who else is with me?

To anyone reading any of this and wondering if it can be done, take a quote from my signature: "Aquaba is over there, it’s only a matter of going". Anything is possible if you believe in it.
“Aquaba is over there, it’s only a matter of going.” –Lawrence "I am not now, nor have I ever been a psychologist" -Mumford
"...you can't control who gets hit or who doesn't, who falls our of a chopper or why. It ain't up to you. Its just war." -Hoot
"Fear is the path to the dark...

#3 of 28 OFFLINE   John Stone

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Posted January 06 2004 - 11:40 AM

You bet--glad you like the site and find it motivational!

It's too bad that most people who are interested in losing weight and getting in shape put so much energy into looking for a quick fix via a "miracle" diet or pill. Unfortunately most people simply don't want to put forth the effort required to make sustainable, permanent changes to their physique and health. Diet and exercise are the keys to permanent weight loss and muscle development, and there's no getting around it. It's good to see that you recognize that simple truth.

Good luck to you--your hard work will pay off.

#4 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted January 07 2004 - 02:05 AM

Thanks, John. Your story is inspiring.

I can totally relate to the feelings you described the morning of your first pictures. I had something analagous to that about a month ago and have since began an exercise program and improved my diet.

It also makes me feel better that you are operating under many of the same ideas of fitness that I am:
- weight training as beneficial to weight loss
- the inclusion of carbohydrates to the diet
and so forth

Changes I've already made:
- Exercise 5 times a week that involves:
1. Aerobic/cardio: eliptical machine for 35 minutes, treadmill for 30 minutes, or "spin" class (stationary bike routine in class setting) for 45 minutes.
2. Weight training, 2 muscle groups per day.

According to one of the links in your web site, I should be doing my cardio in the morning instead of the evening. I don't know if I can do this with my schedule.

I am still on three meals a day instead of the recommended 6, which may have to change.

I am not measuring my progress in any tangible way. I find that it makes me more impatient and anxious. No scales, tape measures, etc. I'm comfortable with slow progress- if I lose only half a pound a week, that's fine.

My most sincere congratulations on your accomplishments.

#5 of 28 OFFLINE   John Stone

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Posted January 07 2004 - 10:10 AM

Hi Mike,

You're welcome, thanks for the kind words.

I think you're on the right track. Switching to 5-6 meals per day really helped me in a couple of ways: first, because I'm pretty much constantly eating, my metabolism stays elevated and I burn more calories throughout the day. I also have much more energy all day because my body has a constant supply of nutrients. Additionaly, because my blood sugar is more stable, I no longer feel tired and irritable between meals.

As far as the benefits of doing cardio in the morning vs. the evening, that is a subject of a lot of debate. My opinion, which is based on a good deal of reading on the subject and my own personal experiences, is that if you are going to do aerobic-level (65-80% of your maximum heart rate) cardio for fat burning purposes, it's best to do it first thing in the morning in a fasted state. If you are doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio, it really doesn't matter too much when you do it since the objective of HIIT is not to burn fat while you are doing it, but to raise your metabolism so you burn more calories as you go about your day. I do think doing HIIT in the morning (but not necessarily in a fasted state) is optimal, but you may find that evening HIIT workouts work best for you. I have some good HIIT workouts on my training page if you are not familiar with them and would like to give them a try. They are tough workouts, but I've had excellent results with HIIT and would never go back to aerobic-level cardio workouts.

Good luck with your program!

#6 of 28 OFFLINE   Diallo B

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Posted January 07 2004 - 07:00 PM

hey john,

great results. i was not aware this was you. i had seen your page over at the bb.com forums. you have alot more patience than i do when it comes to tracking your results. kudos for that. i just hit the gym hard and do what i gotta do.

i basically started doing what you are doing on january, 15, 2003. we actually have pretty similar stories (and interests by the way). i had been working out before then but my diet was terrible. i was over three hundred lbs (6 ft. tall) when i first started working out and just under when i got serious.

i actually got on the scale for the first time in a long time today and i am at an 8 year low of 230lbs. (by pure coincidence i clicked on this thread today.) my goal is maybe to lose another 20. i have gained so much strength/muscle in the last year that i am built like a running back. i really don't think that i want to get under 200lbs. i like being big.

my cardio consists of running, boxing, kickboxing and wrestling (as a coach). i also have had excellent results with HIIT. but i can only do it on the track. luckily the gym i go to has an indoor track considering i live in the midwest. HIIT on some machine or any cardio on a machine just doesn't do it for me.

anyway, thanks for the thread and the continued motivation. it is great to see someone else taking their health and body image serious. there are too many folks in my life that want the quick fixes you talk about and simply don't want to put in the blood sweat and tears.

once again great job and thanks.
listen with your own ears...
watch with your own eyes...
make your own decision.

#7 of 28 OFFLINE   Chad Ferguson

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Posted January 07 2004 - 07:23 PM

I too am another of the many people who are inspiried by your results. I have started to work out and all but with no real planning as you have had. I have just a couple of questions for you if you don't mind.
1. Right now am at the junk food party out stage in my life (22 years old) would you change anything you have going for that age? Also, I guessing that I should just start like you started. I wouldn't call myself fat, but definitely well on my way if I continue on the path.(180 pounds, 6 feet tall)
2. I noticed you have a lot of powders, pills and such to help you along the way. I know that these things are very expensive, how much did you pay a month for those?
That's basically all I'm curious about at the moment, please feel free not to answer those questions for any reason. As well I see you own the Oliver Stone set, I always smile when I see another fan of the director, and not a hater.
Thank you

#8 of 28 OFFLINE   Topher


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Posted January 08 2004 - 12:28 AM

I saw your site a while back and started my own plan. I basically mimicked what you were doing with a few alterations due to my work schedule and other distractions, but the results were excellent. I went from feeling very unhealthy, sluggish and overall depressed at 265lbs to a much healthier, happier 225lb'er, I lost 40lbs in about 5 months and have maintained the weight now for about 2 months. I am about 6'0" with pretty large muscle mass, so I fell great! My goal this year is to go on down to around 200lbs and get my body fat % down a little more. I will keep you all posted and good luck to you all as well!
I am Jacks complete lack of surprise.

#9 of 28 OFFLINE   Mark Schermerhorn

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Posted January 08 2004 - 07:39 AM

Congrats on all your hard work John. I've seen your website referenced at quite a few other websites. I think you're a minor celebrity! heh.

#10 of 28 OFFLINE   John Stone

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Posted January 08 2004 - 10:01 AM

Diallo B,
Hi there, yep that's me. Aside from computer networks, my main interests are health/fitness and home theater, so the HTF and BB.com are a two of my favorite haunts.

Congratulations on your excellent progress, you should be very proud of yourself. At a strong 230 pounds, I don't think I'd want to face you in the ring. Man, you must be a monster! At 200 pounds you'll probably be just as big and strong, but shredded.

Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you like my fitness site. Keep up the hard work!

Chad Ferguson,
It's great to hear that you've started working out. Congratulations. Before I get to your questions, I want to mention that I think planning your workouts and meals is really important. Doing so will allow you to see what is working for you and what is not. Adjustments to your diet and workout plans become much easier and more effective when you know exactly what you have been doing in the gym and putting into your body. It's worth the extra effort, and will wind up saving you time in the long run.

On to your questions:

1) I think what I'm doing would work great for someone of your age. I'm mostly just following tried-and-true principals for eating right and working out. Eating junk food and drinking will hurt your progress, of course, so try to eliminate or limit that kind of stuff as much as possible if you want to see maximum results.

2) My supplement intake is pretty basic for a weight lifter. I don't use any fat-burners or pro hormones, and I only use all-natural products that help me maximize my work in the gym. Stuff like whey protein will actually save you money because it's a relatively inexpensive source of quality protein. Anyway, here's a complete list of the supplements I take and why I take them (the links will provide you with the prices I pay):
    [*]Whey Protein. I like Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey, Next Nutrition Designer Whey and EAS Simply Protein Complete Whey. I supplement with whey protein because it's a perfect way to get high-quality protein quickly absorbed into my body before and after my workouts.
    [*]Glutamine powder. I like Optimum Nutrition's glutamine powder. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in human skeletal muscle. I supplement with it because it is heavily metabolized during tough workouts. Glutamine helps strengthen the immune system, it aids in building muscle tissue and it acts as an anti-catabolic.
    [*]Glucosamine Complex/Chrondroitin Sulfate. I supplement with Glucosamine because it helps promote the formation and repair of cartilage. I supplement with Chondroitin because it promotes water retention and elasticity in cartilage, and it inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage. I'm not getting any younger (I'm 35), and weight lifting can be hard on the joints. You can get a huge bottle at Costco, Wal-Mart or Sams for like $20.00.
    [*]Multi-Vitamins. A good multi is important, especially for athletes. I've used the Eclipse Complex 24 multi-vitamin and mineral with excellent results, and I just started taking the AST Multi-Pro 32X.
    [*]Extra fiber. It's hard to get the RDA 35 grams of fiber, so I supplement with Metamucil or Konsyl powder each day. This gives my body some extra dietary fiber which, combined with my healthy diet, usually puts me much closer to 35g per day.
    [*]Creatine monohydrate. As of 9/6/2003, which was the start of my bulking program, I began taking 10g of Creatine every day (except during the first 5 days -- I took 20g per day during the 5 day "loading" period). I stopped taking it in November when I injured my shoulder. I use Prolab Creatine and Optimum Nutrition Creatine. Creatine occurs naturally in the body. It is 100% safe and 100% natural. Creatine increases ATP levels, which is the main energy source muscles use for explosive power. This has the effect of allowing the muscles to handle more reps with more weight, which in turn increases muscle tissue growth. [/list] Always nice to hear from another Oliver Stone fan -- he's one of my favorite directors. Good luck to you!

    Wow, that's excellent progress, way to go! I'm glad my site was of some use to you. Congratulations, and best of luck as you shed those last 25 pounds!

    Mark Schermerhorn,
    Thanks man, I appreciate the props. I'm glad people seem to get something out of the web site, it makes updating it every day well worth the effort!

#11 of 28 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted January 08 2004 - 11:09 AM

Very cool. Glad things are still working. I have yet to get back into a regular routine, but still exercise and eat healthy. Don't forget that its ok to gain mass for obvious reasons, but don't get carried away. You look fine now and life is full of lots of other things to do. I have been thinking of continuing my weight training but will ultimately take time off to do tai chi and other self defence stuff, play sports and do other exercising activities. Plyometrics and all kinds of different stretching and things. Once you drop lots of fat and increase your muscle strength you never go back. I always feel lighter and healthier now. I can run whenever I want and lifting heavy things repeatedly up and down stairs you don't get tired, as in helping people move, which I did lots of lately. Also, having less fat and more muscle I notice my balance is really good. Of note, I was in an accident while cycling to work and it wasn't my fault. Car driver crashed into me! I was really fit at the time. Slight injury to my leg/knee and shoulder. Moslty just soft tissue trauma and no twisting or tearing. Anyways, I rebounded fairly quickly and that accident was Nov 28, 2003. Its almost like it never happened. I garantee if I wasn't in shape it would have taken longer to heal my injuries.

Anyways, kudo's to all your hard work. I saw you start that stuff last year and you've kept it up well. I agree about convincing others to exercise more, eat healthy, lose fat and increase muscle strength and overall fitness and health. Keep it up Posted Image
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#12 of 28 OFFLINE   JohnE


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Posted January 08 2004 - 01:20 PM

Have any of you given liquid multi vitamins a shot? I need to start taking some kind of multi vitamin, but in the past I've found it seems to upset my stomach and I spend half the day burping up vitamin. Yeck!

#13 of 28 OFFLINE   David-S


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Posted January 08 2004 - 03:36 PM

John, I have one question, what do you mean by "reverse crunches"

I've been trying to get started (10 months till my wedding), and you might have just given me the kick in the pants I need... off to take my not-so-flattering picture

JohnE: If it helps, multi-vitamins give me stomach problems too... I took one once on an empty stomach and promptly recycled it

#14 of 28 OFFLINE   Armando Zamora

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Posted January 09 2004 - 02:19 AM

Hey John,

Just wanted to give you continued props on your achievement. Man, I swear you and I must be on some parallel path. I endured an injury as well in September. It prompted me to lay off any upper body weight lifting not only to recover and heal, but for the fact that I nearly lost all the strength that I had built up and couldn't lift anything. Very frustrating!!! It was so painful that I had to go see an orthopeadic surgeon. Come to find out that I tore my right pectoral (pectoralis major) muscle. Man, it hurt like h*ll. Tying my shoes was even difficult and painful. Fortunately, I was still able to do cardio work while healing the injury. Funny thing is that I incurred my injury a week or so after I had ended my creatine cycle. The injury got me doing alot of research on the net. It appears that there were alot of stories/incidents where folks had sustained injuries (i.e., muscle tears) after using creatine. Coincidental...maybe. Will it keep me from taking creatine again...probably not. I'm going to chalk up the injury as a freakish incident, unless it happens again with the same circumstances of course.

Anyhow, to make a long story short, I'm back full tilt again as of the New Year. The injury is healed and more importantly, I can lift weights again. That had to be the most single frustrating thing about the whole event was that I could not lift weights. There were many times when I was running on the treadmill that I looked over to the weights and was tempted to just get under the barbell and lift, but had to resist. I guess that's where my old age and common sense kicked in knowing that I would be hurting myself more by going at it before I was fully healed and recovered.


I supplement with Glutamine, Whey Protein, a daily multi-vitamin, and creatine (8-week cycle) as well.


A "reverse crunch" is when you bring your lower extremities (legs) to your torso, as opposed to regular crunches where you bring your torso to your legs. Examples of types of "reverse crunch" exercises include vertical knee raises and hanging knee raises. Currently, I use a slant board or decline bench to do decline reverse crunches. More examples of "reverse crunch exercises.

Good luck to all in achieving your goals. It can be done as John has demonstrated. Like he said, it'll take adjustments in your lifestyle to achieve your goals and it won't be easy. But the results will far more outweigh the "sacrifices". All you need is determination and discipline. Here's a few motivational quotes to get everyone kick started!!!

" There are two types of pain in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret."
" The greatest hurdle is convincing yourself that what you want is possible."
" Never give nor take an excuse."
" Challenges can be stepping stones or stumbling blocks. It's all in your perspective."
" Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt."
" Those who ASPIRE will INSPIRE."
" My interest is in the future, Because I'm going to be spending the rest of my life there."
" Believing in yourself, is in endless destination. Believing you have failed, is the end of your journey."
" To be or not to be, that is your decision."
" Nobody ever drowned in sweat."

Now go and bust some a$$.

John, sorry for hijacking your post, but like you, I am passionate about being healthy and the positive changes that regular exercise has brought to my life. Your post and the inspiration that you bring with it just got my blood pumping. Plus, I had to vent because it just feels so good to be back into a regular routine again. Kudos again my friend.

#15 of 28 OFFLINE   John Stone

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Posted January 09 2004 - 05:30 AM

Great stuff, Armando--thanks for posting!

I was wondering how you were doing and hoped you (and you too, Chris) would pop in here with an update. Now where's everyone else from last year? Posted Image

Sorry about your injury, I know your frustration well. I've also done some research and found that many people have reported that creatine allows them to lift more than their bodies can really handle. Obviously that's a recipe for injury. I, too, wondered if the creatine was allowing me to lift more than I should have been doing. I had the arm and pec strength to do very heavy weighted dips, but it seems that I did not have the rotator cuff strength to back it up -- boom -- rotator cuff tear. Thankfully I'm almost recovered after 2 months of patience. I probably will not take creatine any more, and I've also been doing rotator cuff strengthening exercises.

Keep up the hard work everyone!

#16 of 28 OFFLINE   Matt Gordon

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Posted January 09 2004 - 06:16 AM


I just saw your site for the first time.
Congratulations on making YOUR life The Good Life!

Posted Image

Spoiler tags are cool.

#17 of 28 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted January 10 2004 - 09:01 AM

I have to say that I stay away from all artificial additives and things. I prefer to get my nutrition from food first. The only things nutrition wise that I do are the following:

1) No wWheat or refined wheat flour products. This means all regular bread, pretzels, many cereals, buns etc. Instead I eat 100% RYE breads often without salt or yeast.

2) No juice unless its diluted and contains lots of pulp and fibre. Little or no pop. I drink Soy milk and use it in cereal.

3) No dairy products.

4) No refined sugars. Limited amounts of honey or pure maple syrup on occasion.

5) No artificial crap like mono-sodium glutamate, aspartame, hydrogenated oils etc.

6) I eat peanut butter and almond butter and also olive oil.

6) Eat some raw fruits and vegetables as part of your diet.

7) Drink lots of water.
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#18 of 28 OFFLINE   Jon_Are



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Posted January 10 2004 - 02:01 PM

Hey John,

Here's my story:

December 31, 2002: 270 lbs., on blood pressure meds, totally physically inactive, out-of-control diet, self-esteem near zero.

January 1, 2003: Started Atkins diet.

August, 2003: Started working out on a regular basis.

Today: Weight, 205 lbs (down 65 in one year). Off blood pressure meds. Going shopping tomorrow because even my "small" pants are baggy. Working out four times a week without fail (running 12 miles a week, weights, cardio, swimming, etc.).

I'm at my lowest weight and most physically fit in twenty years. I've run across your site several times over the course of the past year and I am posting here now to thank you for the inspiration you've given me and countless others.

Take good care,


#19 of 28 OFFLINE   John Stone

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Posted January 11 2004 - 04:45 AM

Matt Gordon and Jon_Are,

Thanks very much guys!

Jon, I've been following your progress in the Atkins thread and you've come such a long way. It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of the Atkins diet, but obviously it's working great for you and, most importantly, it's allowed you to make major changes to your life and how you live it. That's fantastic, and I applaud you. Keep up the hard work, and good health!

#20 of 28 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted January 11 2004 - 08:41 AM

I have taken a slower approach to all this... I have found that if I stopped everything cold turkey at the same time, I would go back to old habits... I tried several times... So, I found that reversing things one at a time worked best for me... I am not really all that overweight (maybe by 10 pounds right now), so a slower approach does not bother me... The best part is I really dont even notice the changes by cancelling things out this way... Dont get me wrong... This just works best for me and will probably not be helpful for many... Others succeed going cold turkey with everything just fine...

The first thing I did was stop eating sugar (pop, candy, etc.) I lost about 20 pounds just doing that in only two months... I then went to drink a pop one day and almost wanted to throw up... When you have no sugar in your system and have it again, it make you feel horrible... I barely ever have sugar anymore... I think I had a piece of cake at a birthday... Thats the only time I slipped in 6 months or so...

I also drink all water 95% of the time... That was my second step... Every once in awhile I will have a diet pop or a milkshake with skim milk and low sugar ice cream, but this is not an all the time thing...

I do not smoke, but fortuantely never started, so I never had to worry about kicking the habit...

I never drank much to begin with, but stopped completely with that as well...

I started exercising slowly... For example, I started out only 10 minutes a day... Then 15 minutes, etc...

So far, I have been pleased with the results of just doing these things...

The one step that is going to be very difficult for me and I will admit I have been avoiding is fried foods I eat several times a week... Potatoes are also dangerous for me... That will probably be my hardest step to accomplish... I have loved fried foods all my life since I was 3 or so years old... But, I will be making this change as well...

I still consider myself an advanced beginner who still has some issues with doubt, but I have started on my way and am very pleased I did...

P.S. As far as vegetables such a broccoli, etc... I find it is easier for me to eat these things raw... I hate cooked broccoli, etc... I hear that many people prefer their vegetables cooked, not me... I find myself eating vegetables raw most of the time...

Meat is not a favorite... I eat red meat maybe only 2 to 3 times a year if that... Chicken and Turkey is easier for me... I find myself substituting soy products for meat... I guess I am probably meant to be a vegetarian... I still do eat meat, but it is nowhere near how others eat it...

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