Stephen's Journey to REDEFINE HIMSELF!
At FINAFLEX, our first and foremost goal is to help each and every one of you find the healthiest and happiest versions of yourselves. Your personal health is a lifelong journey, no matter where you begin, and we love seeing the amazing results you can achieve when you prioritize your own wellbeing.
That’s why we were so thrilled when a lifelong customer of ours, Stephen, reached out to share how FINAFLEX played an important role in his health transformation. Stephen originally reached out via Instagram to tell us how much he loves our pre-workouts, and we were so inspired by his story that we decided to continue the conversation and share his journey with you all.
He was kind enough to answer some of our questions, and we think everyone could learn a little something from what he has to say:
#1: Tell me about the start of your health/fitness journey. When did you decide that it was time for a change?
The start of my journey really has no one beginning, and it’s kind of multifaceted. By my senior year of high school, I saw the numbers 320 show up on my scale. I was disgusted with myself, and I simply didn’t look at the scale again for over 2 years. Although I was always a chubby kid throughout my youth, my weight gain exploded in 2012 after my parent’s divorce and my older brother’s sudden death in a car accident. I was destroyed to put it simply. All I did after I got home from school was sit at my computer playing video games and stuffing my face with whatever food I had around. I used it as a comfort and a distraction from everything that was happening around me. It also didn’t help that I worked in fast food and had access to as much sugary soda and burritos that I could get my hands on.
Working manual labor jobs out of high school with long hours and intensive activity were a big start for me as I was able to lose about 20 or so pounds. In July of 2018 I went in for a yearly physical and I weighed in at about 300 pounds. My doctor was and still very much is a no B.S. physician and told me that I needed to make a sweeping change for the sake of my health. I kept that in the back of my mind and decided to use a push mower to cut my lawn, try to get more activity where I could, and I began to not necessarily watch what I was eating, but more so cut down on portion sizes.
By the time I moved into an apartment for college in late August of 2018, I had lost about another 10 pounds. The greatest motivation for me came with this move in the form of my college roommate Colin. Colin is my most phenomenal friend and though we aren’t blood, I call him brother. He would constantly motivate me to go to the student rec center and lift weights with him. Colin was always a huge dude with muscles that I am still jealous of. I felt like a fish out of water, but I finally caved. With his direction on machines at the gym, dietary changes, supplements, and by hitting the rec pool and swimming for almost an hour every day, I was able to lose 30 pounds in 2 months going from 290 to 260. Colin’s motivation and help when I needed it was one of the most important aspects of the start of my journey. Through a lot of ups and downs, plateaus, gaining 30 pounds back after some heart troubles and then covid closing the gyms down, I am finally down over 135 pounds and I currently weigh 184 pounds.
#2: What kept you motivated during this transformation?
The biggest motivation for me other than my roommate Colin and my family being constant cheerleaders was watching my clothes no longer fit me and fall off me. I still have my size 46 jeans that used to be tight on me and I sometimes put them on just to smile and see how far I have come. I went from size 46 jeans to size 30, and I went from wearing 3XL shirts to size Large. I used to be a little mad when I had to spend money to buy an entirely new wardrobe, but I came up with the saying “better to buy new clothes than have to buy a new heart”, and that’s the truth. My doctor told me that being as heavy as I was in 2018, my heart was taking quite the beating. I am very happy to say that at the current moment, I have absolutely zero heart issues and during my last cardiac checkup I was told that my heart is perfectly functional.
#3: How has your perspective/outlook on life changed since you underwent this transformation?
Working out, watching what I eat through tracking/maintaining a caloric deficit, and being healthier now that a majority of the weight is off has been wonderful for my mental health and body. Not only am I able to do things I never could before (I almost cried after being able to do 20 pull ups in a row), but in general I have the confidence and drive that I never had before. I found myself excelling at work and putting my all into my education. My mental fog is completely gone, and I just feel driven to always give my best work and simply to always give it my all with everything that I set out to do.
My confidence has changed dramatically as well. I’m not afraid to show off my body anymore and I’m incredibly happy with the results of this transformation. Even seeing myself in pictures I take with friends sometimes I just flat out don’t recognize myself. It’s been a heck of a journey and I am so happy with where I am now.
A final thing that has changed regarding my outlook on life is that I can easily do so many physical activities without becoming tired, and I find so much joy now in physical activities that I used to dread. One day after hitting the gym, it was pouring rain so hard, and I had parked at the far end of the lot. I decided to sprint as fast as I could to my car so I wouldn’t get completely soaked. Not only was I astounded at how fast I was running, but also when I got in my car, I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t gasping for breath and my heart wasn’t beating out of my chest. It was a total surprise and a memory that I look upon fondly when I think about how far I have come.
#4: What tips would you give to someone who is at the beginning of their journey?
Do not expect instant results. These things take time. Your diet is the most important aspect of your weight loss. You can workout every single day to the point of exhaustion and not lose weight because you cannot outwork a bad diet. When I first started, I just thought I was supposed to “eat clean” and I would see results. That was not the case. My first months were trial and error until I realized that a caloric deficit was the most important aspect of this entire journey. Another aspect that I thought was pretty crazy for me was that I had believed that doing cardio every single day to the point of complete exhaustion was the only way to lose weight and do it properly. This once again was not the case! I lost weight far quicker with intensive weightlifting! Not only did the fat fall off of me, but I was building muscle at the same time, so I didn’t end up looking “skinny fat” as it is referred to. Cardio is still important and should be supplemented into your activities, but you don’t need to completely exhaust yourself and only do cardio every single day.
Finally, you have to experiment! Every single body is different! Things that work for someone else may not work for you! You have to take the time to find the things that you enjoy doing and what works for your body! All in all, this is your transformation. Have fun with it and enjoy it!
#5: How did FINAFLEX products help you along your way?
The first pre-workout I ever tried was the tropical stimul8 and oh man. I did not read the directions, took an entire scoop, and felt like I could walk on the ceiling when I tried to work out. Once I finally read the directions and found my tolerance (Read the directions! Seriously!), that pre-workout was just phenomenal. I was able to push myself much harder in the gym and found that by being able to work harder, I was able to lose the weight at a much more controlled pace. I was also able to grow muscle while I lost fat because I was able to push myself using the tropical stimul8 pre-workout. That was a massive plus for me!
#6: What are your favorite products that you feel helped you the most?
The original Stimul8 pre-workout was fundamental for me to begin to experiment with supplements and to find out what worked, what didn’t, and what I liked. FINAFLEX products are usually always in my cabinet ready to go for a workout because they work for me and I enjoy them so much! Recently I’ve been hooked on the Stimul8 Hardcore Sour Tsunami pre-workout as it gave me energy throughout my entire workout and the pump was amazing. I remember just looking at the veins on my forearms and thinking to myself “WOW!!!”. When it comes to other supplements, I’m really a plain kinda guy. I really only use pre-workouts, protein powders, and creatine. It’s so hard to pick a favorite FINAFLEX product because they all have their uses and all work phenomenally. If I had to pick, it would be the Original STIMUL8 Tropical Twister (an O.G. flavor that FINAFLEX is bringing back soon due to popular demand!) pre-workout because it set up the framework for how I was able to push myself and experiment!
#7: What does REDEFINE YOURSELF (our slogan) mean to you?
To me, Redefine Yourself means that no matter where you are in life, no matter what low point you get to, you ALWAYS have the ability to rise up and become the version of you that has always been in your head. The version of you that is powerful, courageous, a fighter, a lover, and a companion to those in need. To redefine yourself is mind over matter. Your brain and body are incredibly powerful things that can redefine the reality around you. You have that power within you right now, so get off your butt and go REDEFINE YOURSELF!
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