Darnell Found Freedom Through Fitness

When weight gain and a major life change zapped Darnell's confidence, he found emotional balance at the gym. After losing around 100 pounds, this fit father is loving life again!

"When I was heavy, I was never really happy," says 24-year-old Darnell Greenidge. "I would avoid mirrors; if I showered, I would quickly jump in and out of the shower and then attempt to get dressed as quickly as possible. All of my clothes had to be loose to disguise my size. My ex-fiancé may have seen me naked once or twice a year, and even then, it was unintentional and embarrassing."

Darnell's weight issues weren't tied to vanity. He didn't dream of single-digit body-fat measurements or competing on stage. Instead, Darnell's journey began with him just wanting to feel comfortable in his own skin. "I didn't see Darnell," he says. "I saw what I'd ruined." It wasn't until the culmination of public embarrassment and family turmoil bubbled over that he realized it was time for a change.

This is Darnell's story.

Not Wanting To Look In The Mirror The Spark
Watch the video - 7:01

Were you overweight growing up, or was it more of a gradual gain?

I was heavy my whole life. I lost some weight in high school and got down to about 185, but when I discovered I had a child on the way, I gained all the weight back, plus more. It was stress-related shell shock. That's when I hit 280.

Fast food and evening eating definitely played a part. I'm a closet eater, so I'd eat healthy in front of coworkers and family, but once 9 or 10 p.m. hit, I'd suddenly consume 3,000 calories within the hour. I'd hit the drive-thru, eat in the car, and head straight for the sweets cabinet once I got home.

At one point, I was too big to get on a rollercoaster. That public humiliation combined with a failing relationship was hard. There was nothing I could do about it; no matter how many flowers I bought or how many letters I wrote; it wasn't working, because my attitude wasn't there. I went from having a fiancé and being a full-time father to sleeping in my car for two nights and being a weekend dad.

Before 255 lbs.
After 161 lbs.
Age: 23
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 255 lbs.
Body Fat: 34%
Age: 24
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 161 lbs.
Body Fat: 10.6%

How did you turn things around?

In December 2014, I moved back in with my mother, who is my role model. She gave me a seven-day pass to her gym, and as cliché as it sounds, that changed my life. Even though my life was still in disarray, I felt balance and comfort in my new home—Tilton Fitness in Northfield, New Jersey. It was the people and the environment, but also the release I felt while at the gym.

Throughout the day, tension would build up from work and family and life struggles. Once I got to the gym, I could release them within a few hours. I walked out with less weight on my shoulders. I needed a place to do that.

You lost a bunch of weight pretty quickly. What was that timeline like?

When I joined the Bodybuilding.com transformation last year, I'd gotten down to 210 pounds. At 5-foot-9, I'm not the tallest guy on the block, so I was still heavy. But I didn't let that get me down. I heard about the Bodybuilding.com transformation contest, and it all clicked. I felt everything coming together. Three months in, I was at 160 pounds.



Had you worked out at a gym before, or was it a new experience?

Before, I almost strictly did cardio. I'd just go to the gym and run. At 210 pounds, I could still hit a 9-minute mile. Once I found Bodybuilding.com, I started lifting and doing a lot of HIIT. I did Jim Stoppani's "Shortcut to Shred" program, and I still incorporate the majority of the techniques—like dropsets, cardio acceleration, and limited rest periods—into my workout today. I loved learning the science behind the workouts. It intrigued me, because I'm a logical person. I don't like being told things like "Lift this, and you'll get big." How and why will I get big? Bodybuilding.com's articles explained these things to me.

What was the most challenging aspect of your transformation?

The supplementation and the diet were the most difficult aspect. Everyone around me continued to eat unhealthy, and I had to abstain from all of the temptation. There were days when I threw up because I'd downed too many supplements and not enough food. I overcame these obstacles by taking my mind off of the challenge and focusing on the task at hand. If I thought about all I had to do each day, I would probably become flustered and revert back to my bad habits. Instead, I did my best to embrace each task to the fullest without thinking about the next mission at hand.

What's the nutrition plan that kept you on track?

Breakfast

Egg whites 3


Sharp cheddar cheese 1/2 slice


Whole-grain bread 1 slice


Lunch

Protein powder 2 scoops


Water 1 cup


PB2 1 tbsp


Snack

Greek yogurt 1 cup


Blueberries 1/2 cup


Dinner: Post-workout

Egg whites 4


Bacon 2 slices


Broccoli 1 cup


Before bed

Protein shake 1 scoop


Water 1 cup



Supplements


How has your life improved since you lost weight?

Before I lost weight, I had high blood pressure. I hid that from my mom when we lived together, but she discovered the pills and asked me what they were, so I had to tell her. She always said, "Eat to live, don't live to eat," and she's right. She was relieved once I started to lose weight. She said I made her proud.

I now feel a sense of freedom—that's the main thing. Before, I was hiding. Every day was about trying to stay under the radar. I didn't want anyone to see Darnell, because I wasn't happy with myself. I'd basically just go to work, go home, and find something to eat to cope with feeling bad about the way I looked. Now, I've regained control.

What does your training regimen look like?

Day 1: Chest, Triceps, and Abs
1

Jogging-Treadmill

3 min. warm-up
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

2
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

Step-up with Knee Raise (Between each set of Bench Press)

60 sec., no rest
Step-up with Knee Raise Step-up with Knee Raise

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3 sets of 10-14 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell Clean

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Clean Dumbbell Clean

4

Decline Smith Press

3 sets of 10-14 reps
Decline Smith Press Decline Smith Press

Jogging-Treadmill

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

5

Dips

4 sets of 9-13 reps
Dips - Chest Version Dips - Chest Version

Kettlebell Swing

60 sec. between each set, no rest
One-Arm Kettlebell Swings One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

6
Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press

Smith Machine Hang Power Clean

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Smith Machine Hang Power Clean Smith Machine Hang Power Clean

7

Cable Crunch

3 sets of 15-18 reps
Cable Crunch Cable Crunch

Bench Step-Up

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups

8

Smith Machine Hip Raise

3 sets of 12-15 reps
Smith Machine Hip Raise Smith Machine Hip Raise

Rope Jumping

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

Day 2: Shoulders, Legs, and Calves
1

HIIT Running

4 min. warm-up
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

4 sets of 10-14 reps
Barbell Shoulder Press Barbell Shoulder Press

Bench Step-Up

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups

3
Standing Alternating Dumbbell Press Standing Alternating Dumbbell Press

Kettlebell Swing

60 sec. between each set, no rest
One-Arm Kettlebell Swings One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

4
Smith Machine One-Arm Upright Row Smith Machine One-Arm Upright Row

Sprint

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill

5

Barbell Squat

4 sets of 10-14 reps
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

Battling Ropes

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Battling Ropes Battling Ropes

6

Barbell Deadlift

3 sets of 10-14 reps
Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift

Medicine-ball Slam

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Overhead Slam Overhead Slam

7

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 15-18 reps
Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises

Lateral Bound

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Lateral Bound Lateral Bound

8

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 15-18 reps
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

Rope Jumping

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

Day 3: Back, Traps, and Biceps
1

Rope Jumping

3-4 min. warm-up
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

2

Bent-Over Barbell Row

4 sets of 10-14 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row

Rope Jumping

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

3

Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 10-14 reps
Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row

Goblet Squat

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Goblet Squat Goblet Squat

4

Seated Cable Row

3 sets of 10-14 reps
Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows

Box Jump

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

5

Barbell Curl

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl

Kettlebell Swing

60 sec. between each set, no rest
One-Arm Kettlebell Swings One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

6

EZ-Bar Preacher Curl

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Preacher Curl Preacher Curl

Medicine-ball Slam

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Overhead Slam Overhead Slam

7

Reverse Barbell Curl

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Reverse Barbell Curl Reverse Barbell Curl

Dumbbell Lunge

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Lunges Dumbbell Lunges

8
Seated Palm-Up Barbell Wrist Curl Seated Palm-Up Barbell Wrist Curl

Battling Ropes

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Battling Ropes Battling Ropes

Day 4: Chest, Triceps, and Abs
1

HIIT Running

4 min. warm-up
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill

2

Incline Dumbbell Fly

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Incline Dumbbell Flyes Incline Dumbbell Flyes

Rope Jumping

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

3

Dumbbell Fly

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell Flyes

Bench Step-Up

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups

4

Cable Cross-over

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Cable Crossover Cable Crossover

Jump Squat

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Jump Squat Jump Squat

5

Triceps Push-down

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown

Box Shuffle

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Side to Side Box Shuffle Side to Side Box Shuffle

6
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Kettlebell Swing

60 sec. between each set, no rest
One-Arm Kettlebell Swings One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

7

Cable Lying Triceps Extension

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Cable Lying Triceps Extension Cable Lying Triceps Extension

Goblet Squat

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Goblet Squat Goblet Squat

8

Crunch

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Crunches Crunches

Running

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Running, Treadmill Running, Treadmill

9
One-Arm High-Pulley Cable Side Bends One-Arm High-Pulley Cable Side Bends

Medicine-ball Slam

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Overhead Slam Overhead Slam

Day 5: Shoulders, Legs, and Calves
1

Dumbbell Step-Up

3 min. warm-up
Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups

2

Lateral Raise

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

Dumbbell Step-Up

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups

3

Standing Barbell Front Raise

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Barbell Front Raise Barbell Front Raise

Jogging

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

4
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

Dumbbell Clean

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Clean Dumbbell Clean

5

Leg Extension

4 sets of 15-20 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

Lateral Bound

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Lateral Bound Lateral Bound

6

Seated Leg Curl

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

Box Jump

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

7

Seated Calf Raise

4 sets of 10-12 reps
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

Medicine-ball Slam

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Overhead Slam Overhead Slam

Day 6: Rest or HIIT
Day 7: Back, Traps, and Biceps
1

Rope Jumping

3-4 min. warm-up
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

2

Wide-Grip Lat Pull-down

4 sets of 15-20 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

Rope Jumping

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

3

Underhand Cable Pull-downs

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Underhand Cable Pulldowns Underhand Cable Pulldowns

Box Shuffle

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Side to Side Box Shuffle Side to Side Box Shuffle

4

Straight-Arm Pull-down

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Straight-Arm Pulldown Straight-Arm Pulldown

Jogging

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill

5
Smith Machine Behind the Back Shrug Smith Machine Behind the Back Shrug

Smith Machine Clean

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Smith Machine Hang Power Clean Smith Machine Hang Power Clean

6

Incline Dumbbell Curl

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl

Dumbbell Lunge

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Dumbbell Lunges Dumbbell Lunges

7

High Cable Curls

3 sets of 15-20 reps
High Cable Curls High Cable Curls

Box Jump

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

8

Cable Curl (Rope attachment)

3 sets of 15-20 reps
Standing Biceps Cable Curl Standing Biceps Cable Curl

Kettlebell Swing

60 sec. between each set, no rest
One-Arm Kettlebell Swings One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

9
Seated Dumbbell Palms-Down Wrist Curl Seated Dumbbell Palms-Down Wrist Curl

Jogging

60 sec. between each set, no rest
Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill


What sorts of things can you do now that you might have not been able to do before?

That's easy: approaching women. I couldn't approach women before—it's just something I couldn't do. Even when I was heavier and they'd come up to me, I'd just become a sweaty, nervous mess, and that would be the end of the conversation. I'd make it awkward. They may have been interested in me, but I wouldn't know how to respond because I wasn't interested in myself.

I'm also able to be more active with my son, now. We both love basketball and have spent the summer playing on the basketball courts for a couple of hours most mornings. He also does simple calisthenics with me like push-ups and crunches. It's hilarious when he tries to do a plank, because he's a bit off balance, but he just turned 7, and it's so cool that he's embracing fitness.

Darnell's Favorite Gym Tracks

Janelle Monae & Jidenna
"Yoga"
Jay-Z & Kanye West
"Who Gon Stop Me"
Fetty Wap
"Trap Queen"
Drake
"10 Bands"
Janelle Monae & Jidenna
"Yoga"
Jay-Z & Kanye West
"Who Gon Stop Me"
Fetty Wap
"Trap Queen"
Drake
"10 Bands"


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