Jay Montgomery always knew he was going to get in shape someday. He just kept putting it off—and off...and off. "Yeah, I got teased and all that," he remembers of his childhood. "So I guess you could say, unofficially, my transformation started when I was a kid. It just took the next 30 years to happen."
Over those 30 years, Jay steadily gained weight. He still yearned for change, but never fully embraced the hard work it required to happen. He wasn't a couch potato; he just lacked motivation and drive. "I worked out sporadically and was going through the motions," he says. "I would lift on Monday and Tuesday, figure that was good enough, and then take the rest of the week off. I was gaining weight, but I'd kid myself into thinking it was the muscle gain from working out. I just didn't want to face the truth."
But the truth eventually found him. First, his doctor showed him what his bad habits were doing to his health. Then, he discovered inspiration from an online story about a bodybuilder who had transformed from a body just like his.
Of course, this wasn't the end. There were more false starts along the way. But finally, Jay was ready to reach his full fitness potential. This is Jay's story.
What really began your transformation?
About two years ago, I had a physical done. The results weren't good. I had blood pressure issues, sleep apnea, and all of these problems that you don't think of people having until they're older. I couldn't believe I wasn't even middle-aged and was already looking at having to take medication for the rest of my life. Right then, I decided I needed to do better.
Weight: 260 lbs.
Body Fat: 33%
Weight: 172 lbs.
Body Fat: 14%
Where did you find your inspiration?
I was on YouTube one day, looking up how to lose weight. I saw Trelas Dyson's Fitness 360 video, where he talked about winning the Bodybuilding.com $100K Challenge all the way back in 2011.
Trelas Dyson Fitness 360
Watch the video - 11:55
I loved this guy's energy and how passionate he was. When I looked at his "before" pictures, I thought, "That looks like me. If he can do it, I can do it." I was excited for the challenge to come around and signed up the day I received the email about early registration.
I went to the Arnold Classic while I was doing the challenge, and I was able to meet all the bodybuilders I looked up to: Kizzito Ejam, Jennifer Thompson, Jessie Hilgenberg, Ashley Horner, Chassidy Smothers, Kathleen Tesori, and especially Rodney Razor.
They were larger than life to me, and they all looked phenomenal in person. I knew I had to get to that point. I had to be like them.
Did you complete the challenge?
Halfway through the challenge, I started feeling so much self-doubt. I saw other people making changes faster than I was. Their progress pictures looked better than mine. I ended up quitting about six weeks in and really just gave up.
To have it end like that felt really bad. Once I saw the videos from the winners, I was kicking myself. I couldn't help but think, "That should have been me. I should have kept going."
After feeling like that, I discovered I had better resolve to stick with the program. I started doing my own challenge, making weekly goals for myself and trying to tackle them. Once I focused on myself instead of everyone else, it was easier to stick with it.
How did you hold yourself accountable?
Every time I needed inspiration, I would turn to YouTube. That's what gave me the idea to use YouTube to hold myself accountable by starting my own channel to document my journey. I started posting videos of my progress and gaining followers and subscribers. I felt like I would be letting them down if I didn't keep making progress. They posted comments telling me to keep it up, or that I was killing it, and that was more motivation to keep going.
Were you nervous about documenting your journey publicly?
Not at all. I figured we all start somewhere. It can feel embarrassing to post "before" pictures, but as long as you don't remain a "before" picture, your beginning just shows your progress. For me, it shows where I was when I started and where I've been able to go.
Jay's Fitness Journey Trailer
Watch the video - 1:30
What lifestyle changes did you make?
I was in the trap of Southern soul food. I ate a lot of barbecue ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and chips. I also drank a lot of pop. My diet was sugary, high in carbs, and low on nutrition. I knew I needed to revamp my eating habits, so that's where I started.
I knew that it wasn't sustainable to change my whole diet all at once, so I started out just making small changes. First, I stopped drinking soda and replaced it with water. After that, I started eating grilled food instead of fried food. Then I increased my vegetable intake and started cooking at home instead of eating out. After a lot of small steps like these, I had a much healthier diet.
Oatmeal 1/2 cup
Scrambled egg whites 2
Onions, green peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos
Low-fat mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup
Grilled salmon 6 oz.
Brown rice 1 cup
Collard greens 1/2 cup
Body Fortress protein shake 2 scoops
Grilled chicken 6 oz.
Sweet potato 2/3 cup
Collard greens 1/2 cup
Do you use any supplements?
Post-workout supplement 1 serving
How did you create your workout plans?
What does your workout look like now?
What has been your biggest accomplishment during your transformation?
At the end of December 2014, I was contacted by the supplement company GenXLabs. They told me that they had seen my channel and Facebook page, and they wanted to sponsor my fitness journey. That was a great present at the end of a very long and difficult year.
Were you surprised to get sponsored?
It was a total surprise to me. They contacted me and said they loved my charisma, enthusiasm, and passion, and that they wanted to feature real people who have made big changes, like me. I was hesitant at first, because I didn't feel like I looked like a bodybuilder who represents a product, but I decided to give it a go.
What's next for you?
I am currently studying to be a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise. I plan to enter a men's physique competition in the fall and submitting an awesome 2017 BodySpace Spokesmodel video so that I can represent Bodybuilding.com as its spokesmodel next year. I'm also working two jobs.
How do you balance all of that and still pursue your goals?
It can be taxing. The first step was realizing that all the bodybuilders I look up to have families and live outside of the gym. Being a successful bodybuilder is all about making the time for what's important. If you just try to find the time, you never will. You have to make it. It only takes an hour a day to chase what you really want in life. It's difficult, but the end result is so worth it.
How have Bodybuilding.com and BodySpace helped you stay on track?
The BodySpace app is phenomenal. I love tracking my workouts. I used to be old school and use pen and paper, but inevitably, I'd forget my notepad at home. Having the accessibility on my phone to be able to track my workouts, update my weight and body fat, and to be in touch with a supportive community all in one place is so convenient and easy. It's made all the difference.