Mark Lost 130 Pounds On A College-Student's Budget

Overweight and bullied, Mark began eating nothing but fruit and vegetables in order to lose weight. Hungry for more, he hit the weights to achieve his dream body.

Mark always loved food, but he couldn't figure out how to say "when." When he began playing football in junior high, being a lineman was yet another excuse to eat more. Unfortunately, his playing days were short-lived due to injury, and he was stuck with no form of structured exercise and the same old eating habits.

Mark's weight soared quickly, and by the time he reached high school, he had surpassed 300 pounds. He was bullied for his size, and often felt depressed. When his weight left him on the outside of a party looking in, Mark knew something had to change.

This is Mark's story.

Q

What spurred you to begin your weight-loss journey?

Growing up, I would eat everything in sight. It didn't matter to me what time of day; I just ate when I was hungry. At family outings and reunions, I would be going for thirds and fourths. Food was everything to me. As I got older, I began playing football, so it was all right to get bigger. However, once a concussion injury impacted my high school football career, I decided to stop.

There were days when I was depressed about my weight as well as being naturally self-conscious about it. I was a kind of a quiet guy who had a mild case of social anxiety. On top of that, when I was growing up, I was bullied for being as big as I was.

I decided I needed to drop all this fat was when my best friend couldn't invite me to go kayaking for his birthday because of the weight limit. By that time, I was 330 pounds. When he explained the reason he couldn't invite me, I saw that my weight had gotten out of control.

I'd known my best friend since kindergarten. We were close and did everything together, so I was devastated. I knew it was time for a change.

Before 330 lbs.
After 193 lbs.
Age: 15
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 330 lbs.
Body Fat: 45%
Age: 20
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 193 lbs.
Body Fat: 15%

What was the first step you took to lose weight?

Fortunately, my best friend cared enough about me to sense that I was upset about not being able to attend his birthday party. With my best interests in mind, he recommended we watch the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" together.

I was shocked to learn the huge impact nutrition had on health. That was the moment I truly grasped the power of choosing healthy foods. Right then, I made the decision to commit to juicing—no solid foods whatsoever.

Although many people doubted my approach would work, I lost 130 pounds in six months. It was nice hearing the praise of family and friends, but I didn't feel as good as I thought I would. It was great having lots of energy, but I still didn't feel in tip-top shape. I'd become skinny-fat and wasn't completely happy with my progress.

What steps did you take to take your physique to the next level?

After solely juicing, I still knew very little about nutrition, but I was much more conscious of choosing smaller portions and eating more fruits and vegetables than I had been before.

It wasn't until my freshman year of college that I lifted weights for the first time. I was instantly hooked. During the next two years, I tried all sorts of workouts, diets, and supplements, but nothing really worked. I felt as if I was just spinning my wheels.

I continued reading everything I could about nutrition and exercise. Finally, I came across the two programs that formed the foundation of my future muscle-building success and led to the body I have now: "Get Big on a Budget" and "8x8 Workout: Shock Your Muscles Into Growth!" Now, people want advice from me, and it feels good to help others out with their aesthetic aspirations. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.

There's not a point in my day that I'm not full of energy. I can genuinely say that I'm happy with how I look and feel. I'm a different person than I was in high school.

How did "Get Big on a Budget" guide your nutrition?

I followed Jason "Huge" Huh's plan exactly as it was laid out, with the only change being a substitution of brown rice for white rice. This plan worked perfectly for me because it aligned with my muscle-building goals and my college-based budget.

It may sound crazy, but I ate that plan every single day, only adding salt and pepper as needed. I kept the mindset that I was eating for a bigger purpose—rather than for pleasure—to help me push through each day.

Meal 1

Chicken breast 5 oz.


Egg 1 large


Brown rice 1 cup


Meal 2

Chicken breast 5 oz.


Brown rice 1 cup


Meal 3

Chicken breast 5 oz.


Egg 1 large


Brown rice 1 cup


Meal 4

Chicken breast 5 oz.


Brown rice 1 cup


Meal 5

Chicken breast 5 oz.


Egg 1 large


Brown rice 1 cup


Meal 6

Chicken breast 5 oz.


Brown rice 1 cup



Did you ever cheat on your diet?

I had one cheat meal a month, but instead of going for a buffet-style meal, I chose a healthy alternative, such as a turkey burger. I didn't feel I needed a cheat meal often, and when I did, I wasn't concerned with going out of control, because I knew I didn't want to slow my progress.

What training plan helped you get to where you are today?

I was a total noob when it came to working out. The program that finally worked for me was the "8x8 Workout" by Grenade athlete Jamie Alderton. This program is still the basis of my training. I love the short rest periods, because they allow me to keep moving nonstop. I also like the high-volume approach, because it's provided me with my best results to date.

"There's not a point in my day that I'm not full of energy. I'm a different person than I was in high school."
Day 1: Full-body workout
Warm-up
1

Cardio

10 min.
Cardio Cardio

2

Barbell bench press

8 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

3

Push press

8 sets of 8 reps
Push Press Push Press

4

Barbell squat

8 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

5

Triceps dip

8 sets of 8 reps
8 sets of 8 reps 8 sets of 8 reps

6

EZ-bar biceps curl

8 sets of 8 reps
8 sets of 8 reps 8 sets of 8 reps

7

Rack pull

8 sets of 8 reps
Rack Pulls Rack Pulls

8

Dumbbell shrug

8 sets of 8 reps
Dumbbell Shrug Dumbbell Shrug

9

Seated leg curl

8 sets of 8 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

Day 2: Full-body workout
Warm-up
1

Cardio

10 min.
Cardio Cardio

2

Cable fly

8 sets of 8 reps
cable fly cable fly

3

Lateral raise

8 sets of 8 reps
Lateral raise Lateral raise

4

Jump squat

8 sets of 8 reps
Freehand Jump Squat Freehand Jump Squat

5

Triceps rope push-down

8 sets of 8 reps
Triceps rope push-down Triceps rope push-down

6

Lying cable biceps curl

8 sets of 8 reps
Lying cable biceps curl Lying cable biceps curl

7

Lat pull-down

8 sets of 8 reps
Lat pull-down Lat pull-down

8

Upright cable row

8 sets of 8 reps
Upright Cable Row Upright Cable Row

9

Barbell lunge

8 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Lunge Barbell Lunge

Days 3 & 4: Rest
Day 5: Full-body workout
Warm-up
1

Cardio

10 min.
Cardio Cardio

2

Dumbbell bench press

8 sets of 8 reps
Dumbbell Bench Press Dumbbell Bench Press

3
Seated dumbbell shoulder press Seated dumbbell shoulder press

4

Leg press

8 sets of 8 reps
Leg Press Leg Press

5

Close-grip bench press

8 sets of 8 reps
Close-grip bench press Close-grip bench press

6

Barbell biceps curl

8 sets of 8 reps
Barbell biceps curl Barbell biceps curl

7

Bent-over row

8 sets of 8 reps
Bent-over row Bent-over row

8

Barbell shrug

8 sets of 8 reps
Barbell Shrug Barbell Shrug

9

Stiff-legged deadlift

8 sets of 8 reps
Stiff-legged deadlift Stiff-legged deadlift

Day 6: Full-body workout
Warm-up
1

Cardio

10 min.
Cardio Cardio

2

Dumbbell fly

8 sets of 8 reps
Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell Flyes

3
Alternating dumbbell front raise Alternating dumbbell front raise

4

Leg extension

8 sets of 8 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

5

Overhead triceps extension

8 sets of 8 reps
Overhead triceps extension Overhead triceps extension

6

Alternating hammer curl

8 sets of 8 reps
Alternate Hammer Curl Alternate Hammer Curl

7

Pull-up

8 sets of 8 reps
Pull-up Pull-up

8

Lying leg curl

8 sets of 8 reps
Lying Leg Curls Lying Leg Curls

9

Shrug

8 sets of 8 reps
Shrug Shrug

Days 7 & 8: Rest

Did you ever think about quitting?

I thought about quitting often. Being bullied and weighing 330 pounds was excruciating, and it left me a shell of the person I truly am. I made a promise to myself that I would never go back to that state, and the potential fear that I could is what kept me motivated and on track.

I didn't care about impressing others. I was doing this for me. I didn't want to stay the same person I was before. I knew I wanted to change for the better. Plus, I knew it was much easier to eat healthy foods and exercise then to deal with the harassment and depression.

Who was your inspiration?

My best friend was and is my inspiration. I don't think he will ever know the impact he's had on my life as a pillar of positivity and the most genuine person I know. He instilled a genuine drive in me that made me want to better myself, and he supported me in everything that I did.

What supplements do you take?


What was the hardest part of your transformation?

The most challenging aspect for me was the diet. Eating the same thing every day grew tiresome. It was also difficult going to restaurants with family and friends and choosing not to order. Ultimately, I wanted progress more than anything, and I wasn't going to let one night out slow me down.

What are your future fitness plans?

Fitness is now a top priority in my life. I hope to graduate from the University of Arizona next year with a degree in journalism and potentially combine writing and my passion for fitness as a way to help others.

What suggestions do you have for aspiring transformers?

First, keep your motivation close. Had I given into my negative thoughts and emotions, I wouldn't have made the changes I did. Staying positive is key during tough times. For me, music and motivational videos revved me up when I was discouraged. I watched "How Bad Do You Want It?" pretty much every day.

Second, prepare ahead of time. The convenience of having food already prepped was invaluable during my transformation, especially with my hectic class schedule. Without being able to stop home and heat up a quick meal, I would have been much more likely to stop at a fast-food place on campus.

And finally, drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated helped me to feel full throughout the day. I aim for two gallons of water per day so that I am less likely to feel hungry or inclined to stray from my plan.

How has Bodybuilding.com help you reach your fitness goals?

Bodybuilding.com was my biggest resource. I found everything related to my diet, supplementation, and training plan on the site. If it weren't for the credible, informative articles and easy-to-buy supplements, I don't think any of this would have been possible. I am forever grateful.

Mark's Favorite Gym Tracks

Public Enemy
"M.P.E"
Travi$ Scott
"Antidote"
Kanye West
"Blood on the Leaves"
Kendrick Lamar
"m.A.A.d. city"
Public Enemy
"M.P.E"
Travi$ Scott
"Antidote"
Kanye West
"Blood on the Leaves"
Kendrick Lamar
"m.A.A.d. city"


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