Name: Thom Zwawa
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Why I decided to transform
I battled weight issues until high school, when I plunged into athletics, lost weight, and was recognized for my sports abilities. After high school, I became a manager in the restaurant and nightclub industry, indulged freely, and my body suffered. I went through a cycle of being overweight and losing weight again and again.
Yo-yo dieting took its toll. Seven years ago, I weighed more than 300 pounds and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I faced the harsh reality of losing my life. Instead of succumbing to my weight, I took control and recaptured my health through bodybuilding.
People thought I was crazy when I decided to compete in 2007. I used Bodybuilding.com as my go-to source for information to win the show. As my journey progressed, I looked better every week. I used diet and workout plans from Bodybuilding.com and looked at transformations for inspiration.
As the competition day drew closer, I got in the best shape of my life. I read what to do for tanning, pumping up back stage, and posing techniques on Bodybuilding.com. I weighed 189 pounds and was known as the diabetic guy with abs. When they announced first place, I shook the guys hand next to me and said "congratulations." But the guy said "You won!" I didn't hear my name for first place, but I had won.
Now I'm a celebrity fitness chef, professional trainer, and fitness nutrition coach. My global mission is to save lives. Nothing currently implemented to fight type 2 diabetes is working successfully because the problem continues to worsen. If no action is taken, the number of type 2 diabetics will grow from the current total of 371 million to nearly a billion by 2033. It's expected to cripple every healthcare system on the planet.
Endorsed by the Ohio State Medical and Diabetes Research Center, my global campaign Operation Type 2 targets anyone with type 2 diabetes, borderline type 2 and everyone who wants to prevent it. Operation Type 2 is a campaign of awareness, education, and media integration designed to motivate and empower people to regain control and live a better life.
Inspired to share my successful journey, I developed a proven system of food and fitness that can help anyone with the desire to reclaim their health. In 2013, I launched the most comprehensive, visual cookbook every made called "Better Food. Better For You." that offers 52 visual recipes.
"Better Food. Better For You." offers a realistic approach to everyday eating that is quick, simple, and cost-effective. Many of the recipes are what I call "better, not perfect" versions of the comfort foods we all love. The idea of "better, not perfect," supports the goal of my global mission: If we strive for perfection, we're setting ourselves up for failure. The only way to make permanent changes in our busy lives is in finding simple solutions.
How I accomplished my goals
I knew that I had to read and watch videos on Bodybuilding.com. I used the site as a guideline and still do. Bodybuilding.com became my personal coach. Then I made a decision to commit to live a long, healthy life. I surrounded myself with others who lived the same lifestyle.
What aspect challenged me the most
The biggest challenge was the people around me. Many people don't like to see others make progress and change their life. It makes them look in the mirror and question their own life.
My future fitness plans
My fitness goal is to be the fittest type 2 diabetic on the planet. My wife Boutsady and I are going to compete together in 2014. I'm doing a master's over 45 NPC physique show and she's competing in master's figure. In 2015, I want to compete in masters 50 and over bodybuilding on a state and national level.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Never give up on your dreams. You're never too old. When you think you're old, you become old.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
Bodybuilding.com is my online go-to for fitness information. I used the articles to educate myself on products, contest prep, and everyday life. I watched many videos on posing and the Olympia.
Thom's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Shine" by Sevendust
- "Rise Today" by Alter Bridge
- "Unraveling" by Sevendust
- "Broken Down" by Sevendust
- "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" by U2