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Joel Bacchus Learned The Ins & Outs Of Fitness And Shed 41 Pounds Of Fat!

Joel was tired of feeling uncomfortable in his clothes, so he decided to do something about it. Read on to learn how he studied up on bodybuilding and gained all the tools necessary to lose 41 pounds!
Before Before:
164 lbs
After After:
123 lbs

Vital Stats

Name: Joel Bacchus
BodySpace: bacchus78

Age: 31
Height: 5'5.5"
Weight: 164 lbs
Body Fat: 27%

Age: 31
Height: 5'5.5"
Weight: 123 lbs
Body Fat: 7.9%

Why I Got Started

In January 2009 I was going through my wardrobe to find something to wear out for dinner and was struggling to find something that would fit. A lot of my jeans and shirts were just far too small. Shirts wouldn't button around my stomach. At that moment I took the decision to do something about it.

At That Moment I Took The Decision To Do Something About It.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
At That Moment I Took The
Decision To Do Something About It.

How I Did It

In short, three things were key to my transformation:

  • Nutrition
  • Cardio
  • Weight Training

During January for about 2 months I lowered my calorie intake to about 1500 kcal and tried to eat clean. I lost weight but the body fat wasn't moving. Then I came across an article on the web by Tom Venuto that explained you need to be physically active to burn the fat and various other things such as eating 6 meals per day instead of the traditional 3 per day.

As Tom Venuto is a bodybuilder and bodybuilders are some of the leanest people walking the planet I decided to follow this philosophy.

I did a lot of reading before I started doing anything, because I didn't understand how it was possible that someone can eat so much and still lose that much body fat. I grounded myself in nutrition, how various systems in the human body work - especially the liver.

I set up various spreadsheets to track changes in body composition and calculate macro-nutrients for meals. I started to track my calories. I calculated my BMR then multiplied it by 1.725 (meaning very active) to estimate how many calories it would take to maintain my weight. I experimented subtracting a certain percentage to enable fat loss. The optimum for me was between 15-20%.

I started to eat 6 meals per day. In addition if I'm awake at 1 a.m. then I'll have protein shake and 20 grams of peanut butter. Eating this frequently was a major change for me so it was all I focused on for a while - making sure I didn't miss a single one.

I then started substituting certain foods for more nutritious and healthy ones - like switching to whole meal bread instead of white bread, whole grain rice instead of white rice and so on.

I make sure I have a good bulk of my calories for breakfast since you been sleeping for 6-8 hours I feel this is good thing to do. I also experimented with tapering calories, but that didn't work for me as it left me feeling hungry through the night.

So instead of tapering calories I make sure I have the bulk of carbs during the first 4 meals of the day then for the last 2 meals I increase the ratio of protein.

I Did A Lot Of Reading Before I Started Doing Anything.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
I Did A Lot Of Reading Before
I Started Doing Anything.

One day I decided to go jogging and didn't get farther than about 300 yards before I had to stop - physically unable to carry on. So instead I started taking long walks on the weekend and walking in my lunch hour while at work. A month later I started jogging every other day for about a mile and gradually started increasing the distance and pace.

In May I ran my first 5km and first 10km distances. This for me was a milestone marker that my fitness was improving. I then went out and bought myself a Garmin 405cx, so I could measure my progress in all my cardio activities.

This watch proved how inaccurate some of the treadmills and exercise calorie counters are. On a 42 minute cardio session on my exercise bike the bike's counter over-estimated by 120 kcal.

I started doing fasted AM cardio on the exercise bike and the body fat started to reduce. I experimented by doing my a.m. cardio later in the day and it seemed to be an uphill struggle to get the body fat percentage figure to reduce. A.m. fasted cardio works for me and I'll continue to do it everyday.


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I've stopped drinking completely - there is no room for it in my new lifestyle - I've experimented and it has devastating effects on my results. No refined carbs (except on cheat meals which are kept to a minimum).

My cheat foods are Nando's Chicken (once a month), Jelly Babies (as little as possible - last time was about 2 months ago) and Ovaltine (Every Friday before I go to bed).

This example I have provided was a busy day so didn't have time to cook - so meals 2-4 are based around a chicken sandwich. Usually for lunch I would have cooked a chicken or beef curry or perhaps a stir-fry.

The following menu takes into account the additional 759 kcal I burned through exercise. On days that I go running I can eat up to 3500 kcal.


Up until the end of August I was doing a full body weight lifting program 2-3 days a week. It was a little random in that I would chose an exercise for each body part and do 3-5 sets and between 6-12 reps.

I usually do one warm up set of 8-10 reps, then 3 sets of 6-10 reps. I increase the weight on the second set, if I fail on a rep I reduce the weight and continue with the set. I pick a weight load that challenges me toward the later reps.

    Monday: Back And Biceps

    Tuesday: Chest And Triceps

    Wednesday: Legs

    Thursday: Shoulders

    Friday: Compound

I also go running 3 times a week - usually around the 10 km mark at 7.5 mph. I've just started swimming too.

Suggestions For Others

  • Be as positive and constructive as possible. If you have a bad result one week (i.e. your body fat increases or stays the same) take it on the chin and find a way to correct the issue. I remember on more than one occasion I had to give myself this advice. A few weeks I ended up losing muscle and gaining fat - the solution was to eat more which I also found info about on the web.
  • Experiment and make the changes that work for you. For example, my friend does his weight training first thing in the morning after eating sometimes only a grapefruit. This definitely does not work for me - I just don't have the energy in the morning for the lifting - I've tried.
  • Don't trust the calorie counters on home cardio exercise equipment unless they factor in your vital stats - like height weight, pulse rate etc.
  • Do calorie count - it is essential to know how many of those healthy calories you're consuming and also keep a check macro-nutrient ratios.

Experiment And Make The Changes That Work For You.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Experiment And Make The
Changes That Work For You.

  • If you're just starting out ignore all the fad diets.
  • Avoid alcohol - some people might be lucky and it may not be as devastating on their results but for me a big no.
  • Avoid refined carbs - switch refined carbs for whole grain, whole meal, etc.