Lasting advice comes from people you look up to and aspire to be. Transforming your body to meet your standards takes courage and extreme discipline. It requires help from multiple sources. The Top 12 Transformations of 2012 are back to make sure you are still reaching, believing, and achieving. Their words will help you change.
1 / James Hobday: Gethin Magic
WEIGHT 265 lbs
BODY FAT 36%
WEIGHT 170 lbs
BODY FAT 6.8%
"I heard 'You can't do it' from various people in the beginning. I'm sure you will, too. Use this to fuel the fire and prove them all wrong. Behind every transformation is a mind more determined and focused than they even know. With every passing day, you become closer to reaching your goal. There will be highs and lows, but consistency and determination we see you through to the end. Stay strong.
"Too many people focus on the scale. Ditch the scale and look in the mirror. That is the only true reflection that shows how far you've come. Progress is a huge motivational factor. Keep track of your workouts and meals every day in and out of the weight room. As you continue to smash personal bests, the hunger will grow and you will always strive to be the best you can. Lift big, dream bigger."
2 / Karina Baymiller: Fitness Formula
WEIGHT 185 lbs
BODY FAT 37%
WEIGHT 130 lbs
BODY FAT 18%
"Plateaus happen to everyone. You've made amazing changes in your lifestyle, but eventually your body gets used to the same old routine. That's when it's time to change and kick your body back into gear. It could be adding another day of cardio or lifting, or another day of rest. When it comes to your diet, I'm a big fan of calorie- and carb-cycling plans to keep your body guessing. Tune in and listen to your body, because only you know what's right for you.
"During the two years it took me to lose 60 pounds, I hit plenty of plateaus. I kept pushing through and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I told myself to never give up. Positive self-talk is a fantastic way to push through the last rep or avoid overindulging in dessert. Sit down, take a deep breath, and reflect on your amazing achievements. Tell yourself that you can do this. I'm right there with you every step of the way."
3 / Javier Hernandez: Dis This!
WEIGHT 310 lbs
BODY FAT 32%
WEIGHT 170 lbs
BODY FAT 12%
"For those embarking to be a better self, it's definitely a journey worth taking. Like everything in life, it will have its ups and downs. It's natural to have fears of failure. Remember, it starts with you, it's meant for you, and it ends with you. You'll face lots of naysayers, but you have to stay strong, have patience, and never forget why you began. It's helpful to keep a journal and a before picture.
"Don't get discouraged by a scale. Your body will start to take shape before the pounds come off or go on. Surround yourself with positive and knowledgeable people who protect your flame. Nothing worth fighting for is easy, but it's always worth the effort. There are no words to explain the feeling when you accomplish a goal or obtain the power to overcome doubt. You have a choice to be a better, stronger, and healthier you. Don't ever underestimate your abilities."
4 / Christina Clausen: She Shed 103 Post-Pregnancy Pounds!
WEIGHT 200 lbs
BODY FAT 25%
WEIGHT 97 lbs
BODY FAT 11%
"Unfortunately, life happens and it doesn't care if you have a goal to meet. I started my last contest prep during the peak season for work as a structural steel erector in Chicago. I was slammed and stressed out, but I kept going, I stayed on track with my diet and worked out whenever I had a one-hour window. I ended up competing and won my pro card almost exactly one year after I started my transformation. I would not have been able to do it without the love and support of my friends, family, and amazing husband.
"My best advice is to surround yourself with supportive people. I'm currently prepping for the Arnold Amateur 2013. Five weeks out, my cousin, who was like a brother to me, was killed in a car crash. Heartbroken and devastated, my first thought was, 'It's over. I'm not doing the Arnold.' I refused to get out of bed, but my husband told me go to the gym. You need a fitness goal and you must surround yourself with professionals and supportive friends and family to get through whatever life throws at you."
5 / Roland Varadi: Half The Man
WEIGHT 324 lbs
WEIGHT 161 lbs
"The importance of daily exercise isn't a trend. It's something your body requires throughout life. The misconception that quick and simple processes are the best sets the wrong example and makes us lazy at all levels. Our body is the temple of our soul.
"I was overweight for years and constantly made excuses to avoid exercise. When the scale hit 324 pounds, I made a decision to get healthy, feel powerful, and look different. I lost my first 65 pounds in six months by taking baby steps. I watched what I ate, drink more water, gave up desserts, and started doing a half hour of daily exercise like crunches and cycling on stationary bike. It was a nice and comfortable way to make my first big step.
"Be patient, start with baby steps, and always look for new challenges. The mind will follow the body. If you fall off the horse like I did, don't worry. Get back on and fight harder than before. Your body will support you. You just have to decide."
6 / Elizabeth McKinney Hill: Queen Of The Hill
WEIGHT 220 lbs
BODY FAT 30%
WEIGHT 126 lbs
BODY FAT 14%
"I have come to look at fitness as a journey, not a race. I keep myself motivated by setting small, obtainable goals that I can hit in a week like losing two pounds or shaving seconds off my mile time. Teach yourself something new about your health and fitness every day. Knowledge really is power. When you understand why you eat the food you do and what it does for your body, you will make smarter choices. Form a habit and stick to your guns.
"I started seeing real results about six months into my journey. Everyone else could see them earlier, but at six months, I really felt good in my skin and nothing could stop me at that point. I love posting new recipes on the refrigerator and trying new spices. Keep it fresh and always remember: "Healthy from the inside out." Don't rush it. All good things come to those who wait. Believe in yourself. Put one clean day in front of another and watch the changes happen. When you have a cheat streak, forget about it and start the next meal off right."
7 / Jordan Grahm: Losing The Big Win
WEIGHT 380 lbs
BODY FAT 40%
WEIGHT 220 lbs
BODY FAT 16%
"Body transformations start with the mind. Controlling the dialogue inside your head yields long-lasting changes. It's one thing to get temporarily motivated and be strict on the path to transforming, but it's a totally different beast to stick with it and continuing making progress. The going will get tough.
"Thoughts of living life the way it used to be will surface. These are the times when you must dig deep and pull out the reasons why you're transforming and staying true to your passion and drive. People will say that it can't be done, that you should quit and revert to your previous lifestyle. Let those people motivate you even more. You are not like them.
"I never knew my own strength, physically or mentally. Now I know it's limitless. Transforming your body is about transforming your mind. We are capable of strength far beyond what we can fathom. All it takes is one more step, and one more rep. Now is the time to shape the rest of your life."
8 / Kelsey Byers: A Model Transformation
WEIGHT 175 lbs
BODY FAT 30%
WEIGHT 135 lbs
BODY FAT 12%
"During my weight-loss journey, there were plenty of times I felt like giving up, especially in the beginning. It's tough to keep pushing when the results aren't quite there. I started eating clean and lifting weights with only one cheat meal per week. I slowly started getting results, but when I put 99.5 percent of my focus into clean meals, the big results came.
"Within just 2-3 months of consistent clean eating and training, my body reshaped itself. A big part of my motivation was taking measurements and progress pictures once per month. That's when the real proof came to the surface. I knew I was putting on muscle, so I quit being obsessed with the number. I went from 24 to 15 percent body fat while staying at 140 pounds.
"There were plenty of people who questioned and made fun of my new meal schedule. I decided to stick with it and let my results speak for themselves. There were times I wanted to quit. That's usually about the time I received an email from someone telling me I motivated them to start their own weight-loss journey."
9 / Dan Michno: Wrestling With Obesity
WEIGHT 375 lbs
BODY FAT 52%
WEIGHT 205 lbs
BODY FAT 12%
"One of the biggest lessons I learned was how to keep pushing. I had people who I thought were my best friends tell me I'd never get into shape. I heard doctors say it was impossible. Guess what? There were wrong. When people say you can't do it, do it to prove them wrong.
"You have to ignore what people say. Look past the obstacles that stand in your way and reach for the prize. Set a goal and don't stop until you hit it. What good is a victory if you don't have to fight for it? You can't afford to stop fighting. Think about what you are pushing for. Life is meant to be enjoyed. You can't enjoy life when you are enslaved to obesity.
"The biggest battle anyone will ever face is in their own mind. The only way I could deal with my insecurities was by setting up lots of little goals. When I accomplished something, I was satisfied and happy. When you're hitting goals, you become more social because it builds confidence. It's amazing how something as simple as hanging out with a few friends can change your perspective on life."
10 / Addie Williams: Fitness Addie
WEIGHT 180 lbs
BODY FAT 42%
WEIGHT 135 lbs
BODY FAT 19.9%
"To transform, you have to change the way you think about food, yourself, and your body. When you start to question yourself, just keep going. There will be times that you won't want to go to the gym. Life hurdles will get in the way during your transformation. Find a way to get around those hurdles fast and safe.
"People will say extremely negative things about your goals because they don't understand why you are doing it. They won't understand how you can be so determined and committed. When they don't understand and talk badly about you, they're only doing it because they're jealous and want to bring you down with them.
"When you don't feel like going to the gym, make yourself go, because I guarantee you will feel much better after you complete your workout for the day. Don't allow anything to keep you from staying true to yourself. Your body goes through an adjustment period when you start living a healthier lifestyle. You will want to quit and give up because that's what you've been used to, but don't give up. You will make it to the finish line."
11 / Gary Brunner: Power Plan
WEIGHT 250 lbs
BODY FAT 30%
WEIGHT 190 lbs
BODY FAT 8%
"Attaining a muscular physique with relatively low body fat takes more than just a little weight lifting, cardio, and calorie-watching. As I learned more about getting lean and after reading tons of nutritional information, it was apparent that strict macronutrient tracking was a must.
"I didn't begin tracking everything until about six months into my transformation. Researching nutrition and learning to track my macros helped me understand the importance of getting my required nutrients every day. Miraculously, after adhering to a plan geared toward building lean muscle, changes started to appear.
"There was many times during the past three years that I wanted to quit lifting and stop eating the right things because the changes weren't happening overnight. It was frustrating for many months to not see immediate results.
"The most important piece of advice I can give to someone starting out is to work hard every day in the gym and work even harder at a balanced nutritional plan aimed at meeting your transformation goals. Without these two key ingredients for success, you will undoubtedly find yourself making excuses to give up."
12 / Michelle Karch: Michelle Ditched Her Harmful Addictions
WEIGHT 217 lbs
BODY FAT 30%
WEIGHT 120 lbs
BODY FAT 13%
"Stop obsessing over a number on the scale. Since my transformation, I have re-evaluated the priorities in my life. I have gained and lost weight, and binged and dieted. The best part is that I'm still learning. If I focus on being healthy, strong, and happy, the weight doesn't seem to be an issue. If my clothes start feeling a bit snug, I know to cut back a little. When my size ones get loose, it's OK to eat a bit more.
"I work out to challenge my strength. I try to make good food choices, but sometimes I eat chocolate cake because it's delicious. I'm a fat kid at heart and will always be. I know what it's like to be a size 22 and what it takes to have a fitness model body. I wasn't truly happy at either extreme, so I focus on finding a middle ground.
"Cut yourself some slack, and if you fall off the proverbial wagon, remember that it doesn't exist. Each minute of every day you are given the chance to start over. If you don't like where you are, you have the chance to change it. You can start right now. It's all up to you. That's the beauty of it. You are the key to your success."