My life has changed dramatically!


It's time for another awesome success story from one of our ELM Challengers! If you have a story you would like to share about your success and adventures with ELM please send it my way! You never know who you are inspiring...

Joe, you made record changes to your health and fitness during your first 10 week Full On Fitness & Nutrition Challenge. You lost 27 pounds, 9 inches and dropped 8% body fat...moving from the 'Obese' body composition category to the 'Fitness' category in the process!

How were you feeling before you started the ELM Challenge?

I had hit rock bottom as far as health was concerned. I was the heaviest I had ever been and I could feel it. I had no energy and zero motivation to change as it felt so daunting. I was out of breath simply getting off the couch...seriously. I felt depressed and embarrassed at what i had become.

How do you feel now that you have successfully completed the ELM Challenge?

My life has changed dramatically. not just physically but mentally. I have energy with a renewed enthusiasm for health and fitness. Given that my job is very physical, I have really noticed my increased ability to sustain a quick pace. I am noticeably stronger in "real world activities" and can maintain a higher output.

How did the ELM Challenge help you achieve these changes?

ELM taught me some of the basic fundamentals of good health and fitness practices but more specifically the tools to apply those skills. The skills assessment combined with the thorough body measurements, although humiliating and terrifying, gave me tangible goals to really track my success.
A large part of that success was having someone to hold me accountable and to motivate me along the way. I often thought about not wanting to disappoint, not only Sarah, but others who were in the challenge.

What specific changes did you make to your nutrition during the 10 weeks?

Over the course of 10 weeks my diet changed from approximately 5% to 80% whole food. In the first week I tracked my food I was averaging7000-10 000 calories per day. Most of those calories were fast food and junk food. With the adjustment of whole foods and the re-introduction of fruit and vegetables to my diet I easily maintained 2000 calories daily.

How difficult were these changes?

I would say very difficult. I had formed an emotional attachment to fast food which made giving it up extremely hard. The first 2 weeks were the hardest but got easier as new, healthier habits were formed. I felt less deprived by week 4.

What specific changes did you make to your fitness during the 10 weeks?

My overall activity was at a minimum before the challenge. I had quit doing most of the things I liked as I couldn't participate at a level where I was used to. For example; I had quit Mt. biking because I couldn't keep up with the group any longer. After my first consultation I was given an exercise prescription which I followed religiously. It involved cardio 3 times a week and interval type training 3 times a week.

How difficult was it to make these?

Similar to food, it was a total reversal of what I was used to. It was difficult at first but I quickly gained momentum which motivated me further.

What obstacles did you face during the ELM Challenge and how did you over come them?

The fact that I am in Campbell River was difficult as I was unable to connect with other challengers and participate in the ELM bootcamps. I did, however, get a gym pass in town and formed some other connections with locals who had similar goals. Staying motivated was also a challenge but Sarahs weekly check ins and homework always gave me a kick in the a**.

How did you stay motivated during the ELM Challenge?

As mentioned previously, the weekly check ins were crucial. I also tracked my weight and diet progress with "Lose it" which allowed me to look back and see my achievements.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to make changes to their fitness? Any tips or tricks that helped you?

I had to be completely honest. If i ate it, I tracked it and if I exercised for 10 minutes I tracked 10 minutes. That way I couldn't deny the facts or be surprised that I didn't lose weight that week. If you can approach the challenge with a bit of humility and willingness to learn you will most definitely be successful.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience?

My drive to eat healthy and exercise continues to grow on a daily basis. I am joining the ELM Full on Fitness & Nutrition Challenge again in January to continue this journey and focus more on fitness rather than weight loss. The challenge was only the beginning; A catalyst to a better more fit me! Thanks ELM!

Joe Zemanek