I’m finally getting my butt in gear and announcing our winners for the New Years contest. We had so many entries – it took me a while to get through them all. It’s been a big process, but it’s been really cool to see some of these transformations happen in real time.
It was tough to narrow them down, not only going through physical changes, but also the stories of the people behind them but after much deliberation, we narrowed it down to our top 3 (with 1 runner up).
We had some big prizes at stake, but some of the biggest transformations actually actively turned down the prizes. While they started because of the different prizes at stake, they realized in the middle of the challenge that they were doing it for themselves – not some prizes – no matter how awesome they may be. And so while I’ll be sharing their stories coming up in the next few months, there were a ton of people who finished out the contest and deserve the swag. Here they are:
Here are the results of the winners in their own words.
Honorable Mention: Alessandra
24 year old, Quality Assurance Manager
Lost 7 pounds in 8 weeks, but gained a six pack and one cool pair of sunglasses.
What’s Your Story Allesandra?
I’ve always been pretty fit, but got to a space where I was teetering. I just thought that was where I was going to stay. I made tiny strides of progress, but then would fall back at square one. Basically I was good, but not great.
I started off at 140 lbs (I’m 5’4”) and measurements of 37:28:40. I’ve always been in decent shape and loved my curves, but there was no reason why my stomach shouldn’t be totally flat. There were a ton of reasons why I wanted to get fitter and stronger and I just needed and excuse to do it. Honestly, I never realized how much social pressures affected my lifestyle. I was weeaaaakkkkk.
What type of Results Did You See?
Every week I felt some sort of change. First, it was endurance. I realized that I suck at starting a workout, but once I got into the groove, I could go forever. That’s when I started doing back to back MMA classes so I had 2 hours for ass kicking. Then, I felt my core get stronger. I was in better control of all my movements, especially headstands and handstands. I’ve always been an excellent yogi, but the extra arm and core strength had me pushing harder and finally getting into the full expression of some of the most challenging poses. Finally, my cardio started improving. I live in a 4th floor walk up and while getting up the stairs has never been an issue, these days it’s like NOTHING.
I hesitate to give final weight and measurements as I went on a bit of a bender during my last week, so this is in no way final, but here it goes: 133 lbs; 34.5:27:38.5.
I realized that a really hate starting an exercise on my own. If I’m in a class, I can jump right in, but that first bit of motivation (I mean, discipline), is hard to muster. Getting past those first ten minutes is the worst, but after one circuit, I didn’t want to stop working out. I’m still working on getting rid of the fear of the first ten minutes, but I’m definitely better prepared to face them.
As far as eating goes, “I don’t need it” became a sort of mantra. And I don’t. I don’t need bread. It was such a staple and it can be annoying not being able to eat sandwiches and other convenient gluten wrapped foods, but I don’t effing need it!
Any Words Out There For People Thinking About The Challenge?
I’ve been toying with the idea of going paleo for awhile, and this was the push I needed. Having the excuse of a contest to decline alcohol really takes the social anxiety out of the equation, and now that I feel amazing, I don’t even care about the social implications of drinking less and cooking more. I also can say, I can’t meet you out that night, I have an MMA class, and not feel guilty. Feeling better in my own skin had killed my FOMO (fear of missing out).
Five stars. Highly recommended. Just try it already. NOW.
Third Place: Josh
27 year-old Australian. Former fat guy.
Total weight loss = 17.6 pounds
What’s your background Josh? Tell me a little bit about your story:
I come from an overweight family. I’m not sure how much genetics has to play in it, but inactivity, good food and too keen an interest in bright colours and flashing lights (read: TV) had some input I’m sure. Being of the build I am, weight was extremely easy to put on, and it seemed the family way of life and the path down which my life was headed. Fast food, soda, junk food, and binges on bread and sweets was almost a weekly occurrence.
For too many years this has been going on. I graduated High School 9 years ago at a weight of 85kg, and since then I’ve seen it fluctuate from 79kg (working as a dishwasher in a restaurant and being poor will do this), all the way up to most recently a whopping 104kg. That was in September 2012.
Since September I’ve been following about a 75% paleo diet, with the odd bit of exercise in there when it was convenient to do so. I noticed some of the weight simply melt away and by New Years i was a decent 94kg.
I’ve been a reader of Impossible HQ for the last 10 months, give or take a few, and I’ve owned a copy of the Impossible Abs program since it was released. And I am super encouraged by the honesty, badassery and constant pushing that is dished out on the blog and through email correspondence.
Before Christmas, I took a leap of faith (decided to blackmail myself) and signed up and paid for a Tough Mudder event. All I needed now was the kick in the butt.
Okay, so you took on the challenge, right around New Years. What types of results did you see? How did you not fall off the wagon like so many people do?
The biggest result I noticed was only a moderate drop in weight. At the start of the competition, I weighed in at 93-94kg and at the end I struck in at 86kg. That’s only 7-8kg lost (~17.6 pounds for us state side). It doesn’t sound like much, and I really thought I was going to lose more. However, I gained a lot more than I anticipated.
Core strength is the largest improvement I noticed. Obviously improvements in numbers of repetitions of exercises and the depth or intensity at which I do them were noticeable as well. But, the biggest, especially coming from a life lived mostly on the couch, was definitely core strength. The power and control that I now have over how my body undertakes movements was the best realization I had.
I’ve been getting comments from all sorts of people about how much better i’m looking, which is always great to hear. It’s also great being able to fit into better clothes. I even found a pair of pants that I put away because I was too fat to fit into them (I’m now too thin to wear them – they practically just fall off me!). I’ve also moved down about 4″ in pants and belts size since September.
It’s cool to see the physical changes, isn’t it? How did the challenge change you mentally?
This was also one of the biggest improvements I noticed. Mental Grit, is the term I believe. Obstacles seem a lot smaller and more easily tackled. My optimism is through the roof, my confidence is up and all bets are off as to what the future holds.
Yes, it was quite difficult at times, and there were certainly days where I thought about skipping a workout (and I’m not above mentioning that, yes, there were a few days where i did skip the workout, but for the most part, I stuck it out (and some days where I ended up outside the house doing exercise at 10pm).
Killer story Josh, what’s next for you man?
The overall result is that I want to continue down the path i’ve been on for the last 2 months, I have the tools to continue and mental determination to keep going. Self-discipline is better than it was, and there is definitely room for improvement. One day i will finally have the 6 pack abs. I don’t want them for looks, or vanity, i want them for the sake of it, to prove that i can do it, that i can take something to it’s full end.
- Race entry of your choice to one of the following (Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, GORUCK)
- Primal Fuel from Primal Nutrition
- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
- Pigskin Paleo by Marla Sarris
Second Place: Kiernan
42 year old mother of 3.
Total weight loss = 15 pounds.
I am a 42 year old mom of three. I am a yoga instructor, and I “live” yoga but I workout by running. Most of what I do for fitness revolves around being in shape for half marathon or marathon distance events. By 1/1/2013 I had fallen out of shape though. Lots of things conspired to create a perfect storm of self-medicating. A big part of that was 12/14. My kids go to school in Newtown, CT – they have for their whole lives. The shootings have turned my life upside down.
By the first of this year, I knew I needed to grab control of SOMETHING. I decided to make it the hardest thing I could think of. I had read about Impossible Abs on the blog, and I had dismissed it out of hand. Paleo eating is kind of contrary to my endurance runner/plant focused way of eating. Plus, an 8 hour window just seemed ridiculous. The workouts didn’t “scare” me but they did seem like something I would absolutely hate and dread. So – I decided to change the meaning of “Impossible” into something good. If something impossibly horrible like the Sandy Hook shootings can happen, then so can things that are impossibly great.
All right, lets cut to the chase – what types of results did you see?
I lost 15+ pounds. I am close to 5’6″ so that’s a pretty significant difference. My final weight is 137 and that’s within a pound of my lightest weight ever. I went from needing to go get size 6 jeans to having my size 4 start to fall off. Even my yoga tights are roomy! I also got back my upper body definition, not seen since I did Insanity a few years ago. I have better leg strength than I can get just from running. My sleep has improved, my skin and hair has a significantly healthier look. My belly is calm ALL THE TIME.
I have basically lost my taste for sweets. To me, this is HUGE. I take my coffee black, I don’t look twice at cakes and cookies. I see these changes as maybe more important for the long run than the burgeoning six-pack. I am eating so clean now, and I plan to continue to do so. My next challenge is to run a marathon in May at a light weight and see how that affects my performance. My kids are eating better too! What a bonus. Also, in the photos you can see my guns!!
So what about the mental aspect of the challenge?
The challenge was really all mental for me. And I am a tough person. I’ve done drug free childbirth three times. I’ve done GORUCK and other all night physical tests. I’ve run marathons. I embrace hard workouts and I know how to lean into the sucky parts. The diet was tough, since I love toast and peanut butter! The workouts were tough because I really dislike pullups and burpees. But I just embraced it.
I am SO fortunate that my boyfriend did the program along with me. He is truly tough mentally. He never even seemed to want to waiver or complain. Together, we ate kale and fish and eggs and greens and fruit. We drank water and black coffee. We did not have even a cheat “moment” for eight weeks. Carlos managed to lose over 30 pounds during the challenge!
Awesome! We need to get Carlos’ story on here. Any additional thoughts on the challenge in general?
I learned from this. I read a LOT about fitness and diet, I’ve done P90X and Insanity and Asylum. I live yoga. I know my body and I know what I’m doing, yet I learned from this. I learned about how making a few seemingly impossible moves to clean up my diet could make a very big difference. I learned about how I can maintain and build fitness doing things that take less time! I learned big things about myself too – about what I can give up and what I need. About how much I’m willing to do things differently than those around me.
I think the best thing I can say about this program is that I am going to make a LOT of it my lifestyle. Specifically, the clean eating (I’m not staying Paleo, can’t give up grains completely and don’t really like to eat much meat). But no processed food! I won’t buy dairy – just have it out at a restaurant once in a while. AND – Monday thru Friday we continue to eat Impossible Abs style completely. I also plan to incorporate pushups and pullups consistently even when marathon training.
Prizes Kiernan Is Going Home With
- Her Choice of Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
- $50 giftcard to Grassfed Wellness meats.
- Race entry of her choice to one of the following (Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, GORUCK)
- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
- Pigskin Paleo by Marla Sarris
First Place: Brock
29 years old. Full time desk jockey, full-time student, family man, and father of 3.
Total weight lost = 25.5 pounds
Brock, what’s your story?
Well, I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself. I’m 29 years old, I have a family with three kids. I work full time, and also go to school full time (going to graduate with my BS in Accounting in December). I’m 6’1″ and when I started this contest I weighed in at 193 pounds with a 42.5″ Chest and 40″ waist (measured at the belly button). I started this challenge a week late and didn’t start exercising until a week after that, but did reign in my diet for the first week. I used your free No Excuse Workout for 6 weeks and no other exercise. I found it pretty challenging to get it started. I didn’t realize how out of shape I really was! After spending a year in Iraq as a Calvary Scout with the Army National guard I really started packing on the pounds over the last couple years. I also quit working out after I got back. I pretty much did the bare minimum health wise, no exercise and eat anything and everything.
What Type of Results Did You See?
Here are my weekly weigh-ins
- 3-Jan – 193
- 10-Jan – 185.2
- 14-Jan – 183.5
- 19-Jan – 180
- 27-Jan – 179.2
- 3-Feb – 175.7
- 12-Feb – 173
- 19-Feb – 171.8
- 3-Mar – 167.5
That is a total weight lost of 25.5 pounds, 3.5 inches off my chest and a whopping 5 inches of my waist!!!!
Besides looking better, most importantly I feel great! I’ll admit that it was extremely hard to keep going the first couple weeks. I was tired, sore and wanted to give up. I knew that it would eventually pass when I was in shape for the Army. And it did, once that initial stage of pain was over I looked forward to working out. Plus when I was finished working out I felt great when it over. I wasn’t as tired or sluggish at the end of the day and fell a sleep quicker at night as well.
Was There A Mental Barrier To This Challenge At All?
I think the challenge really helped me break past that mental barrier and give me an end date to work towards. The hardest part is always starting out. Now that I’ve been in the swing of things it much easier to keep the momentum going. I plan on upgrading to Impossible Abs when I get my tax money back. I’ve also started training for a GORUCK Challenge, which is what I will pick if I happen to place in the top three. Even if I don’t win I plan on pursing the challenge anyways and earning my patch!
1st Place Prizes He’s Going Home With
- 16GB iPad Mini.
- His Choice of Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
- $150 Giftcard To Grassfed Wellness meats.
- Race entry of his choice to one of the following (Spartan Race, Warrior Dash,Tough Mudder, GORUCK)
- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
- Pigskin Paleo by Marla Sarris
Josh, Kiernan & Brock – shoot me an email & lets get in touch & I’ll ship you your prizes. Nice work.
These are just some of the few of the stories we got in. It made me incredibly proud to see what people could accomplish in just 8 weeks – AND how their entire trajectory for the year changed because of the habits they made in the first two months.
This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that results are not typical – but I’d really hate to do that. Of course, these results aren’t typical if you just buy a book and expect it to transform your life. You have to take the time & energy to invest yourself in actually doing the work. If you do that, sure your mileage may vary, but the physical results will come along & the mental ones might be even greater.
What’s cool is that the results came came from about an even 50/50 split between the programs.. About 50 percent of the participants used impossible abs. & 50% just used the free no excuse workouts. You won’t hear too many fitness people tell you this, but you really don’t need the latest & greatest gear, equipment or programs to do what you really want to do. While solid info definitely can give you a boost, the real secret to fitness is this:
Half the battle is doing the work.
All the fitness secrets in the world won’t help you if you don’t get that foundation down.
So congratulations everyone. I’ve never been happier to spend a few thousand dollars on things that for other people that I want badly for myself (but hey, at least I’m racking up miles). I think this was a lot of fun. It was cool to see how many people got jumpstarted by the bribery, but once they were in, they kept going for themselves (I even had a few people voluntarily disqualify themselves from the prize because “they wanted to do it for themselves, not a prize.”) That’s what it’s all about and I can’t wait to share some of those stories :).
Again, thanks to everyone who participated in the Impossible Abs challenge. I keep coming back to the fact that Impossible Abs is different from a lot of fitness programs for a reason. It’s not about shortcuts. It’s not about vanity. It’s not about crash dieting. It’s about taking control, creating habits & making a change.
I loved this quote from Josh (down 40+ pounds since September) that he presumably thought up while climbing the mountain he’s photographed in below:
One day soon, I will finally have 6 pack abs. I don’t want them for looks, or vanity. I want them for the sake of it, to prove that i can do it, that I can take something to it’s full end.
That’s what it’s about.
Impossible Abs Updates Are On The Way
I’ve been getting a lot of queestions about Impossible Abs lately. I’ll be releasing an update in the next 10 days to address a ton of questions I’ve gotten that are really easily solved. and should put your mind at ease. I’m not done with this yet. We’ve got a TON of more great stories on the way & I’m still working on making this the best resource out there. If you already have it, don’t worry, you’ll get an email notification when the update is ready. If you’re about to pick up a copy, don’t worry – you get free updates for life (cause I love you like that) so you’ll get the updated copy when it’s live.
Note From Joel:
I literally just got off a google+ hangout with Vic Magary (my co-author for Impossible Abs) at 7am this morning. After showing him the stories listed above, he wanted to do something to really get people pumped about Impossible Abs and offered to throw in his course – 40 days fit - to whoever picks up the program in the next 72 hours. If you’ve been around the blog much, you’ll know I don’t really do promotions like this ever – seriously ever – so if you want to get started this weekend, pick up a copy of Impossible Abs + forward your receipt to vic (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get your f*ee copy of 40 days fit as well. This is good until midnight on Sunday, CST.
- Impossible Abs
- Download Your No Excuse Workout Here (f*ee)
- 40 Days Fit (free with Impossible Abs for the next 72 hours)
Look like a bad a** and do impossible things in your Impossible Gear (Available Here).
Want to be featured on the blog? Cross something off your impossible list while wearing your impossible gear & send it in!