Body Transformation: Michael Lee Dropped Body Fat & Looks Shredded!
Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
Prior to the start of my transformation, I consumed way too much unhealthy food (fast food specifically) and hardly participated in any fitness-related activities. Prior to the start of my, I lived in MI. In July, 2010, I moved to Colorado.
The pivotal moment when I knew I had to change my lifestyle was when I took a picture at a water park. With one look at that picture, I instantly knew I had to become healthier.
What was your low point or turning point?
My lowest point was looking at that picture from the water park. As a Army veteran, I knew the importance of good health, how to get there and how to stay there. I was disappointed that I let myself drift that far from good health. From September 2, 2010 and beyond, I was determined to transform my body into an image of health and fitness.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
Yes, I had several challenges and circumstances that I had to overcome. In September 2010, I had just moved to a new state, CO, started a new job, was attending college courses and was maintaining family life (I am a Husband and the Father of three small children). I also had a few health issues that I was/still am battling (asthma & a surgically repaired knee). I was able to manage all of these issues and still reach my transformation goals.
What was your transformation timeline?
- Transformation Start: September 2, 2010, Weighed 232 lbs.
- Milestone: October 2, 2010 – Weighed 212 lbs.
- Milestone: November 2, 2010, Weighed 206 lbs.
- Milestone: January 2, 2011, Weighed 200 lbs.
- Milestone: June 13, 2011, Weighed 185 lbs.
- Transformation End: June 20, 2011.
Michael’s Training And Cardio Approach
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
Initially I wanted to lose 30 lbs of fat through running. After I lost my first 30lbs, I then began to incorporate weight lifting into my workout plan, which helped to tone my body rather quickly. I primarily ran several times per week from Sept 2010 – Dec 2010. I started lifting weights (while still running) from Jan 2011 – Jun 2011.
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
Since my Army days, I’ve always enjoyed running. I believe that running is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise one can participate in. When I run, I mix slow-long-distance, spiriting and hill runs.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- There’s no need to go on a crash diet. Slowly change your eating habits from unhealthy to healthy.
- Resist the temptation of overworking your body. Take incremental steps in order to reach your fitness goals.
- Document your progress. This includes documenting your weight, body measurements, how much you can lift, running times/distances. As you consistently work at it, you’ll find yourself reaching all of your fitness goals.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
My approach has not changed. I still try to run at least 10-15 miles per week, eat around 2000 calories per day, and lift weights 4 times per week.
Michael’s Diet And Nutrition Approach
Can you provide us with a sample eating plan (please be specific):
I was easily consuming over 3000 calories per day prior to the beginning of my transformation. Instead of totally abandoning my eating habits, I instead opted to consume more fiber-based foods and less high fat food. I did not totally change my way of eating, I just incrementally started to cut back on food that I knew was unhealthy for me. Months later, I was eating healthy salads, protein shakes, fresh fruit, fiber bars and similar healthy foods.
Here are two samples of my daily meal plan:
- Breakfast – 2 Boiled Eggs/Bowl of Oatmeal
- Lunch – Chicken Salad/Protein Shake
- Snack – Fiber Bar/Nuts or Trail Mix
- Dinner – Baked Chicken, Mixed Vegetables, Brown Rice
- Breakfast – Whole Wheat Toast/Scrabbled Eggs
- Lunch – Fresh Fruit/Chicken Wrap
- Snack – Banana/Fiber Bar
- Dinner – Black Beans, Tuna, Steam Veggies/Protein Shake
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
For a couple of weeks, near the beginning of my transformation, I completely cut out nearly all carbs (both good and bad carbs) and consumed 85% protein. That factor zapped my energy, and I quickly found that eating healthy, whole-grained based carbs/food gave me a more balanced approach to my nutrition, plus more energy.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Consume at least 60+ ounces of water each day.
- If you must eat at a restaurant, eat half of the meal there and save the rest for lunch or dinner.
- Prepare your meals on the weekend and pack your lunch for the week. Have a balanced mix protein and carb-based foods (fruits, veggies, whole grain).
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
Although I did cheat (by continuing to consume the snacks that I liked), I consumed them in moderation. I slowly cut back on unhealthy foods and replaced unhealthy snacks with fruit, veggies and nuts.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
During my transformation, I used whey protein, protein bars, multivitamins and caffeine-based energy supplements.
Advice For Others
What are your best tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Go to the doctor, get a annual checkup, and make sure you get a good idea your current picture of health.
- Start slow. No need to kill yourself in the beginning of your fitness journey.
- Watch your caloric intake. Unless you’re Michael Phelps or you have time to exercise all day, it’s extremely hard to overcome a poor diet/overeating. I used a free app on my phone to track my calories, food intake and exercise.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
I stay motivated because I continually monitored my fitness stats (weight, waistline, muscle tone) and was able to continually see results. I was blessed to reach my total fitness goals in 10 months. I pushed my body to the limit and I found great enjoyment in seeing results.
More From Michael Lee
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
My life is wonderful. I am an avid 5k-10k runner (I have participated in several races in this year). Running is so liberating to me.
I also am helping many of my family and friends become healthier though sharing my fitness journey and helpful tips.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
Reading stories of other people who turned their health and fitness around keeps me motivated. My family keeps me motivated as well. They have attended all of my races, and they also go with me to the gym. I plan to be at all the great moments in their lives of my family and what better way to ensure that than to be physically fit.
Anything else you would like to share?
Progress is positive, no matter how small it may seem. My best advice to anyone is to continue to challenge one’s self, keep working hard, document your fitness journey and take time celebrate your fitness success.
How can people contact you?
I can be reached at: