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John Jones is one of our premier trainers at Tysons Playground, below he shares an inside look at his journey.

When I knew I was going to be competing at the Arnold Sports Festival, I signed up to have professional photos taken during the competition. The Arnold was an amazing experience and I was able to hit lifetime best lifts and put on the best performance of my short powerlifting career. When I got my pictures back, I loved the memories of the event, but I didn’t love what my body had become. I focused so much on getting bigger and stronger as a SHW lifter that I weighed in at 293lbs (still 80-120lbs less than my competitors!). On a national scale I was competitive, but to ever stand a chance to win a national meet or get on a world level team I was presented with two choices. Either I could work to gain as much weight as possible to improve my strength (and feel even worse about my body) or I could go the other route and work to lose weight and get into a lower, more comfortable weight class where I could be more competitive.

To be more comfortable in my skin and more competitive, I decided to lose weight.

In the past I had done weight watchers, gone on cardio binges and other things when my bodyweight would balloon to uncomfortable levels due to life stresses and other factors. This time I wanted to do something different, I decided to start meal prepping and making smarter decisions with my food choices. I began to plan and prepare my meals around my work and training schedule, making sure that I was providing my body with the things it needed to help keep my energy levels high, while prioritizing fat loss and keeping as much hard-earned muscle as possible. As I changed my attitude towards food, I found myself being comfortable saying “no” to certain foods, my cravings for fast food etc., decreased and I noticed that I was recovering better from my training. Throughout this change in diet, there were many weekends and events that could’ve derailed my progress but because of my new focus, I was able to enjoy myself without sabotaging my plans.

I’ve learned that goals must be specific, and time bound to be viable, so I registered for a meet on July 14th at the weight class that matched my weight loss goal. Without adding in extra cardio, starving myself or any crazy manipulation of water weight, I stepped on the platform exactly 30lbs lighter!

Improving my diet led to better training and better sleep, which led to better recovery. At 30lbs lighter, I was able to nearly match my best total ever and increase my deadlift from 677lbs to 705.5lbs!!!!

Basically, every pound I loss from my body, I found on the bar…

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