Get Motivated: Inspiring Transformations

By Scott Bird

As sources of inspiration, these guys and gals are hard to beat. They’ve definitely turned their life around through a mix of careful eating and a healthy dose of exercise.

Now it’s time to add your name to the list.

Rob Cooper (Former Fat Guy)

Rob Cooper - click photo to see an earlier modelRob has definitely turned his life around, shedding an incredible 300 lb through a combination of hard work and determination. He now leads a superbly active lifestyle, and shows no signs of ever going back to being the ‘big guy’. Inspirational.

A couple of personal favorites : – Daily thoughts on the weight-loss world. A good read.
Excellent forums on all aspects of an active lifestyle and health.

Tracy Reifkind (Rediscovering Strength)

Tracy Reifkind - click photo to see an earlier modelTracy is a superb example of just how much can be accomplished in 3 years with a mix of strength training (in her case, kettlebells), healthy eating and determination. Although it’s an ongoing battle, it’s one she’s very clearly winning.

A couple of personal favorites :

SSST (Secret Service Snatch Test) video – 295 reps. Particularly the line in the notes ‘The rest of my workout…’.

2127 Swing reps w/12kg / 1 Hour

If there was ever any doubt that Tracy possesses an insane level of strength endurance, this settles things. That’s an incredible amount of work over a decent period of time. Astonishing.

Great inspiration.

Christian Thibaudeau (Thib System)

Christian Thibaudeau - click photo to see an earlier modelJust in case you thought that personal trainers were born fit and healthy, Christian Thibaudeau takes a very candid look into his past and details exactly how he managed to shed 30 lb and look like someone who spends their days in the gym.

To make this information even more useful, Thib discusses the things he would change if faced with the task again. Not that there’s much chance of that happening.

A couple of personal favorites :

The Carb Cycling Codex – A look at how the reintroduction of carbs into a diet can be a very, very good thing.

Destroying fat – Christian examines the three main schools of thought when it comes to strength training for fat loss : High Volume, Lactate Induced and Heavy Lifting. If you’re wondering how best to organize your time in the gym, this is a great read.

John Stone (John Stone Fitness)

John Stone - click photo to see an earlier modelJohn Stone fell into a pattern familiar to many people (and I definitely include myself in that number); being reasonably athletic at some point and then gradually letting it all go.

10 years later he decided to make a few major changes, established some fairly tough (but achievable) goals and set to work. As you can see from the photo, he’s never looked back.

A couple of personal favorites :
John Stone Fitness Forums – I don’t usually spend an incredible amount of time on forums, but I make an exception for these. Very supportive, and full of top-notch information. Highly recommended.

Daily Stats – I have a rather analytical nature, and I love the daily statistics John has recorded, charted and analyzed. Beautiful.

Steve Vaught (Fat Man Walking)

Steve Vaught - click photo to see an earlier modelSteve Vaught undertook an incredible challenge beginning in 2005 – to walk across the US. Quite apart from attracting his fair share of media attention, he managed to shed over 100 lb in the process.

He completed the walk in May 2006 and has been helping people to meet their own weight loss goals ever since. A remarkable man.

A couple of personal favorites :

Preparations for the trip – These are the short walks Steve performed while getting ready for the trip. As you can see, his adaptation is incredible.

Steve’s story – This was actually written after he completed the walk, and you can hear the difference. As he points out, once a change occurs in the way you see the world; going back to the old way isn’t even an option. Steve’s definitely experienced such a change, and I look forward to seeing what projects he has in store.

A final thought

As sources of inspiration, these are at the top of my list. Who’s on yours?


  1. APoelohew

    I want to wish you good luck and all the best

  2. annadee

    These stories prove that obesity is not destiny. Noone has an excuse to stay fat. Very inspirational.

  3. Brenda

    Very interesting. At this stage in the game, I’m definitely looking for something new and different.

  4. Steve W

    The JohnStoneFitness forums are also a “no-steroid” zone, unlike most bodybuilding forums I’ve browsed in the past…

  5. Devery Andrews

    John Stone Fitness, AKA JSF is a positive website for those looking for a supportive network, someplace to journal, or a place just to hang out. I’ve been a member for almost 3 years now and would highy recommend a visit at least to check out all of the free bodybuilding information.


  6. Alex

    All the years, I was so into seeking easy and fast weight loss ideas. All these people just shows me actually I already have that now…

    It’s the basic they are using and with consistent action. They achieved so much. Thanks for this post and everything provided.

  7. tina

    very inspirational! I always get sick of ‘experts’ claiming that obesity is genetic and uncontrollable. These individuals demonstrate how will plus determination can equal success….


  8. joanne

    quito. you did the right thing and treated your friend with love and kindness. maybe one person in the group can approach him and express everyones concern and ask how you all can help. it depends on if your friend is sensitive about his weight. i am 5’6″ and 275. i am fat. i exercise and am pretty healthy but i have no problem talking about it. maybe your friend needs to have someone bring up the fat topic instead of avoiding it. be concerned but not preachy i am sure he is his own worst critic.

  9. Scott

    Thanks for the kind words guys. Really appreciate it.

  10. Quito

    i have a related story. there is a person who is very dear to a large group of us because of his humor, his knowledge, and his joy with life. most of us see him only once a year, at a week-long retreat we go to (i just got back).

    he has never been slender, but he now weighs over 500 lbs. we know this because he jokes about it. someone said that he had gained 200 lbs over the last year.

    there was an interesting dynamic around him – we all love him and are worried about his health. he’s clearly suffering from the exertion of carrying those 500 lbs, and there was a scare recently about his heart. but, no one mentioned his weight, and the discussion on the topic among ourselves was pretty low too. most of us went out of our way to touch and to hug him, and show him we care about him, but otherwise we treated him just like normal.

    i know that there are a lot of success story folks reading this blog. if you were this overweight, what did you appreciate from your friends? what did you wish they would do?

  11. TheMorbidMe

    The transformation of JOHN STONE note here, took him 4 years of persistent training.. and here you can see a picture of him taken every year!

    Amazing !

  12. Brad

    Really love the list Scott. It is really difficult to beat any of these guys.

  13. Eric

    I’m 25 and I’ve lost 100 lbs (260 to 160) in the last 2 years. I have a brilliant routine that I started and ran with, literally, that worked. Problem is I don’t know where to publish my results. My friends say I should send the pics and my story to Mens Fitness or something.

  14. Weight Loss Help

    Great success stories. We need to see real life examples like these every once in a while. They help to motivate us and to get us back on track – especially during periods of frustration and despair.

  15. JoLynn Braley

    Steve, thank you so much for collecting these stories of inspiration, I love success stories!

    Wish I would have known about Steve’s walk while he was doing it, I love the idea and I find his story the most inspiring of the above. Thanks again!

  16. Clinton Walker III

    These are some amazing body transformations.

  17. Ann

    Christian’s carb cycling is interesting, but all the work he puts in is so time-consuming. Plus all those supplements …

  18. Never teh Bride

    Steve Vaught is awesome. It was such a shame that he got so much criticism from judgmental people.

  19. Lose Weight With Me

    Wow…very inspirational! I’m intrigued by the carb-cycling that Christian writes about. Does anybody here have any experience with this?