J.P.’s Stronger U Story

Kenzie Faris
Community Coordinator

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

I’m 42 years old and probably not unlike some of your other clients I spend my days working, chasing kids, coaching youth sports, trying to find time to spend with my spouse, and trying to find some time for myself (and my self-maintenance) when I can. I’ve always been someone who works out and tries to eat “healthy”, so a program like Stronger U is something I identify with (said differently, this isn’t a diet to me – it’s a system that I can use to meet my goals).

I first joined Stronger U in August 2018. I learned about the program through my wife, Angie Menendez, who was (at the time) a personal trainer. Angie has participated in the program throughout the years for different reasons (training for marathons, doing a cut, gaining weight for lifting, etc). She’s always been on the forefront of trying new things and seeking community and guidance as she’s trying to reach her goals. My initial desire to join Stronger U was two-fold; first, I was looking to get back the image that I associate myself with since my 20’s in the mirror. That meant lean muscle, abs, etc. I had grown “fluffy” from a little over eating over the years along with an uptick in regular (but not excessive) alcohol consumption. Second, having hit my 40’s, every doctor wanted to prescribe medication for even the simplest deviation of any market on my bloodwork.

Generally speaking, I think there’s sufficient evidence of how to achieve positive health outcomes through diet, exercise, and a few simple lifestyle modifications. I joined again in 2021 to try and lean out a bit and get back that little edge that I had before. Even though I knew how to macro count, had the tools in place, it simply helped to have that small bit of accountability on the tracking forefront. Even though I’m 42, I’ve always identified with my body looking a certain way. It’s getting harder and harder to maintain those goals by “winging it” so I thought I would sign up again. It’s easier the second time around since I know what foods work and how to track already. I’ll probably always do annual “maintenance” sessions on Stronger U just to keep things in check.

 

What did your life look like before Stronger U?

My eating habits weren’t terrible, but when you aren’t macro tracking it’s easy to get the wrong mix of nutrients. Before Stronger U I was taking in way too many processed carbohydrates (chips, etc) and drinking a beer or two every night. It was a slow creep on the weight gain.

I didn’t really try and other “diets” because I’ve always been within striking distance of where I need to be. I just found it harder and harder to get there on my own over time. I think willpower on its own is simply not a reliable tool.

 

What does your life look like now? 

I’m back to the body image that I set out to get back. In turn, I know I’m giving myself more positive health and nutrition outcomes as well. I don’t feel bad anymore about bad eating days (because I don’t have them) and I now have the tools to cope with a bad meal (meaning I don’t beat myself up over one bad macro meal) – I just make it up later.

There’s a lot of structure to my eating, which can be a nightmare for some folks, but it makes things easier for me when I’m in the office working and I know exactly what to eat or snack on during the day to get me to dinner time.

 

Where did you hear about Stronger U? 

This is my second time through the program (I call this annual maintenance). I originally heard about the program through my wife, Angie Menendez who is also a client.

 

Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?

For me it’s the flexibility. I’m not locked in. I can jump back in when I need some maintenance or have a goal that I need to accomplish. It’s also the flexibility as to how I approach my diet within any given day or week.

 

What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?

Pretzels! Rice! Beer (shhhhhhh).

 

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U? 

Varied between 9 pounds at the max and 7 on average. I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose to meet my goals, just more of a body image that I wanted to get back to and maintain.

 

How many inches did you lose off your waist?

1 inch

 

Did you have any favorite non-scale victories to share?

At the sake of sounding completely vain, it’s given me back the look that I’ve always identified with (which in turn gives me confidence everywhere else in life). It’s also given me the tools to go out and eat and know how to eye-ball a meal and know how it’s going to impact my day from a tracking perspective.

 

Has Stronger U improved your overall quality of life?  

Upon completing my first round of Stronger U, my total cholesterol figures dropped 40 points (I don’t remember the breakdown of those any longer)!

 

If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?

I’d tell them this is a pretty low risk attempt to get the help you need to put the systems in place to meet your goals. I don’t think there’s another program out there for the price that gives you the power of accountability (through access to my coach), a community, and a system (like I said previously – goals are for one time successes, systems are for repeated achievement of goals). I would ask someone on the fence to ask themselves if their current environment/system is working for them and if it isn’t to ask themselves what they have to lose by trying Stronger U.

 

Would you like to give a shoutout to your coach, SU staff member, or community member?

I’d love to give a shout out to my wife, Angie Menendez (@ocsundevil) for introducing me to Stronger U and participating with me in my nutrition/life journey!

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