This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining on Jon Gealon, who has worked with Coach Jeb Stuart Johnston. Congrats, Jon!
What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)
Who was your Coach?
Jeb Stuart Johnston
If there was one thing you could say to your Coach, what would it be?
Straight forward, always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear.
Tell us a little about you. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Originally from Hawaii and moved to the states in 1992. Was single in 2010 and remarried in 2014 to a very active girl that I met through a Triathlon training group and the gym. Between the 2 of us, we have 7 kids and 7 grandkids. We love to stay active, all of our outings and vacations are planned around running trails and Crossfit gyms. Our free time is best spent camping in an RV with bikes and weights in tow.
What was the moment that made you decide to join Stronger U?
In late 2018 early 2019, my hormones crashed. My doctor and I were dealing with this for a long time and I had gained a ton of weight and I have heart issues as well. Feb 2017 my oldest brother died at 50 from an Aortic dissection and had been fighting heart problems so, naturally, my awesome wife had me in getting my heart tested. At 45 I had 2 leaky valves, a chamber that doesn’t pump out the blood fast enough, and an enlarged heart. I was unhealthy and when 2019 happened my wife had also gained quite a bit of weight and we had had enough. A member of our Crossfit gym started on Stronger U with a local coach we knew but didn’t know she was a SU coach so, we checked it out and said “Let’s do it, what do we have to lose excess fat.” We definitely needed a change because we couldn’t find a sustainable nutrition plan to fit our needs and help lose weight just for the health aspect. Plus, a coach for accountability was needed at that point because I had given up.
Is there anyone from the SU community you would like to shout out?
Jeb for sure, Clayton CJ Tyger that guys story is pretty damn inspiring, and of course Mike D for creating a program that is real-life sustainable.
What dieting experience did you have previous to Stronger U?
A lot. The last one I did was a plant-based diet that was very beneficial for my heart but was not a sustainable plan for keeping and gaining muscle since I compete in Strongman. SU meal prep is easy compared to the amount of food it takes to prep a plant-based diet.
What were your eating habits like before joining Stronger U? Did you prep your meals? Did you eat out regularly? Did you think you were already eating healthy and in moderation?
I am a fat kid at heart and love my cake and ice cream but I tried to keep it moderate, or what I thought was moderate. Both my wife and I thought we were eating healthy until SU when we actually saw the nutritional value of the foods we were consuming.
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?
Freedom! Eat what you want as long as it fits. Do this long enough and you start to be able to do the math in your brain, you become hyper-aware of what is actually healthy and amounts that are healthy. Other diets were fast and furious with so many restrictions you could sustain it long term resulting in diet yo-yo.
What was the biggest challenge or change when you first started with Stronger U?
Putting together foods with the right values and trying to be creative. My wife Elena was awesome with this and really is the one that deserves the credit for the selection of food we have.
What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?
Bread. My dinner would have about 5 slices of bread with 11oz of egg beaters and spreadable cheese. Trader Joe’s bread is pretty simple with the carbs. My kids would always wonder how I could eat that much bread and lose weight.
What does your typical week of eating look like? How many days a week do you meal prep? Do you have certain meals you make most often?
A lot of fish, chicken, and lean beef. Leading up to the competition I have my meals prepped by a friend who owns a Bento stand so it’s super easy. This eliminates finding lunch when I don’t have time to prep since I prep for 6 days a week. Of course, the easiest thing to do is eat a lot of the same meals but to switch things up like the veggies and carbs, replacing rice with sweet potatoes or couscous.
If you exercise or train for a sport, did Stronger U have any impact on your training? Or did Stronger U have an impact on your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?
I compete in Strongman, powerlifting, Crossfit, and my wife and I run relays, the over 200-mile kind. It didn’t have an impact to start but it sure had an impact on my performance and recovery. I went from suffering through events and runs to enjoying them with less pain afterward.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
My health, enlarged heart went away and my numbers are fantastic. Looks and comfort, clothes fit great. Performance, being nationally ranked as an amateur strongman and holding some world records in powerlifting.
Outside of the scale, inches, and previously mentioned NSV’s, how has your life improved thanks to your time with Stronger U?
Helping others around us with their goals. We have referred many to SU and as walking proof helped others realize things that are and aren’t healthy.
What are 3 tips, based on your experience, that you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them see success early on?
1) Everyone is different so don’t expect a magic pill.
2) Don’t lie on your check-in, it only hurts YOU!
3) Be humble, trust the process, and your coach.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?
Don’t go in half-committed. Own it and work it 100% without the idea that somehow it’s not going to work on you.