How My Health Totally Transformed After I Stopped Working Out Just to Look Good

After years focusing on how he looked, Jim Spingler's switch to improving how he felt made a huge difference in his health journey.


Photographs courtesy Jim Spingler.

Changing your body takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. Here’s one local’s story. Want to share your Transformation Story? Email [email protected]

Who: Jim Spingler (@unleash_your_potential_fitness), 27, an accountant and health coach

Height: 5’8”

Starting Weight: 225 pounds

Current Weight: 185 pounds

What inspired my change: “I had always been the small and skinny kid growing up. Throughout high school, I was a martial artist and barely 120 pounds. I sustained a neck injury that kept me from continuing martial arts which led me to weight lifting. I decided that I no longer wanted to be the small and skinny kid, and when I left college, I weighed 200 pounds. However, my true journey began about a year or so after college when I was prescribed an anti-depressant (to act as a nerve blocker) for the neck injury that kept me out of martial arts. Within a few months, I had ballooned up to about 225 pounds.

“After dealing with unwanted side-effects for about a year, I decided to come off the medication. I quit the medication ‘cold turkey’ because I did not know any better. This caused many mental and physical side effects. For the next two years, my issues grew. There was a dark cloud over me at all times. It was not until I finally decided it was time to change my life and deal with these issues that things started to turn around. I began to eat to support my mental and physical functions. I used the gym as a form of ‘meditative’ exercise and worked out for health and performance instead of vanity purposes.”

How I changed my diet: “The biggest problem I had in college was the mentality that all I wanted to do was ‘get bigger.’ I lifted weights and ate whatever I could to gain weight. After becoming sick, I realized I needed to not worry about getting bigger and instead getting better. I focused on eating nutrient-dense whole foods (organic whenever I could afford it). I ate as many green vegetables as I wanted and removed all sugar from my diet. I removed all condiments and dressings and replaced them with herbs, spices, and olive oil. Lastly, I drank only water and herbal teas and removed all alcohol.”

How I changed my exercise plan: “In college, I was focused more on a bodybuilding and power lifting phases for my training. All I cared about was how heavy I could lift and how much muscle I could put on my body. When I finally realized that my health was way more important, I vastly changed my workouts. I focused more on compound movements that worked as many muscles as possible. I greatly reduced volume and focused more on recovery. I started doing a lot more yoga as well as deep breathing exercises so that recovery was my number one priority. I noticed very soon that as my health improved, so did my body composition.”

One of the most important things I learned during this journey is to stay consistent. Only consistency in your diet and training will allow you to reach your goals.

The hardest part: “The hardest part of my transformation was changing the habits and mindset I was stuck in for years. For years, all I wanted was to work out harder and harder. I ran myself into the ground. When I reduced my training volume, my mind kept telling me that I wasn’t working out enough and I needed to work harder. However, within a matter of weeks, the reduced volume and change in training made me feel completely different and I knew I had made the right choice. My joints didn’t ache as much, my body wasn’t as stiff, my mood was better, and I had more energy.”

What I am most proud of: “I am most proud of the mental changes I made during this process. I realized that what matters the most was being healthy mentally and physically.”

What I want everyone to know: “I know that everyone is impatient. I have that problem myself. When I decide I want something, I want it now. One of the most important things I learned during this journey is to stay consistent. Only consistency in your diet and training will allow you to reach your goals.”

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