Justin J. Return to fitness: “I’m back on course, and getting back to my athletic roots!”

justin_jFour years into recovery and now Justin J. is choosing the lifestyle of fitness that he grew up in, all over again!  He was a 3-time State Champion Wrestler, competing throughout high school and college, with intense weight-training workouts a regular part of his daily life. In college, he studied PE, majoring in anatomy.  He made a few choices that took him off course but now he’s back in the gym again!  Here is Justin J.’s story!

How did you get re-started on your fitness journey?

I grew up an athlete, surrounded by athletes.  But for many years, I wasn’t taking very good care of my body.  After I got clean, I was out of shape.  A couple of years ago, thanks to a friend of mine, I got back into shape.  He got me off the couch and working out 5-6 days a week.  After 8 months, I was in really good shape.  Then I fell out of shape again … but 6 months ago, I joined The ZOO to get going again!

Why did you choose The ZOO?

The location is great for me.  I started on a 7-day FREE pass and when I got my new job I became a ZOO member.  It’s a good price.

Because of my exercise background, I know how to train my body.  I know what equipment I need to reach my fitness goals.  I’m doing this for me, I don’t need other body builders to see me, I’m not trying to impress anybody.  At the bigger gyms, there are so many more people so you’re always waiting for equipment.  The ZOO is great because I never have to wait (except for the free weight bar 🙂

What are your fitness goals?

I want to get back to the point I was 2 years ago and then make it a lifestyle!  When I started, my goal was to add 15lbs muscle and get my body fat to 16%.  So far, I’ve gained 10lbs of muscle mass in 4 months and I’ve reduced my body fat from 32% body fat to just under 20%.  So I’m almost where I want to be … I’m happy with the progress I’m making.

What is your workout routine?

I am really motivated, so I bike everywhere and I move as fast as I can, whatever I’m doing.  At work (I’m a commercial electrician), I run from here to there.

I work out 5 days a week, 1-2 hours.  I do a “power muscle burn” workout, using 2 connecting-muscle groups per day, like shoulders/biceps or lower back/hamstrings.  I do a power set of each muscle, 4 sets at low reps, weights heavy as possible — then I switch it up to light weights, with 40 reps.

I have a workout partner which is great – I’m teaching some things I’ve learned and that is helping him get better and stronger.

What else do you do to support your fitness journey?

Well, I’ve got quite the food plan, but you asked so here goes!! I eat at set times, rather than according to the clock or when I’m hungry.  I eat the healthiest options available by packing my own food.  I focus on high-protein, non-fat foods, with omega-3s, like  avocados, eggs, etc.

I’m in the muscle-building phase right now, so everything I eat has protein.  Each morning at 5am, I have 2 eggs and greek yoghurt (protein).  For dinner, I choose Foster Farms chicken because they have the highest protein content with the lowest fat.  I take a multi-vitamin pack per day, as well as glutamine for muscle repair.  I am particular about what brands of supplements I buy, I only want the best

Each weekend, I give myself a cheat day and I eat whatever I want.  If I eat out on my cheat day, I choose Chinese or Thai food over fast foods.

Beverages?  I drink lots of water and I drink milk.  I also choose protein shakes which have whey protein, as well as casein — the body can only absorb so much protein at once and the casein is longer-lasting.

What advice do you have for others?

Find the exercise that gives you fulfillment and fun!  Everyone has their own thing that keeps them motivated to exercise.  These intense workouts are my thing, because I grew up with it and love it, but everyone just needs to find their own way to enjoy staying healthy.