Results, Testimonials, & Risks Disclaimer

I’m thrilled to share with you a BuiltLean success story. As you can see from the photos to your right, Nicholas made substantial changes from the start of his body transformation journey to now.

In a long email to me, I was happy to hear from Nicholas that not only had he changed his body, but his love for being active was rekindled. He now plays volleyball, kickball, Ultimate Frisbee, and soccer during his lunch hours.

For more on his story and his review of the BuiltLean Program, please read the Q&A Below:

Name: Nicholas Semrau
Age: 33
Occupation: Technical Writer
Residence: Olathe, KS


Why did you get out of shape? What happened?

After high school, I stopped exercising completely, started drinking beer on a regular basis, and had a completely unrestricted diet. Needless to say, it didn’t take me very long to go from 135 lbs to over 200 lbs.
I took a handful of approaches over the years to try and lose some of the weight that I had gained, but never made it below 170 lbs, and never stayed there for very long before cycling back up again. I continued to have fun with friends and ate whatever I felt like eating.

What sparked you to make a change?

After running the Warrior Dash (slowly) in the summer of 2011, I realized that I was in terrible shape. It wasn’t until in November of 2011, though, when I stumbled onto Drew Manning, at the end point of the “fat” stage in his fit-to-fat-to-fit experiment. Seeing the dramatic results of a sedentary lifestyle with an unrestricted diet made me realize that I needed to change my life.

How did you come across BuiltLean?

While trying to get in shape over the winter, I began to have ankle pain while running. After examination, I was ordered to stop running. To comply with my doctor’s orders, I began to research low-impact cardio exercise, because I was determined to continue some form of cardio exercise. This led me to articles on using the elliptical, which led me to articles about using the elliptical for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which led me to Marc’s fantastic article on the benefits of HIIT over steady-state cardio.

I began using the elliptical for HIIT 2-3 times a week, and branched out to other articles on the BuiltLean blog. Needless to say, I was sold by Marc’s knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm. I bought the BuiltLean program in the middle of March, and immediately adjusted my workout regimen to focus more on the large muscle groups, with higher reps, and no rest between sets. I continued to use the elliptical for HIIT, but most importantly, I began tracking my food, based on the information provided by the program. I feel that this has been hands-down the most important part of my lifestyle change, and has provided the most dramatic results.

BuiltLean Program Review

What results did you get with the BuiltLean Program?

I am really happy with the results that I’ve gotten by following the BuiltLean program. When I started trying to get in shape in November of 2011, I was 5’9” and 192 lbs, with well over 20% body fat. As of now, the middle of August of 2012, I am down to 157 lbs with much lower body fat* ,with the most dramatic results appearing after April, once I started using the BuiltLean Program.

Results, Testimonials, & Risks Disclaimer


How did the BuiltLean Program help you reach your goals?

The program forced me to think more sensibly about my end goal and the changes I needed to make, primarily nutritionally, to achieve them.

What did you like most about the Program?

I really like how thoroughly everything was explained in the program documentation. It did a good job of not just providing a workout and nutrition plan, but describing why, biologically, the plan provided the results.

What are the workouts like?

The workouts are short and effective. I never realized how much I could raise my heart rate with resistance training.

Can you elaborate on how your eating habits changed?

The biggest change I made was to calculate what I needed to eat to lose body fat, and then honestly track everything I ate, every single day. Before starting this program, I thought that I was making good food choices. Though I may have been eating decently as far as nutrition was concerned (for the most part), when I kept an honest food journal, I found that I was eating way too much food (and drinking too much alcohol) to lose the body fat that I wanted to lose. As soon as I gathered the raw data, it was much easier to change my habits and focus on the correct calorie deficit. I still track what I eat to keep myself honest.

What have your friends thought after seeing your results?

I get a lot of compliments. It feels really good.

What would you tell someone who’s on the fence considering the BuiltLean Program?

As long as you’re willing to be honest with yourself, make a few small sacrifices, and remain committed, it doesn’t take much to change your body. The BuiltLean program and blog provide fantastic information and advice to kick-start your lifestyle change.

* Results may vary. Proper diet and exercise are necessary to achieve weight loss and muscle definition. See our Results, Testimonials, & Risks Disclaimer for more information.



  1. profile avatar
    Seb Sep 12, 2012 - 15:02 #

    Nick, nice job on the transformation, you look a lot younger and better/ I am always h when articles like this happen because, in the US there are so many people overweight and when I see people exercising and that they actually care about their health and body , it’s a good thing!!

    Keep it up NIck!!!!

  2. profile avatar
    mary Sep 19, 2012 - 00:38 #

    Wow, you look great. Definitely much healthier and happier. Congratulations!

  3. profile avatar
    Seb Sep 28, 2012 - 21:29 #

    Is the built lean program just 8 weeks or forever?

    is there a m, monthly fee or you just pay once?

    Is there a body weight option for when you use weights ?

    instead of weights since weights stunt your grow or no?

    I would like to start the program once I get a job and can buy it!

  4. profile avatar
    Seb Sep 29, 2012 - 07:55 #

    Edit: For the weights , if there an alternative excercises for the weights/when you use the weights?

  5. profile avatar
    Seb Oct 01, 2012 - 19:40 #

    Also does the program make you stronger because, you wrote that you chose the best strength exercises?

    Is this what you did because, your arms are pretty big, did you go on a muscle program afterwards?

    What should you do when you finish the program?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 04, 2012 - 15:50 #

      @Seb – I chose simple, basic, and effective exercises that use large muscle groups. The value of the BuiltLean Program is that it’s based on a set of guidelines that can be altered by you. For example, the workout structure can be filled in with exercises of your own choosing, so you can really create an endless number of exercises.

  6. profile avatar
    Seb Oct 04, 2012 - 20:34 #

    ok thanks and that makes alot of sense!

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