I’m very excited to share with you a success story of Jason Lamb, a U.S. military officer based in Afghanistan. By reading our articles and newsletters, following BuiltLean principles, and making health a priority in his life, Jason was able to dramatically transform his body and go from 23% down to 12% body fat. It’s a really amazing transformation, especially given he had little access to gym equipment.
Jason reached out through to us through our BuiltLean Facebook Page to let us know about his great results. He graciously accepted to share his thoughts about his transformation below. We hope his story helps inspire you to reach your own potential.
Occupation: Military Officer
Residence: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan
Why did you get out of shape? What happened?
As I increased in rank and responsibilities with a family, I stopped making gym time a priority. To make matters worse I increasingly turned to unhealthy foods to comfort myself – frequently continuing to eat when I knew I was full. In the fall, I used my pending deployment to eat and drink whatever I wanted because I knew it would not be available in Afghanistan.
What sparked you to make a change?
I knew that I was on a road that wasn’t healthy. I also wanted to focus on something constructive while away from my family so I promised myself that I would make the most of this time away to better my health and fitness. I’d tried diets in the past but I never pursued a lifestyle change. While doing some research at the start of my deployment I came across BuiltLean and the that’s when my health and fitness took a solid turn for the better.
How did you come across BuiltLean?
I was doing research on the internet about healthy body fat percentages and the best techniques to cut fat while retaining muscle.
Training & Nutrition
Did you have any favorite exercises, or workouts you would like to share?
I really look forward to my resistance days. I almost have to force myself to take down days.
Can you elaborate on how your eating habits changed?
I have always been a carb freak. Bread, tortillas, chips, french fries, rice…you name it. Portion control was not my strong suit. I have a weakness for sugary treats like chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Again, portion and self control was the problem. I couldn’t have one: I had to have two or three servings. Things did not get easier in a deployed environment.
Eating healthfully in a deployed environment is very challenging. Proteins are not cooked particularly well so the cooks tend to cover meats in sauces. Cooked vegetables are overdone with little nutritional value by the time the cooks are done and starches are everywhere. All of my traditional weaknesses are here to include a wide assortment of desserts from pies to cookies to ice cream.
Once I made the decision to be healthier I started dropping options from my menu. For breakfast I have the same thing everyday: 3 whole eggs and a half cup of non-fat yogurt. I add ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of ground flax seed to my yogurt. I also have two cups of coffee in the morning but after that I switch to hot and cold green tea. For lunch, I have to stay out of the dining facility so I have two largish green apples with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter and a whey isolate protein shake.
I typically workout mid afternoon to carry me through my natural 3 PM lull (1500 hrs for us military types). Within 30 minutes of working out I usually have another whey isolate protein shake to help speed recovery. About 30 minutes before dinner I eat a handful of almonds or walnuts so I don’t overdo it at dinner. At dinner I restrict myself to the salad bar with some form of lean protein on top. My typical salad is two cups of Romaine lettuce, ½ cup for chopped bell peppers, raw broccoli florettes, 1/8 cup of sliced black or greed olives and 1-2 grilled (over-cooked) chicken breasts depending on how hungry I am. I only let myself have desert once (maybe twice) a week. I have the occasional piece of pizza but I’m very mindful of the scale that’s waiting for me in my room.
Did you experience any challenges as you tried to change your eating habits with a busy job? Any tips to share?
I work crazy hours over here seven days a week without holidays. If I can do it, anyone can. The key for my success is to have a plan that I stick to. I plan what I eat and if it’s not enough (i.e., I’m not satisfied) then I add some almonds or an apple. The other key to success is sleep. I hit a plateau that I was only able to break by getting more sleep. People who get less than 6 hours a night on average consume about 500 calories more per day than those who get 7-8 hours. Add that to the body’s need to repair itself after those workouts and it’s easy to see why sleep is so vital to achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition.
Can you describe the results you experienced after making changes to your diet and exercise?
The weight just started falling off of me. One of my early purchases was a reputable scale that does body fat measurements. Seeing the weight, and more importantly the fat, dropping week after week was very motivating. I kept having to make my goals more aggressive because I was making them so quickly. In five months I’ve gone from 198 lbs and 23% body fat to 163 lbs and 12% body fat*. I have more energy, I move faster and I’m more comfortable as a leader knowing that I am setting the example.
What have your friends thought after seeing your results?
My friends are very supportive and I’ve turned many people onto the program. I keep my close family and friends updated on Facebook (minus pictures) and the response has been overwhelming positive. I am leaving in less than a week to meet up with my family for the first time in seven months for my “mid tour” leave. Part of those plans includes a cruise so I’m looking forward to wearing my bathing suit for the first time in a long while. I’ll have to come back here for a couple of months after my leave but I see that as an opportunity to get down to 10% which is my ultimate goal.
What would you tell someone who is contemplating getting in shape?
There’s no time like now. I doubt there are many people more busy than me in a combat zone so they need to stop making excuses and do it. You’ll feel and look better. Besides, it’s nice knowing that you’re in better shape than 90% of the people around you!