After the birth of his first child, Jonathan Fadoul was the happiest guy around. As a newly-crowned dad, he was loving life. Leading up to the birth of his young son, he was the chef and assistant to his amazing wife, as she carried their little guy for 9 months. During that time, Jonathan ate whatever he wanted, stayed happy, and shortly after the birth of his son, looked in the mirror and didn’t like what he saw. He knew a change had to happen. I am honored to share his story with you on Lean Green DAD, for which Jonathan has given his permission to share. I hope you enjoy it! Here is Jonathan in his own words:

2016 was a huge year for me and my health. It has been quite a journey and I am excited to share it with you! Physically, I was at an all time low and I knew I had to fix it. I was tipping the scale at 205! I am normally pretty fit (170-175lbs), but after my son was born, my wife and I were so happy I didn’t even think twice about exercising. It’s amazing how falling in love can be dangerous to your health!

It began to catch up with me. Soon I was unable to fit into my clothes and life became embarrassing, At first, I would joke about how fat I was with my wife, but never really knew it was just me covering up my shame with humor. I knew it was time. I knew I had to discipline myself and regain my health. So I did. I challenged myself to eating clean and dropping weight so I could fit into my clothes again and on January 10th, 2016 my journey began. It was hard. At first, I struggled and then I started to learn how to balance the clean healthy eating with a cheat meal once or twice a week. Learning to meal prep and stay dedicated became a lifestyle and I began to see results and enjoy the process.

I was working out 5 days a week with a program I found on Bodybuilding.com. I followed that program to a T! I studied it. I memorized it all. The workouts, how many reps, and logged everything because I didn’t want to be physically miserable anymore. I made what I called “My Transformation Playlist” and I listened to it everyday day in the gym. When the playlist started over, I knew 90 minutes had passed. By the time the month of May rolled around I had dropped almost 35 lbs and felt awesome. Now I was ready to go even harder!

I wanted to enter a bodybuilding show. I had always thought it would be interesting to compete. Mentally I felt ready. I contacted my old friend from college, Gina, for advice on who I could hire to help me enter a bodybuilding show and she directed me to her old coach, Dave Palumbo. Dave instantly changed my life. He taught me about the science of eating carbs, sugars, fats, fiber, literally everything! In just 20 weeks and he literally changed my life. He taught me how to supplement and get the right nutrients to keep my body strong. I knew I was going to learn a lot, but I had no idea my life would change. I worked hard in the gym. EVERYDAY!!!!

I had to struggle with people asking why I would choose to do something so crazy and feel the need to explain. I had to learn I didn’t need to explain anything to anyone. I was doing it for ME!! Suddenly, people at the gym started to notice me. I was a regular. I made friends named Shane, Sierra and, Angel. These people are AWESOME HUMANS who have no idea how much I appreciate and respect them. I saw these people everyday! Working hard just like me and inspiring me to push harder. I did. I worked hard. I Listened to “My Transformation Playlist” and I just stepped on that stair master sometimes for 60 minutes or the treadmill for 90 minutes until my feet were numb. I wasn’t going to fail. I was determined to finish. The training got easier because I got better and stronger. The diet became harder. AND HARDER. But I was becoming STRONGER mentally too. I had to learn to ignore the people who didn’t understand and embrace those who supported me. I was able to discuss the struggles I was facing mentally and connecting with people at the gym. They could understand what I was going through. I never had friends at the gym, so that was pretty special to me. Suddenly, going to the gym was beginning the be one of the highlights of my day. I looked forward to it.

As the weeks became close I started to get nervous and excited because I didn’t know what to expect since I’ve never been in a bodybuilding competition. The only thing I knew was that I was going to get up on that stage and be proud of what I accomplished no matter the outcome. Suddenly, news strikes that Hurricane Matthew is going to destroy Orlando and I freak out that this event isn’t going to happen. My mind is going crazy. I’m tired, hungry, thirsty, dehydrated, and abusing all natural peanut butter with a baby spoon. You name it, I was probably feeling it. Once I learn the competition is going to happen I can relax. I’m prepared. I am following my diet to a T and memorize it like a script. I know what to take and what to eat and why I am consuming the food I am eating. I then add carbs, cut sodium, cut water. I add carbs again. Suddenly my body begins to swell like a balloon. My muscles are becoming larger from the carbs flooding them. I can feel my skin tighten. I look in the mirror and smile. I think SCIENCE…. it’s amazing. I followed a routine. Specific. Detailed. DETERMINED. It worked!

On the day of the bodybuilding show, I was confident, proud, and excited. I was also stuffing my face with rice cakes and peanut butter every 30 minutes! It was time to get judged. I went out did my poses. I was one of the smallest guys there, but I felt so big because I knew where I began. I knew how hard I worked to be there. And I was proud. My wife, my son, Casey, and my sister in-law Brittany were all there to support me and it felt awesome! I got up on that stage did my posing routine (video below) and killed it! Huge shout out to my friend Brittany, who helped me put together an awesome posing routine!

When I finished my routine I felt accomplished. It was over. The “science project” was complete. The goal was accomplished! Five months of hard work for 60 seconds on stage. Five months of work for just one special day! You guys…it was AWESOME!! What a rush. Nothing like making muscle posing and dancing in your underwear in front of hundreds of people to prove you are confident about your body!

We are the most amazing creatures ever created. We can do anything we put our mind to! You just have to want to do it. If you want to lose weight just commit to it and it will happen. Stay focused. Refuse to fail. And if you fail, get right back up and start over. It happens. But giving up wasn’t an option for me!

My new goal is to continue on this path and maintain the hard work I have put in. Staying fit involves staying disciplined and consistent. BUT FIRST, I want to enjoy every carbohydrate in existence! I will also enjoy some time with my family…and wine! Mission completed! Thanks for reading!

Jonathan won 2nd place in the men’s classic physique division A and 3rd place in the men’s classic physique novice! This was his first bodybuilding competition.

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Cory is a husband, father of three and vegan athlete. His blog, Lean Green DAD™, is a lifestyle blog about food, family and fun that helps passionate people, mostly parents, who have over-scheduled, busy lives maintain a healthy balance of plant-based nutrition, fitness and overall wellness.
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