My Weight Loss Journey

By: Jonathan Byrd

Look, I know I’m a fat ass. I have been a big guy most of my life.  It’s funny how things in your life stick out to you, but I was wrestling at 145lbs in the 7th grade.  I remember this because it was also the weight I needed to make to continue to play recreation league football.  The next year in 8th grade I was 220lbs when I received my physical and had grown 4 inches. The following year I was 260lbs and grew another 2 inches. The bad news is that I didn’t get any taller after that! I played most of my college football between 275-290lbs. While bouncing around arena teams I worked my way up to 300lbs to compete with some of the big monsters I had to face.

Fast forward to the 2014 XPC Finals at the Arnold.  I had to cut a down from a high of 322 to make weight at 308. I had gotten stronger, but looked and felt like shit! I hit a nice PR squat of 1015lbs with a very close miss at 1035lbs. The problem was I bombed in the bench. Looking back, there were a few reasons for the bomb, but really the biggest was I was so damn out of shape. I never caught my breath after the squat, couldn’t stop coughing, and eventually started to vomit.  This was in no way how I wanted my first trip to the Arnold to go. Several months of training, money, and time all for nothing!

Immediately my mind went into “fix it” mode.  I knew I would need advice and help, so of course I went to my Team Samson training partners and Brian. We decided it would be best for me to go down to the 275 class and get into better shape. We both felt that it would not drastically impact my strength, if I did it correctly.

Since the Arnold, I have competed twice. Once in a full meet with the RPS, and another a few months later that was supposed to be a bench only meet.  I weighed in on meet day with no cut at 298lbs for my full meet, just 3 months after the Arnold. I went 8 for 9 that day while having to retake a bench attempt due to a butt lift. I finished the day going 1040 (25lb pr), 680, 730(45lb pr) for a 2450 total and pr of 70lbs. In October of this year I benched 725 in a meet for a 25lb pr. At this meet I weighed in at 288lbs.

So where am I now? I am currently down 40lbs from my cut at last year’s Arnold, feeling stronger than ever.  Now the real question is, how did I do it? I had Brian help me lay out a very basic diet. I knew if I had to be super strict it would not work. I would cave, give up, and just stay with my old habits if it was not a flexible diet plan.

While it would not be fair for me to give away everything that Brian had done for me, I will simply lay out the basics.

  • Walk at least 1 mile 4 times per week.
  • No soft drinks or sugar filled drinks.
  • No carbs before lunch time.
  • Limit carbs on non-training days.
  • Eat 90% good and 10% whatever I wanted.
  • No fast food.
  • If you are going to screw it up, do it at night after training.

My meals for a day looked very similar to this:

  • Breakfast: Water, 4 eggs, 6oz of meat
  • Lunch: 8oz of meat, veggies, and rice (only on training days)
  • Snack: Protein shake
  • During training: BCAA mixed with Gatorade
  • Dinner: Whatever I wanted but kept it as clean as possible.

There you have it, in a nut shell. 40lbs down, large PRs on every lift during the cut, and looking to do the same in another weight class at the Arnold.




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Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd is a competitive powerlifter, with over 16 years of training experience. Byrd has been ranked nationally for the past 6 years under multiple categories. His total has ranked as high as second nationally in the 275 class. He currently has a best total of 2500lbs. Best individual lifts include a 1040lb squat, a 750lb bench press, and 735lb deadlift. His 1040lb squat ranks him 26th all-time squats at the 308 class. Jonathan currently trains out of Team Samson Gym in Jacksonville, FL. Before powerlifting Jonathan was a college athlete at Methodist University as both an all-conference football player and track athlete. Following graduation he played four years of arena football in various leagues.
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