Top of the Months Transformation: RJ Murray!

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Introducing: RJ Murray
I couldn’t think of a better person to be a part of my Top Transformation posts! RJ Murray and his family have been close family friends to us since I can remember, as they live right behind us! Our whole community is in awe of RJ’s transformation and are so proud of the athlete that he turned into while playing college football! RJ has always been a great, kind, and caring person, but it is amazing to see him grow into a healthier version of that! He was patient in his journey, as that six pack didn’t take a few months! Check out what RJ has to say about his journey, it is truly inspiring!
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Give me a brief summary of yourself and your journey.
My name is R.J. Murray and I’ve lived in Columbia, MD my whole life. I’ve always been on the bigger side and was honestly accepting of the fact up until college.  In high school, I continuously made excuses for myself saying that I was “big for football” or giving some other sport related justification as to why my weight was out of control.  At some point or another, I actually started believing my own excuses and completely let myself go.  Once college hit, athletics became a huge part of my life.  I played football for Salisbury University and the experience helped me drastically through the process of making a lifestyle change.  My senior year of high school I weighed nearly 260lbs with an outrageous BFP. (body fat percentage) After graduating high school in 2008, I decided it was time to make a change.  In a matter of 6 months in 2009, I lost nearly 60lbs of excess weight while adding a good deal of muscle.  That being said, a true transformation takes years – it takes much longer than 6 months and certainly doesn’t happen overnight.  I continued playing football, working out, conditioning, and most importantly – dieting to this day and have seen great results.
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What changes did you make to your diet in the beginning to get you where you are today?  And what does your current diet look like?
In the beginning, start slowly eliminating destructive habits and foods.  It should be easy to justify not eating out.  You’re not only getting healthier, but also saving money.  It’s important to make a plan.  Pick a diet and only buy what’s necessary for the week when you go to the grocery store.  This should also save you money by eliminating waste and unnecessary snack foods.  Just as in exercising, the results of dieting don’t show overnight.  It takes time – if it was easy we’d all look like Greg Plitt or Lazar Angelov. Put in the work, stay committed, and reap the results! 
My current diet:
Meal 1: 8 oz. griller sirloin steak, ½ cup dry oats ( ½ scoop whey protein, ½ banana, 1 tsp. coconut oil, 1 tbs peanut butter, 1 tsp. instant espresso, 1 tbs. cinnamon), ½ cup blueberries
Meal 2: 8oz baked/grilled chicken breast, ½ cup brown rice or 6oz (½) baked sweet potato, 1 cup steamed green beans, hot sauce
Meal 3: 1 scoop whey protein, ½ cup raw almonds
Meal 4: 8oz baked/grilled chicken breast, ½ cup brown rice or 6oz (½) baked sweet potato, 1 cup steamed green beans, hot sauce
Meal 5: 6oz broiled salmon, 1 cup green beans
Meal 6: (Pre-workout) 1 scoop whey protein, 1 banana
Meal 7: (Post-workout) 1 scoop whey protein, 1 cup dry oats or 1 scoop carbogain, 1 scoop glutamine, 1 scoop hydrolyzed BCAA’s.  45 minutes later: ½ lb. bison burger, 1 Ezekiel English muffin, 2 tbs. reduced sugar ketchup, 1 cup steamed broccoli.
Meal 8: 1 scoop whey protein, 8 egg whites, ¼ cup minced peppers and onions
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Rj’s new lifestyle had made him so much happier as a person. He looks forward to working out and it gives him goals for the day. It also has made him more organized. His ability to stay in control and stick to his diet is really inspiring. -Cara Murray
What were your goals?
Short term:  I wanted to be a better athlete.  I wanted to play football and be the best that I could be.
Long term:  I wanted to be healthy… I’m certainly not genetically gifted in the health and fitness department which makes working harder that much more important.  Working out is more than just enhancing appearance; it’s about living a healthy life.
What do you do for exercise?
I use a mix of weight training (power lifting/bodybuilding/crossfit), cardio/conditioning, and sports.
When did you decide to change your life and what motivated you the most?
As I mentioned in the summary, after graduating high school in 2008, I decided it was time to make a change.  In a matter of 6 months in 2009, I lost nearly 60lbs of excess weight while adding a good deal of muscle.  That being said, a true transformation takes years – it takes much longer than 6 months and certainly doesn’t happen overnight.  I continued playing football, working out, conditioning, and most importantly – dieting to this day and have seen great results.
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What is the best advice you can give to those who have similar goals (or personal goals in general) in mind?  What do you think is the main reason why some people find it so hard to reach goals such as the one you achieved?
Don’t make excuses for yourself.  If you want to see results, you have to put in the work. Nothing is more irritating than hearing someone say that “its genetics” or “it’s impossible.”  To be honest, either is an embarrassing lie.  The real reason is because you play x-box 6 hours a day, you and the guy at the drive-through window of Wendy’s are on a first name basis, and you’re lazy and uncommitted.  Get off your ass and do something… It doesn’t matter what; just get up and do something – anything.  Change your diet slowly.  Adjust your body to natural, wholesome foods and get rid of processed junk.  Stay on the outskirts of the grocery store and force yourself to work with the ingredients you find there.  If you don’t go through the aisles, the temptation won’t be there.  Every 3 or 4 weeks, change everything… workout routines, diet, etc.  Find what works for you and even when you find it, change it and come back to it… Introduce your body to new things.
What (and who) helped you the most through the process of bettering yourself?
When you’re in the process of making a serious lifestyle change, family and friends are always the first to support you.  Following suite, my family and friends were extremely supportive and helpful throughout the process.  That being said, when going through the process of turning a “health kick” into an actual life style it directly boils down to how interested you are in bettering yourself.  The support and help comes from your personal dedication, motivation, and discipline as the one experiencing the changes.  Use your support for yourself as a main source of motivation and feed from help and support that your friends and family give.  If I had to pick something that directly helped me the most, it would be football.  Playing football through high school; and more specifically, college, kept me active and focused.
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How has your life changed since you reached your goals?
Generally, I’m the same guy that I have always been… Obviously, there have been some physical changes such as energy levels and appearance; but the biggest change is the drive to wake up in the morning with a purpose. Always look to better yourself in every way possible.  This lesson extends further than just the weight room or football field but can be applied to every aspect of life whether it is work, hobbies, relationships, etc. Wake up with a purpose and be the best you can be!
What are you going to do (now that you’ve reached success) to maintain your progress?
If you keep the outlook that you never reach success and always strive to be better than you were the day before, you’ll never have the chance to settle.  Settling is one of the worst things you can do in any situation.  Always push yourself to the next level.  I plan on continuing weight training and conditioning as well as dieting appropriately to reach whatever goals I have at the time; waking up with a purpose and aiming to get better every single day.

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Yours Truly,

Stef

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3 Day Detox, Progress + Social Media Fun!

20140130-113837.jpgResults DRIVE motivation. I am 8 pounds down since I left for school. I am keeping in mind that a lot of it is water weight (hello holidays) but it get’s me closer to this “BOD” on the right which was after I lost 96 pounds. I’m allowing the scale to motivate me until I am at a healthy weight, and then it’s back to heavy lifting and hopefully never looking at the scale again 🙂 For workouts, I’m cross fitting 3x a week. My crossfit trainer incorporates a lot of cardio style workouts into her programming, so that is also helping me. I will complain during a wod with running, but I love the feeling after. (So keep it coming, Jolene 🙂 ) I also just about always finish last during running wods, but tend to catch up during the movements. I’ve never been a fast runner and I’m working on that. I try to run twice a week, and lately have been incorporating more cardio to lose this extra weight! I love tabata sprints on the treadmill, but Maddie told me to try thirty seconds jog, thirty seconds sprint. I did that yesterday. I was running for a total of 40 minutes. For the first 2.5 minutes I walked fast at an incline to warm up. The next ten minutes, I went from 30 seconds at a slow jog, to 30 seconds at a sprint, then a run, and then back to a slow jog. For the next ten minutes I ran at a moderate pace, a pace where you’d be able to hold a conversation if necessary. For the next five minutes I went back to my 30 second intervals.  Then I ran five minutes at a fast pace, where it would be harder to hold a conversation. This was tough, but I was warmed up and it was easier to hold the fast pace. The next five minutes I was at a jog, as I ran slower and slower until I hit 40 minutes. I LOVED IT! I felt so good after it. I’m starting to try yoga and I’ve also been doing the Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs insanity videos at least once a week. Those videos are great for if you’re stuck in the house during a snow storm! They are also great to do on the weekends!

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So as some of you may know by viewing my instagram account (Yours_Truly_Stef), I did a cleanse about two weeks ago. It was the first week of classes, so my schedule was a little off. After writing it all down, I of course was not eating nearly ENOUGH, but I was eating healthily and light to cleanse my body of all the crap I put in it those last two months of the holidays. As you can see from the first day, I was not that hungry. Mainly because my appetite was downhill from eating like crap. I also drank MASSIVE amounts of water. To help detox, I added a lemon and half of a cucumber to my water and chug-a-lug-a-lugged. This really cleansed my system, I kid you not. My stomach felt flatter, my insides worked normally and FELT amazing, and my skin started to clear. I looked healthier, and I was ready and inspired to truly dive in and start my diet! This is no dietetic write up, but here is what I ate for those three days that finally made me feel cleansed again:

Day One:

Before Class/Workout: Banana

30 Minutes Cardio

Lunch: 1 cup Brown Rice, 2 cups mixed vegetables, 4 oz chicken

Dinner: 9 oz Tilapia, 10 Asparagus spears
with Salad: 2 cups romaine lettuce, 8 baby tomatoes, 1/4 cup cucumbers
Dressing: Lemon Juice & Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing + sprinkle of Mrs Dash Italian Blend

Snack: 4 oz Chicken, Banana with Cinnamon 

Day Two:

Breakfast: 4 oz Apple, 3/4 Cup Egg Whites, Glutenfreeda Oatmeal Packet with cinnamon, 10 cranberries, stevia 

Lunch: 6 oz Chicken Breast, 1 cup Brown/Wild Rice, 1/3 cup homemade tomato sauce (Tomatoes, basil, garlic -> frying pan until it turns to sauce) 1 cup mushrooms + peppers

Snack: 3 oz Banana, 1/2 Red Pepper

Dinner: 7 oz Tilapia, 4 oz Shrimp, 10 Asparagus spears, 1/2 Red Pepper, 1 cup mushrooms

Day Three:

Breakfast: 1/2 cup Egg White, 2 Rice Cakes with 1/2 cup Rasberries, .5 cup blueberries, 4 medium strawberries crushed as Jelly, 10 baby carrots

Lunch:4 oz Pork chop, 1 cup Brown/Wild rice, 1 cup mushrooms, 3/4 cup red peppers, 1/4 cup onions

Snack: 4 oz Chicken Breast, 1 Medium Apple, 10 Baby Carrots

Dinner: 5 oz Tilapia, 3 oz Shrimp, 1/2 cup red peppers, 1/3 cup mushrooms, 1/4 cup onions, 1 cup broccoli, 1 3/4 cup green beans, 3 oz Homemade Marinara sauce

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Above are a few social media finds that I’ve screen shotted because I loved them. Remember, YOU are the only one in the way of your goals. Success is a choice. Your priorities are your choice. Make your goals your priorities and they WILL happen. That second picture is Valerie Calhoun, an 18 year old beast and a half. I highly recommend following her on instagram. Not only does she have a body that I look up to, but her lifts are HEAVY and impressive for such a young athlete. I love some of the bible verses Rich Froning posts, but this one really caught my eye. I have had a tattoo in mind since senior year of High School, but he may have just changed my mind. Love.

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Pictured above is my beloved meal prep. Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, brown rice, tilapia, chicken, ground turkey, tuna, oatmeal, egg whites… and a crap ton of mustard! Trying this low fat thing. It worked for me in the past and this may be what I need to get to where I want to be. I love paleo, and I love my healthy fats, but certain things work for certain people, I’m giving this a go again! Tilapia is starting to get disgusting to me, so I’m giving it a breather for a couple days so I can stay strong. I incorporated ground turkey into my diet this week to switch it up, and have been LOVING tuna (with mustard 🙂 ). I’ve been drinking a gallon of water a day this week. Holy cow that makes a HUGE difference. I love it. I just said holy cow so I think it’s time to go…

Yours Truly,

Stef