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Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Dec

My Primal Transformation: Discovering the Art of Fit

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real life stories stories 1 2Hi, my name is Frank Sabia Jr.. My story starts out like most in that for my whole entire life I have struggled with my weight. I ate well as a child and never developed weight issues until my late teens when my eating outpaced my activity. From there it was a slow and steady increase in weight gain. Like a lot of people, I have a desk job and sit all day long. Sometimes my work requires me to put in long hours, frequently sitting for up to 16 hours a day in front of a computer. This only helped to make my problems worse. My sedentary job along with my eating put me on a path to poor health and uncontrollable weight gain.

At my worst, I exploded to a whopping 255 lbs and over 40% body fat with a waist at 44 inches. The shocking thing about this time in my life is that I still worked out 3 times a week yet saw no change.

MeFat Montage

prePaleo candids

My diet was a SAD (Standard American Diet) one which was typically high carb, low fat, moderate protein, filled with fast food and processed foods. I felt depressed and ashamed of how bad I allowed myself to become in terms of health. I had trouble breathing, aching joints, acid reflux, high blood pressure and was constantly tired just to name a few health issues. I was morbidly obese and knew I had to do something about it.

That all changed the day I stumbled upon Mark Sisson’s Mark’s Daily Apple. I had decided to commit myself in not only exercise but also diet. Having to travel frequently for my job I decided to do an at home exercise program that would incorporate body weight movements for both strength training and cardio fitness. During this time I slowly transitioned from my SAD diet to a full Primal Blueprint diet removing all grains, gluten, legumes and dairy. For the first time in my life I was eating whole unprocessed foods and was no longer afraid of fat. This is when I not only started feeling better but looking better. Over a 13 week period I managed to lose 43 lbs of fat, going from a little over 30% body fat to 12%.

Not satisfied with my results, I decided to see how far I could get with this new Primal way of life. I decided to use weights for the first time and mixed in some IF (Intermittent Fasting). Still keeping to a strict Primal Blueprint diet, I was able to enjoy foods I thought were previously unhealthy like bacon, butter and eggs. For the first time I tried coconut and loved it. I became a master Primal chef creating things like gluten free Mexican buffalo pizza. Never having cooked for myself before, I quickly become a whiz in the kitchen converting all my mom’s home cooked meals and recipes to Primal friendly versions.

All my illnesses quickly disappeared, the high blood pressure went from stage 1 hypertension to that of an athlete level. Gone was the depression, acid reflux, joint pain, energy crashes, and mood swings. I pushed myself to limits I never imagined possible. I now weigh 167 lbs with a 29 inch waist at 8% body fat while packing on extra muscle in the process. This all took place in a 6 month period. My final numbers were shocking to my doctors and loved ones, 48 lbs of fat lost, 4 lbs of muscle gained, from 30% to 8% body fat and all improved markers of health. My health and fitness-age, previously tested by a sports physician, went from one of a 42 yr old to that of a 28 yr old.

Over a short 6 month period, with the help of Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint, I finally discovered the art of fit.

front flex FC 01 back flex FC 01

I continue on my path to Primal living having completed my first race, through the mud! Grok would be proud!

FS MudRun

Thanks for your help, support and continued inspiration.

Yours truly,

Frank Sabia Jr.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Wow. This has to be one of the most dramatic success stories that’s been posted. And he looks a lot lower than 8% bodyfat. Amazing. Congratulations, dude.

    Jim Arkus wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Holy smokes, Frank – your story is one of the most incredible I’ve seen. I’d agree with Jim about your having even lower bodyfat; you’ve got some serious bodybuilder-esque vascularity! Well done!

      Abel James wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Ditto. I think you’re well under 8%. Closer to 4-5%. Very impressive. I was definitely not expecting THAT after picture.

        Alex wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • When I saw the transformation picture, a loud “Whoa!” came out of my mouth. :) I definitely agree.. kudos to anyone who transforms themselves, but this is definitely one of the most dramatic transformations I’ve read. And in only 6 months!

          Art wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • @ Art

          That was my reaction also, and I’ve been reading these success stories for a while.

          toaster for sale wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • I completely agree! Frank- your story is absolutely amazing, I did not even think it was possible to have a such a huge transformation in only 6 months! I was shocked when I saw the after picture!

          Ellie wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • I did an out loud ‘whoah’ too! awesome work Frank.

          Kylie Ryan wrote on March 6th, 2012
      • Hey guys thanks again! Just to update. I finally got my blog site up off the ground as long as a transformation video!
        Please check it out and let me know what you think!

        www .ArtofFit .com

        Frank wrote on January 2nd, 2012
    • amazing¡¡¡¡¡ really congratulation,I will go for 8% bodyfat yeeeeeesssss.

      arthur wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • Thanks everyone! It was scary to put my results out there like that. Not sure what kind of reaction I would get. I believe in this style of eating so much I finally had to just go for it. Its truely been a total life changer and introduced me to so many new things like IF. Its opened my world to all new foods and taught me how to cook. This is all in addition to all the symptoms of disease that I had literally disappeared. I just hope to inspire others to be brave and take bake there lives and there health.

      As for the 8%…yeah its hard to know what I really was at….but I had calipers done by the same person both times. I would love if it were less : )

      Frank Sabia wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • Frank, we’re so glad you put your story out there. It takes guts, but it will inspire many.

        As for the caliper measurements – at some point the hard numbers don’t matter… I think you’re at that point!!

        Abel James wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • Thanks Abel. I tried not to get caught up in the numbers. I didn’t want some kind of flame war about not really being that % of bodyfat. I was just happy to reduce my health and fitness age from a 42yr old down to a 28yr old. Not to mention getting rid of a life long battle with high blood pressure.

          I’m just trying to focus now on maintaining my health and fitness and trying to make it as effortless as possible and its going really well.

          Thanks for such positive feedback on my results. It inspires and motivates me to keep going!

          Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
      • We got bodyfat measurements via a Bodpod at a local university. They’re supposedly a very consistent method and more accurate than calipers, while less accurate than a dunk tank. But it takes seconds without the numerous dunkings!

        tom jentink wrote on December 15th, 2011
    • Thanks I really appreciate the reaction to my story. Ever since my transformation I have so many friends and co workers now ask me how I can get lean and ripped eating so much food. I’ve been able to have quite a few go primal/paleo. Its been such a fun ride I hope it continues. The primal/paleo community is such a great one I hope I can contribute in some way. Thanks guys!!

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
    • Primal or P90X?

      George wrote on December 18th, 2011
    • Primal or P90X? Which one?

      George wrote on December 18th, 2011
      • Hehe…a little bit of both!

        Frank wrote on December 29th, 2011
  2. That. Is. INSANE! Wow! I’m honestly just – speechless!!!

    Shema wrote on December 9th, 2011
  3. Holy cow! I practically fell of my chair. What a transformation! Congratulations. You truly are an inspiration.

    Alison Golden wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Me too! Stunning!!

      Crunchy Pickle wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • hahaha I had the same reaction!!! This is amazing! I LOVE Fridays at MDA!

      Kathleen wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Exactly my reaction! “Holy Cow!”

      Incredible.

      homehandymum wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Ditto! WOW!! That looks like two different people!! Way to go, man!

        AustinGirl wrote on December 12th, 2011
    • When I got to the pictures, I gave out such a yelp that my husband came running!!!!!

      Dianne wrote on December 14th, 2011
  4. Wow amazing!! I have to figure that the muscle must have been under there all the time waiting to be revealed!!

    Mike wrote on December 9th, 2011
  5. Frank – what I want to know is HOW did you achieve that level of DEFINITION?! I’ve managed to lean out pretty well on Primal but would love to achieve the magnitude of change that you’ve accomplished. It’s really, really incredible!

    Shema wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • I second that. HOW!?!?!

      When you IF do you do 24 hr fasts or not so much. Please do tell, we all wanna know!!

      David wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Hey there! Wow…thanks everybody for the kind words. Im currently on the other side of the globe for a job and woke up with my inbox flooded and saw this. Glad I could be an inspiration to everyone. It was a hard journey but well worth it!

        Ok now to some IF stuff. My main IF protocol is LeanGains where I fast 14-16 hrs and train in a fasted state with only amino acids pre workout. So I have a feeding window of about 8 hrs in which I eat two massive meals. These meals are over 1,000 calories each. With such big meals I never get hungry or need to snack!

        Ive also tried and can recommend ESE or Eat Stop Eat protocol with fasting from dinner to dinner. And Ive also tried PSMF ( Protein Sparing Modified Fast) in which I just eat protein all day and some fish oil.

        Feel free to ask questions guys…I would love to help everyone ” Reveal the Masterpiece Within”

        Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • OMG WOW, thank you for responding, I feel like I’m conversing with a celebrity! To say you’re an inspiration is a gross understatement!!!

          So you eat 2 meals ever day and fast 16 hours? Is that your routine every day?

          Do you mind sharing a snapshot of what you eat in those massive meals???

          Thank you again for sharing your story! And I second the suggestions for you to start a blog/write a book!

          Shema wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • Frank, Absolutely amazing. You must tell all how it was done and in detail for us who need picture painting details. I have been Primal for a year and a half and I have lost 20lbs, and thats it! I have lots more to go but im hitting a real plateau. So some real inspiration like this may help.
          Carry on and all the best for xmas and the new year

          Tony wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • Hi Frank! Awesome success! I’m curious of your IF. What amino acids do you use for you pre workout? Do you IF everyday? Thank you for your time! been doing paleo but having little results and need some guidance.

          Stacy wrote on December 12th, 2011
      • He Shema…thanks for the remaks. Just to update you. I finally finished my website and have a Transformation Video up there as well. I hope to get others shredded like me for 2012!

        www. ArtofFit .com

        Frank wrote on January 2nd, 2012
    • I third this! Congrats on your new health, amazing job outside and inside!

      taratootie wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • @ Shema

        Yes thats correct! I eat two massive meals both over 1,000 calories from approx 2/3pm till 10/11 pm at nite. If I get a little hungry in the AM before I train I have a double shot of espresso with some coconut milk in there. I try to keep that low cal as to not break my fast. I train at lunch fasted with only amino acids pre workout. Then smash 50% or more of my daily calories in that epic post workout meal which is primarly protein and carbs. Carbs come as sweet potato and berries.

        I have a twitter page and a facebook page. Im uploading more pics now and since so many ask about what food I eat…Ill up load some pics of that as well!

        Thanks for all the feedback!

        Frank Sabia wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • @ Stacy Thanks for the kind words. Yes I do IF everyday. I actually would like to take Sundays off and eat when I wake up but I usually sleep in and end up eating after lunch time anyways. IF has enabled me to get alot of work done. I don’t have to constantly worry about eating every 2-3hrs and prepping meals all day. I just have 2 massive meals that fill me all day long. I rarely ever snack. The aminos I take are called Scivation Xtend. I take one scoop an hour before the workout and another during the workout. Other then that all I have before I train is a double shot of coffee…mmmm …with a splash of coconut milk!

        Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  6. Wow great story. You made an unbelievable transformation. Congrats.

    Joe wrote on December 9th, 2011
  7. it is time to interview the doctors of these success stories. i would like to hear their reactions.

    chuck wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Typical response:

      “Well, keep on doing what you’re doing. Next patient please”.

      Dave, RN wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • lol!

        becky wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • More like, “Well, I don’t believe cutting carbs out is healthy for you.. but it seems to be working. Just try to get some whole grains in there, they’ll do you good, trust me. Trust me.”

        American Doctor wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • “Trust me.” Ha, good one.

          Island Girl wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • ROFL!! :-)

          Daniel wrote on December 12th, 2011
      • Actually my doctors response was quite funny. He pulled me aside, with no one around and asked me exactly I did and could I help him as he was struggling to lose some weight! PRICELESS!!

        Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • If you can get one doctor to learn something his/her peers would never even open their minds to, you will have done heathcare a huge benefit.

          Congratulations! You are really inspiring. I shared your story on fb. And so sexy too, I bet the girls are not leaving you alone..do you still sit in front of the computer for hours?

          Getting There wrote on December 13th, 2011
        • That is awesome!!!

          Sara wrote on December 14th, 2011
  8. WOW!!!! Very inspiring!!!! You should be proud!!

    Kristie wrote on December 9th, 2011
  9. DANG! What a transformation, you look amazing. Congrats on your success!

    Oh and that Primal Mexican Buffalo Pizza sounds delicious!

    Becca wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks!

      The Mexican Buffalo Pizza is amazing. I think Mark published it in his latest e-book for his 21 Day Transformation. Its Primal as the crust is made from cheese but its the best pizza Ive ever eaten!

      2 slices fill me up unlike the gluten filled regular pizza I used to eat…I used to be able to smash a whole large pizza…and it showed!

      Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Frank,

        Great story! Say, I’ve been looking all over for this Primal Mexican Buffalo Pizza and can’t find the recipie on this site, or in any of my primal cookbooks (I have all of Mark’s). Can you tell me where to find the recipie?

        tokyogrok wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • Ill have to post it online but the crust recipe I stole from some other paleo/primal site. The rest I made up myself as I love mexican food and I love buffalo meat!!

          Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  10. Can I write what I said when I scrolled down?

    Holy sh*#!

    Lisa wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Exactly my reaction. What an amazing transformation!! Best I’ve seen. Frank- All that in 6 months? I’ve never felt so compelled to share a success story, but yours will be sent to all those that have questioned my efforts. I’m so happy for you!! Congratulations doesn’t even cover it!

      Brooke wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • I said the same thing when I saw the back picture!

      BG wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • That’s EXACTLY what I said! Was not expecting that kind of after pic! Way to go…you are an inspiration :D

        Jess M. wrote on December 15th, 2011
  11. I never comment on these, because everyone else usually has it covered, but… HOLY CRAP. You look incredible!

    Lindsey wrote on December 9th, 2011
  12. Wow. If that doesn’t make readers rethink their cheese doodles I don’t know what will!

    Susan Slattery wrote on December 9th, 2011
  13. Frank, your story and photos are truly amazing and inspirational. Still trying to get my jaw off the ground! Your story was just what I needed because as the days have gotten shorter, the weather colder, and the primal food choices sparce (holiday parties, ugh!), my motivation has been slipping lately. Congrats on your incredible progress man. Grok on brother!

    Chase wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks Chase. Glad I was able to help and inspire. Just stay the course because it does work. I just did a whole primal/paleo Thanksgiving and I plan the same for Xmas. The holidays don’t have to derail your progress and goals.

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  14. Wow, you sure did reprogram those genes! Congratulations Frank. Yes, please post what your workout regimen is, I want some of those abs!

    HillsideGina wrote on December 9th, 2011
  15. that’s is f-ing crazy. go you!

    jakey wrote on December 9th, 2011
  16. Unbelievable! Way to go!

    Christopher Sturdy wrote on December 9th, 2011
  17. Inspiring! You look fantastic!

    Ellen wrote on December 9th, 2011
  18. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!

    Erin wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • I KNOW!!!!!

      Kim wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • RIGHT?!

        Chris wrote on December 9th, 2011
  19. That’s just the kind of motivation I need after seeing the results of my slow slide back into Korg practices.

    Thanks

    Darcy wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • I know exactly what you mean! I’ve been slacking lately and really feel it, then I see what this amazing guy did in only 6 months. It reminds me of just what this way of life can do if you are honest about your eating habits and stay on track.

      Congrats Frank!!!

      Kaylee99 wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Thanks Kaylee! Appreciate it. Glad my story was able to help and inspire you. I know the end of the year people like to make new starts for the new year. If I could help that in anyway then I’m very happy for that. Just stay the course, believe and be steadfast because it does work. Let me know if I can help at all.

        Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  20. Amazing, the definition you’ve obtained in your muscles is nothing short of beautiful!! Congratulations!!

    WAR wrote on December 9th, 2011
  21. OH man I need these posts. I’m on week two and I have a feeling rapid amazing weight loss is not in my future. My goal is to be one of these amazing success stories by next October. Y’all just wait. You’ll hear from me I swear it!

    Maureen wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Looking forward to it!

      Sara wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Yes, indeed. Great goal. Good luck. Looking forward to it already. :-)

        Alison Golden wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • You’ll do it, (wo)man! Just be true to yourself. A smart human doesn’t eat poison. I’m excited to read your story. :)

      Bruno wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Keep going! You’ll find momentum as you stick with it. Fat comes off slowly at first but then starts dripping off the longer you stay with it.

      Lukas Andersen wrote on December 10th, 2011
  22. You go, boy! This is by the far the best story I’ve seen here to date!

    Rahsaan wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Hi Rahsaan! Thanks so much. Im honored to be the best story you’ve seen to date : )

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  23. Oh my gosh! You look amazing!

    I cannot believe your transformation took only 6 months – that’s crazy!

    Great job sticking with it. I’m happy for you!

    Sara wrote on December 9th, 2011
  24. Cool transformation, congratulations!

    Paul Alexander wrote on December 9th, 2011
  25. Wow what a story. Thanks for sharing. In most before and after stories I don’t see the 2nd picture as being something that’s all that impressive.

    Dude you’re ripped. Great job!

    Justin wrote on December 9th, 2011
  26. This is crazy ridiculous in an AWESOME way! You really transformed like that in 6 months?

    Damn dude! You are a massive inspiration – teach the rest of the world! Start a blog! For real!

    Primal Toad wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Hey man thanks! Appreciate it. Sometimes its hard to see how far Ive come in a short time being I see myself in the mirror every day. So its great to hear such positive feedback like this.

      I hope to start some kind of blog to help motivate and inspire people and keep them on there paleo/primal path. Its truely been a life changer. I really love the paleo/primal community and hope to help out and give back in any way I can!

      Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • You need to start a blog as soon as you can. You’ll get lots of traffic right away and I’ll do anything I can to help you out my friend!

        email… todd @ primal toad . com

        Primal Toad wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • Thanks man…I follow your site and am a subscriber!!

          Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
  27. *drooooool*

    cate wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Lol for real!!! Congrats :)

      Alyssa wrote on December 9th, 2011
  28. I can’t help but think of Danny Devito as before and Arnold Schwartenegger as after from their role in Twins.

    Matthew Muller wrote on December 9th, 2011
  29. I’ve read many success stories and had some success but that is pretty freaking amazing. The pictures are worth thousands words!

    Grokitmus Primal wrote on December 9th, 2011
  30. Holy crap.

    I want that success.

    Trifith wrote on December 9th, 2011
  31. now that’s what I am talking about!!!

    Carlo Coles wrote on December 9th, 2011
  32. Talk about LGN!!!

    Milla wrote on December 9th, 2011
  33. O. M. G. I can’t stop looking at your before and after. You don’t look like the same person! What an amazing transformation. Way to go! Clearly you are on top of the world, looking great and feeling great. That’s just awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    Jessica wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks Jessica. Its weird to look at myself. I almost don’t recognize myself anymore. I do look like a different person for sure, but I wouldn’t want to go back to the old unhealthy version of myself for sure. Ive uploaded a few more pics online if your interested in see any other afters.

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
      • Hey Frank… did you do P90X as excercise rutine? By the way, congratulations on your perseverance!! :-)

        Daniel wrote on December 13th, 2011
        • Hey Daniel..thanks for the kind remarks!
          Yes, you are correct. The reason I made that choice was mainly due to the fact that my job required me to travel overseas and I wouldn’t always have access to gyms or personal trainers. I needed something portable I could do anywhere with limited equipment. I followed the program as it was laid out my first 90 days, then modified it during my LeanGains phase.

          Frank wrote on December 13th, 2011
  34. Well apparently I am doing something wrong. LOL.
    Great job dude.

    IcarianVX wrote on December 9th, 2011
  35. Awesome I still have a long ways to go way to modivate me thanks for sharing

    andy wrote on December 9th, 2011
  36. I’ll ditto some of the above comments and say I’d definitely be interested in a more detailed account of your transformation. You look great!

    Sarah wrote on December 9th, 2011
  37. Holy Smokes! That definitely perked me up! Strict primal eating has been a massive challenge these past few months, but this is completely inspirational! Great transformation!

    Caleigh wrote on December 9th, 2011
  38. To quote Kang and Kronos from the Simpsons:

    “HOLY FIRKENSHNIT”

    Griffin wrote on December 9th, 2011
  39. HOLY SHIZ!!! My jaw dropped when I saw how ripped he is in the current photo. WOW!!

    Unamused Mouse wrote on December 9th, 2011
  40. My response when I scrolled down to the before and after pictures:

    “SHUT THE EFF UP!!”

    Damn but I wish girls could get so outstandingly ripped so easily ;p ;D

    cTo wrote on December 9th, 2011

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