Marks Daily Apple
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. The transformation is ridiculous and the fact that it was done is six months is mind boggling. You’ve got it dialed in for sure… great work!

    tcb wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Dialed in is the key phrase there. I think one key for me was not being afraid to fail. I am constantly experimenting with different foods, supplements and workout routines to see what my body reacts to. I would say I definitely have a personalized primal plan and encourage everyone to experiment. Don’t fear the word fail, as its a great way to learn what doesn’t work.

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
      • that is what I named my progress up til now , the FAIL routine! I am going bacj=kwards, congrats!

        tcseacliff wrote on December 14th, 2011
  2. wow, i hadnt even read any of th words yet and jumped straight to the pics…

    uhmm, HOLY SH!#?

    Grats dude, you look awesome.

    Arty wrote on December 9th, 2011
  3. 6 months??? That’s incredible. Way to go, Frank!

    Anne wrote on December 9th, 2011
  4. OMG. Congrats. That is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    Jordan wrote on December 9th, 2011
  5. Wow…you know I was reading and scrolling through the first pics I was expecting to see a leaned out, fit guy with a healthy average physique…maybe some definition and muscularity…and that would have been impressive!! But when I reached you’re after picture I almost sh%t myself. That is crazy. You are a Primal God, my friend. Grok salutes you!!

    Grog22 wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks Grog! Great to hear such reactions to my transformation. Glad you liked it. Funny reaction indeed!

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  6. Whilst the ripped (or even significantly toned) bodies in the success stories looks great, it’s the smile on the faces of the success stories that does it for me. Look at the difference in how happy they are – all of them. That’s the real success to me.

    Brent wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • I totally agree! I enjoy the stories and like looking at the before and after pictures, but I love seeing how absolutely happy and healthy people have become from their primal experience. That’s what really makes them successful =)

      Aileen wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Good point. Those smiles are what really count. (Don’t mind staring at the awesome body though!)

      Spincycle wrote on December 9th, 2011
  7. FFS that’s massively impressive.

    Holy cat’s as robb would say.

    Onge wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks Onge…Holy Cats INDEED! I’m a huge fan of Robb’s work and his book and podcasts were definitely key to my results. Mad respect for him and everything he does.

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  8. Holy Crap! I LOOK like the before picture now. I can’t see it taking 6 months to get me to where you are now…
    One thing I was thinking is that since you were already working out 3 days a week, it was like your real body wanted to come out. I am guessing that is why you got such great results so fast. In essence, you found that sweet spot that Mark talks about in his book. Congrats man! You are an inspiration!

    Jason Sandeman wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Yeah I worked out 3 times a week with a personal trainer but never saw results. He kept yelling at me to go stricter on my diet. I actually had a worse diet when I worked out then because I thought …hey..Im working out hard here so I can be a little lax in my diet. It wasnt until I changed my diet that I finally saw the results I have now!

      Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • It’s like Mark says, it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise. If you don’t have the diet dialed in you’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

        Island Girl wrote on December 10th, 2011
  9. How tall are you Frank?

    Miguel wrote on December 9th, 2011
  10. Kudos for your fearless “before” pics. Usually these stories are filled with waay too much detail, but in this case I’d love a little more: how often and how do you exercise? How often and duration of IF?
    Thanks for an incredible post.

    pmpincali wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks pmpincali. Looking back on my before photos, I literally can’t believe that’s what I looked like. I also can’t believe friends of family didn’t say something about how big I became. I hope I can be held more accountable now by this great community so I can stay on my current path. During the first 3 months of my transformation I exercised 6 days a week and then during the last 3 months I cut that back to 4 or 5 times a week. I got smarter about working out and learned some valuable lessons the first 3 months. My IF changes from time to time but during my transformation I would IF 7 days a week during the last 3 months. During this period, I found it easier to lose weight and gain muscle with this method. One of the main reason was a compressed eating window allowed me massive meals that kept me full the rest of the day. I would have people always comment at work how could I eat such big meals and actually get lean!

      Frank wrote on December 13th, 2011
      • Quote: “One of the main reason was a compressed eating window allowed me massive meals that kept me full the rest of the day. I would have people always comment at work how could I eat such big meals and actually get lean!

        Maybe that’s what I’ve been missing…guess I’ll try the big feed window along with IF. Been really strict with diet (Paleo) for 3 years and not much changed.

        David wrote on December 15th, 2011
  11. That was the sound of me picking my jaw up off the ground- holy cow! What a transformation, I’ve never seen anything like it, you look awesome!!

    Spincycle wrote on December 9th, 2011
  12. That’s awesome!!! Congrats, did you practice low carb cycling or anything to that nature?

    Rob wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Yes I did carb cycle. Some call it backloading as well. I had what some primal people might call high carb days around 3 times a week. Only after my workouts.

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  13. I’m gonna need that Mexican Buffalo Pizza recipe!

    Amy wrote on December 9th, 2011
  14. sorry, but holy SH!#. Thats seriously unbelievable. My eyes popped out of my head.

    Junie B wrote on December 9th, 2011
  15. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod!!! Well done, sir, very well done.

    Marianne wrote on December 9th, 2011
  16. Wow! Thanksgiving, followed immediately by intense studying for law school finals, has derailed by primal attempt, but this is definitely inspiring me to get back on track. Good job.

    Amber wrote on December 9th, 2011
  17. Holy crap indeed Frank! Those pics blow me away. Good job

    Tony wrote on December 9th, 2011
  18. Truly amazing results! Inspiring!

    Tony wrote on December 9th, 2011
  19. WOW. I’m so happy to hear of your mental health transformation as well as the physical!

    Elisa wrote on December 9th, 2011
  20. holy moly! (and hubba hubba!)

    becky wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Hey Becky and Elisa…thanks!

      Frank wrote on December 12th, 2011
  21. So are you 42 or 28 please tell :)

    Onge wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Those 42 – 28 was a health and fitness test I did. It said I had the health and fitness of someone aged 42 then when I was retested I got that down to 28!

      Frank wrote on December 29th, 2011
  22. +1000 about the holy crap.
    what IS Mexican buffalo pizza?
    and what kind of IF did you do?

    roar wrote on December 9th, 2011
  23. Amazing dude….I’d love to hear the details of what you do. You are the textbook example that I would like to duplicate!

    Ryan wrote on December 9th, 2011
  24. Holy Crap!!!
    Your smile in the ‘after’ picture says it all and more.
    That is super inspirational.
    I’ve been at this for over a year now. Why oh why can I not get these kinds of results?

    Melissa wrote on December 9th, 2011
  25. Wow. You should pat yourself on the back. And an admirable back it is.

    fitmom wrote on December 9th, 2011
  26. No… it can’t be.
    Impossible!!!

    Patrícia wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • That’s what I thought. I asked a friend at our PD if he thought it was the same guy. He says there is software that can do a ratio of the distances between the 2 eyes, eye line to nose, and eye line to mouth, but we don’t have it.
      We’re both thinking the ear is wrong, and so is the nose width/shape and the distance from the top of the ear to the eye line.
      I’m also looking at the wrist on the after picture, and the dude appears to me to be and ectomorph. The before is clearly an endomorph. Has anyone ever seen that sort of transformation (except in a Muscle & Fiction mag)?
      Suspicious, sorry.

      Jeff wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • No, I think you’re wrong. The ears look the same — look at the pics from the back, they’re both slightly out of line. Look at his hairline. And I know this is weird, but look at his nipples! It is totally the same guy. Losing that much weight really changes a face — suddenly you can see the bone structure. Don’t undermine his amazing work by doubting. Just because it’s awesome doesn’t mean it isn’t true!

        Emseven wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • You beat me to it, obviously we both noticed the same thing about the ears from the back, LOL!

          Agree 100% Doubting doesn’t make it not true.

          Kim wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • I think it definitely looks like the same person. Look at the side by sides from the back, look at the ear heights/shapes. Plus the eyes in the front pics. I think it’s completely possible when eating properly and doing heavy lifting. I know that I’ve kept down the pudge easily by eating this way as well as moderate amounts and am positive that I’d really improve my results if I just kicked up the heavy lifting. I’ve done so with good results in the past, but got injured awhile back and never got back into it for fear of reinjury. Time to start. This story was one of the most inspirational I’ve read. I’d also love to hear more about what, how much, and when you eat as well as your exercise routine. Why not start with a program that’s obviously successful!

        Kim wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • Couple things:

        1st pic lit from left side, 2nd from right.
        Camera angle in 2nd is higher and more straight-on
        2nd pic he is twisted at waist and looking straight at camera; this emphasizes the waistline and the arms. Whereas w/ first pic, we focused on his waist and expression.

        These things all lead to subtle interpretations and may have led you to believe it was “suspicious”.

        Jessica wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • i’m the mom; it’s him! He’s done a fantastic job; wish i had his willpower.

        carol wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • lol! Well good on you for giving him such awesome genes which he has now activated to explosive potential ;D

          cTo wrote on December 9th, 2011
      • No worries. It was 6 months of hard work and I didn’t exactly shock the world with some massive mass gain. All I did was diet and exercise for 6 months trying to lose as much fat as possible. I only gained 4lbs of muscle in the process and definitely made mistakes along the way.

        I lost approx 8 lbs a month which is like 2lbs a week which is about the amount you want to lose. In the beginning it was much easier to lose the weight then at the end. But managing my calories and doing LeanGains helped me the last 3 months for sure!

        Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • Sorry for my skepticism, Frank, it’s just I’ve never seen such a dramatic transformation except next to a Hydroxycut ad. It’s like you’ve changed body somatypes from one end of the spectrum to the other, which is rare. And to do it in six months is just extraordinary.
          So you’re six feet tall, right? Is your before picture at 255 or 215?

          Jeff wrote on December 12th, 2011
        • @ Jeff
          No worries about the skepticism.
          Yeah before picture is 215lbs. I was at one point 255lbs at my worst. I yo-yo dieted down to 215 and could never get any lower then that. Yes, I’m 6 feet tall.

          Frank wrote on December 19th, 2011
      • No worries. It was 6 months of hard work and I didn’t exactly shock the world with some massive mass gain. All I did was diet and exercise for 6 months trying to lose as much fat as possible. I only gained 4lbs of muscle in the process and definitely made mistakes along the way.

        I lost approx 8 lbs a month which is like 2lbs a week which is about the amount you want to lose. In the beginning it was much easier to lose the weight then at the end. But managing my calories and doing LeanGains helped me the last 3 months for sure!

        Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
        • I noticed your Lean gains comment and wondered if you have Martin Berkhan as your personal trainer? That may help me with my suspcison you used the transfomration machine from Captain America?
          I hope your in the process of writing a book!

          greg wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • I wasn’t doubting on you: I was rather expressing my abrupt state of awe.

          You have a marvellous boby and an even more marvellous spirit.

          Patrícia wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • As for Martin Berhkan being a trainer to me. After my first 3 months I wanted to try LeanGains but had no idea how to do it so I sent Martin an email. However I never heard back and figured he was already too busy with other clients and I was probably just sitting in his que. So I found some examples of people doing his LG IF protocol off bodybuilding .com and tried it for myself using that and his articles on his site. I had to tweak as I went but found great success with it.

          Frank Sabia wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • hmm wonder if someone who works on visual effects in the movie industry would ahve access to such software ie, frank sabia jr? w w w. imdb. com/name/nm1455737/

        i’m not saying he didnt acheive this but in 6 months with 3 months of body weight excercises? The guy needs to write a book. ive been on primal for 4 months with 6 months of body weight excercises and started from a much better condition and my results are no where near this and ive worked my ass off. i dont want to be cynical but something has been left out here. i wouldnt expect to see results like this after 6 months of hard core steroid abuse.

        greg wrote on December 10th, 2011
        • i want to add that i really hope this is real and I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU GOT THERE. PLEEEEEASE!!!! i’m thinking as you work in the movies you borrowed that machine from the recent Captain America movie?????

          greg wrote on December 10th, 2011
      • I believe you are going way to far; I actually was only stating my shock! :)

        Patrícia wrote on December 10th, 2011
  27. OK.. Now I first saw the pictures up top and thought the ones where he is shirtless holding the camera were the “After” shots..LOL. I was thinking this way of eating does not produce any good results..lol. THEN I saw the real “After” shots and I must say I am AMAZED. I don’t usually comment, but I am officially SUPER inspired. My wife sent me the link to this story, and I think this is the point we turn it around and eat for good health. Frank, bro if you read this I wanted you to know I am inspired by your story. I dont even mind that the Wifey probably stared at your picture for an hour before sending me the link..lol Great Job!

    Dougie wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Good on you, man. Spread the knowledge. Turn the pyramid upside down.

      Bruno wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thanks man. I was hoping to inspire people. Before this transformation I thought it was 80% exercise and then a little diet. But during my journey, I discovered it is mostly diet. As the saying goes, you make your abs in the kitchen.

      Frank wrote on December 19th, 2011
  28. Absolutely incredible! You are my hero, Frank!

    Dan wrote on December 9th, 2011
  29. You definitely need to write a book!

    Steve T wrote on December 9th, 2011
  30. HOLY SH%#! Sign me up for that art class.

    Ashley North wrote on December 9th, 2011
  31. Great story. What a transformation in such a short period of time. Care to share some of those at home exercise routines?

    Witch71 wrote on December 9th, 2011
  32. Wow, Wow, Wow…what an amazing change. The hard work certainly paid off for you. I would love to hear what kind of work out regimine you used and obviously are still using. I would also love to hear how you would eat in typical day. Truly an inspiring story.

    Terri wrote on December 9th, 2011
  33. One word: HOT.

    Anna wrote on December 9th, 2011
  34. wow that ripped in 6 months!! amazing. almost hard to believe. Outstanding!

    PaleoDentist wrote on December 9th, 2011
  35. Truly remarkable!

    Suzanne wrote on December 9th, 2011
  36. Holy crapola and DANG!!! You rock! Way to go! One of the best things is how happy you look. But most of us primals do! :-)

    Tina wrote on December 9th, 2011
  37. The human body is SO beautiful! Everyone’s body deserves to reach its own full potential, and yours certainly has! Your transformation is downright gorgeous!

    nikki wrote on December 9th, 2011
    • Thank you so much. I wold like to think that I’ve created a work of art!

      Frank Sabia wrote on December 9th, 2011
  38. Mark, would you be able to have Frank tell us in detail, what his workout routine consisted of ?
    His results are truly amazing.

    Larry wrote on December 9th, 2011
  39. Incredible transformation – way to go Frank!

    Jeff Pickett wrote on December 9th, 2011
  40. Wow. Seriously, that is amazing. Awesome job!!!!

    Kathleen wrote on December 9th, 2011

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