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!

Hi, 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.

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.

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

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. Unbelievable! I am truly re-inspired each time I read your story and see the photos. I am on my own journey and integrating paleo along with crossfit workouts. The weight is falling off like I can’t believe, someday I hope to have as an inspiring story as yours.

    This may be too personal, but I can not resist asking anymore. What is the secret to keeping the skin tight while and after loosing weight so quickly? I am afraid that mine will not stay tight as I loose more weight even after gaining lots of muscle. Any tips would be tremendously helpful!

    Kyle wrote on April 3rd, 2012
  2. You look incredible! Congratulations on taking that first step and many positive ones afterward. Cheers!

    Nicholle wrote on April 23rd, 2012
  3. WHAU!

    Louise wrote on May 13th, 2012
  4. hey Frank,

    Question, what is your opinion on a whey protein shake with milk right after the workout on days that you are busy and don’t have time for a proper meal till later?


    Angel de la Muerte wrote on June 11th, 2012
  5. 43 pounds of fat in 13 weeks? If that’s not enough convincing for me to start this I don’t know what is!

    Zack wrote on August 12th, 2012
  6. All I can say is wow. My friend sent me this and at first I was dismissing this whole primal diet as crazy status, but the pictures and the testimony speak for itself. I think I am going to try and slowly make a change in how I eat. I know it won’t be easy, but the first step is trying.

    Jeremy Dixon wrote on October 6th, 2012
  7. Hey Frank, if you’re the guy I’m thinking of, we used to work for the same company back in Wellington a few years ago. Congratulations on your transformation. I’m only about 5 days into the Paleo lifestyle but thanks to reading your story here I have high hopes.
    Cheers, Brett.

    Brett wrote on October 14th, 2012
  8. I had to read this a few times to believe it.

    Your before pic looks like me know and this is the best motivation ever.

    One question – what happens to all that excess skin? Seriously does it elasticate back or do you need some help with it.

    Totally awesome and thanks for sharing.


    Mike wrote on October 18th, 2012
  9. Revisiting this post after 22 months, just surfing around on some success stories.

    These results are absolutely amazing, huge congratulations to Frank.

    I think it’s important to note, however, these results were garnered with much more than what Mark advocates in The Primal Blueprint and MDA.

    Frank’s incredible results were well earned from his dedication to careful diet experimenting and tracking, differing ratios of protein/fats/carbs than Mark advocates, and sticking with P90X, which is an hour or more of very intense exercise, 6 days a week.

    The dietary planning Frank so generously explained had more protein and carbs than Mark suggests, and less fat. P90X, meanwhile, is a far cry from ‘moving frequently at a slow pace’ with some brief weightlifting 2 or 3 times a week and a sprint every 7 to 10 days. P90X is TOUGH, very intense, and requires some real dedication…and yes, the results can be amazing.

    Using Mark’s principles can have fantastic results for most people in terms of health improvements, fat loss, and overall better health. But results from a ‘before/after’ perspective such as Frank’s…are essentially impossible to achieve using the Primal Blueprint approach only. Frank certainly used many of the principles of Primal Blueprint, especially in terms of removing processed foods and grains from his diet…but his carb count was much higher, it seems, than what Mark suggests for fat loss, but need to be higher to support the level of daily physical activity Frank was experiencing with P90X.

    To be clear, this is not intended to be a criticism of Frank’s success, not in the least…his results and transformation is nothing short of AMAZING, and VERY inspirational. I spent an hour reading it again today, and his generous, detailed answers to questions on how he did it, and am awed and humbled. But it’s important for people just discovering Primal/Paleo, particularly those who are not in the best shape to start out, to understand that cutting out carbs, increasing fats, and moving frequently at a slow pace with some resistance training and a weekly spring…will yield results, but not likely results like Frank’s.

    Frank’s results require absolute commitment to what are considered grueling 60 minutes workouts, six days a week, in conjunction with specific nutritional planning and experimentation, as well as the lean gains approach. Which…if you want results like this and think you can commit to the effort…would be well worth it!

    Peter wrote on September 18th, 2013
  10. How inspiring and awesome mate! I am interested in how you shifted your mind set into taking on such a challenge.

    Tim Thornton wrote on November 8th, 2014

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