Meet Lean and Mean 2023 2nd Place Winner Jon Isley

Jon lost 24.7% of his initial bodyfat and he is our Lean and Mean 2023 runner up, Jon Isley shares with us his struggles and what he has gained during this year’s competition.

1. What motivates you to prioritize fitness in your life?

Despite being reasonably active throughout most of my life, there were periods, spanning a few years, when I led a sedentary lifestyle. During those times, I noticed that my body’s aging process seemed to accelerate faster than it should have. These experiences hit me hard after turning 45, as I realized that I couldn’t afford to be careless with my health anymore. Being fit made me feel youthful, regardless of my running speed or lifting capabilities. It was about engaging in activities I love, pushing my body, and feeling strong.

2. How do you incorporate exercise (cardio/weights) into your daily routine?

I am fortunate to be a morning person, and I found a partner and trainer who are willing to accommodate my morning schedule. Typically, I wake up at 5 am on weekdays and head to the gym or start a run by 6 am. By doing this, I can dedicate an hour or more to exercise before getting my kids ready for school and arriving at work by 8:30 am. The only challenge with mornings is the societal pressure to stay up late, which can lead to inadequate sleep. However, I’ve discovered that if I’m asleep by 10 pm, I can manage with seven hours of sleep. It may vary for others, as everyone’s circumstances differ.

3. What was the most challenging aspect of the Lean and Mean program for you?

Nutrition proved to be the toughest part for me. While I successfully reduced my body fat by over 20%, I unintentionally lost a small amount of lean body mass during the Lean and Mean program. In hindsight, I could have improved my calorie and macronutrient balance to better maintain lean body mass. Running is my go-to activity, which is excellent for burning calories but not necessarily ideal for preserving lean body mass. Consequently, I may have focused too much on running and neglected adequate protein intake and weightlifting, which could have helped me maintain my numbers and potentially resulted in even greater fat loss.

4. What was the most rewarding aspect of participating in the Lean and Mean program?

The most rewarding part was experiencing visible and tangible results in my appearance and overall well-being. Additionally, having the support and motivation from other participants throughout the journey was incredibly uplifting. It truly became a valuable learning experience for me.

5. What insights did you gain about yourself during the program?

Particularly, I learned the significance of weightlifting in my fitness regimen. Incorporating weightlifting exercises not only complements running but also plays a crucial role in maintaining lean body mass. This realization was an eye-opener for me.

6. When you find yourself deviating from healthy eating and exercise, how do you get back on track?

One of my favorite sayings is, “Mood follows action,” which I find to be profoundly true. When I am actively engaged in exercise, I feel better both physically and mentally. It positively affects my mood, health, and overall energy levels. It enhances my enjoyment of life and motivates me to continue pursuing physical and mental activities.

7. What are your current fitness goals?

My current goals revolve around staying active. As of now, I tend to set simple objectives that align with the lifestyle I desire. With my children entering their pre-teen and teenage years, they serve as my main source of motivation. I love engaging in activities like skiing, hiking, biking, or running with them. It’s important to me that we can participate in these activities as a family and that I can be a positive role model, showcasing the importance of healthy living.

8. If you could offer advice to someone struggling with their fitness journey, what would it be?

Remember, “Mood follows action.” While there are numerous motivational resources available, this simple mantra emphasizes that our moods, often influenced by the noise and busyness of our lives, can hinder us from taking action. Waiting for the perfect time to get fit will never lead to progress. Take that first step, regardless of your mood, and observe how you feel afterward. You might be surprised by the positive impact it has on your overall well-being.

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