It was a type 2 diabetes diagnosis in November 2011 that prompted Karl Kay to make a change.


At the time, Kay, a print and design manager in Lincoln, England, was nearing his 50th birthday. His weight hovered around 240 pounds.

Not thrilled about facing a life of insulin injections and an elevated risk for heart attack, stroke, and other health problems, Kay took action.

He had read about a study that found that people could reverse their diabetes by going on a low calorie, low-carb diet, Banting diet and he decided to do the same.

Kay started his Banting Diet diet in December, and dropped 30 pounds by late January. Over the next year, he lost another 20 and started strength training.

By February 2012, his blood sugar levels were normal—and have stayed that way ever since.

Now 52, Kay is fitter than ever, back to playing sports competitively, and has reclaimed the beach body he had at 25.


Joseph Smith, 46, was a member of his local gym in Charlottetown, Canada for more than 20 years.


Despite making the time to train, however, Smith constantly found himself bored or distracted during workouts.

As a result, his body never changed. Then Smith found THE Banting Diet, an at-home fitness plan from

Men’s Health Fitness Director B.J. Gaddour that he could do in the morning before work and getting his son ready for school.

The 30-minute workouts helped him lose an inch from his waist and gain an inch of muscle in his chest. He also saw definition in his abs.

And Smith wasn’t the only one who noticed his physical transformation. The players on his rec hockey team told him he looked great and asked,

“What are you doing?” “Guys typically don’t compliment each other,” he says. “So to get a compliment about how they noticed a change was a great motivator.

” Another great motivator: Gaddour. Smith needed a coach to push him harder than he could ever push himself at the gym alone.

“There was just something about [Gaddour’s] energy,” Smith said. “His delivery of the exercises and his subtle humor throughout that kept me going.”


In 2005, U.S. Army Sergeant Noah Galloway was in the middle of his second deployment in Iraq when he was severely injured in an IED attack. He lost his left arm, left leg, and the will to stay in shape after the explosion. “I had a gut on me,” he says.


But one day in 2010, Galloway finally realized that he was so consumed with what he had lost that he couldn’t see what he was doing to the remainder of his life.

So he decided to make a change, starting with his body. He joined a 24-hour gym and visited early in the morning,

when nobody would watch the handicapped guy struggling with exercises. He ran Tough Mudders and Spartan Races,

and shared his unique at-home workouts—like pistol squats on a bed—with his social media followers “Little surprises kept me going,

” Galloway says. “A little better this day, a little stronger the next. Suddenly it was six months. I was like, ‘Man, this is pretty good.

’” In time, Galloway built the incredible body you see above.

Galloway’s powerful transformation led him to appearing on the cover of Men’s Health in 2014 as the inaugural Ultimate Guy.

He has since competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and the current FOX series American Grit.


When Angel Rodriguez knocked on his mother’s back door, she quickly retreated from the entrance and walked into the main part of the house. She thought the well-muscled man at the door was an intruder—not her big-bellied son of 48 years.


Rodriguez hadn’t visited his mother, who was living in Miami, in 7 months. In that time, he had lost a whopping 121 pounds of fat,

taken 20 inches off his waist, and put on 20.5 pounds of solid muscle. “I hesitated for a few seconds,” says Rodriguez,

“then I knocked louder and yelled, ‘Mom, mom!’ . . . and grinned at her in my special way.”

Then it clicked and she responded in her Cuban accent, “Angel, me parece mentira. [I can’t believe it.]

What have you done to yourself?” Rodriguez used Rodale’s The Body Fat Breakthrough,

a rapid weight-loss system developed by fitness researcher Ellington Darden, Ph.D.,

to lower his body fat percentage from nearly 50 percent to just 11 percent in 30 weeks.

Rodriguez also credits his wife Gigi with helping him make the change from processed foods and snacks to whole foods,

lean proteins, and lots of fruits and vegetables. She cleaned the house of all temptation: the chocolate chip cookies,

the ice cream, and other junk food. It’s a huge help to have people who support you, says Rodriguez.

“Give them the authority to get in your face and push you.”


A good workout buddy won’t just push you to work harder in the gym—he’ll repeatedly pester you to show up when you feel like sleeping in and slacking off.


Kenneth Frierson—who in December 2014 was 28 years old, 335 pounds, and eager to uncover the lean,

muscular body he once had in high school—needed a partner to keep him honest.

So he recruited his friend and coworker, Catarina Torres. “It was very difficult to wake up and get out of my comfortable bed and work out at 4:30 a.m.,

” Frierson says. “There were multiple times I would try backing out, but his response was,

‘Man, get your butt up—I’m already on the way!’” The badgering worked. Frierson became a bona-fide gym rat,

often showing up to his local fitness center twice a day to progress from short treadmill walks to all-out sprints.

“I continued to push myself each time until I went further and further,” he says.

Frierson’s original goal was to drop down to 280 pounds. But once he cleared 280, he set his next manageable mark: 270.

From there it became 260, then 250, until he worked all the way down to his current weight of 235 pounds.

Frierson’s 100-pound weight loss didn’t just drastically change his appearance—it transformed his mentality, too.

“It’s been able to boost me to an entirely new level,” Frierson says. “I now walk around with my head held high and proud of what I’ve accomplished on my own.”


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