Don’t Dream The Impossible Dream – Just Do It

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Jimmy and His Beautiful Wife!Today is a special day here at AFQ. Not only is it Friday, but I get the honor of introducing you to a very special person. The one, the only Jimmy Compton! I met Jimmy just over a year ago on Twitter and since then he’s been a source of inspiration for me. I absolutely love hearing success stories and sharing in celebrations of the impossible, and Jimmy has an incredible story as you’ll see.

To prove what a small world it is, Jimmy officially lives about 20 minutes from me but I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him face to face because he’s been overseas this entire time. He is a man who doesn’t let anything stop him. His journey from Before to After was hard (and dang, check out his after pictures!!!) and he had all kinds of excuses at his fingertips but he pushed and sweated on.

I love and totally agree with his suggestions to stay on course. There have been many mornings that I’ve gotten up and found an email from Jimmy telling me about a new record in the gym. With motivation like that,  I’ve got no excuse not to work hard myself after my 5 mile commute to and from work.

If you’re just starting out, do what you can and work up to more. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. The will is there if you look for it instead of looking for excuses. Without further ado, I’ll let Jimmy tell you his story in his own words…

On January 29, 2004, I separated from the US Army with an honorable discharge. After 9 years of faithful service, I decided to call it quits and venture into civilian life. The first thing I decided to do as a civilian was to take a break from PT (physical training). In my mind I had been forced, for the past 9 years of my life, to do PT every morning and I was now going to do things my way. Besides I weighed 225 pounds, and was still in pretty good shape. How bad would the effects be if I took a few weeks off?

At first, a few weeks off was the plan. I was going take it easy and not do a thing that would possibly make me sweat. And on top of that, I was going to eat steak and drink beer every chance I could. Well needless to say, ten months later I had packed on an astonishing 60 pounds. And to be honest with you, I never even saw it coming. The only thing I was focused on were the 2 pound breakfast burritos I had for breakfast every morning, the double cheeseburger and fries that I had for lunch almost every day, and then the steak and beer that I had almost every night for dinner.

I had grown from a size 34 waist to a size 44. I had been transformed from a guy that resembled a college linebacker to a fat frumpy middle aged guy in less than a year. My life had changed drastically and not for the best. I had gotten myself into a terrible rut and did not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Between 2004 thru 2008, I was a car salesman. Yeah, yeah, I have heard all the stereotypes about car salesmen, and I will tell you first hand they are true. But that’s a different blog all together! My weight stayed around the 265 to 275 mark. I was working 16 hour days, still eating like crap and stressed to the max because of commission paying job. I literally had no energy, no sex drive, and was almost hopeless in all aspects of life.

The only positive thing that happened during that time frame was I managed to marry the girl that last knew me when I was that fit soldier she met back in 2002. And we had a little boy late 2007. So, with a new wife and new son, I knew I had to make a change fast. I literally could not keep up and was losing hope.

March of 2008, I got the call to go back to the Middle East as security contractor. My days in the Army were coming back to pay me a visit, and with our finances and sex life being non-existent it was an easy sell to get the OK from my wife. So, I headed back to Iraq. I still weighed 265. I was in horrible shape and was going to be required to take a freaking PT test in order to get the job. Talk about a lot of pressure!

Long story short, I passed the PT test and headed to Iraq. Now, let’s fast forward to 2011. I had been contracting this whole time and still had not managed to get my weight or fitness back to a respectable level that I wanted or need it to be at. I was still frustrated with myself and still felt like a failure in many aspects of my life. I was still confused about what I wanted to do and basically had no will power or energy to move forward with a single idea.

On February 10, 2011, I was packing up my garage to leave for another contract when I received a phone call from my sister-in-law. My youngest brother had just been shot and killed while working in Pennsylvania. I backed out of the contract that I was packing for and decided to stay home and take a construction job. I thought I was doing the right for myself and my family. No more overseas contracts and no more being gone.

Then on March 20, 2011, a little over a month later, I received yet another phone call that my oldest brother had just died in a motorcycle crash. I was completely crushed. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I just lost two of my oldest friends and closest people in my life and had no idea what to do.

This was the moment I woke up from my 7 year slumber. I literally said “Fuck it” and finally decided for the first time in my life that I was going to do exactly what I wanted to do, for the rest of my life. I knew then that there were no guarantees and that nothing comes free. I had already experienced the most painful experience I could think of, so I headed back to the Middle East.

This is where I have a direct advantage over any civilian that currently had a job other than at a fitness facility. Because I had unlimited access to a gym, didn’t have to pay a membership fee, and it was within walking distance of where I slept. Not to mention, tons of free time on my hands. (That’s one of the only benefits from working with the Iraqi Army. Those people are suuuuper lazy and take their time with everything they are involved with.)

One Year - Full BodyOn May 10, 2011, I took my first full body picture before I set out on my “Fitness Quest”. I weighed 260 pounds. I was so out of shape I was almost embarrassed to go to the gym where there were younger and more fit soldiers easily throwing up weight that I used to struggle with 10 years prior and running 7 minute miles. But, my motto containing the “F” word, off I went.

My beginning run times were non-existent. I couldn’t finish a half mile stretch without stopping for air and water. My feet hurt, my shins hurt, my lower back hurt. It totally sucked ass and I hated every minute of it. I eventually built up enough stamina to do 30 minutes on an elliptical machine and then 30 minutes on the treadmill. It took me about two weeks until I was able to run at a 5.5 miles per hour speed on the treadmill. It seemed like the first month was nothing but backwards progress. My body hurt constantly and to top that off, I wasn’t eating anything.

I do not recommend doing things the way I did then. I was taking in about 600 calories a day while burning over 3000. The first month was pure torture. I never set foot on a scale and I never took a photo of myself. All I concentrated on was the amount of food I took in and that one hour of cardio every day. At the end of the first month, I took my first progress photo. And holy shit, I could see a huge difference! I was so freaking motivated to see REAL results!

At this point, I was fueled. I kept on trucking like that for 90 solid days. I was able to drop to 35 pounds in what seemed like an instant (once those 90 days were over). I felt tons better and had lots of natural energy, but still felt weak. I was not taking any supplements and my diet still suffered without proper nutrients. The only thing I was taking was a cheap daily vitamin.

After - July 13, 2012Today, I currently weigh 220 pounds. Since my initial days of self-torture, I have been doing some serious weight training as well as cardio. I am taking supplements and doing my best to eat right. My strength has returned and I am now stronger than when I was 25 years old. I am benching over 300 pounds, squatting over 350 pounds, and I can just about dead lift 405 pounds… (It’s a mental thing at this point!) My two mile run time is under 16:00 minutes and I can still run distances for just about as long as I want to go. And I recently was able to leg press 1000 pounds, a personal best for me.

A few key things that helped me stay on course for my Fitness Quest:

  1. Progress photos. See for yourself what progress you are achieving. Don’t take other people’s words for it. Take a full body shot with as few clothes on as possible. You can go buck naked if you want! I wasn’t that brave!
  2. Moral/Mental support. Friends and family can help tons. But, they have already seen enough of you. If they aren’t fitness freaks themselves, chances are they are not going to be able to give you the type of support you will need. Find friends who are on the same journey as you! I met Adrianne through Twitter. She and another Fitness Quest chick named Heather. Between these two, I was able to stay focused and motivated enough to get to where I am today. Just having someone to brag to or even talk to about what’s next is huge!
  3. Diet! One of the most important things about this whole trip! Eat right, eat clean, and don’t be a dumpster for junky ass food! One of the first things I did was quit drinking sodas, completely. Those first 90 days, not a single soda. Sugar free drinks such as Crystal Light drink mixes are a great substitute for that sugary shit! And they taste better… Supplements. Do your research and find out which ones are best for you. I discovered protein powder and love it! I depend on it in order to keep me from gorging myself when I do have longer time periods in between meals. Not to mention the benefits directly associated with protein drinks. LEAN MUSCLE! I also take a daily vitamin pack along with some amino acids.
  4. Rest. Sleep your ass off! Your body has got to rest in order to repair!
  5. Gear. If you don’t by nice, you buy twice! Get yourself some decent running shoes and some workout clothes that are going to be comfortable and can handle the hell that you are about to put them through. And if you’re a fatty like I was, better get some shorts with a draw string! You’re going to need it!!! Check out New Balance’s website for the latest models of their running shoes. I am currently using the Minimus MT-10s. I love em!!
  6. Stay focused on YOUR goals! Who gives a shit what the guy/gal across the gym is doing or how much they are lifting. You don’t know anything about them and they don’t know anything about you. If you are comparing yourself to veteran lifters or runners on your first day in the gym, YOU ARE WRONG! Nobody wakes up in shape. The only thing you should be doing from other people is learning. If you want some respect in the gym, here’s how you get it – SHOW UP FAT AND LEAVE FIT!
  7. Music. This is by far my number one thing that I absolutely cannot workout with. Make yourself a playlist that rocks the fuck out! Plug in your head phones, turn that shit up, and GET BUSY! Here are a few of my favorites:
      • Lose Yourself – Eminem
      • Automobile – The Fumes
      • Nice Guys Finish Last – Green Day
      • Thunder Kiss ’65 – White Zombie
      • Brown Eyed Girl – Lag Wagon

With that being said, I’m feeling pretty jacked right now! I think I’m going to go to the gym!!

It’s Adrianne back again. I’m so proud of Jimmy and am honored that he agreed to tell his story here.  After his tour in Afghanistan is done, he’s coming home to his family and to help his friend Craig Hayslip at CDIDIT.  He’s going to live out a childhood dream and be a partner in a hot rod shop! Stop by and give Jimmy a huge booyah and ask him about his latest personal record for me.

Always remember dreams can come true, you just need to believe and work for it. It’s well worth it in the end.


  1. Lani Rhea says

    Dang! Look at you, cuz!!! I so cannot wait to see you on your very own romance cover next year!!! Great blog!

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