Jamie Szczerbanik - MAX Challenge Grand Champion Dec 2015


 I had been over 100kg since I was 21 years old. I still kept myself in fairly good shape as I played at a high grade level of rugby league. After retiring in 2013 due to injury I stopped training and kept on eating the same foods and drinking alcohol and thought I still carried myself well.
I knew something was up when my lower back ached every day and so did my left hip. It was even a struggle to do up my shoelaces.
When I was at my heaviest my lifestyle was really affected. I was tired all the time. I didn't want to do anything or go anywhere. I would make poor excuses just to stay home. I wouldn't even watch my daughters play on the trampoline, and as stupid as it sounds I fell asleep on the toilet once I was that tired.

I ate home cooked meals throughout the week and took leftovers to work for lunch. There were however a lot of pasta meals or saucy stir fries and homemade chips. I'd then eat a block of chocolate to myself or a pack of lollies for desert. Ice cream was also on the agenda most nights. When the weekends came around it was open slather. Lattes, Macca's, hot chips, pies and pizza. I'd be the one suggesting them most times as well.

I didn't go to the gym or do any exercise for 7 months before I started the challenge. Before that though I was a strong believer in "say no to cardio." I'd never do it and I'd roll my eyes at the people that did. I'd lift around 3 times a week on average but talk to anyone that would listen. I always thought that I'd get enough out of lifting only.


I had to do my periodical medical at work in December 2014 and it came back that my cholesterol was high. I then booked into see my GP and he sent me for a series of blood tests over the following months and all results came back the same as I wasn't keeping my side of the bargain.
So, in late July early August 2015 doc had had enough. "You need to lose 10kg and lower your cholesterol in the next 3 months or I'll put you on medication" he told me.
That night whilst watching t.v the ad for the upcoming Max's Challenge came on and my partner said "You may as well do that! It goes for 3 months and that's the time the doctor has given you to prove yourself. What have do you have to lose?"
That's when I knew I had to do something about my weight and image.

I registered on the first possible date and ordered my supplement stack the same night. If I was doing this then I was doing it 100%.

My diet changed dramatically. I would never have eaten oats, yoghurt or tuna salad before the challenge. I even cut milk and sugar out of my coffee on day 1 (no more latte's).

I followed the training program to the letter. Both weights and cardio when per-scribed. Even if it meant getting up at 3:30am to do my morning cardio before work. If the plan said cardio 2 days a week that's what I did. If it said 3 then it was 3. Same as the weights. The only time I changed was the final 4 weeks where I walked for 1 hour every morning.

My motivation was my family. I didn't want to become ill and not be able to enjoy my 3 girls growing up. Every time I felt it was too hard I'd think of them. I also took weekly photos without weighing myself and to see a physical change in a matter of a week was mind blowing.


Since finishing the challenge I'm more active. I enjoy doing things with my family and I even participate in the training sessions with the rugby league side that I coach. My energy levels are unbelievable.

I now eat the same foods from the plan 90% of the time with the odd cheat meal just to treat myself but chicken, steak, rice, steamed veggies, sweet potato and garden salads are my go to foods now.

I still do both cardio and weights. I train 4 x week. I incorporate cardio into my weights sessions so I don't really have a dedicated cardio session.

I stay motivated the same way I did through the challenge. Thinking about my family and what I'd miss if I continue down the wrong path.

If you want to change for the better through diet, weight loss, or weight training just remember that there is no special pill. You will get out what you put in. If you don't know where to begin then sign up for the next challenge and lay some foundations to a better life.

A lot of people want to speak to me now. They want advice, they want to hear my story. My family look to me as inspiration and that is an honour in itself.

If the old me was in front of me now I'd tell him to get his act together. How can you be a role model to your kids and the kids you coach if you can't walk the walk. Be a leader and lead by example.

See Jamie's Before and after Photos here:    https://www.maxchallenge.com.au/transformations-detail?jamie-szczerbanik-82