Everyone has seen those compelling side-by-side, before-and-after photos of people who have dropped 100 pounds or more — the left pic notable for its excessive body fat, the right pic featuring ripped abs and a lean figure.
Jason Helmes has not only been featured in a few of those, he has helped dozens of people transform from the left pic to the right.
Like so many people before him, Helmes graduated from college, ignited his career, started a family and … started gaining weight.
“From the time I was 18 and a freshman at Eastern Michigan University to my late 20s, I went from about 220 pounds to almost 300,” reflected Helmes, who taught advanced algebra and social studies at Central Middle School and Liberty Middle School in Plymouth and Canton for close to eight years.
“Not long after our first daughter was born in 2010, I was holding parent-teacher conferences at Central Middle School and I started noticing the parents coming in … and it was a bit of a magic mirror moment. Some of the parents were in shape, other parents weren’t. I started realizing that in 10 to 12 years, this was going to be me.
“At the rate I was going, I was going to have a child in middle school and I was going to be in poor health.”
Road less traveled
Like few people before him, Helmes took drastic measures to change the status of his health and, simultaneously, the course of his life.
While doing so, he has changed the course of hundreds of people’s lives — friends, family members and complete strangers — for the better.
“I know it’s common for people to gain weight after they have kids,” Helmes said. “I was the exact opposite. I wanted to set an example for my young daughters as far as how you should take care of your body.”
Just days after the parent-teacher conferences, Helmes started reading health-focused blogs.
“Over a two-year span, I started using myself as a guinea pig,” Helmes said. “I started taking the information I was reading on blogs and from my research, and taking it into the gym and the kitchen.”
By the beginning of 2013, Helmes had dropped close to 100 pounds of body fat and added muscle — a transformation that generated positive feedback from his friends, family and colleagues at school.
“One by one, they were coming up to me and saying, ‘Dude, I’ve never seen you in shape like this. Can you help me?’,” he said.
Helmes obliged, forming workout plans and diet and nutrition guides for his friends — all for free.
“Then one of my friends said, ‘Jason, you’re really good at this,” Helmes added. “‘People will pay for this’.”
Helmes started his own blog later in 2013 — writing during his lunch break at Central, while his two young daughters were napping — any time he found a free minute.
By late 2013, he started securing paid clients.
“In 2014, things started snowballing and, before I knew it, a dozen clients became 100,” he said. “I thought, ‘I may have something here’.”
Fast forward to today.
He has hired two full-time health coaches and two part-timers to assist him — and his clients live around the globe.
“As long as they have access to the internet and can speak English, we can help them,” he said.
And help he has.
Big-time weight loss
Several of his clients have shed 100-plus pounds while countless more have lost up to 50 pounds.
“We had one woman who lost 210 pounds,” Helmes proudly stated. “She finally got to the point where she told us, ‘I think I can do this by myself now’.”
Anyman Fitness offers a variety of health-improving plans, all of which are detailed on its website.
When asked what is more critical when it comes to dropping weight and improving your health — diet or exercise — Helmes didn’t hesitate.
Diet and exercise important
“If you’re looking to lose body fat, your long-term diet is crucial,” he said. “With the right combination of diet and exercise, you can expect to lose one pound of body fat in a week. But if you grab a couple handful of chips, you’re probably consuming 500 calories right there.
“Diet is most important when it comes to experiencing that initial loss of body fat, but regular exercise is necessary to maintain your weight once you’ve lost the pounds you’re looking to lose.”
Helmes said the aspect of teaching middle school he misses most are the priceless interactions with his students.
“But I still consider myself a teacher,” he said. “I’m just teaching adults how to improve their health within a virtual setting.”
Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.