One morning, Johnny Kalaj woke up and hated the way he looked. The thing is, he didn’t necessarily gain all of his excess weight by accident.

As a competitive powerlifter and strongman, Kalaj wanted to put on as much absolute body mass as possible to gain leverage for big, heavy lifts. Eventually, though, that extra mass started to get to him. Kalaj decided to experiment to see if he could drop excess weight while maintaining his strength.

In this week’s Transformation Tuesday interview, Kalaj opens up about how heavy he let himself get, the key to his turnaround, and his advice for anyone getting started on a fitness journey—regardless of their goals.

Follow Kalaj on Instagram (@power_by_johnny). And if you've got an interesting transformation story, we want to hear it—follow and DM Mike Simone on Instagram (@mike_simone).

Check out one of Kalaj’s strongman workouts below: