Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Weight Before: 280 lbs.
Weight After: 180 lbs.
When Jason Martuscello's brother, Joseph, died suddenly from bacterial meningitis, it was a huge blow. "He was my guide, mentor and best friend, who protected me from being picked on," Martuscello says. By then, his weight had ballooned following years of steady neglect and a poor diet. "What began as a quick fill meal here and there became the majority of my diet—eating fast food twice a day occasionally."
Martuscello, a grad student at the University of South Florida, had grown up an active kid, playing football and basketball, but still saw his health decline, and his weight increase. "Despite being very active I still gained weight in excess of 280 pounds propelling me to be another statistic within the obesity epidemic," he says. "It become obvious that just being active was not going to suffice."
Hit the books!
“Educate yourself on food—ingredients, portion size, serving size, food labels. Once you understand food, you are in control and can attain any goal.”
While his brother's death had an important impact on his decision to change, Martuscello got a kick from something more basic that everyone has faced at one point or another: insecurity. "I noticed friends dating girls while the closest I got to a girl was being their friend," he says. On top of that, he was getting the wrong kind of attention from his buddies. "I quickly became a source of comic relief for many."
He was already active, so the next step to revamping his physique was figuring out why it wasn't enough. But he hit the same wall so many people use as an excuse to stay unhealthy—money. "I lacked the financial resources for personal trainers, nutritionists and dieticians." So he educated himself on what he needed to do and went it alone. "I started reading magazines, books and started taking weight training courses at SUNY Plattsburgh," he explains. "There isn't necessarily one regimen I credit with losing weight and obtaining muscle mass, but understanding how to sequence and progress workouts, exercises, sets, rest periods and balance cardio and resistance training to maximize fat loss while still acquiring muscle mass." And beyond dropping a whopping 100 hundred pounds and forging a fitness model physique, he also discovered his path in life. "What was once a source of dread became a newfound passion that I wanted to commit the rest of life to being a part of." Which was exactly what Martuscello did. He is now pursuing a masters in Exercise Science at the University of South Florida. "My new goals include taking my education, experience and passion and passing it on to others," he says.
* In early 2013, Jason joined HUMANFITPROJECT to share his story, experiences, and education to help those struggling with weight and body image issues.