Josh Christensen started dancing his freshman year of college, which led to a bachelor’s degree in the performing arts from Sonoma State University. Upon graduating, the then 24-year-old moved to NYC to continue doing what he loved. He danced with a small company and began playing volleyball as a fun way to cross-train. But less than a year after he started hitting the court, Josh blew out his knee, tearing his ACL and medial and lateral menisci. “I had to get ACL reconstructive surgery, along with six months of physical therapy,” remembers Josh.
Back to Square One
After the lengthy recovery process, Josh made his way back to the stage, but his injury left some permanent damage: There were certain steps that his knee just could no longer do. So when the head of his dance company moved to a different state and took the company along with her, Josh knew he would struggle having to audition for a new one. Eventually, he made the decision to let his performing career go.
Making Room for Fitness
As the years went by, Josh realized that while playing volleyball was good exercise, he needed to start doing more. From the ages of 26 to 32, he began trying whatever workout programs caught his attention. He attempted Insanity, but found the videos were too long and he had trouble sticking with a healthy nutrition plan. Josh also tried a weight machine circuit at Planet Fitness, and got workout routines from fitness books and magazines, but didn’t end up sticking with any of them.
“Using weights always intimidated me,” says Josh. “There are so many muscle guys in the gym and you get someone next to you bench pressing hundreds of pounds and you can barely do 45. It was intimidating.” Josh continued to do a few bootcamp classes here and there, but had otherwise given up on weight training. The strong and lean body he once knew began to slip away.
Trying a New Approach
The following year, after not having touched a weight for about 12 months, one of Josh’s volleyball teammates invited him to try a new DailyBurn weight training program, Live to Fail. The six-day-a-week “LTF” program focuses on building muscle and definition by lifting to failure. All that’s needed for the workouts are two sets of dumbbells and a plyo box. And in terms of nutrition, LTF provides a clear plan, based on the macronutrient breakdown your body needs for optimal fat loss and muscle growth.
Josh was a bit reluctant to sign on at first; he wanted to sit back and just enjoy his summer. “I decided if I kept saying ‘I don’t know if I want to do it right now,’ I’d never do it,” says Josh. “So I said ‘OK, I’m in.’”
Starting the Workouts
Josh jumped into DailyBurn’s 12-week Live to Fail program full on. “Having a structured program to follow helped me focus on success,” says Josh. “After the first day when [LTF trainer] Ben said ‘Pat yourself on the back,’ I couldn’t even touch my back. It was the most sore I’d been after not lifting for a year.”
But as Josh progressed and got in the habit of stretching and replenishing his body post-workout, the soreness lessened and he began to hit his stride. “Overall I enjoyed the videos and the idea of hitting that failure,” says the now 34-year-old. “It was much more helpful to see the moves done in front of you versus reading about how to do them, or looking at a picture in a book or magazine.”
Dialing in Nutrition
Josh committed to going all-in with the LTF nutrition program as well. Being from the South, the Mississippi-native knew it wouldn’t be easy to give up rich sauces and fried meals for clean, whole foods.
“There’s a point in the video when Ben talks about how you can’t outwork a bad diet and it’s true,” says Josh.
He subscribed to the DailyBurn Tracker app to log meals and make sure he was hitting his macros, a prescribed amount of carbs, protein and fat for the LTF program. He began cooking all of his own food, though he quickly learned not to make the same meal every day to avoid the onset of palate fatigue. Because he was used to flavorful meals, Josh turned to spices and condiments like mustard, which tasted great and still kept him within his macros.
“I put a Post-It note on my computer monitor, too, so I knew when to eat,” says Josh. “I was very reliant on it — every two and a half to three hours I would have a meal.”
Josh also started to take the program’s recommended supplements — pre-workout and post-workout — and added protein powder to shakes when he wasn’t able to get in enough protein throughout the day.
Seeing Big Changes
Josh started noticing a difference in his body when he did the flexing poses along with Ben and the LTF crew at the end of each video. “I would then go do them in the bathroom mirror by myself,” says Josh, “and after a couple weeks I saw weight loss and was noticing new lines of muscle definition that weren’t there previously.”
Because his slimmer, muscular reflection came on fast, the newly-converted weightlifter thought he might plateau. But the second six weeks of the LTF program introduced new workouts and the addition of supersets to bring up the intensity. Faced with more challenging routines, Josh’s body continued to change.
“The biggest encouragement you can get is results,” says Josh, who had co-workers, fellow lifters, and even his mom notice his new physique. By the end of the program, he lost 30 pounds and put on new muscle in his arms, chest, back, abs and legs.
“If you have space to lay on the floor, you have space to do this workout,” he says. Live to Fail isn’t super time consuming, so it’s easy to make the schedule work for you, he adds. Plus, there’s no dreaded cardio component — simply a seven to 21-minute MetCon twice a week. Of course, making sure you stick to the nutrition and supplement plan is key if you want the program to work for you. “Yes it’s simple, but it’s not easy,” says Josh. “If you can commit and do the work, you’ll see the results.”
To try DailyBurn’s Live to Fail strength training program, head to DailyBurn.com/LTF.
Note to reader: DailyBurn users who do five or more 30-minute workouts weekly for 60 to 90 consecutive days report an average weight loss of about one pound per week.