From “Skeptic” to “Sculpted”: Interview w/ AT-13 Winner Dave Johansen

Here’s your latest interview with one of the winners from the 13th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.   Scroll down to read  how David applied the Adonis Golden Ratio System to go from “Skeptic” to “Sculpted.”

But first, check out his AT13 Pictures:

David Johansen - AT13 - 10th Place - Front Before/After Photos

David Johansen – AT13 – 10th Place – Front Before/After Photos


David Johansen - AT13 - 10th Place - Transformation Image

David Johansen – AT13 – 10th Place – Transformation Image


David Johansen - AT13 - 10th Place - Back Before/After Photos

David Johansen – AT13 – 10th Place – Back Before/After Photos


David Johansen - AT13 - 10th Place - Side Before/After Photos

David Johansen – AT13 – 10th Place – Side Before/After Photos

David’s Transformation Interview:

1. Have you ever attempted to lose weight/get in shape before? If so when? How long ago? What did you try? Were you successful? Did you lose weight? Did you put it back on?  

When I started the Adonis Golden Ratio [AGR]  program, I was already part way through a weight transformation that I had begun back in November 2012.  For the first six months, all I did was try to eat more of the healthy food choices and exercise.  The problem was that I didn’t also cut back on the unhealthy foods I was also consuming.  My blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood markers improved, but my weight was staying exactly the same even though I was doing cardio 3-4 times a week.  

 In April 2013 I decided to get more serious about diet and excluded bread, sugar and most processed foods from my diet without having any direction from a particular program, only a few suggestions from my wife who was following the Venus Factor program.  I was fairly strict about my eating then and lost about 60 pounds on my own over about a year’s time.  My wife purchased AGR  for me in July 2013, but I wasn’t ready and didn’t take it serious until the contest began in January 2014.  

2. What if any exercise programs have you followed in the past?  

Prior to doing the AGR program, I hadn’t lifted weights since high school.  I had been active in my earlier adult life with a number of recreational sports, but gained weights as I aged and could no longer participate.  The majority of my recent attempts at exercising involved solely cardio–mountain hiking, running bleachers and the stair mill in the gym.  I was doing morning and evening cardio for up to two hours a day!  

3. Any other diet/exercise philosophies you’ve attempted in the past?  

The only philosophy I had previously adopted was the idea of just solely eating healthy food without regard to amount.  

4. How did you find out about AGR?  

My wife purchased it for me.  When I wasn’t interested at first, my 21 year-old son used it successfully.  Watching my wife with the Venus program, I noticed that she stuck with it longer than any other diet program she had ever tried in the past.  Seeing her success in losing 100 pounds and keeping it off and winning the VT8 contest motivated me in seeing that I should look at the Adonis program because the Venus program was so successful.

5. What resonated with the Adonis message for you?  

The first thing that struck me was how practical the Adonis program was.  I liked the idea that I could eat anything, but just needed to control the amounts.  I had always thought exercise was my number one priority to get into shape, but now I realize how big a part of the equation is the calorie counting.  I suspected that if I stayed within the suggested calorie amounts, I would be successful and that is exactly what happened for me.  Though it wasn’t always easy, I stayed within my deficit and maintenance calorie numbers and was able to take a significant amount of fat off my body.  As I followed the weight loss/muscle building workouts to a “T”, I was pleased to see that I could actually build muscle at the age of 58!  Even my adult sons commented on how buff I was getting!  

6. What made you enter the contest?

 I had stalled out and plateaued in my progress and it motivated me to actually start using the Adonis program and get into lifting weights and counting my calories.  I wasn’t where I wanted to be at weight wise, but more importantly, even though I had already lost a lot of weight, I didn’t look like I wanted because I lacked muscle tone.  It was also motivating to me mentally to have the contest deadline.  

7. What was it like going through the contest? Explain challenges you faced that you didn’t expect.  

It was a challenge for me to learn to be consistent and keep picking myself up when I would blow it and to have to then get back on the horse.  I was very uncomfortable at first, being in the gym around people lifting weights.  I didn’t even know how to use some of the machines.  Over time, I watched the videos and learned the proper form and it became a lot easier and more comfortable.  The worst part for me was taking the photos because it was something I had never done before and it was not my style to shave my chest, get a spray tan and get photographed with my shirt off.  

8. What did you do for nutrition and how was our approach any different than anything else you’ve tried or heard of.  

I had never in my life counted my calories or even knew what a deficit or maintenance number of calories for my body size was.  It was eye opening to know that some of the things that I was eating that were healthy were also very calorically dense.  During my Adonis transformation, I learned to eat foods that were high in volume but low in calorie density, keeping me in a deficit, but satisfied.  Before I just guessed.  With Adonis, I knew that if I stayed within certain numbers I would lose fat. I have learned to enjoy what I eat and don’t feel deprived when I am eating healthy and in moderation.  In fact, I don’t feel well when I overindulge anymore.  Plus,  I have actually learned to enjoy many vegetables.  

9. What did you think of the Adonis exercise program and how did it work for you? 

My wife put my measurements in the calculator and it suggested I should start with Category 3:  Muscle Building and Fat Loss.  I thought it a very intelligently put together program and that it would be harder than it actually was.  But I learned through doing that I could increase my intensity over time.  I felt like the program I was on was just right for my starting capacity and, through the progression of the program, I had enough of a workout to get me where I needed to be to see my muscles progressing.   For example, I had a shoulder injury in high school that was still bothering me when I began the program.  I was able to work around that with lifting lighter weights in the beginning and progressing to heavier as my shoulders strengthened.  My shoulders have now dramatically improved.

10. What advice do you have for new Adonis members who are sitting on the fence about a contest or are simply not sure if they can get to their goal?  

Don’t be afraid to enter a contest regardless of your age.  You can get in great shape and build muscle even when you are a 58-year-old man like me!  Make focusing on the recommended calories and getting in the workouts a priority, but don’t freak out when life gives you setbacks.  You will not be 100% perfect at it, even though we really try to be.  Life is what it is.  Get back on track right away and stay as consistent as you can!  It really does become easier and a way of life.  I still enjoy what I eat, but I eat in moderation now.  


Editor’s Note:

Hey David,

Congrats on placing in this most recent contest.  I distinctly remember getting your contest entry as it was under your wife’s name.  Little did I know that you all would both later go on to earn Top 10 Placements in your respective Adonis/Venus transformation contests.  A job very well done by you both.

I enjoyed reading your interview and was also pleased to know that even your son was able to benefit from the AGR program.    Most importantly, I believe your transformation was just as much mental as it was physical.

You articulately explained the mental transformation you underwent as well as the challenges involved when it came to accepting the  adherence to the calorie goal combined with learning your way around the gym.  Overall, this was a family effort and I hope that you all continue on the journey towards your “Golden” ratios!

your brother in Iron,



You’re Fit For A Reason: Interview w/ AT-13 Winner Stuart Barton

Here’s your latest interview with one of the winners from the 13th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.   Scroll down to read  how the Adonis Golden Ratio System enabled Stuart to become “fit for a reason.”

But first, check out his  AT13 Pictures:

Stuart Barton - AT13 - 1st Place - Front Before/After Photos

Stuart Barton – AT13 – 1st Place – Front Before/After Photos


Stuart Barton – AT13 – 1st Place – Transformation Image


Stuart Barton - AT13 - 1st Place - Transformation Image

Stuart Barton – AT13 – 1st Place – Transformation Image



Stuart Barton - AT13 - 1st Place - Side Before/After Photos

Stuart Barton – AT13 – 1st Place – Side Before/After Photos


Stuart Barton - AT13 - 1st Place - Back Before/After Photos

Stuart Barton – AT13 – 1st Place – Back Before/After Photos

Stuart’s Transformation Interview:

1- What workout or nutrition routine did you do before Adonis Golden Ratio (AGR) System? What kind of results did you get?  

I used to workout quite often and hardcore. My workouts were based in crossfit and kettle bell training. I had a trainer for a short while to help me master the 300 workout! Then life happens, girls happen and you question what’s it all for? 

Nevertheless, it had been almost 3 years since I’ve gone to the gym. My job in construction is quite physical anyway, and I ate ‘healthy’ but I never new about how important calories were.  So I was fit and strong for my size, I could perform amazing physical feats but never looked as lean as I always wanted to.

2- How did you find out about AGR?

I can’t really remember. I had joined up to Kyle Leon’s Muscle Maximizer program but had never really taken it on board. Found it wasn’t what I needed to really connect with me. So either through association with John Barban or searching the web, I came across AGR.

3- What was most appealing to you about AGR?

The fact that it used the scientific/mathematical approach of physical dimensions and a program catered to me and my dimensions personally. The AGR system was very progressive; as your dimensions changed regularly you were able to adjust using the nutrition calculator and set new calorie goals each week.

4- Were there any concepts or approaches you were skeptical about?

No not really! Everything was explained logically and backed by science. So it made sense. The only thing I really wondered about was the workouts’ choice of exercises.

They didn’t seem to focus on abs or chest as much. Especially abs. It was a well rounded routine that focused on everything so I wondered if I would actually get a six-pack. But what I read elsewhere on the site was to just trust them. The exercises and the order of them have been carefully chosen. They were right!

5- When did you decide to jump on board full fledge with AGR?


I bought the program in September 2013 but didn’t do anything until about 5-6 months later when contest AT13 was announced.

I had to make sure my life circumstances were best suited to focus on the 3 month program so I wouldn’t be taken away with trips and other distractions. I purchased  my needed supplements, stored my AGR pdf printouts in a binder so I could read them and also take the workout with me to the gym.

 6- When did you first decide to enter an Adonis Transformation (AT) contest?

I was getting ready to start the program and read about the contest and thought it was a great motivator for me to really get into it and nail it. An extra incentive to stick with it.

7- What was your experience going through the AT contest? Challenges that came up? Things you didn’t expect?

Oh boy! 🙂 It was harder than I imagined. The workout was fine, no problem. But the nutrition! It’s all about the food! I found I felt like I was starving sometimes.

 Mainly late afternoon and at night. The hunger pain! I can’t sleep on an empty stomach so it was torture for me during those moments.   I had just gotten used to eating whatever I wanted whenever I felt hungry. So I learned that EVERYONE is overeating.  And I learned vegetables, vegetables, vegetables! We don’t need that much meat. Next time I will definitely incorporate “cheat” days.

8- How did people react to your transformation? Positives and negatives (if any).

Everyone thought I was fine and nothing wrong with me. Although they didn’t see me without a shirt. But when they saw the before and after pics they all were impressed. Blown away!

My cousin saw me without a shirt near the end of the contest and said I looked like a Marvel hero with all these veins and shredded muscles.

 The guy behind the counter at the gym called me ‘Shredder’! A number of people noticed my arms and said that the veins looked crazy!   A friend of mine, a married mother of 2 in her twenties really was striving for the “Female Fitness Model” look. She already was in great shape mind you! But she does a lot of cardio workouts and running and not really seeing the results she wanted. So she trusted my advice and now she’s hitting the Venus Factor program!   My older sister though said I looked too skinny.

 9- How do you react to the “Brand New” you? Have you noticed changes in your outlook and attitude in general.

I was very happy with the result but I thought I could be better. But I am a bit of a perfectionist. My view? I’m a lot more conscious of what I eat now and always will be. Veggies with a bit of meat. And now it’s my duty to inform people that what you eat and how much is SO important.

 Because they don’t know. They try everything! But guaranteed it’s the diet letting them down.  I had always sort of subconsciously evaluated myself and others by the condition their body was in. But without being too sure or vocal. Plus it’s a little shallow I know or just unfair/unkind.   But now it has been set in concrete. Based on science: calories in=calories out. And having gone through it myself.  My view is you can’t judge a book by its cover but you can judge a person by their body. We are a result of our choices.  And those choices may be hard, or easy… 

 Eat what you want or eat what you should?

‘You’re fat for a reason’ or ‘You’re fit for a reason.’

Which one will you choose?


Editor’s Note:

Hey Stuart,

Glad to know that contest AT13 was able to help you re-define your motivation for working out.  

I really liked your closing thoughts where you mentioned: 

“You’re fat for a reason’ or ‘You’re fit for a reason.”

You also  touched on a lot of  key points which are the “Essence of Adonis.”  For example, most people are looking for the magic pill when it comes to weight loss, when there is already a magic formula… Calories In = Calories Out.  I appreciate your openness  about how you suffered some occasional hunger pangs as your body began to transform.  

That is something I believe others should know and expect along their transformational journey.  Sounds like your body acclimated to the new caloric goals you set for yourself, but indeed there will always be resistance when striving for something greater.

Very happy to learn that you faithfully applied the principles and gained some amazing results!  

your brother in Iron,

AT13 12-Week Transformation Winners Announced