Trainer Turned Competitor: Interview with AT11 Winner James Tonda

Here’s your new interview with one of the winners from the 11th Adonis Golden Ratio Transformation Contest.

Today John talks to James Tonda, who placed 2nd in our last 12-Week Transformation contest.

James is no stranger to the gym, having a background in Safety/Fitness/Wellness, he has seen a myriad of fitness products come and go over the years. However, James explains in his essay, what makes the Adonis Golden Ratio system different.

His path to AT11 was unexpected, yet most rewarding. Prior to AT11 James was following another workout plan and had received an email from Adonis.  However, he simply dismissed the email hoping to return to it later.

It wasn’t until another friend had received the same email and asked for his opinion.  Curious about what the content of the email might offer, James opened the email and never looked back!

After taking the the plunge and beginning the AGR program,  he was truly impressed by the  overwhelming amount of information offered to him at such great value.

The AGR system, backed by undisputed scientific facts was his first positive experience with sound training concepts and a nutrition approach that was realistic and one could actually follow!

Although he has trained several competitors, James himself has never competed.  Nevertheless, when AT11 came around he had a running start as he’d been following AGR about two months prior to the contest.  He was so pleased with his results he decided to enter the contest.

Here’s a throwback image of James pre-contest AT11.

Adonis Lifestyle Origins: James with his dog Talyn (2 Months before AT11)

Adonis Lifestyle Origins: James with his dog Talyn (2 Months before AT11)

With two months under his belt, James stayed the course and triumphed in his 12 week transformation! Check out his AT11 Pictures:

James Tonda - AT11 2nd Place - Before Photos

James Tonda – AT11 2nd Place – Before Photos

James Tonda - AT11 2nd Place - Transformation Image

James Tonda – AT11 2nd Place – Transformation Image

James Tonda - AT11 2nd Place- After Photos

James Tonda – AT11 2nd Place- After Photos


James’s Transformation Essay:

Originally, I began using the Adonis Golden Ratio (AGR) workouts as an experiment. Having been involved in Safety/Fitness/Wellness in both my personal and professional life for well over 30 years ( I will be 49 in October), I have probably tried out almost every workout/nutrition program that has been created and/or promoted via the internet, either for myself or while conducting research for friends, family or clients.

In addition to my day job as Safety Manager for a government agency, I also conduct personal training. As such, I attempt to keep up with research and technology to acquire as much knowledge as possible, to not only meet my individual needs, but also those of my trainees or people in my immediate circle that I help. My personal fitness goals have always been sport specific or as needed for the multiple extreme sports I have participated in.

When I first received the email about the Adonis lifestyle, I was experimenting with MI40, so I dismissed the Adonis email (huge mistake). Fortunately, I had a friend who received the same email (Adonis Index) and as is often the case, asked me if I knew anything about it. Not being one to offer an opinion without actually knowing what I was talking about, I discontinued MI40, ponied up what now seems like a ridiculously low $47 and have been overwhelmingly pleased with the Adonis Index program ever since.

As John has mentioned, one of the greatest benefits of trying out others workout/nutrition programs, is not expending valuable time creating and writing out my personal workout. The downside is a lot of the programs offered online are usually incomplete, encompassing either the workout or nutrition, very seldom both. The ones that do incorporate both workout & nutrition plans, in my experience have been ineffective, actually taking people further away from their desired goals. Based on my results (below), I will not waste another cent on any others products moving forward.

The amount of research that has been conducted and presented to back up the philosophy of the Adonis Lifestyle is unmatched in the fitness industry. Through using the Adonis Index lifestyle, I learned the so called “facts” that are presented by the majority of supplement companies, fitness gurus, Personal Training certifications, etc. that I had followed religiously and instructed others on for years, are bogus “Bro-Science” and the research referenced to support their claims is commonly biased and often unrelated to the actual results they are proclaiming.
In conducting my personal experiment of AGR, I attempted to follow the workout and nutrition recommendations to the letter. The only facets of the AGR program I varied were the rest periods between sets and amount of days per week that I trained.

For example: if a rest period called for 120 seconds rest but I felt “ready” sooner, I didn’t wait. However, I never allowed myself to rest longer than the prescribed rest period. Additionally, I often completed two workouts in one session, for 6 days/week. As a result of doubling up, I was able to complete the 12 week Category 3 workouts, plus occasional boosters within my first two months.
For nutritional direction: I utilized the Anything Goes Diet by John Barban and fasting via “Eat Stop Eat”  by Brad Pilon.
For example:
1. Monday 7:00 AM thru Thursday 7:00 PM, I followed the Reverse Taper Diet “RTD”calculator caloric recommendation.
2. From Thursday at 7:00 PM to Friday at 7:00 PM I fasted for 24 hrs, eating dinner after working out Friday evening.
3. Saturday was Cheat Day, normally averaging 6000 calories, but a few of those days exceeded 7000 calories.
4. Sunday morning after breakfast at 7:00 AM, I fasted again for 24 hrs, starting the process over Monday morning.

Supplementation wise: I use Muscle Milk natural protein powder, Blue Star Nutraceuticals pre-workout Extreme Rush, BioTRUST LeptiBurn & Pro-X10 and a generic Creatine – 5 grams three times/day. I personally endorse all of these supplements as they 100% make a difference in my body, training and health. Also, the companies I named use only high grade quality, FDA GMP certified products.
After having unbelievable success using the Adonis Index for only 2 months, I decided to boost my focus and personal commitment to my AI experiment and entered the 11th Adonis Transformation contest aka AT11. As you can see from my stats (directly below), within the first two months, (prior to my AT11 entry) I made significant positive changes to my body:
6? 0.5? Tall
Start of Adonis Index – 3/15/13 – 211 lbs., Shoulder = 51, Waist = 34, Chest = 41.5, AI Ratio = 1.500
Start of Adonis AT11 – 5/10/13 – 197 lbs., Shoulder = 52, Waist = 32, Chest = 42.5, AI Ratio = 1.625

During my transformation, there were several internal battles I had to continually fight and eventually overcame. The biggest challenge was giving myself the “permission to be light”, as the thought of being less than 200 lbs. was unfathomable. Also, having to deal with the naysayers telling me I was getting too skinny was constantly feeding my doubting ego, but the positive reinforcement of the online Adonis Forum and friends at the gym telling me I was looking “jacked” kept me on target to obtain the perfect Adonis ratio.

The second biggest challenge was Fasting. At first, I thought I could see muscle disappearing and felt like my strength was declining during workouts. Well, the mind is a powerful thing, after focusing and getting out of my own way, I accepted that the science provided by Brad Pilon disputed my personally assigned misbeliefs, giving me the confidence to continue on with fasting. Now, I couldn’t imagine not including fasting in my wellness regimen.

The final challenge for me was leaving “GREAT” enough alone. By that, I mean not changing the Adonis programs because I thought I knew better. These programs are specifically designed to be the most direct route to your fitness goals. My suggestion to anyone already using the Adonis programs or contemplating using them is to set your ego aside and follow the workouts and RTD nutrition calculator to the letter!

My final AT11 measurements, (#3 below) in my opinion, are the “proof in the pudding” that a well-designed, scientifically backed program, such as the Adonis Index are an invaluable tool in regards to obtaining your fitness goals, no matter what they may be. In only 5 months, I increased lean muscle mass, decreased body fat, increased strength and improved my cardiovascular conditioning. With my results from using the Adonis Index being irrefutable, I highly recommend the Adonis Index lifestyle to everyone!

I have also confidently referred women to the Venus Index (VI) knowing it is as scientifically sound as AI. More specifically, I introduced my girlfriend (Lourdes Cota) to the Venus lifestyle, who entered the 8th Venus Transformation Contest aka VT8 for women and she made amazing changes to her physique as well (she included a pic of both of us together in her submission).

Below are the results of my total body measurements from 3 milestones:

Results of my total body measurements from 3 milestones:
The start of my AI experiment- 3/15/13
The start of AT11 – 5/10/13
The end of AT11 – 8/2/13
(I always measured on Fridays while in a fasted state)

Start of AI Experiment  weight = 211
WAIST 34 32.4 0.4690 0.447
SHOULDER 51 52.42 1.5000 1.618
NECK 15.5 16.52 0.4559 0.51
CHEST 41.5 45.81 1.2206 1.414
THIGH 23.5 24.14 0.3241 0.333
HIPS 39 40.24 1.6596 1.667
CALF 15 16.39 0.2069 0.2262
BICEP 15.5 16.52 0.4559 0.51
FOREARM 12.25 13 1.7500 1.83

Start of AT11 – weight = 197
WAIST 32 32.4 0.441379 0.447
SHOULDER 52 52.42 1.625 1.618
NECK 16.5 16.52 0.515625 0.51
CHEST 42.5 45.81 1.328125 1.414
THIGH 24 24.14 0.331034 0.333
HIPS 39.5 40.24 1.645833 1.667
CALF 15 16.39 0.206897 0.2262
BICEP 16 16.52 0.5 0.51
FOREARM 13 13 1.857143 1.83

End of AT11 – weight = 182
WAIST 31.75 32.4 0.437931 0.447
SHOULDER 52 52.42 1.637795 1.618
NECK 17 16.52 0.535433 0.51
CHEST 45.25 45.81 1.425197 1.414
THIGH 24 24.14 0.331034 0.333
HIPS 39 40.24 1.625 1.667
CALF 15 16.39 0.206897 0.2262
BICEP 16.25 16.52 0.511811 0.51
FOREARM 12.75 13 1.821429 1.83

It is with sincere appreciation and gratitude, I say thank you to everyone involved in the creation of the Adonis & Venus Index Lifestyles. I don’t know how many Adonis/Venus couples you have, but from my perspective it is a great relationship enhancer, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Respectfully submitted,

James Tonda

P.S. On a side note (not part of my summary essay), I thought you might find this humorous. During the 12 week AT11 contest I discovered I have an umbilical hernia. I am sure you must be asking yourself, why is this funny?

Well, I always had this small “pouch” of fat (so I thought) above my belly button that I just couldn’t get rid of.That is because it wasn’t a pouch of fat, it was an intestine pushing its way through the hernia.

The leaner I became, the more evident IT became that “the pouch” was not an actual pouch of fat. The real confirmation came while performing stability ball rollouts. During an Abs workout, upon rolling out, I felt a burning sensation that was undeniably letting me know something was going on (or out). HA!

But, in the Marine Corps I learned two rules:
#1- Never quit
#2- Always refer to Rule #1

So, since there is no quit in me, I continued on with the contest! Next stop surgery.

I did my best to push it back in during my poses, couldn’t do much about the inflammation/edema, so if you happen to see an alien trying to bust through you’ll know why!

Semper Fi,

James Tonda

Editor’s Note:


As a military member myself and on behalf of all the members of the AGR community, we’d like to personally SALUTE you on a job well done! Pray all goes well with your surgery and that you have a speedy recovery.  James is on our “Watch List” we look forward to hearing more from him in the future.

Semper Fi, Do or Die!

your brother in Arms & Fitness,

Allen Elliott | Adonis Golden Ratio Ambassador


James’s Transformation Interview:

To listen to James’s transformation podcast interview click below:

About Allen Elliott

Allen is the Editor-In Chief of the Adonis Index Blog, bringing you weekly articles on contest prep, transformation testimonials' and much more!

Additionally he is a published Fitness Personality, Certified Personal Trainer, and National Competitor in the NPC Men's Physique Division.

Last but not least, as an Adonis/Venus Index Transformation Coach, he works to provide guided solutions for people who sincerely strive to meet their fitness goals.

Being a fitness model and competitor gives him a lot of valuable insights that nobody else talks about. Among other things, he will teach you how to prepare for a live show or a fitness photoshoot yourself.

Click here to get more from him.