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Celebrating 10 years of John Stone Fitness!

Sunday, January 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


On January 6, 2003 I climbed out of bed and took the first of what would be a long series of daily transformation progress photographs. Without fail, for the next 479 days I took front and profile photographs as I continued on my journey to good health.

Here are those first two photographs (and here is the entire series of daily front and profile photographs):

January 6, 2003January 6, 2003

By mid-June 2003 I’d reached my fat loss goal. I’d lost 55 pounds of fat, dropped from 30% body fat to about 8% body fat, gained some muscle and was in great shape for the first time in more than a decade. Even after reaching my fat loss goal, I was hooked: I continued to train hard, eat healthy and update this site every single day.

Here’s how I looked just one year after taking the above photos:

January 6, 2004January 6, 2004

About a year after I started John Stone Fitness, traffic to the site exploded. The attention was, in large part, due to my daily transformation photographs. JSF has gone “viral” many times since 2003, but the first time it happened I was not prepared for the sudden worldwide Internet and media exposure (and my web server wasn’t, either!) When I started JSF it was hosted on a simple Linux-based machine located at my house on a cable modem connection. The first time JSF received mainstream media exposure that machine practically melted. I quickly built a more powerful server and re-located it to a proper data center.

Continued growth over the years has necessitated several more server upgrades, multiple software upgrades, two major web site re-designs and three data center moves. Currently the powerful JSF servers are located in a world-class ANSI/TIA-942 Tier 4 data center with N+2 power and environmental control subsystems and no single point of failure. We have a dedicated 100Mbps Tier 1 Network pipe to the Internet.

Those early days were, for the most part, fun, educational and exciting times. The attention–not all of it positive–was a very difficult adjustment for me. I tend to be a fairly private person, and so being thrust into the spotlight was something I was not at all comfortable with. I remember the first time I read a random negative comment on a message board where a link to my photos had been posted. I don’t recall what the comment said, but it stung. I think after reading it my first instinct was to pull the plug on the server. Over the years my skin has thickened up, and I’m much more self-confident now than I was back then.

March 7, 2012.

March 7, 2012.

One comment that was often repeated back in those early days was something along the lines of, “Yeah, he’ll be even fatter than he was in a year or two.”

I’m not going to lie, I’ve enjoyed proving that one wrong. 🙂

My original idea for this morning’s blog was to create a detailed timeline of some of the major events that have occurred over the past decade. As I started to work on the basic outline, about an hour into the process I realized that the scope of such a project was too far too large and abandoned that idea.

Instead of a detailed history of JSF from my perspective (which, after all, already exists on these pages), I’d really love to celebrate this anniversary by hearing from the community. Some of you have been visiting this site since the very beginning (even before it was called “John Stone Fitness”), and some of you found this site much later. I’d really enjoy hearing how you found the site, and what (if any) impact it’s had on your own transformation.

Above all, I want to thank everyone for making the first 10 years of John Stone Fitness so exciting and memorable. I’m looking forward to the next 10! 🙂

John Stone Fitness Comments

9 Responses to “Celebrating 10 years of John Stone Fitness!”
  1. John,

    Great to have the daily updates back! I started trying to get back in shape in around 2006, and I think I was reading some fitness thread on a Crossfit page. Someone mentioned having heard about something “on John Stone’s fitness site”, so I thought I’d check it out. I’ve been reading ever since! I’ve recommended the site to my friends/co-workers who were interested in fitness as well.

    Congrats on the 10 years, and thanks for setting up a place that has been so helpful for so many people!

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  2. I’ve been visiting your site daily for going on 5 years now. It has been life changing for me and I thank you for that. I’ve learned so much from the wealth of knowledge you and many others have shared here. As of yesterday, I am the lightest I have been since I was 13 years old (I’m 45), I am more fit then I have ever been as well. Keep up the good work John!

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  3. John – I’ve been reading your blogs pretty much every day since early 2006. I hurt my shoulder and was looking for advice on how to deal. That’s when I stumbled upon JSF. Back then, you had your own shoulder issues along with several other JSF members (particularly Banditfist). From there, I fell in love with your site. I get into the office around 8 am, and at 9 am, I’m on your site, reading your blog while sipping my coffee. It’s the highlight of my morning on most days. I’ve always been into fitness more or less since I was a teen. So, I’ve never really let myself go. But for me, your site is much more then just getting fitness tips. It’s about goal setting, thinking positive, turning life around, and above else achieving something that you never thought could be possible through hard work. There’s so much negative crap on the internet, TV, etc…your site is the complete opposite. I guess that’s why I still continue to visit today. So here’s to you John, and I can’t wait to submit a comment on the JSF 20 year anniversary post!

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  4. I was “lost” as far as fitness goes, and a friend of mine suggested this site to me. I first checked it in February of 2004, and have looked at it almost daily since. That was the first day I realized that maybe Lean Pockets and 100 calorie packs weren’t the most efficient way to lose weight. I have been able to rely on a community of others, including John himself, for all of the information needed to make a permanent change in mine and my family’s health. I find myself going through several different situations or different phases with my diet or health and I remember “I think John blogged about that at one point” and it never fails that I am able to go back through the archives and find exactly what I was looking for.
    Today I am 70 lbs lighter and have a completely different life than I did that many years ago. Thanks John for playing a significant part in changing my life . . . congrats on this awesome anniversary.

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  5. I’m one of the people who has been visiting the site from (close to) the beginning. I found the site from the original bodybuilding.com forum post, and have been visiting a few times a week ever since.

    When I first discovered JSF, I’d recently lost about 50lbs myself and was still in the process of learning about nutrition and training principles. Your site was a great resource, since I could look at your food logs and reassure myself that carbs wouldn’t make me fat (I still had “carb phobia” back then).

    I would say your site has definitely played a huge part in me managing to keep off the weight for close to a decade. The sheer wealth of information is totally unique. For many years, this was the only site that had an archive of food/workout logs and daily photographs. Even now, I only know of one other site that has anything similar.

    But perhaps the biggest thing I have taken from following your endeavours is, as George McFly says in Back to the Future, “if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything”. From getting ripped, to adding large amounts of muscle, to planning and building a home, to developing great cardiovascular fitness…

    In the book “Mastery” by George Leonard, he talks about how society and the media tends to focus only on the glorious moments in life, such as the athlete crossing the finishing line, or the musician performing to a sell-out crowd, but little to no attention is paid to the process of getting there. Your site is all about the process, and I think that’s why it’s so awesome. It reminds us that hard work prevails over almost everything else.

    Congratulations John, and here’s to another ten years!

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  6. Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment and share your own stories. I sat down with Lisa this evening and we read all the comments posted here and on Facebook, and read through the emails I received today.

    As we reflected on the past 10 years quite a few things that I’d either forgotten or not thought about in a long, long time came up. I’m feeling pretty nostalgic right now. 🙂

    Today was a perfect end to my vacation and the start of the second decade of JSF. Thanks again, and congratulations to you all for your many inspiring accomplishments.

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  7. Hey John, congats! I truly do credit finding this site with a lot towards my own transformation 6 years ago February.

    I don’t most much, but I do make sure to stop by and read your daily blog, still amazes me how strong the human spirit is when we push ourselves, especially yours. Glad to see you taking up endurance sports as well, I knew you’d get addicted to cycling once you got started.

    Keep on keeping on!

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  8. John,

    I discovered your site back when it was twowiresthin, from a ‘viral’ post on Bodybuilding.com. I never left. your infectious enthusiasm has been a joy to read all these years. It has completely rewired my way of thinking about everything. I know I can succeed at things if I try hard. I’ve proven that over and over since then and you’ve been a major inspiration for that.

    I haven’t personally had success at making a ‘dramatic’ major transformation stick, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had a transformation nonetheless. Since I finally found a sport I liked (Judo), I’ve gone from 250lbs at over 36% body fat to 210lbs at about 18% body fat. That is nothing to sneeze at! I’ve never had the will to get super thin, although I strongly desire it! I’ll get there when I’m ready 🙂

    What has really surprised me about this blog is all the varied interests you’ve exposed me to. I’ve learned a lot about a lot just reading about what you’ve been into and your thought processes and rationales.

    I didn’t ‘get’ dog people, but I grieved with you when you lost a member of your family.

    The new format really seems to discourage the use of the forums, so I don’t make it over to the forums much anymore, but there were lots of folks over there who I enjoyed reading. Guava. Freemason. Trinity. Woeisemma. Sadly I think all of them have moved on, but I do love the community here. Recently the community is more ‘you’ focused with the comments section being the majority of my ‘forum’ posting, vs. the actual forum.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’ve kept with this, you are the ‘friend’ who I don’t actually know (and who knows little about me). Here’s to another 10!


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  9. I have been a member essentially since day one. I rarely post, but wanted to comment here. Thanks to you, I have gone from 311 to now 165. Honestly, as I posted in the past, my transformation needed some help. I had a lap band put in, and then revised, and then taken out (all due to my body rejecting it), to be revised for a gastric bypass.

    I now work out daily and eat healthy (with an occasional cheat meal).

    All of this was due to seeing a link to your site on fark so many years ago.

    Thanks, John!

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