How I Got This Body: He Lost 65 Pounds and Got Arnold Schwarzenegger As His Life Coach

How I Got This Body: He Lost 65 Pounds and Got Arnold Schwarzenegger As His Life Coach
John “Rum” Rumcik before and after his 65-pound weight loss. All photos courtesy of Rumcik.

Want to share your transformation story? Whether you lost weight or gained muscle, I want to hear from you! Email me at kolsen@washingtonian.com.

Who: John “Rum” Rumcik, 40, realtor at RE/MAX Gateway
Lives: Lorton
Height: 6′
Start weight: 315 pounds
Current weight: 250 pounds

Turning point: For several years my doctor was concerned about my blood pressure. I told him he was wrong. I had 22.5-inch arms and would blame his equipment because it was supposed to only fit an 18-inch arm. Turns out, I was wrong. I had high blood pressure, and after my physical before I turned 40 he put me on medicine. At my follow-up last December I was supposed to have lost weight. I did not. My blood sugar was very high and I was on the verge of being put on medicine for that. My doctor’s guidance was a big motivator for me—even though I exercised daily, my body couldn’t support that weight, long-term. He summed it up: “How many 315-pound, 70-year-old people do you know?”

Rum and his wife, Kristin, last September, before his transformation.

In January I made the decision to do something crazy: I always wanted to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has been an inspiration to me throughout my life. I decided to take a year to prepare and enter the 2019 Arnold Classic Bodybuilding contest in the Amateur Masters 40+ division, with the intention of winning. Having never competed in bodybuilding, that’s a long shot. I knew that I needed to get professional help and hired Ken Settepani, a professional bodybuilder and coach.

Then, the luckiest thing happened to me. I entered a contest from Omaze [a charity that connects people with their favorite celebs] to win a chance to have Arnold be my life coach. I won! In the fall, my wife and I will fly out to Los Angeles and meet Arnold, have lunch, and ride in a chopper with him. Even with achieving my goal of meeting him, I’m still moving forward to compete in the contest in 2019. As good as I feel now, I want to keep on improving.

Exercise: I followed Settepani’s specific regimen for training, working out six days a week for an hour of weights and about 30 minutes of cardio. I have always worked out and was doing a similar lifting program in the past. The difference was the diet.

Diet: When I lost the first 25 pounds, it was from eliminating all processed foods and working out five days a week. Then I went to a high protein, cycled carb diet. I had to meal prep, too. I eat the same things daily: low fat protein (cod, tuna, chicken, salmon, eggs, and egg whites), carbs (brown rice and sweet potatoes), and vegetables. Even though I eat the same things, I am so happy with the results that it motivates me to stay focused.

Rumcik got results by working out at Gold’s Gym in Lorton.

Fave splurge: Pizza. I splurge on it but not like I would in the past.

Then vs. now: The changes to my health have been incredible. I used to snore, but after I lost about 30 pounds, I stopped snoring. I sleep so much better. I am off all medications now. The way I feel is one of the best benefits. This has become a lifestyle change for me and I’m happy that I did it. I feel better at 40 than any other time in my life.

Workout wisdom: Make the decision and do it. Commit to it. The first step is to track what you’re eating—the diet has the biggest impact on results. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Discipline and hard work are the two most important supplements you need.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Email me at kolsen@washingtonian.com to share your story!

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Kim Olsen
Associate Editor

Kim Olsen joined Washingtonian in 2016 after moving to DC from Pittsburgh, where she earned an MFA in nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Alexandria.