Imagine going from newlyweds to newly homeless. That's what happened to Mostafa Yousri and his wife 16 months after they tied the knot. The house they shared in Egypt literally collapsed. Yousri stayed with friends while his wife stayed with her family until they could rent an apartment three months later.
"For about 90 percent of my life, I had poor eating habits. And this incident only made it worse," Yousri says.
He succumbed to comforting himself with food. Years went by, and it didn't become evident to him how much he was hurting his health until he couldn't run even a short distance without totally crumpling and gasping for air. He realized that something needed to change.
Over the course of two years, Yousri completed multiple Bodybuilding.com challenges to get to where he is now. He became a sponge, soaking up all the information he could find about nutrition and fitness, slowly but surely figuring out ways to make progress and keep the weight off better than before. The 2019 All Access Challenge Series gave him the chance to buckle down even harder.
"I was honored by winning the weekly challenge in this year's Bodybuilding.com Challenge Series four times in a row," he says. "From that point on, I took a pledge to never go back to my old way of life again."
This is his story.
Snapshot: Mostafa Yousri
- Height: 5' 9"
- Weight: 165 lbs.
- Occupation: Architect
- Location: Alexandria, Egypt
What did life look like for you before this transformation?
Life became really harsh after I basically lost all my possessions when my house collapsed only 16 months after my marriage. I was homeless for three months. I would stay at a friend's or a relative's house, not knowing when the nightmare would end. My family and friends were trying hard to save the situation, and it was decided that my wife and I would rent an apartment. Forgetting what had happened was not easy, though.
I became obsessed with food and smoking. It was obvious that I had gained a lot of weight after visiting most of the restaurants in my city to try different dishes. Moreover, I learned how to cook in order to satisfy my unquenchable desire for food. I was even on the verge of quitting my job as an architect in order to work in a nearby restaurant to satisfy that increasing desire for more new dishes. I would devour one dish after the other, but I would never feel full, and I had already stopped enjoying the taste of food.
What made you decide to make such a huge change?
The shock came one day in 2017. I was late for a very important meeting and had to run 100 meters to catch the metro. When I finally managed to hop on, I was totally out of breath and barely able to move. For the rest of the day, my exhaustion was very obvious to everybody.
I always say to myself, "I believe I deserve the best," which is a nice saying, but I realized that rather than repeating it, I should be worthy of it. I couldn't accept not being able to run 100 meters without it affecting me so badly. At that time, my wife advised me to subscribe to Bodybuilding.com and follow the diet she was following as well as workout programs and read articles on diet.
How did you accomplish your goals?
After reading several articles about nutrition and building muscle, I realized how fatal the mistakes I made in the kitchen were. I stopped preparing unhealthy meals and used all the cooking experience I had gained to prepare high-quality meals that met the macronutrient criteria suitable for my weight at that time. It was not easy, but whenever I thought about what had happened to me, I would become more patient and more determined to walk my path to the end.
Seeing the first progress picture after taking those steps left me more motivated, and that only grew with each passing week of the 250K Challenge in 2017. I trained hard for 4-5 days every week. Not only did healthy food taste better and better, but just breathing felt easier and more satisfying.
I took part in the 2017 "Still in It" competition a few months later as a means of developing my physical abilities. That experience influenced me greatly, and I learned a lot from it. Moreover, I took part in the 250K Challenge again in 2018, hoping to be a source of motivation to others.
Then, January 2019 marked a true turning point in my life. I took part in the Bodybuilding.com All Access Challenge Series, and I decided to dedicate my time and exert my utmost effort, supported by my experience and faith, to finish with flying colors. I wanted to be a source of motivation to my son, family, and everybody around me.
One step I learned that can help people reach their goal fast is organizing their priorities. Write down all the steps that can help you accomplish your mission successfully, like your training schedule, what you need to buy for food preparation, and your supplement schedule. In addition, I found that mental training is as important as physical training. Concentrate while targeting a certain muscle! It makes a difference in effectiveness and overall quality of your workouts.
What supplements helped you through your journey?
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey protein or MuscleTech NITRO-TECH 100% Iso Whey
- Bodybuilding.com Signature Protein Crunch Bars
- MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Aminos
- MusclePharm BCAA
- MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamin
- Optimum Nutrition Glutamine Powder
- Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil
What did your nutrition plan look like throughout your journey?
I used the following carb-cycling diet plan:
- Training days: 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat
- Rest days and active rest days: 30% carbs, 50% protein, 20% fat
My carb sources were typically potatoes, sweet potatoes, white or brown rice, beans, and oats. For protein, I ate whole eggs, chicken, fish, and some dairy, and my fats mostly consisted of peanut butter, avocado, nuts, and olive oil. I avoided fried or fast foods, drank three liters of water a day, and had a free meal every 10 days.
Here's an example of what a day of eating looked like:
What did your training and cardio regimen look like?
What was the most challenging aspect of your journey?
Time. I work for 60 hours per week, which leaves very little time for learning and application. To achieve my goal, I needed time for reading, learning, preparing healthy meals, training five times a week, and having some time to rest. And after a while, something new appeared on the horizon—we were blessed with a baby boy who brightened up our life like no other thing.
One thing I learned is that you shouldn't work endlessly. Work shouldn't be your whole life, just part of it. When you have a goal, you should do your best to achieve it and save time for what's important to you, regardless of how busy you are.
If you could say one thing to someone aspiring to take on a major transformation of their own, what would it be?
Don't listen to any negative comments. Some people are simply "energy vampires"; they do nothing except give destructive criticism. Set your goal, work hard to achieve it, learn, seek advice from experienced people, and exert great effort. Dust yourself off when you fall. You deserve the best! And be patient. Good things take time.
"Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." –Ovid
What are your future plans or goals in fitness?
My first goal is to become certified in personal training and sports nutrition so that I can pass on what I have learned to others. From there I would love to develop my own sports program and nutrition program in the light of my experience and spread them widely in order to motivate beginners from all over the globe. For my personal fitness journey, the next steps include running a marathon and completing the Ripped Remix program.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com was my go-to source for workouts, articles, and supplementation. I tracked all of my workouts, including the 12-Week Muscle-Building Trainer and 4Weeks2Shred by Kris Gethin. The videos included in these programs helped me really learn as I was going. Plus, I could track my weights during workouts. BodySpace is another great tool where I kept track of my weight and body fat percentage to easily see the progress I was making. Bodybuilding.com also has an awesome YouTube channel with motivational and workout videos, and their social media channels are a great way to watch motivational videos presented by Bodybuilding.com athletes. Joining a fit family helps you feel successful and forget about any old failures.
Any cool or interesting facts about yourself that you would like to share?
Not only did I develop myself physically, but I also learned photography and playing the piano, and I became sure that sports are the beginning of all positive things. I've formed a running team and have taken part in several marathons in my city. Today, I feel I deserve to dream high, and I hope to be a source of positive energy to everyone.
Interested in embarking on your own transformation journey? Check out Bodybuilding.com All Access to find the perfect plan to help you get started.