Jo vs Dave

Jo vs. Dave Fitness Challenge: And the Winner Is… [Podcast Episode #040]

Time really flies!

After 12 weeks, the "Jo vs. Dave" fitness challenge is all wrapped up. Our goal was to see how fit we could get in 12 weeks without resorting to any unhealthy or unsustainable tactics. There were some highs, some lows, and LOTS of lessons learned.

This was all about healthy weight-loss (and weight-gain in my case) that you could follow in your life. Want to see how Jo and I did?...​

Episode Resources:

Jo vs. Dave Fitness Challenge: The Results

In today's podcast you'll hear all about our results from the Jo vs. Dave fitness challenge. But you likely want to see the results too...

Jo Final

In 12 weeks Jo lost 14 pounds, 2 inches from her waist, and nearly 7 inches in total. She noticed the biggest changes in her flatter stomach and better muscle definition all around. The WINNER!

Dave Final

Dave lasted only 8 weeks in the challenge, but still was able to gain 17 pounds of muscle, while adding 6 inches across his arms, chest, and thighs. Rules are rules however, and Dave is disqualified for not lasting the full 12 weeks!

Jo vs. Dave: And The Winner Is... [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, the show's all about helping you live a healthier, happier life. I'm excited because this is a special episode. For those of you who've been listening for a while, you'll know that I had a guest on Episode 26, that's Her name is Jo Dominguez and she's a fitness competitor, and she came on the show and talked about what it was like when she was preparing for a fitness competition.

She talked about basically how miserable she got trying to be so regimented in her routine, to get a six pack and get this perfectly toned body. In that episode, she challenged me to what we called the Jo versus Dave 12-week Fitness Challenge and guess what, 12 weeks is up this week and I've got Jo back on today's episode to talk about not only her results, but what she learned from the process and most importantly what advice she can give to you if you're looking to transform your body.

I can't say enough good things about Jo's message in this episode. She gives some really great positive perspective on what it takes to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Without me spoiling any surprises, let's get Jo on the episode and I know you're going to love her message.

Welcome Back Jo!

Hey, Jo. Thanks for coming back for I think this is our third update in the Jo versus Dave Fitness Challenge.

Jo: Hey, Dave. Thank you for having me back.

Dave: Now, I know a lot of the listeners, they've been following along right from the get-go. Maybe you can just start by giving us a quick little synopsis of what this challenge is all about just in case anyone's tuning in for the first time.

Jo: The whole thing started by me talking to you about I wanted to do a photo shoot this year and in order for me to stay motivated to work out and eat healthy and stuff like that, and you had the idea of making it into a challenge where you and I will take three months to get into the shape that we wanted or achieve the goals that we wanted within those three months. That's basically it. We've been recording everything and giving your audience some updates and stuff like that so, yeah.

Dave: I agree with that except for I believe that it was you that challenged me, not me challenging you.

Jo: Who challenged who, I don't know. I forget.

Dave: It's so long ago. For any of the listeners out there, if you want to check out the very first episode of this 12-week challenge, go to Jo, we talked about workout routines and we posted those. We talked about what we're doing diet-wise and you gave some really great recipes and some great insights as to how you were structuring your diet during this challenge.

Today, we're going to talk about, because we've come to the end of the challenge, we want to go back and reflect about how the challenge went. First question I have for you is please share some of the struggles that you've gone through in the last 12 weeks.

The Struggles We Faced

Jo: I think some of the struggles that I faced, especially at the beginning of the three months, the first one I can think of is going back to having a routine, going back to planning my meals, planning my workouts. Before the three months, I was just doing whatever, my own thing. I would not plan anything at all. It was very hard for me at the beginning like I said to go back to the routine like the meal planning, the workout planning, all of that stuff. That's one of the struggles that I can think of.

The other thing that I struggled with was not comparing myself to the way I looked last year. As we discussed before, last year, I did a fitness competition and when I started doing this challenge, I would go back to the pictures from the competition last year and I will be like, "Oh, my God, I have three months to look like that," right.

That was not what I was aiming for, but again, I was like, "Oh, in three months I have to look like that again." It was applying a lot of pressure for me to work out hard and stuff like that, but again, the way I looked like last year was not what I was aiming for this time. That was another struggle.

Another one, too, was comparing myself to other people. I will see girls at the gym with amazing bodies and I'll be like, "Oh, my God in three months I have to look like that." Again, I don't know, I don't know how long they've been working out for. I don't know what their diet's like. I don't know anything about what they're doing. For me, to compare myself to others, that was hard and I had to learn not to do that. I had to learn to be like, "I'm doing this for me. What are the reasons why I'm doing this?" Yeah, those two were the main ones I think.

Dave: Lots of wisdom in there and I want to point out a couple of things actually. You talked about the idea of planning things out in workouts and meals, and I just want to encourage the listeners here to remember that idea of you hear the saying, "Knowledge is power," and you knew how to work out. You knew how to eat healthy, but until we started this challenge, would you say it's fair for me to say that you weren't always applying that knowledge?

Jo: I was not. Not at all. I knew I had to eat healthy and stuff like that. I usually, for the most part, eat healthy even before the challenge. It was just I was overeating. There was no structure in my meal plan or my workouts even. I will go to the gym, show up and be like, "Okay, what am I doing today?" I didn't have a plan at all and that really doesn't help you reach your goals if you don't have like a structure, a plan.

Dave: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. That's something I run into a lot actually with clients is sometimes when I'll start taking them through the process of losing weight and getting in shape, sometimes I'll get clients that'll say, "Oh, Dave, I already know this." I know getting in shape, there's not really this secret formula.

Most people know what it takes to lose weight or to get in shape, but that idea of applied knowledge is power is much different than just knowledge is power. It sounds like you experienced that once you actually started to apply it, put some discipline in, had some accountability, that's when the changes started to happen.

Most people know what's best for them, but only those who apply that knowledge will see change

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Jo: Exactly, exactly, and yeah, like you said, everyone knows what to do, right. They know what they should be eating and what they should be doing at the gym, but again, they don't apply it for whatever reason and hey, I've been through that so yeah.

Dave: It's good I think for the listeners to hear that coming from you, Jo, because again, they're going to look at your pictures and think, "Oh, I wish I look like her." A lot of people will say, "I wish I could be in shape like her," but it's good to know that even you struggle. I'll echo those sentiments for myself during this 12-week process. Geez, there are times where I really struggle where I didn't want to go to the gym. I didn't want to lift weights. I just wanted to go and do something completely out of routine, but to get those results, it really takes that consistent effort.

The First Step is the Hardest

Jo: Exactly, and you said a key word there, consistency. You have to keep doing those things if you want to see results. If one day, you don't feel like going to the gym, you have to at least make the effort to go to the gym. If after 10, 15 minutes of being at the gym, you still don't feel like doing anything, fine, go home, but at least make the effort to get there.

For me, for example, I force myself to go after work. I don't like it. I don't want to go, but I'm like, "Jo, you have to." Yeah, I bring everything with me when I go to work so after work instead of going home, I just go straight to the gym. If for whatever reason that day, I don't feel like doing anything, I still drive to the gym. I still go in. I still change into my workout clothes. I at least get on the treadmill for like 5, 10 minutes.

If I still don't feel like doing anything for whatever reason, maybe I'm too achy or whatever, I don't feel too good, then I go home, but at least I make the effort to go to the gym because for me, I find that that's the hardest part, right. As of right now, I still haven't come home from like after being 10 minutes at the gym, I usually end up staying.

Dave: I'm glad you said that because I was going to call you out on that. I was going to say there's no way that most people would go for 10 minutes to the gym and then think, "I'm done here. Time to go home."

Jo: No, exactly, because the hardest part is getting to the gym. Once you're there, you just do whatever you need to do, right. Yeah, I just force myself. I don't feel like working out everyday. I don't think anybody does. Maybe some people do, but it's very rare. There's days that I don't want to do anything, but I do force myself to go or at least try and again, it's that consistency that is going to give you results, consistency with your eating, consistency with your exercising. That's what's going to give you results.

You have to push yourself to take the first step! Once it's done, the rest comes easily.

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What Workout Routine Will Work for You?

Dave: Yeah. I like that you alluded to the fact that it's got to be built into your routine. It sounds like you go to work and then immediately to the gym, there's no chance for you to get home and sit on the couch and lose that motivation. I know my schedule's a little different than yours. My personal, the way I have to do it is when I wake up before I do anything else, I go to the gym first thing.

Jo: Yeah.

Dave: If I don't do that, I know that it hangs over my head and I feel like I'm procrastinating all day long and there's a good chance I won't get it done. To the listeners, where does it fit into your daily routine where you know it's going to get done?

Jo: I do work shifts. For two weeks, I work 7 AM to 3 PM. When I have that shift, I immediately after work go to the gym. I'm done at 3PM at work, I drive straight to the gym after work. The other two weeks, I'm working from 3PM 'til 11 PM. Again, I do the same thing as you do.

As soon as I wake up, I get my workout done because again, if I start doing other things, whatever, then I feel like ah. I can come up with so many excuses not to do my workout, but if I get it done first thing in the morning, it's out of the way. I already did it. It's all good. Yeah, that's how I fit it into my life right now based on my schedule basically.

Dave: I love that, yeah, consistency. With one of the programs that I run, the 10 in 4 Challenge where people are trying to lose weight over four weeks, one of the things that I ask the clients to do is to schedule the type of exercise they're going to do and then also, tell me the specific time of day that they're going to do it.

Sometimes I'll get clients who maybe have a flexible schedule and they'll say something like, "I'm going to go for a run in the morning." I really push back and say, "No, tell me the time that you'll go out the door," and sometimes people will laugh and be like, "Oh, does it really matter?" It does matter because that accountability of saying, "It's going to be a 7 AM workout," is way different than saying, "I'm going to work out sometime in the morning."

Jo: Yeah. Also another thing that people should have into account is everyone is different. Some people have more energy in the morning. Some other people have more energy at night. If you're a morning person, I recommend you get your workout done in the morning. If you're a night person and you feel like you have more energy at night and you can go after work without any problem to the gym, then go at night. You have to find out what works best for you.

For some people, they're not morning people and telling them to go to the gym first thing in the morning, that's not going to work out for them. Just figure out if you're a morning person, a night person. When do you have more energy to do your workouts and stuff like that? When do you feel more motivated? Yeah, experiment with that. Everyone is different like I said. What works for me might not work for you, Dave, or other people.

Dave: Yeah, and that ties back into what you were saying earlier. I liked how you commented on seeing other girls at the gym or even comparing to a previous version of yourself. Times do change and again, quite often I'll get people that'll email me and have a story of, "Five years ago, I looked this way or I was able to do a certain thing and now I can't or I look different."

We do change as we get older and we aren't going to be the same as other people that we want to compare ourselves to. Your message of you're unique. You're your own person and you need to take into account what your life looks like today. That's so important.

Jo: Yeah, yeah. I couldn't agree more.

Dave: Jo, so thinking about we talked about some of your struggles through the 12 weeks. What was it that was really your driving force or your motivation to keep going?

Jo's Motivation For The Challenge

Jo: The main reason why I started doing this and for me, that reason goes beyond just looking good in a bikini. For example, I'm going to say my number one reason for me to wanting to stay fit and healthy and all that stuff is because I don't want to be like some people that use age as an excuse.

I will hear people say, "Oh, I'm overweight because of my age or I'm sick and I don't move much because of my age." I don't want to be like those people because that's not true. I want to start creating habits right now, healthy habits right now when I'm in my 30s because by the time I'm in my 60s, 70s, 80s, it will be a lot easier for me to have a healthy routine. That's one of the main reasons of why.

What kept me motivated was just going back to that and thinking of why I wanted to do this in the first place. Yeah, I do recommend people to think about what the reason is to wanting to lose weight or start working out and stuff like that. It should be beyond just looking good. It's like okay, why do you want to look good? What's the main reason behind it? Go deeper and deeper so yeah.

Dave: Yeah, that idea of getting down to your deeper level of motivation is so important because like you said, looking good is such a short term goal and for most people, that's not powerful enough to really get through those days where you don't want to eat well or you don't want to exercise. It's just too far removed. No one's going to go from not looking the way they want to look to looking perfect in the course of a week or even a month. When you have a far off goal like that, it's really hard to on a day-to-day basis use that as your day-to-day motivation to keep on going.

Jo: Exactly.

Dave: I love that idea of building the habits. That's so key.

Jo: Yeah.

Dave: Did you learn anything else during the process? It sounds like you really got yourself into a routine. You thought about the habits that you're building. You've got some accountability. What else did you learn from this process?

Finding Your Happy Balance

Jo: I learned to find a happy, healthy balance for myself. My nutrition plan, my workout plan, what can I do to make me happier? I don't know if that came out right. Sorry. I found my happy medium between nutrition, exercise, and eating the things that I enjoy. I don't like to be on a restricted diet. I will be miserable. I learned how to incorporate things that will make me happy and keep me healthy and motivated. That was a big one for me.

I don't do well with super restricted diets, diets that doesn't allow for me to cook things that I like or allow myself to as I say enjoy a night out with my friends like go for dinner or something like that. I think that's the main thing that I learned, just finding that happy medium.

After trial and error, you will find your 'happy balance.' Just be patient and experiment.

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Dave: Yeah, we were talking before the show actually. You said something that I thought was really powerful. You were talking about, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but you were worried that the listeners when they see your before and after pictures will expect you to look like you did a year ago when you were getting ready for your competition, a six pack and really low body fat, and just that you felt like you didn't want to let anyone down that you're not going to look like that.

It sounded like you had a really good realization that when you did that training a year ago exactly like you said, you weren't happy. You weren't doing something that was sustainable and the whole point of this 12-week challenge was to do it the healthy way.

Jo: Yeah. Let me tell you right now that having a six pack doesn't always mean happiness and healthy. I've been there. Yes, I looked great on the pictures. I looked awesome, but I wasn't happy. I was miserable. I didn't feel healthy at all and that's not what I wanted for this challenge.

I just wanted to find a balance between healthy eating, exercising, and also enjoy my life, enjoy the process, right. That was a big one. Yeah. No, I hope your listeners are not expecting a six pack because chances are I will not have one by the time we're done. Having a six pack takes a lot of sacrifice, a lot of work, and I wasn't happy with that. Yeah, I won't be having one that's for sure.

Dave: Maybe we can elaborate a little bit on that. For listeners who are just getting started out, it's really tough to find that midway point or that happy balance of doing enough to see change, but not taking on too much that it becomes obsessive or it becomes a point in life where you're just not happy with what you're having to do to get the results you're looking for. What would you suggest to a listener? How do they find that happy balance for themselves?

Jo's Happy Balance

Jo: I can only speak for myself and based on my experience. For example, for myself, my happy balance is about I eat healthy most of the week, like really healthy food, vegetables, meat protein, stuff like that. I avoid processed food as much as I can. Let's say on the weekend, I see a recipe that I want to try because I love to cook or my friends want to go out for dinner or for lunch, I allow myself to go, right. I'm not going to beat myself up and I'm going to order whatever I want at the restaurant.

Usually, because I've changed my diet a couple of years ago, I avoid processed food and stuff like that, usually, it's still a healthy diet, but it's what I want. For other people, it might look ... It can be pizza, it could be a burger, whatever, and that's okay as long as you don't do it every day, that's fine, but give yourself a little bit of room to enjoy the things that you enjoy. I think that's the number one thing I will say to people.

Have some flexibility in there. Don't be so restricted because eventually, you're going to drive yourself crazy and you're going to sabotage yourself. Yeah, give yourself a little bit of room to enjoy the things that you enjoy doing.

Dave: I like what you said, that idea of going out with friends and being okay with just ordering whatever you feel like eating and being okay with that, no guilt. I think that something to add to that that's very important is to be able to do that, but to set a boundary on that. Jo, for example, tell me if this is how it works for you or not, but someone could say, "Once a week, I'm going to go out or allow myself to go out for dinner and I'll order whatever I want." That's their flexibility in their plan or maybe it's twice a week and they can decide whatever that flexibility looks like.

What I've seen with clients is the trouble becomes when people use the word moderation. I'm going to eat less processed food or I'm going to eat less sweets because it's so ambiguous saying that I'm going to eat less processed food could mean that everyday, they're still eating processed food, but it's a little bit less than they ate before. When you have that ambiguous regimen or approach, it's really hard to know are you actually making improvement? Is that actually going to lead to change? What do you think in terms of setting definitive boundaries? How did you do that for yourself?

Jo: Yeah, for myself, I only allow this to happen once a week for one meal. Let's say my friends want to go out for lunch or dinner or both, I can only pick one. I can only have whatever I want for one meal. It's not going to be for the whole day because you do have to set those boundaries. If I don't, then I will fall back, I will fall off the wagon again because like, "Oh, yeah, I had pizza for lunch and for dinner, I'm going to have a burger, that's okay." You have to set those boundaries if you want to see progress.

Dave: Yeah. Again, I agree 100%. Going back to the program that I work with with my clients, the 10 in 4 Challenge, the way that we have it structured is there's an actual cheat day and on that cheat day, I can't emphasize enough to my clients, there is no guilt. Eat whatever you want on that cheat day because for six days of the weeks, we are eating super clean.

I know even six days of eating clean is a lot for people that are just starting out, but usually by about week 2 or 3 or definitely by week 4, that cheat day becomes more than enough and every single client, the very first cheat day, it's just like full on gorge, eat everything that you dreamed about all week long. By the fourth week, geez, people, their taste buds have changed. The way their digestive system works changes and that desire to eat all those unhealthy foods definitely diminishes. Is that something that you noticed as you cleaned up your diet over the last 12 weeks?

Jo: Yeah, for sure. Like you say, your taste buds, they change and also, when you're eating clean for let's say six days a week and then, you go all out on the one day, you're going to feel like crap after. Your own body's going to tell you, "Hey, you shouldn't be eating this. We've been doing so good," and you're going to start noticing the feeling of being tired and feeling crappy like that that eventually, you're going to start staying away from those unhealthy foods so yeah.

Dave: That's encouraging because so many people write in to me and talk about cravings. I know this isn't like the magic pill that everyone wishes that they could just take and their cravings would go away, but piece by piece, step by step, if you remove those unhealthy foods from your diet, your cravings will change. Jo, you experienced it. I've experienced it. It works.

Question for you, we want to get down to, I know everyone's going to want to know about your results. Can you tell us about after these 12 weeks and we're just about on the 12 weeks right now as we record this, where have your results come and how do you feel about how you've accomplished?

The 12-Week Results Are In...

Jo: I am very happy with my results. Again, I wasn't aiming for a six pack. The main idea behind it was for me to find a healthy balance, something that I can maintain long term. This is not just going to be for the three months that we were doing this. I'm going to continue doing this and that's exactly what I wanted. I wanted to make changes that I can keep doing for a long time. Again, like I said, I found my happy medium. I'm going to continue doing that because it's not that challenging for me anymore.

Yeah, I have toned down. There's a little bit more muscle mass, which is awesome. My strength has gone up a lot and my stomach is flat, but again, there's no six pack and I'm okay with that. It's all good. Six pack, again, for me means being miserable and I don't want to do that. I still want to enjoy my life. Yeah, I'm very happy with the results for sure.

Dave: Jo, you're going to share some before and after pictures with us for this episode, correct?

Jo: Yes, sir.

Dave: All right. To the audience, you can go to because this is the 40th episode and you can see Jo's before and after picture. I'm just going to comment quickly on my process because like we said in the very first episode, Jo was trying to lean down and really tone up. I was trying to bulk up, put on a lot more muscle mass. I'm going to be honest with Jo, with you, and with all the listeners. I only made it to eight weeks of the challenge before I quit.

Jo: You quit halfway? What? Quitter. I won? Did I win? I won. You quit.

Dave: By default, you're the winner. I just want to explain my quitting. Actually, my goal was to bulk up and I went from about 163 pounds to 180 pounds so put on 17 pounds of muscle in about eight weeks and I'll be honest, I didn't want to gain anymore. I got to a point where I started to notice I was just feeling too heavy and I had no interest in being a bodybuilder. I was feeling slow when I was running and so, I'll put a before and after picture and you could see where I got in eight weeks, but I will admit, I tapped out of the competition early.

Jo: Quitter.

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: Yeah, that is true. What would you say, Jo, for the listeners? I guess I want to give them my typical Make Your Body Work takeaway, what would you say is one thing that you've learned through this process that you would suggest that listeners who want to do the same thing, who really want to transform their bodies, where could they get started in a healthy way?

Jo: I think that the main thing for me is to stop comparing yourself to other people and stop doing things that other people might be doing and find what works for you. It takes a bit of trial and error, but eventually, you're going to find that happy medium like what makes you happy, what foods you enjoy, and what kind of foods are helping you lose weight. Try to find what works for you instead of copying someone else. I think that's the main thing for me. That's the main thing that I've learned. Yeah, and just try to enjoy the process.

Don't try to aim for the six pack and the supermodel look that you see on TV and magazines and stuff like that because yeah, they might look awesome, but you don't know what they're eating. You don't know how much they're struggling. They might be miserable. They might be unhappy. They might not be healthy. Don't aim for that. It's not good. It's not healthy.

The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday

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Dave: I love it, both very positive messages. I just want to point something out, too. You've been updating the audience of your process and just because this process works for you, like you said, this might not work for someone else.

Jo: Exactly, exactly. Just like I said, experiment, see what works for you, what doesn't. That's what I've done during these three months. I've been experimenting with different things, trying different foods and stuff like that and, finally, I think I found something that I can keep doing long term.

Dave: Awesome, awesome. Jo, I know the listeners have really enjoyed following your process over the last 12 weeks and are going to be excited to see these after pictures. Even if there isn't a six pack, I know everyone's going to want to see your flat stomach. Thanks again for joining us and just for sharing the process with us.

Jo: Yeah, no problem, Dave. This has been fun. Yeah, hopefully, some of your listeners are not disappointed by not seeing a six pack or whatever, but again, that's not what I was aiming for. Yeah, thank you for having me. It's been awesome.

Dave: Thanks again, Jo, for joining us on this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. Thanks for being open and honest, sharing your struggles, sharing what you've learned, and sharing some really great advice that we can all take away, that idea of having a positive perspective. We're all unique. We can't compare ourselves to someone else. We have to find our own unique way. Just a great a message that everyone can learn from.

Thank you to you, the listener for joining us. I appreciate it. I've said this before, but without you, there would be no Make Your Body Work podcast. If you're looking to see some change in your life like Jo and I talked about today, and you'd like some help finding the unique process that works for you, I'd love to be your coach.

As I mentioned in the show, I run a program called the 10 in 4 Challenge and that's exactly what we do. We help each other fine tune our healthy eating, find an exercise routine that works, find all the little tweaks that we can make in our routine to see some results that maybe we haven't been able to see before. If that sounds like something that you'd be interested in, you can always email me at or check out the challenge at

Finally, if you have a question for an upcoming episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast, I'd love to hear from you. You can reach me again at and I just want you to know, I read and respond to every single email I get even if it's one that doesn't make it onto the show or is a episode of a podcast, I love to hear from you and I love to help. Hopefully, I'll hear from you and hopefully, I'll see you back here again next week.

Thanks for joining me today!

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