By Dean Stattmann
This story originally appeared in the Dec/Jan 2011 issue of Men’s Fitness.
Twins share everything, including genetics, of course. But that’s not always a good thing, especially if they also share being obese. Growing up, Justin and Jason Roberts were the same weight as most of their peers—but they were never overly athletic. As Justin reached high school, he’d visit the weight room sporadically, though he never liked cardio. That strategy caught up with him in college, where he (and his waist) fell victim to fast food and lots of soda. At one time, Justin was downing as much as 1,300 calories a day from sugary beverages alone.
After graduation, he found a job as a systems engineer working right alongside Jason, who had adopted many of the same bad habits and ballooned to 265 pounds—the exact same weight as Justin.
Long hours, a marriage, and three kids gradually replaced exercise in Justin’s life, but he wasn’t worried. “I used to feel that if my weight was ever going to pose a problem, I’d have to see it to believe it,” he remembers.
Soon, he saw it. In September 2009, Jason received bad news from his doctor. His weight had put him at risk for serious heart problems. The news jolted Justin even more than it did his brother. “I realized I really had to do something,” Justin says. “As twins with the same genes, I knew it was just a matter of time until I would develop the same conditions.”
The next day, Justin joined a local gym and began a three-day-a-week workoutprogram. His two-hour sessions were split between full-body lifts and—yes—cardio. In the kitchen, Justin was just as methodical, creating a 1,400- calorie-a-day meal plan with specific ratios of nutrients designed to maximize fat burning. “I went from eating 60% of my diet as carbs, 20% protein, and 20% as fat to 60% as protein and 20% as carbs,” he says. Once his new workout and diet were in place, he stuck with them religiously, vowing to never miss a session.
It worked. Today, Justin we ighs 190 pounds and couldn’t be more pleased. Well, yes, he could—if Jason were to follow his lead and get fit too. He hasn’t yet, but Justin hopes that just as his brother’s sobering health news scared him into getting in shape, his own new energy and confidence will inspire his own brother and his own children. “I’m trying really hard now to make sure that my kids grow up with a good, healthy lifestyle,” he says. “I’m trying to create the right habits for them, because I’ve never felt better or been happier than I am right now.”
Justin’s Tip: Value Your Health
“The one thing that you can’t buy in life is being healthy. Making that a priority in your life is worth more than any amount of money.”
Weight Before: 265 lbs
Weight Now: 190 lbs