Transformation stories have been a staple of Bodybuilding.com's editorial mission since the earliest days of the site. (We're coming up on 20 years—just saying.) Why do we keep sticking with them? It's pretty simple: our users keep sending us amazing ones, every day of the year.
Here are the transformations you've told us were the most inspiring for you this year.
Winner: Pascal Rwabukamba
Pascal Rwabukamba has three simple words for anyone who wants to transform their life: Never give up. He didn't get these words from a fortune cookie or greeting card, he lived them every day for four grueling years as he went from 453 pounds (and the threat of type 2 diabetes) to 187 pounds of muscle and 14 percent body fat.
Rwabukamba began his journey in earnest in 2014, first at a gym in his apartment complex, and later in a local gym. He faced many obstacles, including damage to his left shoulder and back, a job that didn't make it easy for him to follow his meal plan throughout the day, and a life-altering decision to go back to school. That's a full plate for someone who was trying to become about a third of the man he was before.
Rwabukamba is on a mission now to help other people achieve what, for many, would otherwise be a pipedream. Count on him to keep at it until he achieves that goal, too!
Motivation can come from all kinds of places. For Dani Grey, a lot of it came from her kids. A couple of years after the birth of her first child, and right after her second child was born, Dani had put 230 pounds on her 5-foot-2-inch frame. Parenting young children can feel like an Olympic sport, and she was in no shape to compete.
"There were some days I didn't even want to take them to the playground because the thought of leaving my house was exhausting," she recalls. "But then one day, I woke up and knew that I could do better. Not only physically, but mentally, too."
With a sound diet plan, a good grasp of meal prepping, and "therapy" lessons with her favorite barbells and dumbbells, Grey lost 120 pounds and gets a medal every day for living the life she dreamed of.
Christy Hare had some challenges in her life because of her weight, but those paled in comparison to the loss of her son in a car accident. She went deep into mourning and grief, and when she came to, she was close to 300 pounds.
Christy had lost more than 100 pounds in the past, and was certain she could do it again. She started working out again and, after finishing her first mud run, found out she was pregnant! Since then, she has literally cut her weight in half, and now lives an active life, running half-marathons and 5Ks, all the while keeping close track of her food. It hasn't been easy, but it's changed her life.
"The amount of time it took to see results was difficult," she says. "It will always take time to undo damage, but the more you see results, the easier it gets."
You've built a good business, received accolades from across the nation for your contribution to your industry, and are ready to retire in good health at a svelte 130 pounds. So, what do you do? Rest? Not so much. If you're Dennis Fanucchi, you hit the gym with a vengeance and bulk up to 200 pounds of lean muscle!
"I didn't want to be like many other men who just wither and fade away," Fanucchi says. "My thought was that I needed to attempt to slow the aging process immediately, so I joined a gym that same day."
Now 74, Dennis sports a physique any man half his age would die to have. Keep up the good work, Dennis!