Chicago Documentary-Maker Completes Stunning Four-Month Fitness Transformation

Kenneth Yoder embarked on the journey as part of a documentary project about what it takes to transform into a fitness model

When Chicago documentary-maker Kenneth Yoder first began his fitness transformation on the cusp of his 40th birthday, he weighed 175 pounds with 24 percent body fat.

"I was rocking a pretty solid 'S' curve. That's belly, you know what I mean?" Yoder said.

Now, just four months later, he weights 160 pounds with 10 percent body fat. Yoder lost a total of 15 pounds, but he added a whopping 10 pounds of solid muscle.

Yoder embarked on this journey as part of a documentary project about what it takes to transform into a fitness model. The upcoming documentary stars Yoder himself as the main character.

"If I was going to invest all this time making a film, I didn't want to just do it with someone I didn't know, so I was like, 'it's gotta be me,'" Yoder said.

The end goal for Yoder, besides the documentary itself, was to compete in the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Inc. bodybuilding competition July 18 at the Harris Theater, which he did with sound success.

But how did Yoder make such a striking transformation in so short a time?

Over the course of the four-month challenge, Yoder ate six carefully planned, protein-packed meals each day as well as took part in boot camps on how to pose properly and workouts that left him in agony.

Chicago trainer Dusten Nelson oversaw Yoder's grueling diet and workout plans, and he made him stick to it throughout the transformation period. But despite the support of a trainer, Yoder experienced several low points along the way, including ending up on his knees in the bathroom in the middle of workouts.

After all the hard work, however, Yoder said he feels like he added years to his life.

"I'm going to live longer. I feel that way!" he said.

Yoder said the key to overcoming all of the struggles along the way was support from his wife, from Nelson and from the other Chicagoans who were training for the bodybuilding competition, too.

Now that the competition is over, Yoder said he will keep some of the habits he developed during the training period, such as packing nutritious meals to-go instead of buying unhealthy food.

"There's so many things you learn that you just kind of can't unlearn about how to eat and how to approach challenges with positivity," Yoder said.

From here, Yoder's plan is to tell the story of his journey in an in-depth documentary called "Poser."

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