Tony D’itri is no stranger to a tough workout. The 36-year-old New York resident currently works as a PE teacher, has completed several marathons, and has spent the last 5 years running obstacle course races like the Spartan Super, which includes carrying 50-pound logs, crawling beneath barbed wire, and climbing ropes.
But D’itri wasn’t always into fitness. Growing up, his parents owned an Italian bakery, where carbs and sugar weren’t really questioned. And even though he slimmed down with karate classes during college, his weight crept up once he started a marketing job. His days required lots of travel, making fast food the daily norm.
In 2003, D’itri hit his heaviest weight—230 pounds. Frustrated with the direction his life and body were going, he decided to do the most challenging thing he could think of, so he started training for his first marathon. The pounds came off, and one race turned into 10. More than a decade later, D’itri was still doing competitive races, but he wasn’t performing like he wanted to.
“The issue was, I became skinny fat,” D’itri says. “My body had no muscle on it whatsoever—but I didn’t think of it that way. In my mind, it was better to be skinny than to be strong.”
The error of that logic didn’t hit him until March 2015. After D’itri came upon some unflattering photos from his wedding that year, he realized the scale had once again crept up to 210 pounds.
He knew he was lacking consistency, so he created a routine for himself and stuck to it: D’itri started exercising 5 to 7 days a week; he ran every other day, mixing in high intensity interval training and core workouts in between. He overhauled his diet and started controlling his portion sizes, making sure he was loading up on lean protein, healthy fats, and fewer refined carbs.
By September 2016, the number on D’itri’s scale dipped to 186 pounds (pictured in the before photo above), but he still wasn’t happy. Sure, he had lost 24 pounds, but his body still didn’t look the way he wanted it to. His clothes still fit him too tightly. He felt self-conscious wearing swim trunks at the pool. He knew he still had work to do.
D’itri had spent months trying to get below 180 pounds and nothing he did could break through his weight loss plateau—until he saw an ad looking for people willing to try a new workout program. That program was MetaShred Extreme, a series of metabolic workouts developed by Men’s Health fitness director BJ Gaddour, who D’itri had always been a huge fan of. He decided to apply and became one of the first people to test out the routine.
For eight grueling weeks, he gave it everything he had, even though he had a newborn to take care of. Through the many sleepless nights, his wife was incredibly supportive. After getting up to feed his kid every morning around 4:00 a.m., D’itri would complete his MetaShred workout, go to work until 7:00 p.m., and squeeze in a run after some family time when he got home.
In his own living room, he consistently followed the 14-day schedule included with the program, which includes eight fat-burning, muscle-building workouts that target your upper body one day and your lower body the next, plus four 20-minute recovery workouts and two rest days.
The MetaShred Extreme program from Men’s Health uses what Gaddour calls “metabolic bodybuilding” to create muscle gains via metabolic stress.
Each of D’itri’s upper- or lower-body workouts was topped off with a 5-minute finisher using blood-flow restriction training. Using a BFR wrap (which is included with the program), you’ll trap blood in the muscle you want to work, which is said to stimulate muscle gains.
The program also incorporates techniques like tempo training. Instead of lifting super fast, you’ll strategically slow down to extend the time your muscles spend under tension, helping you max out your gains while protecting your joints. On top of that, the workouts will challenge you with core moves guaranteed to carve a six-pack.
“Honestly, after the first day, I was shot. I was so tired,” D’itri says. “I thought I was incredibly fit and that I could handle it. I went in there so cocky, but it literally kicked me on my butt—and I loved it. It was 50 minutes of hard work. It encompassed everything. It gave me a full body workout and even though it’s broken down into upper and lower body days, it didn’t matter because you felt it everywhere. My core was on fire after every single workout.”
As a cross-country coach, D’itri was still running with his students and training for upcoming races, logging roughly 15 to 20 miles a week. The only other routine he dedicated his time to was MetaShred Extreme—but that was enough.
“The lower-body workouts were the hardest. They were really hard,” D’itri says. “For the first 2 weeks of the program, I couldn’t run. But after 2 weeks, I wasn’t sore anymore and then I just started getting really fast. My endurance was getting better. I was a bit confused, because I wasn’t putting as much effort into the running as I was the Metashred program.”
His 8-minute mile went down to 7 minutes and by the end of the program, it went down to 6 minutes. That’s because every leg day was guaranteed cardio due to the oxygen demand of so much muscle mass being used, Gaddour explains. The routines also help strengthen imbalances between sides and improve mobility, all things that will translate to improved running performance.
In addition to his workouts, D’itri upped the ante on his diet, too. For four weeks, he strictly followed the MetaShred Diet from Men’s Health. After that first month, he was gaining muscle, so he increased his portions and continued to stick to grass-fed, organic whole foods whenever he could. He didn’t even feel the need to indulge in a cheat meal because the food he was eating tasted good enough.
The combination of his new diet and workout plan led to incredibly fast results: By November 2016 (pictured in the after photo above)—just 8 weeks after sticking to MetaShred—he dropped 21 pounds, lost 7 percent body fat and 4 inches around his waist. He transformed his legs and developed abs he could see for the first time in his life.
Gaddour himself was so impressed with D’itri’s transformation that he invited him on to the Men’s Health podcast.
“We connected because his coach was an incredible influence in his life, and as a coach, I hope that I can do that for one of my athletes,” D’itri says. During their conversation, Gaddour noted that D’itri didn’t just gain a six-pack—he had sculpted “back abs,” too.
And because of those results, D’itri even quit his gym membership.
“I would just pop in the DVD, and all of a sudden I’m dripping sweat for 50 minutes.” he says. “Instead of spending 10 minutes getting ready for the gym, 10 minutes driving to the gym, 10 minutes coming back from the gym, and 10 minutes getting ready for work—that’s 40 minutes right there—I literally walk downstairs and I don’t waste the time.”
Now, there isn’t a part of his body that D’itri is unhappy with.
“If I want to go for a run without my shirt, I’m not embarrassed to do so,” D’itri says. “I’m really confident in who I am, that’s really been the biggest thing for me. We make excuses all the time for ourselves, but there truly is time, so just be consistent. There’s no trick to it. It’s grit. It’s doing the work.”
Want to try METASHRED EXTREME for yourself? Check out the program, the most effective body-shredding training system in Men’s Health history, here. You’ll receive the DVDs, equipment, 14-day calendar, and a log-in to stream it online anytime, anywhere.