Name: Drew Woltje
Location: Houston, Texas
Travel Blog: worldskydweller.com
In his early 20s, Drew Woltje was a lean, mean adventurer. As a skydiving instructor, he had no choice but to stay in great shape while working in a crazy and exciting field. But when Drew was 26, everything changed.
"In 2010, I was in a bad car accident," he remembers. "Afterward, I couldn't skydive anymore. I couldn't even do physical therapy because I had injured my back so badly. I definitely couldn't work out for a while, but then I continued to use that as an excuse. That car accident really set things in motion for me to fall out of my healthy lifestyle."
Soon enough, Drew was in a freefall. By the time he had recovered from his injuries enough to get back in shape, life put up a new roadblock. "Soon after, I got a job that sent me traveling all over the world," he says. "I was eating out constantly and not working out." The jet-setting lifestyle took its toll. Drew gained nearly 100 pounds in just a few years. But early in 2015, an embarrassing moment gave him the push he needed to get back in shape.
This is Drew's story.
Weight: 270 lbs.
Body Fat: 43%
Weight: 200 lbs.
Body Fat: 11%
How was being so overweight affecting your life?
I was depressed, unmotivated, and unproductive. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and I was on the verge of becoming diabetic. In short, I was miserable. Plus, I definitely wasn't setting a good example for those around me.
What was your turning point?
It was New Year's Day in 2015, and I was on a family vacation to Universal Studios, where we were trying to ride every roller coaster in the park. I noticed that on every ride, I was put in "modified seating," but I didn't know what that meant. At one point, I wondered out loud, "What is modified seating?" My girlfriend—a very blunt woman—was quick to respond: "It's because you're fat!" I was sure she was exaggerating.
On the last ride of our trip, I got on and wasn't put in modified seating. I was pretty smug when I pointed it out to my girlfriend. But when I got into my seat and pulled down the harness, I couldn't fit. My belly was too big. My son ended up calling for a ride attendant, who had to put her foot on the harness and force it down so it would buckle. Everyone was staring at me.
I was mortified and absolutely filled with shame. I remember sinking into my seat as the ride took off, knowing I needed to change. That was my moment of clarity.
Were the people in your life supportive of your decision to change?
They were supportive, but they had very little faith that I was actually going to do it. My friends who already worked out were definitely my biggest support system, and they invited me to the gym with them. Still, my family and even my girlfriend didn't think I was going to be able to pull it off. Eventually, I proved them wrong. Once I started making progress, everyone came around.
How did you start to dig yourself out of the hole?
I totally changed my lifestyle. First, I stopped drinking altogether, because for me, booze leads to late-night Taco Bell binges. I didn't even want to give myself the chance to stumble into making poor decisions.
Second, I established a routine. I have a buddy who has a doctorate in sports medicine, and he put together both a training plan and a food program for me. I made sure to fit in my morning workout while prioritizing rest by going to bed at 8:30 p.m., so I could be up at 4 a.m. to train. It was grueling in the beginning, but I was willing to commit to the schedule to change my life.
What did the meal plan and training program your friend created for you look like?
The training program mainly focused on muscle building with a little bit of cardio thrown in. Each day, I'd train a specific muscle group.
The meal plan was focused mostly on caloric intake and macronutrients. My trainer taught me to focus on lean protein, healthy carbs, and lots of vegetables. He also taught me how to get the right percentages of each macro in my diet, which gave me a lot of freedom as far as the actual meals I was preparing.
Here's what a typical day of eating looked like:
Sriracha chicken 4 oz.
Spinach 1 cup
Chicken 4 oz.
Spicy spaghetti squash pad thai 1 cup
Salmon 4 oz.
Broccoli 1 cup
How did you design your meals?
I'm a huge foodie—there's just no way around it. I went to culinary arts school, and I have a real passion for cooking and eating. I knew that eating chicken, broccoli, and brown rice would be boring and unsustainable for me. I knew I needed exciting recipes to stay motivated, so I started searching online and discovered Kevin at FitMenCook.com.
One of my favorites right off the bat was the Faux Fried Chicken: chicken coated in protein powder, egg whites, and crushed protein chips, sprayed with coconut oil, and baked. Once I discovered FitMenCook.com, I went full throttle with meal plans that utilized the site. Had I not found it, I really would have struggled through this thing.
Baked Potato Chip Fried Chicken using Quest Protein Chips Fitmencook
Watch the video - 1:00
What do your workouts look like these days?
Were there days when you thought about quitting?
Everyone has those moments when they want to quit. I just had to remind myself that hard is temporary. I also did a lot of visualizing. I found that if I thought I couldn't do something, taking a break to visualize myself completing the task actually made it easier to complete. That was a key part of my success.
How do you balance your traveling with your active lifestyle?
For work, I travel internationally about 60 percent of the time. Last year, I hit every continent except Antarctica. Making excuses can be easy when you're getting on and off planes all the time. Doing your research before you leave is a major key.
For instance, look at your hotel's gym. If it's subpar, find one in the area that you can use. Daily fees can range from $3 in Thailand to $20 in Australia, which, to me, is money well spent. Plus, it's a great way to meet locals. If you don't want to use a gym, just develop a good bodyweight training program.
How do you handle nutrition on the road?
Eating on the road can be a recipe for disaster. My bag is always 2/3 clothes and 1/3 protein bars, protein powder, or even prepped meals for short trips. I also research local restaurants and check out their menus.
How did you discover Bodybuilding.com?
One of the guys I work out with turned me on to it. I use everything from the macro calculator to the nutrition articles. I'm a huge nerd, so I do a ton of research on the things I'm passionate about. I've spent hours of my free time on Bodybuilding.com learning about nutrition and physiology. The site has so much information.
What are your future plans?
I'm very involved with the MS community, and I signed for a fundraising bike ride where I'll be riding 180 miles over two days. The only plan I have other than that is to continue to progress, to be healthy and happy, and, most of all, have fun with it.