Before: May 15, 2007
Weight: 307 lbs
Pant Size: 46"
After: April 25, 2008
Weight: 202 lbs
Pant Size: 34"
Why I Got Started
I started lifting simply to get back into lifting. It had always been something I enjoyed since my high school weight training days for football. Our programs were geared toward strength and we never implemented nutrition into the equation. So when I started back up again in February 2007, I did what I knew and that was to get high strength gains fast and I ate whatever I wanted.
Then I read a quote that kind of flipped a switch for me, "Bodybuilding is 70% nutrition." I realized that it didn't matter how much I lifted if I was covering up all my progress with 100+ lbs of flab. After that switch was flipped in my head, I lost on average around 4-5 pounds per week steadily with the help of lifting, cardio and most important a diet I could follow.
After 1 Month
One month into my transformation, I had lost 23 pounds and I could fit into some clothes I kept in storage for a couple years. I was feeling more confident and had seen what nutrition really could do. I was hooked and couldn't wait for the next month to roll on by.
With the help of www.bodybuilding.com and all of the charting functions on my BodySpace account, I was able to chart all of my stats which for me was a big motivator. I loved watching those numbers slowly go down every month.
After 2 Months
This is when I started implementing some cardio into my lifting. On my "off" day from lifting, I started riding my
bike. The first time I got on it I got about a mile in. Then after the soreness went away, I tried for 2 and then 3 and so on.
After 4 Months
At 60 pounds lost, my buddy Richard (who had been my long distance lifting partner who shared new lifts and progress with me) finally got me to go on a
run with him. We ran the first time for about a mile, which felt great being 60 pounds lighter, but also it felt like running was going to kill me.
After I caught my breath and we had a chance to talk about the run, Richard asked me if I considered doing a triathlon in the spring of 08. Something that had never crossed my mind, suddenly had me hooked. After that, I started incorporating running and swimming into my already established biking.
After 12 Months
Now after 12 months from the start of my first day lifting through all of my
cardio and hard work, I've lost around 100 pounds and am feeling great. People who haven't seen me for a year don't recognize me. I've had my I.D. on my debit card questioned. I've had people come into my office and ask me where Aaron is, not knowing it was me sitting in that chair were the old Aaron used to sit.
Now at this point I've changed my diet to more of a maintenance diet and am focusing hard on swimming, biking and running. My summer is booked with triathlons and duathlons and I'm not looking back. Food doesn't rule my life anymore. I realize that food is fuel and nothing more, the body is a machine and if you put junk in, you get junk results.
How I Did It
I have never lifted in a "gym" with a membership or anything like that. The weight room back in high school gave me an idea of what I wanted for myself at my house. I've made most of my equipment using my welding and drafting knowledge and from the help of a friend who is an engineer to make it all safe.
From a bench/squat rack and dumbbells, I can do a wide variety of lifts, which I frequently change around and shuffle as I want to improve on different things. For my weight-loss phase I focused on about an hour of doing 3 sets of 12-plus reps on a certain muscle group eat day. The first set to 10-12 reps and the last 2 sets to failure and then partial reps past that.
Lifting was the start, but I never saw real weight loss until I modified my diet to cut out most of the
carbs in my diet. I started eating
bacon in the morning for breakfast,
meats for my snacks. And LOTS and LOTS of
tuna for lunches and dinners.
Wow, what an important one. I drink at least a gallon just at work alone. Then I drink more
water in the morning and more after work. I drink water like there won't be any around tomorrow. Your body will thank you for this.
At the start of my weight loss phase I started eating 5-6 times per day. Breakfast, 10 a.m, noon, 3 p.m, dinner, and something at night. It's important to make this switch which is different from what most people currently in America do.
As hard as it is to imagine, I found it difficult to eat that often. It goes against what people have been raised doing. Most eat lunch and a big dinner, which slows your body's metabolism. Keep everything sped up and eat small portions, more often.
Take it from a guy who never liked
cardio. I know it's not always fun, but it works. Try to pick something that you can stick with, for me it was
biking. But there are a ton of different things out there to get your heart pumping, just pick a few and try em out.
Also, an MP3 player can take away the boring spells and keep your mind miles away and it allows me to keep on picking those feet up and putting them down.
I may not be the best example as my diet probably doesn't fit into what most people will stick too. I have a fairly addictive personality which lends nicely to doing things in excess. Which can be nice sticking to diets that aren't appealing.
- One can of tuna
My carb intake for an entire week would usually be less than what most people will eat at one sitting. Cutting carbs may not work for some people well as it is restrictive on things that we all love to eat like pasta, bread, fruits and veggies, and well most anything that is fun to eat.
But eating is just like gassin' up your car; you fuel up for the day. You wouldn't go to the gas station and fill your car up with gas and just continue to pump the gas onto the ground. So why would you over-fuel your body?
I never watched the fat intake or calories while I was dieting. Just the carbs got counted. I tried to stay under 5-6 for a meal. 0 was best. Since I was cutting out the carbs, to stay fuelled up I ate more protein.
Without carbs, the body goes for fat and protein for fuel. I want to have as much protein in my diet to sustain muscle growth and still be able to function. So most of the time I ate meat instead of other low or no carb foods.
After I had switched from my high strength gain phase, I wanted something that burned fat and gained muscle. I went from an all around workout, to one that focuses on one muscle group per workout and worked that one muscle group much farther than I would normally take those muscle fibers.
Monday: Chest & Triceps
- Monday: Lifting
- Tuesday: Swim 30 laps
- Wednesday: Bike 15+ miles
- Thursday: Run 2+ miles (needs some work)
- Friday: Off
- Weekends: Run/Bike