I’ve never been heavy, and I’ve always worked out, but I travel a lot for work, so I’d have periods where I wasn’t working out, or wasn’t working out as effectively. I was consuming too many high-fat, sugary things—specifically, foods like wine, cheese, and sugar.
This past May, I noticed that my pants were tight. I felt like I was getting a double chin—I’d never had one of those in my life. Clothes that had fit, from suits to T-shirts, didn’t fit. I didn’t sleep that well. I was unhappy. At age 49, I’d reached nearly 190 pounds.
The Moment That Inspired Me
My turning point came when my gym, Life Time, was running a program it calls 60day, where members can compete to transform their bodies and win prizes. I agreed with my trainer, Theo Marler, to do it, and as part of the challenge, I had to take three “before” photos—front, side, and back.
That was my “light bulb” moment. The camera doesn’t lie, and I didn’t look anything like how I wanted to look. I knew something had to change.
For diet, I limited the alcohol I was consuming and limited my carb intake to complex carbohydrates. That meant I eliminated sugar and processed food from my diet, and I took out dairy, too.
When I first started working with Theo in August 2018, I had an initial goal of building strength, not losing weight. But then there were the photos.
How My Workouts Changed
My workouts went from all strength training to adding cardio for 15 to 20 minutes. That progressed to circuit training while wearing a 20-pound vest for an hour. That evolved to doing strength training for an hour, followed by running with a 20-pound weight vest and carrying a 44-pound Vipr across my shoulders for an hour. I’ve also incorporated swimming laps with a 10-pound dive brick. It’s intense, and I really embraced it.
Within the first 30 days, I found out I was number four in the country for fat loss in the challenge. I worked harder because I wanted to be number one. After 60 days, I lost 26 pounds and reduced my body fat from 19.8 percent to 8.7 percent. I continued to lean down after the challenge ended in July, and I now weigh 166 and my body fat is down to 6.7 percent.
During the week, my workouts take about two hours; on the weekend they take about three, and it’s the kind of lifestyle I want to have. The biggest thing I learned is that exercise can’t make up for a poor diet. So now, when I travel, I find a grocery store where I can get a salad and a grilled chicken breast, and I find a local gym and pay the access fee—I make that a priority.
It Feels Great
I feel phenomenal. I have a tremendous amount of energy, and I look 10 years younger. I’m sleeping better, my overall cholesterol went down, and my HDL went up.
I have two friends from the gym who do circuit training with me at least once a week. We’re all competitive by nature and push each other. I’ve learned that I can push my body a lot farther than my mind tells me I can. In the future, I want to run a 10-mile Spartan race with three or four of my friends and I want to run the SEAL Obstacle Course by the end of 2020. I’d tell other people who are starting out that there is no easy day, but you’ve got to keep going.