Body Project

60+ Pounds Lost In 6 Months

Sunday - 07.14.2013

In January of 2013, a bunch of us at Rackspace joined in on a weight-loss competition. $250 buy-in, 6 months, the person with the highest percentage of weight lost wins. The pot? Roughly $9,000. I won by dropping 31.7% of my total weight; going from 214 pounds to 146 pounds. How did I drop 68 pounds in 6 months? I'll tell you.

For about the first two months, the weight loss was almost completely from a diet change alone. I tried to be active (taking walks, opting for stairs instead of escalators) but I didn't really exercise at all. Once I hit 179, the weight loss stopped for 3 weeks. At that point I knew that I had to start working out. I've been playing around with my workout routine trying to find what works best for me to keep burning fat and not lose too much muscle while maintaining a calorie deficit. I believe I've found a great regime which I'll talk more about later.


Through the years I have tried about every fad diet out there and what I have learned is that calories in vs calories out is what works for me. I eat roughly 1800 calories a day and pick foods that taste good and keep me full. I'm never starving, or even hungry for that matter, and I rarely get cravings. Throughout the day I limit my carbs and bad fats and pile on the protein. Out of my 1800 calories, I try to keep my macronutrient intake to: <40g fat, <180g carbs, & >180g protein. You can read more about macronutient ratios here.

My Typical Day of Eats

Oatmeal - 390 calories, 11g fat, 61g carbs, 13g protein
(1 packet Central Market Maple Spice, 1 packet Central Market Original, 2 tbsp Central Market Ground Flaxseed and 1 packet of Sweet'N Low)

Coffee - 45 calories, 0g fat, 3g carbs, 6g protein
(Coffee with 1/2 a cup of Mootopia Fat Free and 2 Sweet'N Lows)

Chicken Breast - 240 calories, 2g fat, 0g carbs, 52g protein
Yogurt - 343 calories, 15g fat, 30g carbs, 25g protein
(I bake my chicken breasts in bulk for the week. I marinade them over night and then bake them for roughly 25 mins on each side at 375 degrees. The yogurt is usually Fage Total 0% (no flavoring). I then add about 1/4 cup of sliced almonds and 1 tbsp of honey.)

Jerky - 100 calories, 1g fat, 4g carbs, 18g protein
Wasabi & Soy Almonds (14 Nuts) - 43 calories, 3.8g fat, 1.5g carb, 1.5g protein

Dinner - Pre-Workout
OatmegaBar - 190 calories, 6g fat, 23g carbs, 14g protein

Dinner - Post-Workout
Protein Shake - 375 calories, 3.5g fat, 24g carbs, 55g protein
(My protein shakes consist of 7 ice cubes, 2 scoops of chocolate EAS Whey, 2 cups of Mootopia Fat Free and 2 scoops of PB2.)

This all comes out to 1726 calories, 42.3g fat, 146.5g carbs and 184.5g protein. I also drink LOTS of water throughout the day. To keep the cravings at bay, I always keep a pack of Extra Dessert Delights gum nearby. The list above is an example. I also drink the packaged EAS drinks for snacks sometimes instead of the jerky/nuts. On nights that I don't workout, I usually have another chicken breast or tunafish to keep my nighttime carbs down.

Do I have cheat days? Not really. I do still go to restaurants but I typically order something healthy and drink loads of unsweet iced tea with Sweet'N Low. My meals usually consist of chicken or salmon for the entree and then steamed vegetables for the side. Occasionally, I'll have a sweet potato, mashed potatoes or something of the sort but I'll usually only eat half of what is on the plate to limit myself. If you are going to cheat, I say keep it small. I've had pizza, chinese food, indian food and other foods that you wouldn't call "healthy" but when I do I don't gorge myself and try to keep it smart. In this sense, I really don't feel like it's cheating because I can make it fall inside my daily calorie goals. They say you should "refeed" when you feel it is needed and I do every few weeks. Those are usually the days that I go grab chinese and stack up on steamed rice and egg rolls but I don't go too crazy.

As you can see from my diet, I have almost zero fruits and vegetables. I make the majority of this up in vitamins and supplements. Here is a list of what I take daily (some are already mentioned above):

  • Central Market Ground Flaxseed (fiber, omega-3/6 fatty acids and lignans)
  • EAS Whey Protein
  • Dymatize BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
  • Orange Triad Multi-Vitamin, Joint, Digestion & Immune Formula
  • Citrucel Fiber Caplets


I workout in my apartment's fitness center three days a week. For me, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday work best. I still try and squeeze in some cardio or be really active on the days that I don't workout. The workouts below are designed to "build mass" but since you're keeping yourself at a calorie deficit, you won't see much in terms of muscle gain but hopefully you won't see much muscle loss either -- which is our goal here, along with burning calories and speeding up our metabolism.

For these workouts, we'll be mostly doing 3 types of rep/set combos to really fatigue our muscles. Combo #1: 5 sets broken down to 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15 reps. We'll be adding and removing weight to try and hit those numbers on each set, resting 45s between sets. Combo #2: 5 sets of 12. Pick a weight that you can do only about 12 times your first set. We'll use the same weight for all 5 sets and will naturally do fewer reps with each set. Rest 45s between sets. Combo #3: 5 sets to failure. These are usually exercises that you'll only be able to do so many reps and they use your body weight. If you find that you're doing 20+ then find a way to weigh yourself down. Rest 45s between sets. Finally, we'll finish two of the three workouts with Death Crawls. They're a high intensity interval training exercise. We'll do 4 sets of 5 for those, resting 2 mins between sets.

Sunday: Back and Biceps
Chin-Ups - 5 sets to failure
Seated Cable Rows - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Wide-Grip Pulldown - 5 sets of 12
Dumbbell Curls - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Incline Dumbbell Curls - 5 sets of 12
Reverse Curls - 5 sets of 12
Wrist Curls - 5 sets of 12
HIIT - Death Crawls - 4 sets of 5

Monday: Cardio
I usually take a 50 minute brisk walk.

Tuesday: Legs and Abs
Dumbbell Squats - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Romanian Dead Lifts - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Dumbbell Calf Raises - 5 sets of 12
Calf Leg Press - 5 sets of 12
Hanging Leg Raises - 5 sets to failure
In-Outs - 2 sets of 25
Wide-Leg Situps - 2 sets of 26
Pulse Ups - 2 sets of 25
HIIT - Death Crawls - 4 sets of 5

Wednesday: Cardio
My softball day. When there's no game, I do sprints or go swimming.

Thursday: Chest, Triceps and Shoulders
Bench Press - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes - 5 sets of 12
Incline Dumbbell Press - 5 sets of 12
Standing Military Press - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Dumbbell Lateral Raises - 5 sets of 12
Machine Shoulder Press - 5 sets of 12
Lying Tricep Extensions - 12, 10, 8, 6, 12-15
Cable Pressdowns - 5 sets of 12
Close Grip Pushups - 3 sets to failure
Incline Walk - 15m on treadmill with a steep incline

Friday: Cardio
Hill sprints or swimming for me.

Saturday: Rest
Enjoy your day off.

If you don't have access to a gym, nearly all of these exercises can be performed using dumbbells and a pull-up bar. I don't have a barbell so any exercises that you see above that have been demoed with one, I use dumbbells instead. For cardio days, I recommend picking up a cardio DVD, running stairs or doing interval sprints starting with 30 seconds sprinting, 90 seconds walking. I have a large hill near my apartment that I like to use -- sprint up, briskly walk down, repeat until I'm ready to puke.

My Personal Results

Final Note

Dropping that much weight over a relatively short period of time took a lot of work and dedication but the plan above works, and I am incredibly happy with the results. A 28" waist pant is currently loose on me and I'm seeing my abs for only the 2nd time in my life -- the first time being in 9th grade, 22 years ago. If anyone has any questions about any of this stuff, just let me know. You can contact me by hitting me up on one of the many social sites listed on the top left there.

Useful Links
A wealth of information. Also a great place to buy supplements for a low price.

Body Recomposition
Lots of good info.

Calculator - Body Fat / BMI
Tends to be 1% on the plus side for Body Fat (for me anyway).

Calculator - John's BMR
Breaks it all down pretty well.

Lose It!
My favorite site for tracking my progress and finding caloric values of food.

Snack Girl
Some good recipes and info.