Anthony is a 30 year old application developer out of Raleigh, NC, and one of the most amazing transformations I’ve ever seen. He dropped 210 pounds in one year as part of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, and documented the entire process along the way!
I’ve been watching Anthony since he first shared his journey with me months ago, WAITING for the day to finally share it with you.
Let’s meet Anthony! He describes his old self as an “elite” gamer as depicted by South Park (NSFW language…obviously). Anthony used video games (specifically World of Warcraft) to retreat from the world:
I would get up in the morning and put back two bowls of cereal and an easy 12 -14 ounces of coffee loaded with sugar and milk or creamer and begin my day of gaming.
Whenever I would get hungry I would snack on chips of some form. Lunch and dinner were frozen foods or takeout. I would continue to play video games until I had to go to work, and then until 3 in the morning after I get home. If I did not work I would play games straight through the day. And to top all of that off I could easily crush a 12 pack of soda a day, MT. Dew, Dr.Pepper, and Orange Crush were my poison.
Video games and our favorite sci-fi and fantasy series have the ability to inspire us to explore new things and push our limits. Unfortunately, many of us, myself included, have used these awesome nerdy resources to withdraw from leveling up in real life (leaving us happy and unproductive).
But one day, Anthony realized that he needed to do something more than level up his World of Warcraft character – he needed to level up his real life too.
Today Anthony’s life is completely changed – he’s no longer living someone else’s life, but has used his nerdy powers to write his own epic story.
Let’s take a look at how he did it.
Anthony started his journey last July, exactly one year ago.
One year ago, Anthony weighed in at 450 lbs. He had tried in the past to get healthy, but never attacked the problem head on. He never had a plan, so never took serious action. He knew this time had to be different.
After lurking around Nerd Fitness for about six months, Anthony decided that enough was enough, and the timing was right to get started. I know we have a LOT of readers who hang out for months before finally “jumping in” – you’re not alone.
So he made an investment in himself – he started with the Rebel Fitness Guide (now the new Nerd Fitness Academy) and never looked back.
When Anthony first emailed me, he was down to size 50 jeans (down from 60) and down to a 3-4 xl shirt (from 6 xl).
But he didn’t stop there. Over the course of the next year Anthony left the newbie zone and today he’s moving towards those big end-game bosses.
Let’s hear from Anthony!
Steve: Was there a specific moment when you decided to make a change? What inspired you to get started?
I have been obese as long as I can remember, and while I was not happy with it, I just did not have the motivation to fix it…I was a high school dropout with no life aspirations.
Over the past 4 years during school I kept saying I was going to eventually lose the weight and one day last summer I just snapped and decided I had had enough. My clothes (6x shirt and 60 jeans) were starting to not fit anymore and I went on a date which ended badly because of my weight. At this point I was a 7 month lurker on Reddit/ProgressPics and NerdFitness (which I believe I found through Reddit).
I was truly inspired by Joe’s story and a combination of everything above lead me to make a life changing decision to no longer be the man I was. I dove right in, bought your Fitness and Strength Training guides and on July 25th, and started making changes.
Steve: So, what’s a typical day like now?
I wake up around 7 and eat breakfast (3 eggs, 2 pieces of Low Sodium Bacon, 2 pieces of sausage, and a orange or Banana with a glass of water). Then I work from 9-5.
Throughout the workday I will have a couple cups of black coffee. An average lunch every day is about 8 ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast, baked and covered in Franks Red Hot sauce, with about 3 cups of frozen California blend veggies.
I do my work outs after work, then go home and eat the same thing for dinner but sometimes I will add in a sweet potatoes with a little cinnamon.
Steve: That’s quite the change. What about exercise?
I started out working out in my car port using the Nerd Fitness Guide, I picked up all of the tools I needed (a pair of adjustable weights, a mat, exercise ball, resistance bands) from amazon.
From the start I did 3 days strength (M-W-F) and 3 days of running (T-TH-S). This is still the same today, but instead of working out at home on my own, I work out in the gym
Steve: Three days of running on top of strength training is a lot. Did you start small?
I started out walk/jogging for 30 minutes and about six months later I began doing the 3 mile loop around campus (my first times around were about 45- minutes). Now I make the loop in about 33 minutes on a good day.
This week I begin my half marathon training and I am running more and more miles each day until the race in October.
Steve: Congratulations brother! Next step: how have you fueled this epic progress? Healthy eating? Paleo?
You convinced me from the start that Paleo was the way to go, and I have been about 95% Paleo (got to have that occasional Ale and or cheat night). What made the most since to me is since the dawn of humanity we have ate one way and it has only been the past 100 years that we started eating like we do today. My meals have been pretty consistently the same every day and I love it, I see food as a fuel not a pleasure!
Steve: You seem like you made some pretty serious changes, what was the toughest one?
Everything haha, but really I would say getting out and being active but the more active I become the easier it is to remain active.
Steve: How did you track your progress? How often did you weigh yourself? Did you take any other measurements?
I did not weigh myself from the beginning until I received a Fitbit scale for Christmas because I knew I was over 450 (last time I was on a scale in 2012 I was at 450 and had only gotten bigger judging from the fit of my clothes).
I have been taking a front and profile pictures on the 25th of every month and I tracked everything in the excel sheet that with your guides (workouts and diet). Now I use My Fitness pal for nutrition tracking and Nike Run for running (oh, BIG shutout for Zombies Run!, that app has made running fun for me!!).
Now I just do my monthly weigh in on the 25th of each month and send you the update!
Steve: What was the MOST important change you made that helped you succeed?
Tracking all of my nutrition intake which in turn affected portion control. I went from easily over 4000 calories a day to about 1400 for the longest time. Now I range from about 1400 – 2200 depending on the day.
Steve: So who made up your accountability team?
Everybody! My friends and family all know about what I have been doing and whenever I post anything about it on Facebook they cheer me on. I made a post on Reddit/progressPics for Christmas and received really good feedback. Heck I even tell strangers I just met about my change and love the reaction when I tell them I have lost over 180 pounds since July!
Steve: Have you tried and failed to get healthy before in the past? What made this time different?
Never seriously. One time I half ass attempted to work out which lasted like a week. I think the biggest thing that made this time different was research and an action plan. Before I started I knew exactly what I was going to do and how I was going to do it from nutrition to work out!
Steve: What would you tell somebody in your situation right now to help them? Somebody who’s tried and failed but ready to try again?
Make sure this is something you truly want and that the alternative (being unhealthy) is just not an option.
Understand what it is you want and make sure you have a concrete plan to get there. That is half the battle; the other half is all mental: pat yourself on the back every day and be proud of the changes you made. Right now when I go a month without any change in the pounds I just look back at all of the previous months and tell myself how amazing I am for what I have done.
This keeps me motivated and pushes me on!
Steve: So man, what’s next?
My goal is still somewhere around 200 pounds and as I get closer to that goal I am hoping to build more strength.
I will need to build up my plan for exactly what I want to do as far as my workouts (right now I am thinking of getting the gear I need and start the Tough Mudder workouts). I will continue to eat right and workout as I start the next chapter of my life.
Sometime next year I plan on starting some form of martial arts training for fun, I am thinking jiu jitsu.
Steve: What are you excited to do now that you weren’t physically able to do before? Any activities in particular?
I started handstand training last week which I have NEVER been able to do, so that is pretty amazing!
Steve: Because you lost such a dramatic amount of weight in such a short amount of time, understandably you have some loose skin (which seems to be tightening up with each month!) – does it bother you or is it just kind of something that comes with the territory?
From the start I told my buddy Tom that I would rather deal with loose skin than the fat that was there, so in a sense it just comes with the territory. Right now it is really bad in the underarms and thigh and chest. I have been doing some research and bought some St. Ives Collagen Elastin (about 5 bucks at WalMart) and use it every night before bed. I think this lotion along with continued strength training will be the key to tightening up.
Eventually (a few years down the road) once I get my body where I want if the skin is too bad I MIGHT consider the surgery, but that is a big MAYBE!
Steve: What would you say to somebody who is worried about the loose skin should they lose a lot of weight quickly? We have a lot of readers that are really big and this is definitely an issue that most other sites won’t talk about!
It does bother me a little but you know what, it’s a good problem to have given the alternative. I say just go for it and worry about the skin in the future once you are where you want to be weight and body fat % wise. It can be disturbing but its ok, it’s a battle scar that you can show off! You should definitely try strength training and not just 100% cardio, eat lots of veggies and check out that St. Ives and Palmers Cocoa Butter.
Steve: I know you’ve transformed TREMENDOUSLY on the outside – what has that done for your confidence?
Yeah so I am no longer the same person on the inside or outside. Growing up obese always caused me to have extremely low confidence to the point were I would not talk to the ladies. Now that I am within 40 pounds of my goal and really liking the way I look and feel my confidence is through the roof.
It is much easier for me to put myself out there now, not just with the ladies but with people in general. Sometimes I will catch the ladies checking me out and it just makes me swell up with confidence.
Steve: Judging by the smiles in your photos you’re just a happy dude now – has that changed how others have treated you? How you treat yourself?
I treat my self completely different. For example I no longer think down or bad about my self. I am extremely happy with who I am and what I have accomplished over this past year and I am even more excited about the next year.
I am signing up for Taekwondo within the next couple weeks as the beginning of my trying new things. People treat me completely different also, its crazy how differently people treat you, but I think that it also depends on how you treat yourself, I imagine that if you have high confidence and treat yourself well then that radiates off and people will also treat you well.
Steve: Onto the Nerdy Stuff: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Hmm Star Trek! HAHA but no seriously May the Force be with you!
Steve: I really do need to include Star Trek as an option :). Okay, favorite video game (series) of all time? What about other any nerdy passions or pursuits?
For video games, anything by Blizzard. I have been playing their games (Warcraft and Diablo) for the past 14+ years. I love to read, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is my favorite series. I am also looking to get into Cosplay (already planning out the 11th Doctor for Halloween).
Steve: If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be, and why?
Telepathic powers, because with any other power you are limited, but with the power to unlock your mind you are limitless. Think Professor-X and Yoda, two of the most badass dudes In the Universe and vastly intelligent, both have Telepathic powers.
Why Anthony Was Successful
Anthony has one of the most dramatic success stories I have EVER seen. It’s clear that he found a path that worked and changes that are sticking.
Let’s take a look at how he did it.
Anthony wasn’t afraid to change his diet – Anthony didn’t just recognize that diet was 90% of the battle, he unleashed a blitzkrieg. He started by going 95% Paleo – a change which helped him get with his portion control. But he didn’t stop there. In addition to shifting what he ate, he also ate less, a lot less. He moved from over 4,000 calories from to 2200 and under.
One big reason we recommend Paleo? It’s a lot easier to eat less and feel satisfied and full when eating whole Paleo foods compared to McDonalds, pasta, or cake!
He took pictures – The scale can lie, but consistent picture taking tells the full story. As evidenced by the ridiculous amount of photos above, Anthony wasn’t afraid to make sure he was staying on target. In fact, he made this a regular thing – the 25th of each month. His photos served both as a measuring stick and a reminder. If something was off and he wasn’t improving, it became immediately clear. Just knowing you have a picture coming up can help you follow through. After all, knowing you have to take a picture next Monday makes it that much harder to reach for that donut!
Anthony didn’t weigh himself obsessively or take pictures every day. Instead he took monthly pictures and understood progress takes time. He knew he didn’t fall into his bad habits overnight, and it would take a serious investment to see progress.
He was a man with a plan – Some people find success by gradually getting their feet wet with exercise, testing the waters to see what sticks and what doesn’t. Anthony was the opposite. After failing in the past without an a game plan, he knew this time needed to be different. He attributes this change to the biggest thing that made this time different:
I think the biggest thing that made this time different was research and an action plan. Before I started I knew exactly what I was going to do and how I was going to do it from nutrition to work out!
Are you wandering around the gym without a plan? Or telling yourself you need to “eat better” without a meal plan or recipes? Maybe your goal is to “run more”?
He made sure he was leveling up – Anthony didn’t get lucky – he didn’t leave anything to chance. He made SURE he was leveling up by tracking his workouts just as fastidiously as his photo progress.
Anthony used multiple apps to stay on track – but the most crucial factor was his focus on keeping his workout numbers moving in the right direction. He didn’t stay happy with 1 mile. He said “I want more!” to 3 miles. Now he’s training for a half marathon.
He trained to be Antifragile – Anthony didn’t purely strength train nor did he simply run. He realized that a balance of a strong and conditioned body would be a balanced and effective route. It doesn’t surprise me that Anthony is one of the most epic stories we’ve had: his training turned him antifragile. He was never derailed due to an injury – he built a body that is always ready to tackle the next challenge.
Live your own epic quest
Anthony is proof that you can become the best version of yourself if you are willing to invest in yourself.
A quick note from me:
Anthony’s weight loss and transformation is dramatic and not typical, but not out of reach for people. I know many people might wonder, “is it healthy to lose that much weight so quickly?” In my humble opinion, I believe that it YES, it was healthy for Anthony. He drastically altered his diet, started strength training and walking, and stayed consistent with this plan for ONE year. There were no supplements, unhealthy starvation techniques, pills. Just education, dedication, and support.
Also, as Anthony started out at over 450 pounds, he had a LOT of weight to lose. It’s typically considered safe to lose 1% per week – so for someone of Anthony’s size, that would be a much higher number than for someone who weighs 180 pounds. My advice: don’t worry about the amount of weight lost. Focus instead on sustainable changes every day, put your faith in the process, and your weight will take care of itself.
Lastly, I’m really proud of Anthony for his attitude on his loose skin. I know we have a lot of rebels who are concerned about this, but I agree with Anthony: loose skin is a fantastic problem to have compared to remaining severely overweight and headed towards an early grave. Loose skin and stretch marks are battle scars to be proud of. Evidence that you came out out the other side and won!
Anthony is a reminder that a healthy life is a wonderful thing, but that a healthy life must be EARNED.
And yes, it’s worth it.
It may not be easy, but we’re all in this together. Over 200,000 nerds to lean on. And today, one nerd to learn from.
What questions do you have for Anthony?
I‘m sure he’d love it if you just left a simple “WAY TO GO DUDE!” comment. He’s so excited and proud to share this story, and so are we.
So, who’s going to be the next Nerd Fitness success story?
PS: These are my favorite articles to put together, and this is why we do what we do at Nerd Fitness – Anthony saved his own life by putting our words and advice into action.
If you’re somebody who needs specific help getting started and staying motivated too, I’d be honored if you checked out the Nerd Fitness Academy. Full workout plans, a questing and boss-battle system so you know exactly when to level up your workouts, a nutritional leveling system, and the most supportive community on the internet.