When Steve hit 305 lbs on the scale, he was so upset he told himself something had to change.
He had always wanted to lose weight, but couldn’t get himself over the hump to actually make change. And then things took a turn for the worse: he got divorced. When his (now ex) wife left the house, something clicked inside of Steve:
“I was bored. I was sitting at home doing nothing, depressed, eating my feelings as usual. I kind of just said to myself, ‘well, you have nothing better to do, might as well work out or something’.”
So, in March of last year Steve went online and ordered an elliptical. After convincing his poker buddies to help him move a 400 lb box of elliptical parts into the house, he got started transforming his life.
After discovering the Nerd Fitness Advanced Bodyweight Workout, Steve incorporated strength training into his cardio routine, and changed his physique, his mentality, and his outlook on life.
Starting at an XXXL, Steve now wears a medium shirt. He’s down 110 lbs (and now gaining muscle!), and dropped his waist from a size 46 to a 33!
Here’s how he did it.
Steve: Hey Steve, other than having the coolest name in the history of names, what do you do?
I’m a software architect for my day job; I write code and play video games at night, and I build and race drones as a hobby! #nerdpower
Steve: Nice, I love the nerd-cred built right into your job. So, tell me about the old you. What did an “old Steve” day look like?
The old me would eat out every day for lunch, have pizza most nights for dinner, and never exercise. I would then game all night on the computer…because consoles suck.
Steve: Whoa whoa whoa, let’s keep consoles out of this! So, tell me about the moment you decide to change.
It really came to me when I saw that number (305), and I was going through a divorce. I also realized that I needed to be there for my daughter, and I probably wasn’t going to be around for a super long time weighing in at 300 lbs+. I knew I had to change.
Steve: What was your diet strategy while you dropped all of this weight?
During my journey my diet switched slowly, and I feel like that was very key for me. To give you perspective, I was a fatty who loved his pizza (and still do). I was eating it 4-5 times a week, maybe more. And if it wasn’t pizza, it was something else that wasn’t healthy at all. I’d say my daily caloric intake then was 4000+ calories with zero exercise.
After a month of running, and no diet, I said what the heck, maybe I should track all these calories. I had lost 15 lbs and thought: well, if I can do that much without a diet, what would happen while dieting too?? So I downloaded My Fitness Pal, and started to track my calories and weight. Tracking my calories with an app helped me adjust my caloric goals, and I learned what portions were.
I bought a food scale, and started reading and doing research on better foods to eat.
I slowly changed my diet.. very slowly. At first I removed a lot of breads as they had a lot of calories. Then I added more fruits and veggies.
Steve: Small changes, not going overboard; sounds like a strategy we can get on board with! What about your diet strategy these days?
Today, an average day looks like:
- Protein shake in the morning after working out, then maybe some fruit, but not a lot.
- A greek yogurt as a snack at 10am.
- For lunch I have a lean protein, usually grilled chicken (6-8oz), with brown rice(1 cup), and a steamed veggie (1 cup), like peas or broccoli.
- At 3pm I have a snack of almonds (1oz).
- Then at dinner I have another lean meat like steak(filet, 6-8oz), chicken, pork, or turkey, with a veggie.
I’ll also tell myself, “If you can eat pizza every day, you can eat chicken and brown rice every day.” I have 1 day a month where I get pizza, thin crust of course!
Steve: Love the level-headed approach! So, tell me about your workout routine – how did you start?
One of my biggest struggles was that my running caused my legs and feet to hurt SO bad, I could barely walk. Still, I got on the elliptical every morning no matter how bad. The chaffing also took a toll on me, but did not stop me. My friend Cat suggested hot epsom salt baths at night. Since my workouts were in the morning, I rested well with those baths, and they helped my legs hurt not as bad a lot!
For the chaffing I went on Amazon and bought some running shorts with a dry liner – saved me!! I never took a rest day for six months straight when running on the elliptical!
Within a few months I was doing 40 mins. / 4 miles.
Steve: Wow, so you stuck in there. That’s awesome. Then what?
After 5-6 months in, at poker, I asked my buddy Mike if I should start strength training – he’s the fitness leader for the Detroit Border Patrol. Needless to say he’s ripped and knows how to work out. He sent me an email with an old blog post on Nerd Fitness about your advanced bodyweight workout. The next day I ordered a pull up bar. Hah, I knew was crazy, because I couldn’t even do one! So I started with the under-table rows.
Ever since, it’s been a 3x’s per week of the Nerd Fitness workout, then a run every day when not nerding out. While I never took a rest day when running on the elliptical, I take a rest about once a week now.
You saved my life and have changed my body shape because of this workout, THANK YOU! My Nerd Fitness workout evolved to become:
- 5 min run for warmup
- Then three circuits of the following:
- 12 1-legged squats (each leg)
- 25 squats
- 20 walking lunges
- 30 step ups (super fast)
- 10 pull ups (pull up bar)
- 15 dips
- 10 chin ups (pull up bar)
- 10 bicep curls (using cables)
- 10 overhead tricep extensions (cables)
- 12 push-ups
- 1 min plank
Nerd Fitness really has given me an awesome muscular base, my arms and legs feel and look so strong, it’s awesome. I’ve always been overweight so this is all new (and awesome) to me.
Steve: Congrats man, I’m super excited for you and proud to feature you on here. What was the toughest change for you to make?
I’d say the hardest part about all of this was waking up early an extra hour each day. I don’t get much sleep because my commute is 1 hour long, so sleep is very valuable to me!
Steve: How did you track your progress? How often did you weigh yourself?
I tracked my progress using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone (I’m an Android guy). I weighed myself daily, and learned quite a bit about my body by doing that. Some days I would gain 2-4 lbs for no reason, but the next day would drop 5 lbs. It was kind of making me crazy, but at the same time I’m a detail oriented person, so I liked it in a way.
The app also shows a 3-month graph, so I saw a downward slope, so that brought my sanity back in line, hah.
Steve: That long term trend definitely trumps the day-to-day fluctuations, which many people struggle with. Good stuff, my man. Did you use any other measurements?
My waist! I watched it go from a 46 inch waist to a 33 inch waist today.
Steve: That’s awesome, brother. So, what would you say was the most important change that helped get you there?
Diet, diet, diet. I changed it very slowly, but you cannot out-workout a poor diet.
Steve: Sounds like a rule of the Rebellion to me! What about your support system?
When I first got started (on the 5th day) I got the idea to email and tell all my close friends what I was doing. This started a trend, I emailed them daily with how far and how much I ran – this kept me accountable! My friends would ask if I ran had I forgotten to send an email.
Overall, I mostly leaned on a couple of super close friends.
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?
Download a food tracker, track EVERY calorie, and slowly change one thing a week or month, at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. Don’t make excuses, don’t be afraid to fail or fall off track, but you MUST pick yourself back up and continue to try; it will happen if you put your mind to it.
Steve: What are you excited to do now that you weren’t physically able to do before? Any activities in particular?
Before NF I wasn’t able to do a SINGLE pull up or chin up! I can now do 3×10 of each of them! I joined softball this year, and I’m WAY more athletic and competitive than last year. I’m planning on starting hockey again. I just need some skates.
Steve: Has anything besides your physical appearance changed?
Mentally and emotionally, I am so much happier in all regards. When I was fat I had a lot of pent up anger…a lot of people don’t realize this but fat people are not treated the same as skinny people – in fact we’re treated horribly. You also realize this difference and for some (like me) it starts to build up anger or frustration from it. Over time it can weigh (hah) on us mentally and emotionally.
Steve: That’s awesome Steve, thank you for sharing your story. Okay now on to the important stuff: Jason Bourne or James Bond?
Steve: Favorite video game of all time?
Quake 2, capture the flag mod.
Steve: Any nerdy passions or pursuits?
I build, fly, and FPV race drones/quad copters. I also program in my free time on personal projects. And lastly, I play a lot of CS:GO.
Steve: Woah, that video is awesome. The next Iron Man in the making. So, on the topic of superheroes… if you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be, and why?
Time Travel. I would totally like to see what the future looks like, and also visit and re-live important dates in history! Not to mention, Back to the Future is one of my favorite trilogies!
Steve: Quote to live by?
“Don’t eat yellow snow.”
Why Steve Was Successful
Steve dropped five shirt sizes, dropped over 100 lbs, and most importantly, built long-term habits to keep him healthy. It wasn’t easy, but Steve managed to keep the weight off, and find the next bigger and better challenge to keep him moving forward.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons he was so successful:
Small diet changes: Steve understood rule 4 of the Rules of the Rebellion: you can’t outrun a bad diet. That’s what he tried to do – for a long time! Eventually, he got his diet in shape and his transformation accelerated dramatically. In fact, he calls this his most important change.
But he didn’t change overnight. Instead he started to educate himself on how to eat healthy. While he was doing that, he made a number of small changes immediately. Taking your calories from 4,000 to 1,800 (as Steve eventually did) can be a dramatic change for your body – so don’t do it over night!
Steve kept himself accountable through his support system. He had daily emails with friends with updates on his workout that day. And since he was working out every day, it definitely kept him accountable. His friends would know if they didn’t get an email that day, and would actually ask about it!
If you don’t have a real life support system, join the thousands of Rebels supporting each other right here in the free Nerd Fitness Community. Participating in challenges and finding a buddy or two to keep you accountable can be the difference between success and falling off the wagon.
Careful progress tracking: Steve learned a lot about food, calories, and portions by tracking his weight and calorie intake. If you’ve never paid attention to calories in your life, tracking calories can be an important tool to learn what’s actually in the food you are putting in your body. Steve started by removing bread, and slowly reduced his consumption to meet his goals.
He used tracking apps, so if something wasn’t working, he had an enormous amount of information to tell him what he was doing wrong. Instead of struggling to lose weight and following that wonderfully ambiguous plan of eating “less” food, Steve guaranteed his success by measuring his progress.
Steve was consistent: When he wasn’t doing his strength workouts, Steve was running, without fail, daily. Losing weight doesn’t require working out every day, but it does require consistency. Steve was able to create a workout plan to keep him on track. He created a habit he could stick to (every day he had to do something).
If you don’t want to run every day, then great – don’t do it! But if you want to succeed you do need to do something consistently. The best workout really is the one you stick with. Stop failing with workouts you hate, and find something you can stick with for months.
The most important step Steve took was the first one. Almost a year ago, Steve could have made a different choice and NOT gotten started.
But he did get started. And today, instead of looking back with regret and wishing he started over a year ago, he can look back with pride and accomplishment, ready for the next challenge.
The most important thing is to get started. Right now. Not tomorrow – TODAY!
Are you starting over? EVEN BETTER.
Hurry up already and respawn – the world needs you.
PS – We just secured 4 more kick ass coaches for Camp, and – good news! – there’s still time for you to snag one of the last few bunks. In addition to the arsenal of awesome trainers previously announced, you’ll get to learn from the best:
Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo – We swung for the fences (and promised her my first born child), but we are thrilled to tell you that Michelle Tam from is fired up to teach you all about approachable Paleo cooking for you and your family! We are HUGE fans of Michelle’s, and can’t wait to be inspired by her right alongside you.
Maddie Berky of Mad Wellness – In addition to Michelle, we’ve invited Maddie to teach you cooking and nutrition basics to build your solid food foundation. Maddie is a Health Coach and Nutrition Educator who believes in aligning your mind, body, and plate to empower you to become the very best version of yourself.
Jonathan Mead of Move Heroically – Jonathan a total bad ass who can’t wait to start hanging from branches like Tarzan with you. Seriously. Primal movement and strength are his specialty, so get ready to level up your movement diet in addition to your food diet! Your body is your vehicle through this world, and he’ll teach you how to navigate with purpose!
Kate Galliett of Fit for Real Life – Kate will not only help you with mobility, strength training, and body awareness, she’s full of advice and tips to recover from and avoid injury – allowing you to be fully strong, functional, and prepared to tackle anything that comes your way (figuratively, that is. Though…maybe literally too).
Camp is shaping up to be the most incredible weekend of the year. What are you waiting for? Get your name on one of the last 19 bunks before it’s too late!