Yep, that’s him. That’s his before and after picture. Andrew has lost 145 pounds. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Andrew has lost 145 lbs !!! Or as one of my clients said when I told her about Andrew’s incredible body transformation. “It’s like he lost a whole human.”
Andrew is not a client of mine. I repeat, he is not a client of mine. He is just someone I know through my wife’s work. I train a group of ladies twice per week where my wife works (UCG in Gaithersburg, MD), and I had seen Andrew working out in the same facility where I train the UCG group.
First thing I noticed about Andrew is that he is a big dude. He’s not eff-ay-tee, he’s just a big dude. He’s 6’3’ and weighs in at 215 lbs, and that’s 215lbs of muscle! I am 5’11’, and 185 lbs, so he really looks big to me.
Andrew works out hard. He does weights, cardio conditioning, and is involved in UFC type training. Ok, he’s somewhat of a beast. What impresses me about Andrew the most is his weight loss. Because anyone can workout intensely, but if the diet’s not right, weight loss will be tough. I am so impressed with his weight loss that I asked him if I can interview him so I can share his story with anyone who reads my blog, and he obliged.
Andrew, what’s the most you ever weighed? “360lbs. I never weighed myself after that. I don’t think I went any higher.”
How old are you? “I am 31.”
How much weight have you lost? “145 lbs” WOW!!!
How were you built/shaped as a kid? “I wasn’t thin, but I wasn’t fat either. I was just a big kid. I would say I was thick.”
You played sports growing up? “Yep. I played basketball, wrestling, football, and soccer. Soccer was my favorite. I was really good at soccer, up until 7th grade, and then the kids started to outrun me because I got too big. So in high school I started playing football. I played tackle on both sides of the ball, and I wrestled in high school too.”
How much did you weigh in high school? “As a freshman I already weighed 275. I would say I was overweight, but I carried it well because I was an athlete. And I was always self-conscious about my weight. There was a big joke in my family because I was always breaking chairs. I broke so many plastic lawn chairs.” Thanks for the honesty Andrew.
How big were your friends compared to you? “My friends were always small guys. My best friend on the wrestling team weighed 115 lbs.” That’s funny.
Did you get teased about your weight? “I got teased and picked on. I even got into altercations. People tried to bully me so they could say they beat up the big guy. But me and my friends were usually pretty good in these altercations.”
Then you played football in college for JMU? “Yes, I played guard in college. I was a walk on. I played at around 325 lbs, and I was clocking about a 5.2 sec 40 yard dash. And I was the slowest lineman, for sure.” As a Hector side note. Most people have absolutely no idea how fast a college lineman, or an NFL lineman is. Those dudes are heavy, but they can haul ass! Literally.
How long did you play? “Sophomore year they found two tumors in my lower back, each the size of my fist, I had back surgery, and never played after that. And after that is when I went up to 360 lbs.”
So, Andrew, I have always had the belief that if someone doesn’t have a very strong reason, something they can hang on to, to lose weight, chances are they won’t lose weight. What was your reason to lose weight? “I was a very good athlete, but I knew my college football career ended abruptly, and I always regretted that. I always had that itch to compete, and I knew I wasn’t finished, and that led me to MMA (mixed martial arts). So I started to get in shape for MMA. Also, I wanted to be healthier, because being overweight is just uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be overweight anymore. It’s depressing. I had enough of being big all my life. It was either now or never.”
So how long ago did you start losing weight? “It’s been about a five-year process all together. I started going to the gym, and a big change for me was I started drinking only water. That was one of the first things I did.” Anyone who has trained with me, or asked my advice about weight loss knows that I strongly recommend to “drink water only”. If you’re trying to lose weight, put down the liquid calories. Andrew continued with the drinking water only topic. “Because for someone who weighs 360, to drink a can of soda is so easy. It’s not satisfying. I used to drink Gatorade, which is horrible. Once I switched to water only, just that alone was enough for me to start dropping weight.”
How much/many liquid calories were you drinking before your switch to water only? “Do you remember the Gatorade that used to come in the gallon jug? I would drink one of those a day when I was training for football. Instead of drinking water, I was drinking Gatorade. I was basically replacing the calories I was burning. And I would probably drink a soda or two a day too. I wasn’t a beer drinker, but I did drink vodka. I think the college lifestyle played a part in my liquid calorie consumption.”
How was your diet when you were overweight? “In college I didn’t eat a lot of fast foods (fast food establishments), but I did eat subs and pasta, and way over-proportioned. A lot of cafeteria food. Burgers, fries, pizza, and cookies. Stuff like that. I would say I was easily consuming 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day.”
How many calories do you consume a day now, and how much do you weigh? “About 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. And I weigh about 215, with about 11% body fat.”
How often do you workout? “I train about twice a day. I don’t think people need to do that to lose weight. That’s just what I do.”
What’s your goal weight? “I’m at the point now where I don’t look at the scale much. It’s more about how I look. I want to tighten up my core and stuff.”
What does your diet consist of? “I eat very similar every day. I wake up and have a protein shake. I eat a lot of egg whites. I use egg whites as snacks. I meal prep about 95% of my meals.”
So, 95% of the food you eat, you know exactly what you’re eating? Is that safe to say? “Yes. For sure. And If I do eat at a restaurant, it’s something like spinach and grilled fish, and I tell them specifically how to cook it.”
Do you eat fruit? “Yes, I eat fruit.”
Do you count carbs or calories? “I do more portion control than anything else. And I try to balance my macronutrients. I eat fruits and vegetables, and for my meats I do lean fish, lean turkey, and lean chicken. I eat a lot of vegetables. That’s about it.”
What has been the most difficult part of your diet? “I would say the meal prep. It takes a lot of planning and work. I dedicate much of my Sundays to cooking pretty much all my meals for the week, because I don’t have time during the week.” Below is his actual meal prep.
So the meal prep is the time management part, how about the psychological aspect of the diet? “I think at first, it was a mental thing to learn to be hungry, but then when you start seeing the results, things fall into place. The hardest part was probably the first few weeks, but now I really don’t get that hungry. And sometimes, because I’m so busy, I have to remind myself to eat to keep the metabolism going.”
How about your self-esteem? How do you feel now compared to when you were overweight? “Believe it or not, I still have a fat-man complex (He shouldn’t, because he’s not overweight anymore and looks great), and I find myself sitting very gently in chairs sometimes. I’m still afraid I’m going to break a chair. But to have women approach me now when I’m out with friends, which never really happened before, is pretty cool (ladies, he’s single, tall, with muscles, educated, and employed!!). And physically I feel good when I run. And I tell you what else has changed. My back bothers me way less now. It may act up, but it has been night and day getting that weight off. It was the best cure ever for my back.”
Is there anything you would do when you plateaued during your weight loss journey to keep you going? “Yes. I remember that sometimes I would get frustrated because I had only lost 40 lbs and I had so much more to go. So I would pick up two 20 pound dumbbells and do stuff with them. Like walk up steps, or get on the treadmill, to remind myself of how much extra weight I was walking around with. It was a good visualization for me, to remember how far I had come. And for me, a lot of my weight gain was in the stomach area, so it would put direct pressure on my lower back.” Andrew continued “I just feel like a brand new person. Especially with shopping for clothes. I can shop in the regular section now. So like this shirt I am wearing, it’s just a regular Polo large. My biggest shirt ever was a 6X. That was a big and tall 6X.”
Do you allow yourself cheat meals? “Yes, I will have a cheat meal, like a burger or something. But I think a cheat day is too much. You have to be very careful because it can easily get out of control. And if I do have a really bad day, and eat poorly, I just get over it and get back on track.”
If you had someone sitting in front of you who wants to lose weight, and they have been through a lot, maybe physically and psychologically, what advice would you give them? “I would first and foremost say, start with just drinking water. I’m adamant about that. If they have been overweight their whole lives I would advise them to forgive themselves and get over it, find a reason to lose weight, and just take it day by day. Don’t look at the whole thing (weight loss goals), just take it meal by meal. Every workout, every meal, you’re progressing. Just take it a day at time.”
That’s a great motto. What’s a motto? I don’t know. What’s a motto with you.
Thanks Andrew. You have officially gone from FEAST MODE, to BEAST MODE!!