Erik Barlett overhauled his diet, started running, and dropped 80 pounds
Weight Before: 253
Weight After: 169
Vitals: Erik Bartlett, 24,Joplin,MO
Time Required to Reach Goal: 6 months
Lesson Learned: Exercise is a lifelong change, not just a temporary solution.
Secret Weapon: Avoid eating carbs at night, when you’re not as active.
The Gain Bartlett played sports as a kid but became entranced by TV and computer screens in high school. With a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of fast food and pizza—plus eight sodas a day—he began to pile on the pounds. “My after-school ‘snack’ would be a whole bag of potato chips,” he says.
The Change On New Year’s Day in 2004, Bartlett resolved to get in shape. An athlete friend helped him design a fitness plan, and he began a rigorous cardio routine—45 minutes on the elliptical trainer twice a day, 5 days a week. After he shed more than 50 pounds in 3 months,Bartlettrealized he needed to lift weights to add muscle. He overhauled his diet, with chicken, egg whites, and pineapple replacing the fast food and pizza.
The Lifestyle Bartlett’s routine now consists of hour-long cardio sessions 3 or 4 days a week, plus an hour of weight lifting every day. He began training for an adventure race that involves a variety of sports. He still eats plenty of chicken but added fish and red meat to his diet. Fruit and whole grains provide belly-filling fiber. “I eat about six small meals a day,”Bartlettsays.
The Reward Praise from pals is a constant motivator. “It’s always nice to hear compliments and congratulations from people who haven’t seen me in a while,” he says. Newfound energy has him bounding out of bed in the morning to get in his exercise. His next goal: complete a marathon.
Stay focused. Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean you have a free pass to slack on your diet. Take an occasional day off from workouts, but stick to your meal plan.
Break up your cardio. Can’t stomach the idea of an hour on the treadmill? Parcel out your day’s cardio exercise by doing a longer session before work and a shorter, less intense session later.
Make sacrifices. Instead of going out with friends, I often go to the gym instead. The rewards are worth it in the end.