Lifestyle Prior To Change
Let’s just say that I led a pretty exciting and physically demanding life until I was 30. During that time I had more than a couple of injuries that began to slow me down. When I was in my mid 30’s, the doctors told me that I should not lift anything heavy or stand for more than 20 minutes at a time. I listened to the doctors and at that point, my life really began to change. My back would spasm any time I did any thing physical and I had constant pain in one hip and knee. The doctors answer was pain killers and drugs to relax the muscles. After a few years of this treatment, my muscle lost any form of flexibility and if I even bumped into anything, I would end up on the floor in pain.
I began to give up on being able to really do anything physical. At 38 years old, I went to college and of course that meant even more time sitting during classes as well as doing home work. I graduated at 42 years old and took a desk job, being even less physical. The road to my own destruction was well under way.
I love food and ate almost anything as long as it was not healthy. Hamburgers, pizza and donuts became the main stay of my diet. You can probably guess the out come of such a great life style.
What was your low point or turning point?
I think the “low point” of my life came on slowly with small realizations. At each point, I just gave up on myself a little more. I found that it was a struggle to pick anything up off the floor and I am not talking about something heavy, even a piece of paper became a problem. I would have to hold onto a counter or chair and get down on my hands and knees just to pick up anything I dropped and then pull myself back up.
In September of 2002 I went to a gathering in Southern California and collapsed trying to get around. Everyone was great and did everything for me. I think they were afraid I would die if I walked very far. At that point I knew that I had to do something to lose some weight.
At the end of September 2002, I could hardly put on shoes and socks. I was huffing and puffing. I decided that I needed to start walking and do something to get back into physical shape. I sent in my order for a Bowflex because I figured I could use that without putting too much strain on my back, hips and knees.
One day I decided to go for a walk to a store one mile away. I made it about ¾ of the way to my destination when the lights went out. On that day, the powers that be were watching over me, because paramedics were driving up behind me as I headed to the ground. They worked on me until I was up and about and even drove me to my destination. The next day, I went to the doctor.
The doctor did some blood tests and found that I was in the first stage of type 2 diabetes. He then ordered a complete blood work up. The blood test showed that I had:
- High cholesterol.
- High triglycerides.
- High red blood cell count and of course high everything.
The next week, the Bowflex arrived and my journey began.
- Transformation Start: October 12th 2002
- Milestone: Week 2 - Weight: 230, Waist: 44”, Body Fat: 30%
- Milestone: Week 8 - Weight: 219, Waist: 39.5, Body Fat: 25%
- Milestone: Week 13 - Weight: 205, Waist: 37”, Body Fat:18%
- Transformation End - January 12th 2003
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
There were a few things that made the transformation difficult. The first big one of course was that hungry feeling from eating a lot less food. I off set that by drinking larger volumes of water and the hunger feeling only lasted a couple weeks. The mental aspect was the hardest to deal with. Those little things you need to get use too, such as the daily sore muscles. I adapted to that pretty quickly and actually began worrying about my mental health because I looked forward to it. The longest lasting mental struggle came from those things I thought I could not survive without like Coke, pizza and donuts. Interesting side note: I have not eaten a donut in 8 years.
Dayle's Training Approach
What did your training look like during your transformation?
Cookie cutter, plain and simple. Like the majority of people today, I started out using an isolation based, 3 sets of 10- 2 rep workout. It took me until the end of my transformation to realize I should have started with a strength based workout to build a solid base.
- Monday Chest & Back - 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Bench press, incline flies, bent over rows, lat pull downs.
- Wednesday Legs, Calves and Abs - 3 sets of 10-12 reps for quads and hamstrings, 3 sets of 20 reps for calves. Hack squat machine, leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises.
- Friday Shoulders, Biceps and Triceps - 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Seated press, barbell curls, incline curls, close grip bench.
What was your cardio approach?
I have a driveway that scares people to even drive up, so I could not even walk from my house. So for cardio I was a little limited. I would do some body weight exercises like push ups and hill climbers in supersets. I started out doing 5 minutes 3 times per day and slowly increased as my fitness increased. Toward the end of the transformation I was doing 2 sessions per day of 20 minutes.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- I think the most important thing I learned was “one more rep makes you stronger.“ So many programs say add 5’s each workout or some other ridicules thing, you do need to progress and get stronger, but I learned you can do that one rep at a time.
- Track your workouts. Keep track of every rep and every pound. This helps keep you motivated and you can easily see if you are progressing.
- Cookie cutter programs are a compromise at best. You need to have a knowledgeable person design a program that fits your ability as well as your available equipment.
Dayle's Diet Approach
What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?
My diet/nutrition approach will probably bring tears to most peoples eyes. I did not know the science of nutrition and I did not want to weigh everything I put in my mouth, so I took a simple approach. I used portion size for each meal and cut out the junk food. It is amazing how many calories you drop when you are not eating cheese burgers, Cokes, ice cream and pizza as daily fare.
Can you provide us with a sample daily eating plan:
I tried to create as much variety as possible using foods that I like. A typical daily intake would look like:
- 6am Breakfast: 1 cup of dry oats mixed with water, 1 cup of egg beaters with 1 fish oil capsule.
- 9am Snack: 1 medium banana.
- 12:00 Lunch: 6 ounces of turkey with 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups of green beans with 1 fish oil capsule.
- 1:30 - 2:30 workout followed by a 3:00 pm post workout protein shake.
- 6pm Dinner: 6 ounces of lean fish with a medium sized baked potato plus 2 cups of vegetable followed by another 1 fish oil capsule.
I would say this pretty well reflects the way I ate every day. I would substitute the meat with other meats that were lean, round steak, venison, buffalo and I changed the vegetable almost daily. I found it was helpful to use different spices to create variety in the taste.
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
I made way too many mistakes to even begin listing them. The biggest problem for me was getting results without knowing any better. What I learned about nutrition came after the transformation and did not really become apparent for a couple years. I continued on keeping the calories low and the results were that my metabolism slowed as well. I spent the next couple years making very little progress. I was suffering from a common problem for people that lose a good amount of weight, “fear of fat“. I have since learned that it is three steps forward and one step back on a continual cycle
Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Keep Positive: I never allowed myself to view any part of the process in a negative manner. I just took it one day at a time.
- Accept Being Human: We are all human and we have weak moments. We are not perfect and there are days when we mess up. Just start fresh the next day. This sort of extends keeping positive.
- Plan: Planning out every meal in advance really did help keep me on track. I actually listed what I would eat for two weeks in advance.
I would like to add in a 4th item - Do not base your transformation nutrition on foods you do not like. I found that when I tried to eat foods that were recommended but that I did not like, it caused me to splurge eat foods I do like. Find foods that fill nutrient needs that you do like and portion accordingly.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
I did allow myself a cheat meal each week. Notice I said meal not day. Most of the time my Saturday cheat meal was a hamburger with fries and Coke. This would vary if there was something I had been craving … except donuts. Perhaps not considered healthy but it served my mind and helped control cravings.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
I used very few supplements.
Advice For Others
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Do not focus on weight loss! The scale is really not your friend and you can become obsessed. You want to lose fat, not weight.
- Keep the protein intake up! Protein not only is the building block for adding muscle mass, it is mandatory for keeping muscle.
- Set small goals: Have a daily goal and plan as well as a weekly goal and plan. It is good to set long term goals but the shorter daily and weekly goals really do keep you on track without over whelming you.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
Know why you are doing it. So many people start for the wrong reasons and this feeds into their failure or causes them to struggle. If a person wants to be successful, they need to want it for themselves. Set small easily attainable goals. Things like “tomorrow I am going to get one more rep” or “I will drink one less Coke.“ Success fuels the desire for more success. Thinking in a negative manner and failures will discourage the strongest person.
Your Life Now
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
I am actually on the come back trail again. In 2007 I crashed a small home built aircraft and suffered some serious injuries. I was not able to workout again until the beginning of 2010. During the 3 years off, I gained back a good portion of the weight ending back at 220’s. I once again have a goal to lower the body fat, but slowly with far more focus on gaining muscle mass and strength.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
My health is the main motivation followed by defeating the Iron. I look forward to every workout and adding that one rep or that one pound.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
My training has changed a lot since the transformation. Currently I am doing more strength based workouts like Wendler's 531 and Korte’s 3x3.
My goals are very simple
- Slowly lower body fat while keeping close to 200’s.
- Increase as much as possible my base strength.
- Do a powerlifting competition or bench press comp in 2011.
Anything else you would like to share?
Just stay positive and you will reach your goal. You have to be willing to work hard, learn and stay consistent. Age does not have near the affect on your life as determination has. Just work every day to be better than the day before. You will be shocked at how far you can get in a year, but not if you just sit and think about it.