180lbs and 12% Body Fat by July 1st or I Donate $200 to Donald Trump

As of January 2016, I’m weighing in at 192lbs and 18% body fat. That’s not terrible for my height (5’11), but also not good. I’m ready to get back in shape. Here’s the plan.

Note: I can’t claim that using giving money to Donald Trump as motivation to lose weight is an original idea, but I really like it so I’m using it.

Diet

I studied diet and nutrition obsessively in my early 20’s (helped me lose 75lbs between 2008 and 2010), so I know what I need to do. It’s not really that hard but it takes planning, preparation, and commitment. I can do it, and I’m going to.

  1. First, no sugar. This is the hardest thing because there is sugar in EVERYTHING. But refined sugar makes you gain weight, so no sodas, coffee creamers, candy, or anything with sugar as a main ingredient. Even ketchup has sugar, so I’ll be going with mustard from here on out.

  2. Fast food is out. It’s nearly impossible to get anything nutritious at fast food restaurants (maybe salads if you are careful about dressing; lots of calories in dressing). Wendy’s has decent chili and Caesar salads, so if I’m desperate, I’ll stop there.

  3. No bad carbs. Bad carbs include things like chips, snack foods, crackers, white bread, wheat bread, pizza, tortillas, cereal. If there were only two things I could do to lose weight, it’d be cutting these kinds of carbs and also sugar from my diet. For good carbs, I’ll be eating quinoa a lot, and maybe some sprout bread if I feel the need.

  4. Lean meats, veggies, and some fruits are essential. I’ll be eating a lot of eggs, chicken and turkey for protein. I’ll also be eating a ton of avocados because they are a great source of fat. Plain whole-milk yogurt is also on the menu. Some cheese but cheese isn’t super healthy so it’ll be more of a treat. For fruit, I’ll be eating grapefruit, apples, oranges, berries, mangos, and pomegranates. Can’t forget about healthy nuts either, so lots of almonds in my future.

  5. I’ll pretty much need to avoid eating out all together. I won’t be able to do it completely, but I’ll just be careful when I go out. I’ll stick to my plan and get lean meats and veggies. It’s really not that hard if you’re committed, and I am. I really don’t want to give Donald Trump any of my money.

Two things that will make a big impact on my health and weight; protein shakes and raw vegetable juice.

  1. I’ll be eating a ton of veggies, including carrots and celery with Almond butter, but I’ll also need to start juicing vegetables again. Daily.

  2. My favorite juice combination is celery, spinach, red beets, and carrots. It tastes worse than you’re imagining but after you’re done drinking it, you get a weird rush throughout your body, you feel invincible for about 30 seconds. I imagine it’s like snorting really good cocaine, but I can’t say for sure because I’ve never done really good cocaine. It’s a feeling unlike anything you can imagine. Good stuff.

  3. Protein shakes are also really important. I save these for after intense workouts because they are going to contain the majority of the sugar I’ll be ingesting, mostly because I use fruit juice and frozen fruit along with whey protein to make the smoothie.

My process usually involves juicing a grapefruit and an apple, putting about a cup of yogurt in the blender, adding whey protein and a cup or two of frozen fruit (you can buy big bags of frozen fruit for pretty cheap at a grocery store), and then adding the juice in until I get a nice milkshake-like consistency.

Like I said, good for after workouts.

I think that’s pretty much it for diet. If I missed anything I’ll add it later. Let’s talk about exercise.

Exercise

If I stick to that diet, I’ll lose the weight. But I don’t want to just lose weight, I want to add some muscle and definition. So I’ll need to workout, both intense cardio and weightlifting.

  1. I’m not going to join a gym. I don’t need to. I know how to exercise using just my body weight, but I also have several sets of dumbbells at home.

  2. My main aerobic exercise (great for weight loss) will be running, riding my bike, and jumping rope. There is a lake 5 miles from my house that is great for bike riding; it’s an 8.4 mile loop around and I love being out in the fresh air. It’s also great for catching up on podcasts. Currently it takes me anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to ride the 8.4 miles, but I’m curious to see if I can get that down to 20 or 25 minutes.

  3. I’m also going to step up my running game; both intervals (2 minutes of walking, 1 minute of sprinting as fast as possible, for a total of 20 minutes or so) and jogging (a slower pace for 30-45 minutes or longer). I dropped a lot of weight with intervals in the past, and I enjoy the feeling of hauling ass across the ground until I can’t breathe anymore. It’s the closest thing to flying that a human can do.

  4. Weight lifting: There are so many different ways to workout with dumbbells, I almost don’t need any other equipment. Curls, presses, squats, lunges, rows, I could go on and on. I have pairs of 15lbs, 20lbs, and 30lbs, which should be good. If I feel the need, I’ll get some 40lbs, but I’m not really interested in getting really big muscles, I only care about definition and long-term endurance. So slightly lighter weights and higher reps.

  5. I’ll also be doing yoga at least once a week. If you don’t think yoga is a real workout, you’ve never done it for an hour.

I think that about does it for exercise.

Calendar & Progress Reports

I’ll need to track my progress, so I ordered a new Whithings scale which will help me track weight and body fat numbers. I like that there’s an iOS app for it, but I’m going to post weekly progress here. I’ll include a picture of the scale for proof when July 1st rolls around.

Again, my goal is to get to 180lbs and 12% body fat by July 1st, or I’ll donate $200 to Donald Trump.

  • Jan, Week 1: 190lbs, 17.6% Things are going well, and I feel 200% better than I did at the beginning of the month. I’m excited to keep this up. I’m already seeing visible changes in my physique.

  • Jan, Week 2: 190.5lbs, 18% I didn’t lose any weight this week, I blame the 3-day road trip I took to Austin and San Antonio. I ate healthy, but didn’t get to workout much. I’ll work extra hard this week, I want to keep making progress. Focus, Aaron. Focus. The good news is that I ran 6 miles on Tuesday. That’s a new personal record, and it didn’t hurt like hell. Feeling good about all this.

  • Jan, Week 3: 188.5 lbs, 17.9% Saw some progress this week, even though I didn’t get to go outside as much as I wanted to (the weather SUCKED). I’m not seeing much progress on body fat (even though I look and feel less fat), so I’m going to do a little research this week about how to increase metabolism and increase fat burn through diet. It might just be something that will start happening when I’ve dropped more weight and I’m able to do more intense cardio for longer periods of time. Just a few more weeks till the weather warms up; I can’t wait.

  • Jan, Week 4: 186 lbs, 17.4% After talking with a friend and reading some articles, I decided to implement 2 treat meals every week. Last week, I had pizza and sushi for the first time in almost a month, and it was glorious. It didn’t sabotage my weight loss either (186! woo!). The weather was nicer this week, so I did a lot of running and bike riding. I’m noticing that I’m losing weight but not as much body fat, so maybe in a couple of months I’ll join a local gym and start doing more weight lifting. If I keep losing weight at the rate I’m going at, I could easily be around 170lbs by July.

  • Feb, Week 1: 189lbs, 17.9% Oops, weight is up a little this week. I blame the nachos I had at the movies Saturday and the delicious proteins I had during the Super Bowl. I’m not stressing too much about it, though. It’s a temporary thing; I know I’ll be back down to 186lbs by the end of the week. I reached a new record for pushups; 25 in a row. This weekend someone told me I looked like I lost weight. You bet I did.

  • Feb, Week 2: 186.2 lbs, 17% Back on track, although I’m not seeing body fat drop as quickly as I’d like. I re-joined my gym last week, and I’ve been spending time there lifting weights and swimming. I feel and look slimmer. I think I’ll hit 180 lbs sometime in March, but 12% body fat is going to take a lot of effort. I’m hoping that as I shed extra weight, I’ll be able to focus more on building muscle (which will burn even more fat).

  • Feb, Week 3: 185 lbs, 16.3% Great week! I went shopping yesterday and got some new shorts and pants, found out I’ve dropped two sizes (I’m now a 32 waist instead of a 34). Awesome. I’m running a 10k this weekend.

  • Feb, Week 4: 186 lbs, 16.7% I ran my first 10k this week! It was so good. I finished 6.2 miles in 1:01:19, and my goal for next year is to beat the record of 31:16. I’ve already ordered some new running shoes and researched training plans. I’ve also refocused my diet. When I start running more, I may need to add some carbs to my meals, but we’ll see. Going to be focusing hard on strengthening my core and legs in the next few months.

  • Mar, Week 1: 187 lbs, 16.6% Well, I think I hit a plateau. I ordered some books about running and I’m going to be focusing on workouts that are more about endurance rather than gaining muscle size. I will get to 185 before next week, I swear.

  • Mar, Week 2: 185 lbs, 16.6% I DID IT. 185 pounds. Huge thanks to my new friend Alex Kelerman for giving me some ideas about how to tweak my diet (fruit in the morning, salad at lunch) and for showing me the Freeletics workout app. I feel awesome and I’m making progress again. 180 lbs, here I come! Oh, and here’s a side-by-side pic of me on January 23rd and me on March 17th. Progress!

  • Mar, Week 3: 182.9 lbs, 16.5% Dang. Even closer this week. Feeling great.

  • Mar, Week 4: 184.5 lbs, 16.5% Well I gained a couple pounds back since last week, but my body fat stayed the same so I’m gonna guess I gained some muscle (I did hit the gym twice for weightlifting). I’ve been sick this week so I’ve been resting. Ready to get back on my bike.

  • Apr, Week 1: 182 lbs, 16.2% So close I can taste it.

  • Apr, Week 2: 180.8lbs, 15.9% Wow. I hit 180. It feels really good and everyone I hang out with (anyone I haven’t seen in awhile) comments on my weight loss. It’s such a good feeling. I’ve decided to move my target to 170 lbs. I think 12% body fat is going to be hard to hit, but as I’m dropping pounds, running and working out is getting easier and my stamina is increasing, so I think my body fat will start dropping faster as I get closer to July. As long as I keep eating healthy, I believe I can make. Big thanks to everyone who has encouraged me so far. You are the best.

  • Apr, Week 3: 179 lbs, 15.7% The slow, steady march continues. I’m writing this Saturday morning, which is three days later than I wanted, but whatever. I’m killing it! I was feeling a little down this morning about only being at 15.7% body fat, but I forgot that I started out at 18%. So really, I’m doing pretty good. I set two new records yesterday; 16.6 miles on my bike in 1 hour and 3 minutes (fast, so fast), and a 7 mile run (furthest ever distance). So yeah, I feel pretty damn good about that. I need to post a progress picture for you guys. (Coming soon). For now, I’m heading to Houston to see Dawes. Awww yissss.

  • Apr, Week 4: 177 lbs, 16% My attention is starting to shift towards training for an Ironman Triathlon. Did I mention I was going to do that? I guess I need to write a new blog post. I don’t really feel the need to track weight loss as much since I’m going to have to be in the best shape of my life to complete even a half-Ironman. I do need to post a before-and-after picture (stay tuned for that). And don’t worry, this isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.

  • May, Week 1: 175 lbs, 16% I’ve decided to start training for an Ironman triathlon. I’m not going to post any additional updates on this page, I’m calling this experiment a success. Further updates about my training will be posted here. Thanks for following my journey!

  • July 1st: 180lbs (or less), 12% (I’ll check back and see how close to 12% I get by July first. Either way, Trump can suck it. He’s not getting my money.)

If you have any questions or want to send me encouraging notes, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

Now watch me do this.