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    Photo Credit: Matt45710

Where Is He Now? Our First Weight Loss Challenge Winner Brings Us Up To Speed

By L. K. Regan

Last month, our first Weight Loss Challenge winner, Matt 45710, came to San Francisco for a visit. This wasn't just a tourist trip—Matt45710 (known to his friends as Ken) wanted to meet up with the people who've changed his life, namely Manuel Villacorta of Nutrition for You, who conducted both of our Weight Loss Challenges, and Mike Clausen of Diakadi Body, who provided workouts for our second Weight Loss Challenge. We caught up with Ken to find out how he's doing with maintaining his weight loss, and we persuaded Mike Clausen to give us the workout our champion did on his trip to Diakadi. Get ready to get inspired, and then to sweat like a (Weight Loss Challenge) winner!

We asked Ken about his current stats, and were seriously impressed by the answer: "Current stats are about 156 pounds, 29-inch waist, and 16.6 percent body fat. That's down from 184 pounds, 35-inch waist, and 32.4 percent body fat. Quite the change." We'll say! "I never thought I'd be this thin again," he says, "and I'm really surprised I'm here." This dramatic change has definitely taken hard work, though, and Ken told us about needing to keep his protein and fat intake up (he's a vegetarian), and about becoming "a gym bunny". But as for all of us, a lot of it comes down to controlling food cravings. "The toughest thing to keep up with is my 'craving food'," he says, "which for me is cookies. In talking with many of the other participants, I've noticed that everyone has their own craving food, whether it's alcohol, fried foods, or something else. You just have to know that that is the one that speaks to you most, and you are most likely to overdo it. I've learned to understand that, and give myself an indulgence once in a while, but not keep those foods around to tempt me."

That's pretty sound advice with the authority of experience. And it's made a big difference, both in how Ken feels, and in his interactions with others. "I feel like I'm a different person now than I was last year," he says. "I feel great, and I like what I see in the mirror. I'm also getting a lot more attention from guys than I was before. I was never really happy with my body, and now I really like to show it off. I'm much more confident than I've ever been. I've been single for four years, and after my break up from my previous 16 year relationship, I was in a really bad place with how I felt about myself. Now, I think I look pretty good for a 45 year-old man." One particularly funny moment came when he perceived his new self for the first time: "One milestone for me was when I caught a view of myself in the mirror at the gym, and was wondering who the cute guy was, and then I figured out it was me! I was shocked."

Sounds like a pretty great moment! Ken credits the RealJock community, along with Nutrition for You and Diakadi, for bringing him on this journey. We asked him how he stays motivated, and he was quick to talk about the great friends he's made on RealJock. "What helped me was the ongoing support of the guys here on RJ. I needed to have talks with guys that were going through the same thing I did and understood what was happening. I've tried to encourage the men who did the second Weight Loss Challenge, and stayed in touch with them, too." In fact, Ken was a constant presence during the second Weight Loss Challenge, encouraging participants to soldier on (and next week we'll hear from the winner of the second Challenge).

In the end, it all comes down to community. "When I joined Real Jock in 2006," Ken says, "I felt very damaged from my previous relationship. When I would see guys on the forums who were dealing with the same issues I was, that was very comforting,and I got a lot of support, either directly or through other guys telling their stories and feeling like they were supported in them. Real Jock works best when we all support each other. It's worked for me, and I hope that I can have it work for others." We're lucky to have members like Ken, and wish him every success.

How to Get Ken's Mojo
If you'd like to do Ken's workout from his recent trip to San Francisco, here it is, courtesy of Diakadi co-founder Mike Clausen. Why not make it the starting point for your own renewed commitment to meeting your fitness goals? If you'd like to get some of the same expert advice that helped Ken lose weight and get healthy, Nutrition for You is running their own weight loss challenge beginning September 14th. For an entrance fee, you'll get 12 weeks of nutritional support to help you meet your goals. Click here for details!

Exercise Sets Reps/Time Details
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch NA 2 minutes From a kneeling position, first squeeze your butt cheeks, then rotate your body towards your front leg and extend your rear arm up overhead as you twist and look up toward the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds.
Single Leg Hip Bridges 2 20 Lie flat on your back with your arms extended out from your sides palms up and your feet together flat on the ground hip width apart with knees bent. Take one foot off the floor (you may cross that ankle over the opposite knee). From here, thrust your hips up as high as you can, using your glutes to push you up. Do this for 20 reps.
Plank to Single Leg Knee Tuck 2 10 per side Take up a plank or push-up position. Pull your knee under your body and then drive it out behind you, straightening your leg.
Moving Push-up 2 10 per side Take up a plank or push-up position. Do one push-up, then move your right arm forward and do another push-up. Bring that arm back to the start position, then move your left arm up and do another push-up.
Core Board Twist Push-up 1 10 On a core board, do a push-up, but at the bottom of your movement, twist the board fully to the left, and then again to the right. Push back up and repeat.
Alternating Tube Up-Pulls 2 20 Stand with staggered feet and your front foot on the center of a resistance tube (you can also loop the tube around a low, fixed point). Holding the handles of the tube in each hand, raise the tube up toward your head by pulling straight up in the center, using alternating arms.
Split Squats 2 20 A split squat is a stationary lunge. Stand with feet staggered and drop down through the back thigh so that you have a 90-degree bend in both knees and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Come back up. Do an entire set on one leg, then switch the forward leg.
Rocker Cable Pulls 2 20 with 15 pounds weight Stand in front of a cable machine with the cables set at the center. Sit into a low squat and rock toward your outer leg. As you do so, pull the handle on that side toward your shoulder. Rotate as you go back to the start position, shifting your weight and turning toward the cable. You should keep your chest up and "rock" back and forth on your legs. Complete a set on one side, then switch the cable hand and the lunge direction.
Dumbbell Biceps Curls 2 15 with 20 pounds weight Do standing biceps curls using dumbbells and curling with both arms simultaneously.
Split Squat 2 20 with 15 pounds weight Do the same stationary lunge as above, but this time hold a dumbbell in the hand on the side of the lunging (rear) leg. Your arm can hang neutrally at your side.
Single Cable Fly 2 15 with 10 pounds weight Hold a low lunge facing a cable machine with the cable set in a middle position. Perform a single cable fly with the arm on the same side as the rear leg, keeping your abs tight through this motion to steady you. Use your core strength to help you perform the movement. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch arms and legs.
Rope Triceps Push-Down 2 15 Use a cable machine with the arm set high and a double handle rope attachment. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Grip the rope in both hands, with your hands about six inches apart. Keeping your arms close to your sides to ensure you isolate the triceps, push the rope down toward the floor until your arms are straight.
Single Leg Lunge to Balance Hold 2 15 on each leg Perform a reverse lunge in the sand. Start by lunging backwards with your left leg. Bring your left knee up in the top position and hold for three seconds. Try this with your eyes closed as well to see how hard the balance is. Repeat on one leg for 15, then switch to the other leg.
End of Bench Single Dumbbell Press 2 15 with 20 pounds weight With your shoulder blades on the end of the bench, hold a bridge w/your legs, keeping your hips level with your back.  Do a single dumbbell press, making sure to "meet" in the middle (bring the hand in toward center).  You can use your other arm as a guide..
Low Abs 2 20   Lie on your back with both legs straight up in the air. Keeping your back flat on the ground, take one leg and slowly move your heel toward the ground. If you feel your back arch up off the ground, that is your hip flexors kicking in, and that is your stopping point. You want to develop to be able to push past this point using nothing but your low abs..
Cobra 2 60 seconds Lie face down, with palms down and thumbs out to sides. Slowly lift your chest and shoulders off the ground with your upper body while your feet, thighs, and lower body are relaxed and NOT flexed on the ground. With your hands, rotate your thumbs out and up so that your shoulders externally rotate and your shoulder blades wrap together. Keep your chin in and facing down so that your neck stays in line with your spine. Hold this pose until you can hold it for three minutes without a rest or a form break.
90/90 Stretch 2 60 seconds Drop into your lunge position, with one foot forward and one back, such that you have your front knee bent at 90 degrees and also your back knee bent at 90 degrees. This is a great stretch for butt and hips—bend forward at the waist toward the front leg for a better stretch.