Simple Changes Helped This Man Lose Over 20 Pounds and Achieve 10 Percent Body Fat – Men's Health

“Don’t be discouraged if you miss a day or have an indulgent meal.”
Before Kirk Schumacher injured his knee, he had always been fairly active and athletic, but when the 49-year-old lawyer from Winthrop, WA began his

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recovery from surgery, he quickly realized how difficult it would be to get back on any type of structured workout regiment.
"As a result, I put on weight and just wasn’t feeling healthy," he says. "I looked in the mirror one morning and didn’t like what I saw. Then, I realized that I was going to be turning 50 in the next couple years and needed something to get me out of the rut before it was too late."
This lack of physical exercise was also taking a toll on Schumacher’s mental health, and as a result, he started to lose confidence and began to constantly feel tired and weak.
When going at it alone became too much to bear, he decided that he needed to get in contact with someone—or something—that could help. Schumacher had recently seen a weight-loss transformation from UP Fitness profiled in a magazine, and amazed by the results, he decided to sign-up for a virtual, remote-friendly option of their program.
"I immediately had access to the site, including my workout and nutrition program," he says. "The workout program consisted of detailed descriptions of the workout days and the specific exercises for each day. The nutrition guide also set out the meal plans and descriptions of the foods that fit in those meals."
His weekly workouts would consist of weight training three to four times a week depending on the program and two shorter cardio sessions a week on the days he didn’t lift. To help maintain mobility, Schumacher also added in a few yoga sessions on recovery days.
However, it wasn’t all a breeze. At first, he really struggled with deadlifts, but as he progressed, he feelings began to shift on the exercise.
"I had never done one previously, and it felt so awkward and frankly heavy," he says. "It is now my favorite exercise. It really is a great all-around strength builder, and although it initially exposed so many weaknesses, I use it now as a gauge as to how I’m progressing because it hits so many body parts."
Despite Schumacher’s increased activity through his virtual fitness program, the biggest change he made during his transformation was in the kitchen. Before he started his weight-loss journey, Schumacher thought he was eating healthy by having small servings of yogurt and granola for breakfast, a light salad for lunch and then usually pasta for dinner.
This low-protein, high-carb diet wasn’t satisfying his appetite, and as a result, he inevitably snacked throughout the day and finished everything up with dessert because he "still wasn’t full."
"That all changed," he says. "The focus became eating protein rich meals while fueling for workouts with appropriate levels of carbs and fats."
During his transformation, Schumacher would often workout early in the morning, so breakfast afterwards would usually consist of eggs, spinach, chicken and toast. Then, around mid-morning he would have a protein shake, and his lunch would usually include a lean meat, such as salmon, tuna, chicken, turkey or steak—combined with vegetables. For dinner, he would choose another lean protein, vegetables and a carb like rice.
"It actually took me awhile to adjust because I felt like I was eating more than I had been previously, but once I adjusted, I realized I was no longer snacking and felt full," he says. "I had great energy, was sleeping better and importantly, could see the weight coming off while eating well."
As a result of all this hard work, Schumacher lost about 23 pounds and went from 20 percent to around 10 percent body fat in approximately seven months.
"I’ve learned that consistency really pays off," he says. "I certainly have missed workouts or blown my diet on occasion due to business travel or other events, but I always made sure that I didn’t miss two workouts in a row or blow two meals back to back and just tried to be consistent as possible."
During his transformation, his consistency was put to the test when he had to evacuate his home for three weeks due to nearby wildfires. Schumacher usually worked out in his home gym, so being forced to leave for so long inevitably had an impact on his routine. However, he got his workouts in when he could.
"I used hotel gyms or searched out nearby gyms and just tried to stay on schedule as much as possible," he says. "Similarly, I tried to stay consistent with nutrition during that period and travelled with my protein powder and some additional snacks I knew were on plan and could get me through."
Despite all the progress he’s made since he started this journey, he’s not done yet. Schumacher is currently trying to add approximately 15 pounds of muscle while maintaining the same body fat percentage.
"It actually feels harder than trying to lose the weight and fat," he says. "I’m up about 10 pounds so far at approximately same body fat percentage and hope to hit the goal by the end of the year."
When asked what advice he has for someone considering starting a weight-loss transformation of their own, he says the following.
"Again, consistency. Don’t be discouraged if you miss a day or have an indulgent meal, that’s done, just shake it off and get right back on plan and over time, those few misses won’t matter."
This interview has been edited for clarity.

Elijah Rawls is a Chicago-native living in Denver, Colorado. His passion for the outdoors started at a young age and has been growing with him ever since. Any given Saturday, he can be found snowboarding, skiing, hiking or driving among Colorado’s many mountain ranges. He received a B.S. in Journalism with honors from the University of Florida. 

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