Everyone has a unique story to tell. You may not know Mike Dowling but he’s a regular guy, like you and I. What makes him story worthy? With a starting weight of 396lbs, he’s on a mission to lose 100lbs in five months. That’s certainly not easy nor does it happen overnight. Every great story is full of set-backs, failures, highs and lows; he’s no exception. Check out our Q&A session with him below.
In my lifetime I have always been a big guy. Playing football I was a lineman from 9th grade through college which kept me in good shape. Once college was done I never made exercise a priority. My love of food and drinking alcohol with a lack of exercise has me to where I am at now in life.
Q. What triggered your desire to dive in and commit to gaining control of your weight and health?
I have very good caring people in my life that want to see me around for many years. I guess you can say I had an intervention with Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Dowd from GNC this summer. Ben told me he was worried about me because each time he sees me, I just seem to be getting bigger. Obviously my weight concerned both of them enough to say something. Ben understands the battle I am facing and challenged me to get in shape and get control of my weight. He said “anything I can do to help you get healthy, let me know and I am in." Coming from such a great athlete and a caring person like that I knew I had to do something.
Tom Dowd, who I just met in 2012 would see me at charity events and around town. I happened to sit down at the same table with him and noticed he lost weight in the few months I knew him. I complimented him and he kind of put his arm around me and said “let me help you." It takes a real person to genuinely sit you down and say, "how can I help you get healthy?" He promised to put something together to help me with GNC.
Without the two of them pushing me and helping me, I don’t know where or how I could have done this again for the 50th time in my life.
Q. What keeps you motivated?
I have always been a very goals-oriented person that loves to enjoy the good things in life. Having to answer the bell 5 days a week lifting, doing cardio, and having GNC’s experts monitor me puts me in a situation that I refuse to accept failure. With this incredible opportunity, staying motivated is not a problem. Getting to my goals is something that will continue to motivate me.
Q. Do you ever cheat on your diet or slack on your workout? If so, why?
As far as the diet is concerned I can say in the 10 weeks since beginning this journey I have not eaten any bad foods nor have I gone overboard on any portions. Since July 20th I have consumed alcohol approximately five times, three of those times I over consumed and regretted it each time. My workouts have been wonderful and I have only cheated on my workouts three times in the 10 weeks I have been working with GNC. Once I drank alcohol until 2:00am, slept the next day until 3:00, and didn’t do my cardio. My trainer was not too happy with me and was texting and calling me all day to get moving. The only good thing is I managed to make it to the gym and train but the effort was horrible, the other two times I just cut out the cardio and opted to rest.
Q. What’s the most challenging part of your weight loss journey?
Trying to avoid being impatient and disappointed because the results are not happening as fast as I want. I realize losing 33 lbs in two months is incredible, but I set my goals very high. Until I lose 100 lbs I will never be satisfied. The other challenging part in the weight loss journey is cutting out things that I have always enjoyed like going out for drinks and eating out at nice restaurants. Staying in and cooking healthy is a lifestyle I have to get used to.
Q. How do you stay focused on your goals given the temptations of everyday life?
Staying focused is easy for me. When I go out in the “real world” I need to pick and choose my battles like I have been doing. Getting into great clothes, feeling healthy, and making my peers proud of me keeps me focused. Plus I am never going to let anybody every make a joke of my weight again. That makes me more focused than ever.
Q. How do you handle temptations or falling back into old habits?
Unfortunately, you have to fail at some things before you can succeed. Since I have been fighting this battle pretty much my whole life, I am confident I can manage my highs and lows in this challenge. Falling back into old habits on a continual basis is not an option.
Q. What products do you rely on to help with weight management?
I live on the GNC products. Every day I take the following:
- Total Lean Breakfast Square: 1 serving
- Lean Shake: 2 servings
- Pro Performance 100% Whey: 3-4 servings
- Total Lean CLA: 4 softgels per day
- Mega Men Multi: 2 tablets
- Triple Strength Fish Oil: 2 softgels
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin: 2 tablets
The Lean shakes and Whey are unbelievable sources of protein after my workouts and I look forward to one or two shakes every day. When on the road I love to have a GNC Protein bar or even another breakfast bar.
Q. What dietary changes have you made since you’ve started your transformation?
The biggest change for me is eating 5 or 6 small meals a day. In the past I would eat lunch and dinner followed by some snacks or desert at night. Now my cravings are controlled with a well thought out daily meal plan that includes supplements.
Give us an example of what your weekly workouts look like:
- Weight training arms and back at 480-540 reps: Monday,Wednesday, Saturday
- Weight training chest and legs at 560-600 reps: Tuesday, Thursday
- Cardio and walking 3-6 miles/day: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Q. How much weight have you lost so far?
My start date on this program was Sept 18, 2012. As of January 17, 2013 my total weight loss is 59lbs in 16 weeks with a 7.4% reduction in body fat; I have lost a total of 16 inches off of my body.
Q. What is your overall goal in going through this transformation?
My main goal is to get healthier. The weight loss goal that will be most satisfactory will be 100lbs. Once I hit 100 lbs then I go for High School weight! One goal at a time though. To lose 100 lbs and getting healthy is why I am here. GNC products will be a part of my life forever and without their support this journey would be impossible.
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