The transformation....I was a fat bastard! :)

Aron Snyder

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I posted a couple photos of me in the gym yesterday (I was going Beast Mode:)...) on the Rokslide Facebook page and got an interesting email from them.

It basically said that guys like me and Cam Hanes are gifted with being in good shape, but don't know what its like to be a chunky monkey. Well, that is not the case for me, as I was a fat kid at one time too!

I'm currently weighing 195 and 10-11 percent body fat, but at one point got up too 270 (no idea what body fat was). So I now gotta work my butt off and eat healthier than I'd like, but it's better than being unhealthy and having trouble trying my shoes:).

Has anyone else lost a bunch of weight? Lets hear about your transformation!
 
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sneek-ee

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Aron, how long ago were you that big??
How long did it take you to lose the weight? Did you still do the backpacking trips/hunts at that size?

what motivated you to lose the weight?
 

Coastal

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Yeah you were! I kid... Want to commend you for this forum and the wealth of experience you and others on here bring to it. Because of my current profession (high school principal) my time in the mountains is limited to skiing in the winter/spring and fishing and hiking in the summer. I'm a lifelong bowhunter and dream of the day when I get to try my hand at it in the backcountry! I've lost 30lbs in the last year in an effort to primarily be more healthy but also to be able to go back country when my work schedule changes (hopefully in a couple more years if The Lord is willing). In the mean time I will continue to soak up all the info I can and continue to get in better shape (need to drop about 15 more lbs). Again thanks for this forum and your (and many others) willingness to share information/experience and promote this sport, keep up the good work!
 
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Aron Snyder

Aron Snyder

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When I got out of the Army I was about 205, but gained a bunch of weight FAST! I put on 50 lbs in 6 months and a bit more after that.

With my body type I gain muscle or fat quickly, but to gain muscle I REALLY have to watch my diet.

Anyway, I'll try and keep this as short as I can....

A few months after I got out of the Army, I was antelope hunting. I ran about 150 yards to try and get a shot, but started dry heaving and wheezing like a smoker..... AND THAT WAS WHEN SOMETHING CLICKED! I didn't know what to do, but I knew that I would never get this way again and would do everything it took to loose the weight.

I stopped drinking soda that day, but drank Gatorade instead (and it's just as bad). So Gatorade went out the window a few months later, but I lost 40 lbs in about 4 months.

Somewhere around this time I started doing long distance adventure races, mountain biking and continued backpack/bivy hunting. This helped and I quickly dropped down to 210...but still didn't eat like I should have been.

My biggest issue at this point was diet, or the lack of knowing what a proper diet was. Keep in mind I'm skipping through 29 years quickly, but I got into bodybuilding, power lifting and started fighting again....and got a divorce somewhere in the middle of all this. Anyhow, I started dating a fitness/figure model who competed regularly and she informed me on what a real diet was. Dating her and being in the gym all the time got me started on a few things I should have stayed away from. I won't go into that to much, but I went from a fit 200 lbs, to 260 lbs steroid freak. This was not a good time in my life, but I did learn a lot about the human body, and why steroids are bad:), and that nothing compares to a healthy diet and living.

To give you and idea of how strong I was, in 2005 I entered a power lifting competition and had a combined lift of over 2,000lbs (bench, dead lift and squat), but this was probably the unhealthiest I had been. All of my levels were jacked up, and I was an emotional wreck! I still was backpack hunting, but Lord it was tough getting around.

The steroid thing only lasted about a year and a half and I quickly dropped all of that and committed everything I had into backpack hunting. I rearranged my diet, started dropping as much unneeded muscle as I could and got my shit together.

For the last 7ish years I've done very little fighting, some mountain biking and will do an occasional adventure race. My focus is on backpack hunting, so my diet, workout program and cardio always has a focus on that.

My wife, Jody, is a dietitian and we've been together for 6 years. She has been a huge help with my meal planning at home, but a well as in the wilderness.

As most anyone that lives healthy will tell you, IT'S A LIFESTYLE, and one that takes some getting use to, but when you do get the hang of it, you will be a better person all the way around.

This is a quick summary, but what I learned the most was simple; the only thing stopping someone from getting healthy is laziness and hard work with a clean diet will get you anywhere you want to be in fitness!
 
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Stid2677

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Aron I applaud the hard work and dedication it took to both loose that much weight but also to maintain and keep it off. I was a Master Fitness Trainer for many years in the Army and with very few medial exceptions, everyone is capable of loosing weight and better fitness if they truly work at it. Is it easy, NO, but it is not magic either. Simple matter of burning more than you take it, what it does take is a look at your lifestyle. I will only speak for myself, but I often find that I eat more than I should, not because I'm hungry, but because we use food as a form of entertainment. Misery loves company and I often hear "one piece won't hurt" well those pieces add up!

A few medical issues led to excuses for me to allow myself to tip the scales at 183 lbs "my heaviest" at the start of this past falls hunting season. I'm not going to lie, I'm not much for the hamster on the tread mill thing. But I can get into that thermal burn by getting out and heading into the mountains. Gets me away from our FAST FOOD world and I tend to have to remind my self to eat, instead of eating out of boredom.

I count all the calories I take in, and "ask myself" is this or that worth the effort it will take to burn it off, that works for me. When I think about how far I would have to walk to burn off those calories, I often just say no thanks.

On Aug 7 2013 I weight 183 in this photo after chasing Luke Moffat all over Alaska I weighed 158 on 25 Oct. That was a loss of 25 lbs in just over 2 months, by simply getting out and doing something I enjoy.

Now if I can only keep it off during this winter,, maybe a Rokslide fitness challenge for the off season?? Have members post up their progress during the off season so we can all keep each other motivated. Nothing like a little peer pressure to keep you focused. What do ya think???

 
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Aron Snyder

Aron Snyder

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Aron I applaud the hard work and dedication it took to both loose that much weight but also to maintain and keep it off. I was a Master Fitness Trainer for many years in the Army and with very few medial exceptions, everyone is capable of loosing weight and better fitness if they truly work at it. Is it easy, NO, but it is not magic either. Simple matter of burning more than you take it, what it does take is a look at your lifestyle. I will only speak for myself, but I often find that I eat more than I should, not because I'm hungry, but because we use food as a form of entertainment. Misery loves company and I often hear "one piece won't hurt" well those pieces add up!

Sounds good to me!


A few medical issues led to excuses for me to allow myself to tip the scales at 183 lbs "my heaviest" at the start of this past falls hunting season. I'm not going to lie, I'm not much for the hamster on the tread mill thing. But I can get into that thermal burn by getting out and heading into the mountains. Gets me away from our FAST FOOD world and I tend to have to remind my self to eat, instead of eating out of boredom.

I count all the calories I take in, and "ask myself" is this or that worth the effort it will take to burn it off, that works for me. When I think about how far I would have to walk to burn off those calories, I often just say no thanks.

On Aug 7 2013 I weight 183 in this photo after chasing Luke Moffat all over Alaska I weighed 158 on 25 Oct. That was a loss of 25 lbs in just over 2 months, by simply getting out and doing something I enjoy.

Now if I can only keep it off during this winter,, maybe a Rokslide fitness challenge for the off season?? Have members post up their progress during the off season so we can all keep each other motivated. Nothing like a little peer pressure to keep you focused. What do ya think???

Sounds good to me! I know a few Rokslide members that NEED some peer pressure/motivation!
 

ElkNut1

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Aron, great info there! No question determination & motivation are what stops most guys in their tracks, this is especially so if ones are not self motivated. Congrats to you on turning your life style around! You are a true asset & inspiration to us all.

ElkNut1
 

Slim Jim

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Great discipline Aron! Everyone wants to live a healthy lifestyle but doing it is another thing. Sounds like we have similar pasts. Out of high school I gained a lot of weight and so I started lifting weights. Then I did steroids for a couple of years and did a bodybuilding show. After a couple of years going heavy I injured my knees and quickly realized that steroids were no good. I also got into fighting MMA in my early thirties for about 5 years and eventually realized it was KILLING my joints. Now I just lift weights two times a week, run two days a week and hike or bike once a week. Eating healthy is also important. I've always tried to eat pretty healthy and if not, portion control. Living a healthy lifestyle has kept me within 10 pounds of where I always want to be. The 10 pounds always seem to come on during the holidays. Have to live a little😊
 

ssliger

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I'm in the transformation phase. I have been overweight since I was in grade school. I don't remember what it feels like to be able to take my shirt off at a pool and not feel like total crap. I was at my heaviest of 326, 2 years ago, was able to use one of those fad diets and drop 80 lbs. But as with most fad diets as soon as you stop the diet, you gain the weight back. It only took me 5 months to loose the 80lbs, and only 3 months to gain 50 back. This summer I made the decision I was going to loose the weight thru a regular diet and exercise. I had been working out and dieting for 6 weeks and had only lost around 10 lbs. I decided to get my blood work done and it showed that my TSH was crazy bad. I have been on thyroid medication for 5 years now for hypothyroidism. Your TSH should be between 0-4. When i was first placed on medication it was 9. When i had my blood drawn this past summer it was 14. My Dr upped my medication and it has come down. I started working out before the season, but fell off the wagon during Oct. Since the end of Oct, I have dropped 25lbs. My goal is to drop at least 50 more pounds before this summer. My actual goal is to be able to go on a tropical vacation with my family and take my shirt off on the beach and not feel self conscious. So with persistence my transformation has just begun.
 

Slim Jim

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Yeah you were! I kid... Want to commend you for this forum and the wealth of experience you and others on here bring to it. Because of my current profession (high school principal) my time in the mountains is limited to skiing in the winter/spring and fishing and hiking in the summer. I'm a lifelong bowhunter and dream of the day when I get to try my hand at it in the backcountry! I've lost 30lbs in the last year in an effort to primarily be more healthy but also to be able to go back country when my work schedule changes (hopefully in a couple more years if The Lord is willing).
I understand because I just became a teacher this year. It kind of killed my coveted bull elk tag with only weekends but archery mule deer, antelope and cow elk all have season openers at the beginning of August. This upcoming summer is going to be awesome!

You might want to apply for NV tags this year!
 

5MilesBack

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I've never been "fat", but I did drop 35lbs when I stopped lifting a few years ago. Right at 200, but at 6'6" it distributes very well.:)

As for the roids, I've known a few guys that went that route and every single one of them have told me that they'd hate to see me on roids.......my attitude is bad enough without them. I've always said that God gave me a 6'6" 200lb frame, and a 6'6" 290lb attitude. But at 48 I've mellowed a bit in my old age.;)

Congratulations Aron......for seeing the light, and staying fit.
 

Mark

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I'm 52 years old, 5'-9" and in April of 2013 I weighed 207lbs. Obviously that's not a healthy weight for me.

Since then I've trimmed down to 177lbs through diet and (minimal) exercise with a goal of 165 lbs. For me, it's not a race to see how fast I can lose the weight. I'm taking my time and staying healthy along the way. The biggest change I've made is my eating habits.

The downside, if you could call it that, is having to buy all new clothes!
 

Shrek

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I started my journey at 312lbs and I was 254 lbs this past week at the grocery store scale I get on before I go shopping. There's a good tip right there. Weighing myself just as I begin to shop helps remind me of who I want to be. Like everyone I have ever talked to who has been successful I had to change my lifestyle. No soda , one or two beers a week and often none , bread and starchy foods mostly gone , no hormone laden fatty meat ( venison , it's what's for dinner ), ect. Eat a huge breakfast , a big lunch , and a small dinner. All your plates should be full of green veggies and lean protien and few grains and starchy veggies. Pasta and potatoes are not your friend. They feed the sugar high and crash cycle that makes you ravenously hungry , have few nutrients and displace other foods that help you. Do not buy any unhealthy foods and put them in your house , you are setting yourself up for failure. I'll only have one...yeah right ! I'm just starting to work on exercise so most of my weight loss came from eliminating the junk. I don't obsess about fats too much just gratuitous amounts. I use real butter as the fats aren't half as bad for you as most of the substitutes. Learn to use seasonings instead of salt for flavor. Eating out is just a disaster in the making . Lol. Thats the plan that has worked for me , your results may vary.
 

rckymtnguy

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I have a similar story, I too was pushing 270 about 8 years ago. I'd never really been athletic, but I was always determined and would go the distance at all costs, which has probably been the cause for a lot of my joint problems these days. For a number of reasons I felt like I just didn't have time to workout, or just hadn't taken the time to educate myself on what a true healthy diet was all about. In 2005 I drew a limited elk tag, and was determined that I would not allow my lack of fitness to get in the way and started the transformation. I dropped about 30lbs in 3 months, filled my elk tag, and packed out my first bull some 3 miles. I was totally hooked! That season's success propelled me into an even healthier lifestyle and I started living the phrase "there is no off season" and began training year round, in the following year I managed to get down to 212 lbs and to accomplish things that I never dreamed possible. Since that time I have managed to keep off "most" of the weight, and while I sit at around 230lbs @6'1" today, I am still in the best shape of my life! It is also a reminder that it takes hard work to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The goal this "off season" is to get back to 210, where I think I am the most efficient. I see a lot of miles with a heavy pack on my back in my future... indoors or out!

Thanks Aron, for reminding us that it is possible!
 

robby denning

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Aron, I hear the same thing in my line of work as a Personal Training director- "all the gifted people are lean!" Yet strangely enough the gifted people are working out regularly and applying similar discipline to their nutrition.

Great job on the transformation.

If someone is not self-motivated, join a group (Crossfit, P90X-with a trainer-, group personal training, Insanity, sound weight loss competitions, boxing.) I agree we aren't all the same in the motivation category, but surrounding ourselves with motivated people produces results. TV, pizza, MickyDee's and self-pity does not.
 

littlebuf

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boy you were a fat boy! guys like me are lucky, ive always been perfect. me and cam hanes should hang out
 

jherald

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A physically active lifestyle will curb a lot of health issues. My dad was a heavy smoker and led a more or less elmer fudd lifestyle up until he retired. Enter a heart attack and he dropped the smoking. Still not as active as he should be and enter diabetes a year later. He started becoming more active in his daily activities, changed his eating habits and dropped 25 pounds. He's at 180 pounds for nearly 15 years now with his diabetes managed and can hack it with me in the hills. Keeps up with me pretty good being he is at 68 years old. His last hunt with me in August was a 24 mile walk in.
 

Whisky

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I'll play...

Unfortunately, or fortunately maybe, I know a thing or two about losing and gaining big amounts of weight. Losing it is easy, keeping it off is the bitch. In the last 10 years Ive lost, and gained it back, 50+ lbs 2 times. I'm now on my third time being the "slimmer Whisky", and hope to do a better job at keeping it off. Third time is the charm, right?

Last hunting season:

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This hunting season:

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It is entirely up to you if you want to be a fat bastard or not. Trust me, I know. My lifestyle isn't the best for being a skinny guy. My family and friends like to drink beer and cook lots of shitty (good) food. You gotta balance it out though. I still drink and eat like crap, just a lot less then I used to. I feel you can't entirely cut out the "good stuff". At least I can't, or I'll never stick with it. Hunting is a huge motivation for me. I hunt quite a bit throughout the year, and know first hand how much more enjoyable it is when you're in better shape.
 

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