This dad shares how he lost 60 pounds and got absolutely shredded
Marine Corps veteran Eric Champ’s weight went up and down in his 30s: he gained weight, then threw himself into a diet and fitness regimen, lost some weight, and then the cycle started all over again. That all changed when he was 36. Now he’s 40, says Champ men health that his weight-loss journey began with a come-to-Jesus moment. More specifically, five or six of them.
“I’d tried to do the big about-face several times, but this just stuck: I was trying on some new pants,” he says. “My weight had been creeping up, by which point I was buying a size 38 pair of pants and I had to have them hemmed to be comfortable. Between the pants themselves and the changes, things got expensive for me. And I can’t button them up. I think oh god I’ll be a size 40. And I looked at myself in my closet mirror and I saw myself trying to squeeze myself into these pants, and a lot of the emotions I’d been repressing for so long came flooding up.”
The very next day, Champ went to the YMCA and walked a mile on the treadmill there. “That also gassed me,” he says, “but I did it and then left the next day.” In the end he practically went back everyone Day after for the next year and a half, both to play sports and to be people who also wanted to improve their fitness.
It was among these people that he met trainers who could give him more specific advice on things like progressive overload that helped him continue to get the results he was seeing, and he soon began to build consistent habits that allowed him to work on his goals to hold on to. These were all pretty simple — like drinking more water and laying out your workout clothes before bed for the next morning’s workout — but they made a big difference in the end.
“The biggest habit of anyone when it comes to change is waking up and starting the day by making resolutions and getting outside,” he says. “I call it ‘getting up’: to this day I put my stuff by the bed, it’s never gone. It’s so easy to let the day consume you, as a busy parent, as a person in general. That window of opportunity because that Change is so small.”
Diet-wise, Champ began incorporating whole foods into his regular diet of pizza and cookies. “My wife tried to get me to eat whole foods the entire time we were together,” he laughs. “Now I believe addition, not limitation. Fill yourself with green, red, yellow, the whole rainbow, and then allow yourself to eat the other stuff sometimes, too.”
At the same time that he was making all of these changes, Champ was also struggling with an ongoing drinking problem. “It was a big, big problem for me. I had tried the 30-day challenges, Dry January, but I don’t think the constraint is working for me.” He recalls trying a more “transactional” approach, using himself to train with rewarded with a beer or celebrated the achievement of their goals with a drink – but it became clear that this was not sustainable.
“That should not be This to the the“, he says. “You should do it because it’s awesome. It took me some time to realize that.” It took about eight months, with the help of therapy, that his relationship with alcohol was beginning to change. “I realized I wasn’t a terrible person. I didn’t need alcohol to deal with or repress these feelings. I’m good enough.”
Champ started his journey at around 250 pounds. At his leanest point, he came down to 189 pounds and 5 percent body fat. “Too skinny for my wife,” he says, “and she was right!” He now maintains his weight at 195 to 200 pounds and between 10 and 12 percent body fat.
He now runs Champ City, where he uses his own experiences to help others get fit and healthy. “I’m your everyman, I’m just a regular dad,” he says, “and that’s how people relate to my story, they say ‘that’s me.’ And I can identify their problems or pain points by looking at them because I’ve been there. And I know when they’re doing great, I can tell when they’re drinking, sleeping well, eating well. It’s often a very emotional ride that we do with people.”
When asked what advice he would give to his former self or anyone else who wants to lose weight and get fit but doesn’t know where to start, Champ advises prioritizing consistent, lasting change over immediate results. It can mean small steps, especially if you have a busy life – but better a small step you can take than a big one to miss.
“Maybe two or three A+ workouts a week with a little walking to add step count is what you need,” he says. “If you can build that consistency, anything is possible from there.”
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