Weight before: 310 pounds
Weight after: 240 pounds
Vitals: Chris Denman, 28, Bakersfield, CA
Occupation: Juvenile correctional officer
Reached his goal in: 7 months
When Fresno State recruited me after high school, I needed to put on weight—and I did. My coaches hounded me to max out on all my lifts and pack on the pounds. The idea was to add strength, and I bulked up about 20 pounds every year. By the time I entered the NFL, I'd gained 80 pounds. My joints started to ache; my back began to hurt-the weight was wearing me down. (Search: Why can't you lose weight?).
We can help make losing weight easier with the Belly Off Diet.
The Wake-Up Call
After three seasons in the NFL, I came home to California. For the first time in years, I had no one telling me how to eat or when to work out. I knew I wanted to slim down, but I didn't know how.
(If you have the opposite problem—and want to bulk up instead—read From Skinny to Spartacus, a story of how one lanky guy rebuilt his body.)
In college, we often hit all-you-can-eat buffets. Then on an NFL salary, I dined out every day, sometimes pounding large pizzas by myself. Once I was out of the league, I knew I couldn't sustain this diet, so I learned about healthy eating from my parents, who are physical education teachers. Now I eat sane portions of lean meat, healthy carbs, fruits, and vegetables. Occasionally I enjoy oatmeal pancakes dusted with protein powder and topped with Greek yogurt and fruit. Treats like chicken burritos stuffed with black beans and guac have replaced drive-thru meals, and they satisfy my cravings.
(Looking for more ways to lose weight and keep it off? Transform your diet with these 23 simple slim-down strategies.)
I already knew what to do when it came to lifting, but cardio was tough. I struggled to run a couple of times a week. Maybe it was the lineman in me, but I pushed through the pain, and it was worth the struggle. The more I ran, the more weight I lost and the less my knees and back hurt. Now I'm up to 6 miles a few times a week.
(Strengthening muscle groups helps you lose even more weight! Try these 15 New Muscle Builders to learn how).
Today I wake up without knee pain or backaches. I'd like an active career-whether it's firefighting, highway patrol, or coaching kids. I've already taken fire science and EMT classes, and I just finished applying for the fire academy. And after a lifetime spent playing and then recovering from football, I finally have the level of fitness I need to tackle anything in my path.
Post photos, watch videos, track your progress, and lose weight with the Men's Health Belly Off! program.