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Success Story: Resisting A Rest

This federal law-enforcement officer realized that his weight problem was within his jurisdiction.
Nick Laham

“Sitting in an airline seat was just a pain in the ass,” says Bryan Smith. “I was flying to countries where it was more than 100° humidity, and I’d be sweating like a pig the whole time. I just got tired of being fat, and I got tired of making excuses.”

An officer in federal law enforcement—a field that demands both mental and physical prowess—Smith wonders how he managed to perform his job at all. “I was able to do everything I needed to, but it was harder than it should’ve been,” he says. “I was carrying the equivalent of my oldest and youngest sons in extra pounds.”

Having not lifted a dumbbell since high school, Smith attributes his waist inflation partly to a sedentary lifestyle—though a sloppy diet consisting of whatever was within reach didn’t help, either. “It was a lot of fast food,” he admits.

Even as he neared his all-time high of 325 pounds, smith paid no mind to his ever-expanding girth.

Then, a blast from the past jolted him into action. “I saw a picture of me when I was young and in shape, and it was an inspiration,” he says. “I said, enough is enough.”

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Smith first took aim at his diet, conducting a search-and-destroy mission to eradicate bad eating habits. “I do most of the cooking here now,” he says. “I start with basic ingredients, no canned stuff. Lots of veggies. It’s all controlled.” Taking charge of his diet opened Smith’s eyes to some unattractive grocery-store realities, like the fact that words like “healthy” on product packaging don’t necessarily mean anything. It’s changed the way he looks at food. “[Being fit] has to be a lifestyle change,” he says.

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The next step was to get moving again, so smith began walking and hiking in his free time. “You’ve got to look around and find something you can do every day that gives you the biggest bang for your buck,” he says. “Every time you take a step, you’re using the biggest muscles in your body. it was a no-brainer.”

The next obvious move was to get back in the gym. He doesn’t lift like he did in school (save for using the leg-press machine), but rather focuses on body-weight exercises like crunches, pushups, and dragon flags.

The hard work has paid off. Today, Smith sports a lean 200-pound physique. He’s better than ever mentally, too. “It feels good to look good,” he says. “I don’t get out of breath going up the steps. My confidence has really improved.”

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Smith's Fat-Blasting Routine

Smith does crunches and pushups, then performs each set of this routine to failure using a moderate weight:

  • 100 Crunches
  • 70 Pushups
  • Dumbbell Curl - 3 sets
  • Leg Press - 3 sets
  • Overhead Dumbbell Press - 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Pullover - 3 sets

Smith's Best Advice

Live It - "Avoid fad diets. When I hear 'diet', I think 'temporary'. But I don't think of this as a diet. I've changed the way I live. It's not that hard. I'm not sacraficing. You've got to have the mentality that the food pushed on us in America can be pretty bad. I read that you've got to walk 9-1/2 miles to burn off a Big Mac - that's a wake-up call."


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