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Success Story: From Overweight to Professional Model

Dan McMullen used to hate how he looked. Today, people pay to take pictures of him. Learn about the eating and exercise habits that helped him get his gig.
Tommy Garcia

Name: Dan McMullen
Height: 6'5"
Age: 26
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

“I remember thinking I didn’t deserve to leave my bedroom because of the way I looked,” says now-professional model Dan McMullen. An offensive lineman in high school, McMullen had always kept his weight under control by practicing hard—until a knee injury took him out of the game. Sidelined indefinitely, he turned to food to fill the void.

See: 5 Tips for Coming Back Strong After a Sports Injury

By the end of high school, McMullen—290 pounds with 32% body fat—was desperate for change. “I began to spend hours reading about training and nutrition on Bodybuilding.com,” he says. “Eventually it got to the point where I realized failure wasn’t an option.” McMullen began hitting the gym six days a week and doing cardio every day. He overhauled his diet, too, crafting meals around chicken, vegetables, and fish, and snacking on nuts and protein shakes.

It worked. As the weeks turned into months, McMullen started to notice changes in how his body looked and performed. “I was losing fat and getting stronger. I was amazed at how much more athletic I had become—I was outrunning guys who had been receivers when I was a lineman,” he says.

McMullen maintained his strict diet and intense workout regimen throughout college. People started to notice. “My confidence around women skyrocketed,” he says. But that was just the beginning. “One day I was walking through the mall and got stopped by a modeling agent,” he recalls. “At first I was pretty skeptical, but when I found out he was the real deal, it was just, ‘Wow.’ ”

McMullen has since moved to Los Angeles to pursue a full-time modeling career; he credits it all to those first steps he took in high school. “It’s crazy that I’ve actually gotten to this point,” he says. “But I think the fact that I believed it could happen made all the difference.”

McMullen’s Workout Routine
Paired exercises done in supersets. Follow this routine with 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio.

1A) Flat Dumbbell Press 3 sets, 15 reps
1B) Dumbbell Swing 3 sets, 20 reps

2A) Incline Dumbbell Press 3 sets, 15 reps
2B) Reverse Crunch 3 sets, 20 reps

3A) Decline Barbell Press 3 sets, 15 reps
3B) Weighted Side Bend 3 sets, 20 reps

4A) Cable Fly 3 sets, 15 reps
4B) Cable Crunch 3 sets, 20 reps

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