How This Guy Overcame Injuries, Lost 24 Pounds, and Gained Energy – Men's Health

Grant Zukel had constant pain after multiple injuries, and he knew losing weight was the only way to feel better. Here’s how he did it.
I gained weight after my wife and I moved back to Colorado from Las Vegas, where I’d spent some years in martial arts training. I had a busy life, starting a company and generally working like a mad man building a good life for me, my wife, and our soon-to-be kid. We lived in the mountains; the gym was an hour away, and just didn’t fit my schedule. I had a two-year break from working out, after about a decade of everyday gym-going.
I have some pretty serious injuries: disk ruptures in my neck and back that cause spinal compression, and a pair of pretty wrecked shoulders. (I’ve had surgery on the right, but not yet on the left.) Not working out really exacerbated those injuries. I was in constant pain, working hundred-hour weeks and eating poorly because I simply wasn’t paying attention. I felt exhausted all the time. I was more than 230 pounds and 36 years old when it really set in.
I woke up one morning and my side and shoulder were numb. It wasn’t the first time. Later, when the numbness faded and the pain returned in my shoulders, I looked at myself in the mirror and I decided I had to start going back to the gym. I realized: I’m about to have my first child and I want to be able to play sports with him when I’m older. I want to be happy with myself and my appearance, so I decided to make a change.
I started going to

Life Time Flatirons, and soon after got invited to their Life Time 60day Challenge. I really wanted to win, so soon enough I was there five or six days a week, working with my trainer, Nicholas Sharnik. We planned to rotate through mesocycles every few weeks. First, we would start with endurance, then hypertrophy to build muscle, then max strength, and finally power. We structured my diet around macros, making sure I was working at a caloric deficit to lose weight while also getting enough protein to build muscle.
In 60 days, I went from 233 pounds down to 209. I lost three or four pounds of fat a week, while maintaining muscle mass, thanks to my protein intake. Losing those 24 pounds really improved my overall sense of myself. I just felt better, more motivated, and had greater confidence. I’m no longer exhausted all the time. Losing weight and regaining structure helped me with the pain, too; we also did a lot of corrective exercises for my injuries.
People who knew me before and saw my "after" photos didn’t realize it was the same person. I’m eager to see how far I can go with this. I’ve been recovering from an injury, but soon I’ll be back in the gym every day, working with a trainer. I’d like to get to around 230 pounds with 9 percent body fat, instead of 24 percent.
I had to get my excuses out of the way. And then I committed and didn’t give myself an out. Like that saying goes, burn the bridges. After a while, discipline becomes a habit, and you’re not thinking about your excuses anymore. Keep at that day after day, and you’ll see results.

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