At his heaviest, Dan Witmer weighed 260 pounds — which was helpful when he was playing football. But once it became apparent he wouldn’t be going pro, he resolved to get lean.
“Once I decided, OK this weight is no longer beneficial to me because I’m not playing football, I started to have issues losing it,” he says in a video on the Jump Rope Dudes YouTube channel. “I’ve always had an incredible appetite my whole life, I’ve always been the person that eats more than his friends, so having a lean body and a six-pack, I thought that was just something that my body was not able to have.”
Dan kept up the running and lifting that he had been doing as part of his football training, and dropped to around 230 pounds, but then he plateaued. “I was eating somewhat healthy food, but I had no concept of calories and macronutrients,” he says.
When he started to educate himself about nutrition and started working out with a jump rope, he began to see some bigger changes.
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“Yes, jumping rope was helping, but the reason it helped so much, and the reason I was able to lose a bunch of weight, was because I was having fun doing it,” he says. “I was doing it all the time, and burning more calories than I did running, because I used to dread running, and didn’t really do it that much or to my maximum intensity.”
Dan dropped down to 190 pounds, and has been able to maintain that over the last few years, keeping his weight between 185 and 195 pounds, with a body fat percentage of 9 to 11.
“Jumping rope is a very good muscular workout, it’s an amazing workout for shedding body fat, but if you want to maintain that lean, athletic physique, it’s important to work your muscles through resistance training,” he says. Dan achieves this through bodyweight exercises such as pushups, pullups and squats 2 to 3 times a week, in addition to weight-lifting once or twice a week. All of this is in top of jumping rope for at least 30 minutes every day.
He also follows the tried-and-true basics, including making sure to drink plenty of water and getting at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night, and meditates to maximize his focus. “All of these things help with your ability to lose weight, because if you’re stressed out, you’re not sleeping, you’re not getting enough water, your cortisol levels are going to be through the roof, and that’s one of the main hormones involved in helping you lose weight.”
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