How I Got This Body: Waking Up at 4:30 to Work Out, Tracking Calories, and Meeting the Love of My Life

How I Got This Body: Waking Up at 4:30 to Work Out, Tracking Calories, and Meeting the Love of My Life
All images courtesy Jason Kessler.

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com.

Who I am: Jason Kessler, 45, consultant from U Street

Why I wanted to make a change: “I had almost everything.  Amazing job, lots of spectacular travel, and great friends.  Unfortunately, a shift in my metabolism without a shift in diet caused me to put on unwanted weight more quickly than I even knew was possible.  My energy slowed, my capacity seemed diminished, and I couldn’t relate to my younger athletic self. I needed help.  Fortunately, [personal trainer] Errick McAdams was just down the street. I had to get up at 4:30 AM because he was booked solid and 5 AM was the only slot available, but I was committed to making a change.”

My workout plan: “I was working out with Errick three to four times per week for an hour. We would do a warm up and he would mix in a different kind of circuit each day. Lots of weights and cardio.  He would also mix in boxing and runs. It was awesome! I was supplementing that with 30 to 45 minutes of cardio on my own two to three times per week for a total of at least six days per week.”

As my exterior changed, my interior followed, and I was able to attract my soulmate.

Kessler with his wife Anne.

My healthy eating plan: “I started tracking my calories. I used an app he suggested and it was super fun to see the impact certain foods could make and how a simple 30 to 45 minutes of cardio could offset those cookies I loved. It was also great to set a goal for weight loss and see those goals exceeded with some simple tracking, dedication, and support.  I cut back on my carbs as they contributed more calories than I was willing to eat during a day. Watermelon became my best friend!”

How I changed: “I initially dropped about 20 pounds and then put back on five in new muscle, so it was a total swing of 15 pounds, but with a really different body shape and tone. My resting heart rate dropped about ten beats on average. Most importantly, my change involved finding true love.  As my exterior changed, my interior followed, and I was able to attract my soulmate. It may sound corny, but I’m convinced that the process I began with Errick helped me into my amazing life with my wife Anne.”

Something surprising: “I’m amazed at how quickly you can lose some initial weight and then how much harder it can be to get past that plateau.  I’m also amazed at all the benefits that come from getting more fit.  Higher energy capacity, greater productivity, and most importantly, true love!”

One piece of advice: “Change is possible. It is happening anyway. But we can be in control of it and it can really be supported through tools, and a coach, partner, or trainer.  Most people, myself included, don’t have the discipline to do it on our own, so getting that accountability is important. Also, an awesome trainer like Errick made all the difference for me.”

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Want to share your transformation story? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com with details. 

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.