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Dead Man Walking
Weeks 9-12
By Bill E. Branscum   ©2001

In 1997, a middle aged, fat guy named Porter Freeman competed in the BfL Challenge and tied with several others for first place. As it turns out four years later, his success was a big event for me. Although I never heard of him until a few months ago, his efforts in 1997 changed my life.

When I set out to research weight loss programs, I immediately liked Bill Phillips' book, Body-for-LIFE. I thought it straightforward, frank and honest. On the other hand, being almost forty-five years old, morbidly obese, and in utterly pitiful shape, I cannot say that Bill Phillips, a young "Greek God" looking guy, was someone with whom I could identify. The "closer" in this deal for me was his human "Success Story" and prodigy, Porter Freeman.

I wrote most of the first article in this series before ever heard of him, but anyone reading it would think I plagarized Porter Freeman's words. Two months ago, I was as fat and "over the hill" as he was when he decided to live again, and I guess we pretty much saw things the same way.

When we watched the BfL videos, the kids and I "connected" with him and what he had to say. Whereas Bill Phillips makes a great case that this sort of thing can be done and that incredible personal transformations are possible, it was Porter Freeman, his personal situation, his credibility, and his example, that convinced us that we could do it to me.

Here is the result of the 12 weeks it took for my little crew to transform me into Porter's new free man.

September 24, 2001 to December 17, 2001
12 Weeks
Twelve weeks of hard work, and $514 worth of EAS Supplements later - what you see is what we got. Diet and self discipline, augmented by supplements was the key. BetaLeanHP, Creatine, HMB and Myoplex - the whole thing came packed in a couple of boxes. I have had months where I spent more on beer and pizza than this cost me.

When we started out to do this, I weighed 210 pounds; the body fat calipers revealed that 71.6 pounds of that (34.1%) was fat. Today, I weigh 168 pounds; the body fat calipers indicate that 9.8% of that (15.5 pounds) is fat. I have lost 56.1 pounds of fat and gained almost 15 pounds of muscle. Some folks seem to think I look a little better these days.

I realize that I am not "picture perfect" and I know that neither Muscle Media, nor any other body builder mag, is going to come beat down my door to take pictures of me. I didn't set out to do that; an obese, middle-aged guy cannot do that in 12 weeks.

I didn't hope to look perfect, I just wanted to look better and I hoped to become someone that could take their kids to the beach without being embarassed to wear a bathing suit. Muscle mags may not be offering me big money for my pictures, but my children are certainly spending a lot more time at the beach, pool and waterpark these days.

The blood pressure readings are equally satisfying to me. People with the kind of blood pressure I started with don't live very long - there's a very real risk that goes with those numbers. My current blood pressure is incredibly good for a man my age, or any age for that matter.

In all honesty, I would not recommend that people in the condition I was in set out to do this the way the kids and I did. I don't want to make it sound harder than it was; the fact is, it was harder than I could begin to describe it! If you are in the shape I was in, you risk killing yourself if you try to lose sixty pounds in 12 weeks - there were times in the first two weeks when I truly thought I might have.

Now, the kids and I laugh about them nearly calling the paramedics but, at the time, it wasn't funny. I think what we did was pretty successful, but I know it was not smart.

It seems to me that the better course would be the approach used by Porter Freeman, but I had already committed to my Challenge before I knew how he approached his. He was a middle aged fat guy that used his head, I suggest that you do too. Killing yourself is not a victory.

If you are at the age, and in the condition he and I were in, you really should do as he did and prepare for your Challenge by losing some weight beforehand and getting your body accustomed to the workout regimen.

As I write this, I know we won this "Challenge." No matter who the BFL people ultimately select as their winners, look at these children, imagine how much more I can do with them in the shape I am in now, and estimate how much longer I'll be around to do it. What do you suppose that's worth?

While you're looking at the children, look at the weigh-in pictures below and notice they didn't change a bit. In seeing this particular picture, I thought it the best "evidence" anyone could ever produce demonstrating how fast this transformation can take place.

In the first Dead Man Walking article, I lamented the passing of the "good old days" when I was a young, aggressive federal law enforcement officer, in great shape. I don't expect to be chasing the bad guys and running around with machine guns anymore; although I'm older and my role in life has changed, my life is more demanding now than it ever was and some things don't seem to have changed that much in fifteen years!.

This morning, the guy pushing the plates around in my home gym was a lot more muscular version of the "old me" that I got separated from a long time ago. It's really, wonderfully good to be back.



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