Residence: College Station, TX
Starting Weight: 206 lbs
Current Weight: 180 lbs
Total Pounds Lost: 26 lbs
Starting Body Fat: 17%
Current Body Fat: 8%
When Mike Rogers was a kid, he was always active—but then, as a teen, he stayed inside all day, eating junk and playing video games. By the time he got to Texas A&M, he was a pasty, pudgy college freshman.
For years he struggled to get in shape but wasn’t sure how. “I’d never really learned how to work out for specific goals,” he says.
Finally he found a trainer he felt he’d enjoy working with, who started teaching him the best ways to train. Last January, Rogers entered the 2016 Gold’s Gym Challenge, dropped 26 pounds in 12 weeks—and ended up taking second place in the national contest.
Men’s Fitness: What initially made you want to get fit?
As a teenager, I was living a really unhealthy lifestyle. But then my older brother died—he was working at a wildlife refuge at Texas A&M and got hypothermia and drowned. It was devastating. It made me realize I wanted to change my life.
That’s when I joined the track team and started messing around in the gym.
Men’s Fitness: Did that get you into shape?
Well, by the time I started at Texas A&M, where I go part-time, I was still “skinny-fat.” I was hitting the gym, but I really didn’t know what I was doing.
Men’s Fitness: How did that finally change?
I ended up hooking up with my trainer, Brent Fritsch, after I saw him working out at Gold’s. I finally talked to him, and we’ve been working together ever since. Now I’m even studying kinesiology!
Men’s Fitness: Did he suggest you try the Challenge?
Yes—he thought I could do really well, so he said I should sign up. The contest starts in a local gym, then it goes to the national level.
Men’s Fitness: What changes did you have to make?
Before the Challenge, I was trying to eat healthy—a lot of chicken, vegetables, carbs, and occasional fast food.
But during the Challenge, my diet was very strict: egg whites, chicken, tilapia, asparagus, and a little rice. Six meals a day, no cheat meals.
Men’s Fitness: Did your workout plan change much?
No, it was basically the same—five days of strength training with some conditioning mixed in during the week and on weekends.
Brent and I would do strongman moves or sandbag work outside or hit the treadmill inside. I’d do an upper-body, lower-body split— heavy squats and deadlifts with some Olympic lifts.
Men’s Fitness: What was the toughest part?
Eating right was hard, and the cardio really got me. I did it late every night, so it was tough to get back up to the gym to do it. By the time I’d finished, it would be between 10 and 11:30 p.m.
Men’s Fitness: Did that destroy your social life?
No, I still went out, but it was very time-consuming.
Men’s Fitness: The best part of the entire process?
The last three weeks, when I could really see a difference. Everything I’d worked for was coming together. Then I just wanted to see how far I could take it—how good I could look.
How a pudgy guy aced the Gold’s Gym Challenge