Financial adviser Joe Doggett and convenience store executive Brian Hannasch burned calories and lost body fat — more than their friends could.
The pair emerged on top during a 90-day contest among two-dozen Columbus business executives, which determined who could shed the most fat and gain the most muscle as a percentage of their body weight.
The contest, which wrapped up last month, was split into separate 45-day segments.
Hannasch won the first half by gaining 7 percent in muscle and losing 26 percent of the fat content he had been carrying around. Over the full 90 days, Hannasch dropped a total of 37 percent of his fat and gained 10 percent in muscle. That was enough to be declared the overall contest winner.
Doggett brought home the bacon in the final 45 days, though, as he gained nine pounds of muscle mass — roughly a 4 percent improvement — and shed 14 percent of his fat in the stretch run. That was a combined 4 points better than Hannasch managed in the final six and a half weeks.
Overall, Doggett lost 45 pounds of fat in 90 days and gained 13 pounds of muscle, he said. The 6-foot-4-inch former Indiana University football player (a letter winner in 1973-1976) now tips the scales at 253 pounds. Doggett ended up dropping a total of eight inches in his waistband, slimming to a 38-inch waist.
He said the contest with friends has sparked a lifestyle change that he intends to embrace the rest of his days. Doggett, who has weighed as much as 345 pounds as an adult, continues to exercise with a personal trainer six days a week.
“You’ve got to get religious about it and start making the right choices,” Doggett said at 6:30 a.m. one November morning as he worked out with trainer Alexa Zeller in a downtown loft gymnasium.
Doggett said he chose to work with a personal trainer once the fitness contest got rolling in order to have someone who’d light a fire under him.
“No matter how committed you are personally, it’s good to have someone pushing you,” said Doggett, a principal in Joe C. Doggett & Co. financial services. “You need someone to say: ‘Give me five more pushups.’”
In the early days of the contest, Doggett said, he worked with a fitness class at Studio Fit by Nancy, run by Zeller.
“After class that first day, I went home and collapsed on my couch for two hours. I couldn’t move,” Doggett said.
As the weeks passed, however, his endurance and strength improved.
In late November, Doggett had little trouble completing a one-hour workout on a weight machine and using freestanding weights. He went through a series of flexibility and stretching exercises while attached to 48-pound weights — first pulling against the resistance with his left arm and then his right.
“The first 45 days, my goal was to lose weight. Then, I started building muscle,” Doggett said.
Diet also played a big role in how he and other top performers managed to do.
In Doggett’s case, he stopped drinking his routine five 42-ounce sodas per day — which amounted to a huge reduction in sugar consumption. He also gave up mayonnaise on cold turkey.
“I used to be a mayonnaise hound,” he admitted.
And Doggett cut way back on carbohydrates. Instead, he dined on salads, chicken and fresh vegetables, and he routinely drank two gallons of water per day.
That rate of water consumption not only fills a person’s stomach — reducing their desire to over-eat — but it also aids in muscle development during weight training, Zeller said.
Tough workouts on the road
Doggett and Hannasch both travel extensively for work.
Hannasch is chief operating officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Canadian company that bought the Circle K convenience store chain a decade ago.
He travels internationally
In Doggett’s case, he logs as much as 60,000 miles a year behind the wheel of a car, visiting brokers and clients regionally in such cities as Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati.
Travel makes it that much more difficult to eat healthy meals and train. But Doggett said he searches for hotels with first-class exercise facilities when he has to go on overnight or longer business trips. And he consumes healthy snacks while driving that boost his protein intake rather than fill his body with empty calories.
“I drink protein shakes and eat two or three protein bars a day. I stay away from sugar and artificial sweeteners. I avoid butter,” Doggett said. “When you’re a little hungry, you know you’re doing the job.”
Doggett said he never was a big breakfast fan, but now he eats a large breakfast daily that includes oatmeal and eggs most mornings.
“I’ll have a good lunch, probably something like a chicken salad. For dinner I eat a lot of salads,” he said.
Doggett said he sometimes treats himself to fattier foods but lives by this motto: “If it’s bad for you, don’t eat a lot of it.”
Zeller, a 23-year-old fitness pro with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Indiana University, said Doggett has morphed into her best student in exercise classes. He does weight training at least three times a week and cardiovascular workouts another three days.
“In reality, once you start exercising and eating right, you never stop,” Doggett said. “But it’s a lot like quitting smoking. Until you are truly ready, you just don’t do it.”
Following an exercise regimen — and finding time to do it during a busy workday — takes discipline akin to being a college football player who must juggle classes, homework and practices.
“You live your life by fairly rigid time slots,” Doggett said. “You have to be efficient.”
The friendly fitness contest paid dividends for many of the two dozen participants physically, Doggett said. It also paid off financially for charities.
Each of 24 participants had seeded the pot with $100 when the three-month regimen began.
Winners of each 45-day contest segment earned $600 apiece, and Hannasch took home an additional $1,200 grand prize for doing better than anyone else over the full 90 days.
But Doggett and Hannasch didn’t keep the money.
They contributed their winnings to charities. Hannasch said he sent his winnings to the Red Cross for Philippines relief, and Doggett made a contribution in the memory of 25-year-old David Blake Hanger, a Columbus North High School and Butler University alumnus who died from injuries suffered in a car accident in St. Louis recently.
How the contest worked
Getting started: Contestants in the weight-control game first went to the Southern Indiana Orthopedics clinic on North Marr Road to get fat vs. muscle ratings via a medical exam.
The test: They each went through a full body scan using DexaFit, a machine that uses low-dose X-rays to measure a patient’s body composition.
End result: A patient gets a detailed picture of how their fat and muscle mass are distributed. That gives a patient an idea of how much work they have to do to get back into shape.
Source: Southern Indiana Orthopedics clinic