In high school, Tyler Licht, a 19-year-old college student from Mountain Home, Arkansas, played football. His coach thought that, as a lineman, bigger is better-which it is, at the line of scrimmage. And Lichts parents were both great cooks. So throughout his late teen years he slowly packed on pounds, fueled by big meals and lots of sugary soda. The extra weight left him lethargic, with frequent headaches and sickness. At his heaviest he had 312 pounds on his 511 frame. He was 18.

Licht wasnt happy with himself, and as high school ended he resolved to do something. My turning point was when I realized that college was about to start and I really didnt want to be the big guy any more, he says.

Inspired by a , he tackled his diet and started working out. He started counting calories, restricting himself to 1700-1800 a day. I didnt worry too much about what I was eating macro-wise, he says, but cut out drinks with calories and fast food. He hit the gym, with lifting and cardio-his earlier years of football workouts made it easy to get back into the groove. Soon he was lifting 5-6 days a week, and doing cardio 4-5 times a week.

A No-Nonsense Diet Helped This Guy Get Fit
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A No-Nonsense Diet Helped This Guy Get Fit

Now, about 16 months later, hes lost more than 130 pounds. Hes down to 180 pounds, and thanks to a program called The Buff Dudes Cutting Routine. While 180 is a respectable weight for someone whos 511," hes looking to drop another ten pounds, then work on strength and muscle mass.

Already, the response from people around him has been dramatic. Former high school teachers dont recognize him. Girls, he says, are a lot more talkative and casual around me. And hes healthier, too. His headaches are gone; he doesnt have knee pain from carrying all that extra weight. He can climb stairs and generally feels more capable of physical activity.

As for advice about how to follow in his footsteps, Licht says its all about finding some kind of exercise-even something small and simple-that you can really dedicate yourself to doing routinely. My biggest advice for someone starting out is to find an active activity you like doing and immerse yourself in that, he says. Keep at it, and you too will see the gains.