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Low Carb Man Hank Garner Sheds 100 Pounds in Six Months

Hank Garner, the man behind My Low Carb Journey and its excellent podcast, is relatively new to the scene, but man is he ever making less and less of a splash in the low-carb and paleo communities. Sure, he has a great, entertaining and professional podcast where he interviews all the names you know, including yours truly, but I’m not sure that even at the pace he’s gaining in attention and popularity, it’s enough to offset having 100 less pounds at his disposal to "make an impact" and "push his weight around."

OK, enough of the silly metaphors. Let’s hear about Hanks journey which is only a remarkable six months in. But first, here’s where that journey began.

Before Hank
Before Hank

My name is Hank Garner and I am a formerly fat man. I realized some time ago that I had lost control of my life. I was not happy and felt like a failure in so many ways. I was not the husband to my beautiful wife that I wanted to be and I was not the father to my 5 kids that I wanted to be. I felt like I was trapped inside this cocoon and I couldn’t break free.

When I was a young man, I was in pretty good shape, but as life progressed on and the stress and routine of life set it, the weight just packed on. The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the couch at nearly 300 pounds. I had to make a change. I started doing research and through folks like jimmy moore realized that low carb was probably the best way for me to lose the weight. I dropped about 20 pounds, but didn’t really commit to it. I decided in October 2010 that I had to do this thing and get my life back. I weighed in officially at 276 pounds. I was on a mission.

To keep myself accountable I started a blog to "put myself out there". I started sharing my story and my struggles. I used to work in radio and I had the bright Idea that if I started a podcast I would get to talk to some of the best experts in fitness and nutrition. I got to meet and pick the brains of folks like jimmy moore, Ton Naughton, Gary Taubes, Richard Nikoley, Art Devany, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Steve Cooksey and many others.

Along the way I discovered primal/paleo and was able to really dial in my diet and rid myself of the sugar addictions that were holding me back. I switched to eating real food and the weight seemed to be pouring off. I started exercising with a tractor tire, sledge hammer, kettle bell and running sprints. The weight kept pouring off.

April 15th was my 6 month anniversary of starting on this journey. I weighed in at 179 for a total weight loss in 6 months of 97 pounds. Since then I am down 100 pounds. If I can do this, anyone can!

When I started this I was so out of shape that I couldn’t play with my kids for very long, much less run. The more weight I lost, the better I felt. I wanted a challenge. I turn 40 this year and I wanted to prove that I had totally transformed my life. I found a half marathon in my state and signed up for it. I put my money where my mouth was so to speak and started training. The half marathon is in one week and I am ready. I have already hit my distance in training. As soon as the race is over I am going to concentrate on more primal movements and packing on some muscle to fill out the flab that is left over from losing so much weight so quickly.

Thank you, Richard for being a great source of information, inspiration and entertainment.

I call my category that highlights these stories "Real Results" for a reason. There’s so much BS out there — so obviously TV Guide and Parade Magazine ad scammy — and posts like this and so many others, here and at other great paleo, primal & low-carb sites, serve to show you the real thing and that makes it so easy to spot the counterfeit, the scam — particularly when you see what they’re peddling. You don’t fight by shutting them down, you fight by showing them how it’s really done.

Six Month Hank
Six Month Hank

Congratulations to Hank: for getting his life back, for his family getting him back, and for his willingness to put himself out there as an inspiration and source of real information to others.

Know anyone who could use some inspiration? Then share it on Facebook and Twitter using the bottons up top.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

55 Comments

  1. Adam Landry on April 26, 2011 at 10:46

    Congrats! I’ve just started listening to your podcast the other day. Great work all around!

    • Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 10:52

      Thanks, Adam. Glad you like it.

  2. Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 10:46

    Thanks Richard for featuring my story. I hope others realize how easy it really is to get your life back. The only thing stopping you is you.

  3. Rip on April 26, 2011 at 11:13

    Many congratulations!

  4. Ben on April 26, 2011 at 11:18

    Hank, great story! You took control and made the decisions that changed your life. Such a great example of what we ourselves are capable of. Be strong, live hard, live big, eat clean and talk dirty!

    • Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 11:20

      HA! Rock on Ben!

  5. Patrick on April 26, 2011 at 13:03

    That’s insane, Hank! Very well done, sir!

    I hope you provide Richard with an update when you hit the 1-year point. Given what you’ve accomplished so far, one can only imagine where you’ll be in another 6 months! Schooling Erwan Le Corre, no doubt. 😉

  6. timmah on April 26, 2011 at 14:24

    Hank, do you include more fruit/rice/starchy roots while training for the half marathon, or are you fueling up on animal fat?

    • Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 14:27

      I am actually doing an experiment. For the past 2 weeks I have eaten only 20 grams of carbs per day TOTAL. Not net grams. I have eaten mostly animal fat and meat. The half marathon is Saturday. I will run the race and only drink water, no gatorade and continue with 20 grams a day for the next couple of days after the race. I want to prove that you can perform in a ketogenic state without the need for starches. Wish me luck.

      • timmah on April 26, 2011 at 14:42

        Nice. I need the encouragement, I still eat 100+g of carbs from fruit/juices leading up to (and during) “breakthrough” workouts on my bicycle.

        /no more powerbars
        //or gatorade
        ///those leave me feeling all bloaty…



      • Tony on April 26, 2011 at 14:44

        It takes at least 2-3 weeks for people’s bodies to adapt to a ketogenic diet and regain optimal physical performance.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/pmc/articles/PMC524027/?tool=pmcentrez



      • Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 14:47

        I don’t usually eat much more than the 20 grams a day anyway. I haven’t eaten any starches or fruit in 6 months. If anything I am just being more mindful of the actual amount over this time. I have been in ketosis since October.



      • Primal Toad on April 26, 2011 at 15:23

        I wish you luck on your journey Hank!s



      • Tony on April 26, 2011 at 18:40

        I find taking MCT oil and coconut oil in my whey protein shakes at least 30 minutes prior to heavy strength training to boost the amount of ketones in my bloodstream really helps me get through my work out.



      • matthew on April 26, 2011 at 20:26

        Don’t run a marathon drinking just water, unless you want to suffer the fate of the original fellow who ran from the battle of marathon (yes i know its historically inaccurate).

        I hope you have some idea about your salt execretion. I would be very impressed if you didn’t need any electrolytes during the race.

        I recommend green tea with sugar & sweetner free zym tablets. I also recommend having alternate bottle where you can mix in instantized BCAA or carrying a pack of animalpak



      • matthew on April 26, 2011 at 20:28

        Stupid phone meant to say animalnitro.



      • Richard Nikoley on April 26, 2011 at 23:42

        Matthew, Half M. Totally doable without sugar.



      • Hank Garner on April 27, 2011 at 05:03

        I did a run of over 11 miles 2 weeks ago. I live in South Mississippi. It was nearly noon with a temp of 88 and humidity over 90%. I stopped for one water break. I did that run fasted for nearly 24 hours. No sugar, no gatorade and I was just fine.



      • Okkes on April 27, 2011 at 05:10

        I think he was talking about the need to replace electrolytes when you sweat profusely, not sugar / carbs.

        One could use some salt tab in the water you carry with you, or some oral rehydration solution (contains glucose though).



      • Matthew on April 27, 2011 at 06:15

        Apologies, I didn’t see the “half” part and good job on the run. I moved to the west coast to get away from that 90% humidity (org. from VA).

        I agree that a half-marathon is probably doable without electrolytes / sugar (I did a half-ironman before I knew about nutrition). My experience in the half-ironman and when I did the Seattle to Portland bike ride, was having white flakes of dry salt cracking off my shirt.

        If you can find some sort of electrolyte tabs (sugar free) it will help, particularly near the end, but it is not necessary. I’m sure there are people (possibly you) that could run a marathon without any electrolyte replacement. At the same time there are people who develop hyponatremia during 50 mile bike rides. I for one, can’t make it past about 80, even when training consistently for 150 miles rides. I only started carrying stuff other than pure water when I noticed no matter what I did pre-ride I’d get leg-locking cramps at around 80 miles (dangerous when clipped in).



      • J. Stanton on April 27, 2011 at 09:17

        It’s a function of how much water you drink.

        Athletic hyponatremia was very rare before we were bombarded with the advice to “Drink lots of water even when you’re not thirsty! Eight glasses a day, even at rest! IF YOU’RE THIRSTY IT’S TOO LATE!!11!!1! and you’re going to die of dehydration.”

        JS



      • Dana on April 30, 2011 at 17:37

        I know exactly what Hank is talking about. I grew up in the South and my family is from south Louisiana. You can swim through the air in July and August, especially right before a storm.



      • Dave @Healthy Diets and Science on April 30, 2011 at 01:00

        Good luck Hank.

        This study suggests that endurance may actually improve slightly after 4 weeks on a ketogenic diet, although performance may dip at first if not enough time is allowed for the body to adapt.
        http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.com/2010/04/ketogenic-diets-and-performance-in.html



  7. susan on April 26, 2011 at 14:26

    Congratulations Hank!

    You are looking great! I have been trying to get my husband to check out some of these success stories for himself instead of just hearing about them secondhand from me. I am hoping yours will be the one. I look forwarded to checking out your progress in the future. Good life to you and your family!

    Susan

  8. Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 14:31

    Thanks, Susan. If I can help your husband by answering any questions, hit me up with the contact form on my site.

    • susan on April 26, 2011 at 16:00

      Thank you very much Hank!

      I am going to “work” on him.

      Susan

  9. Primal Toad on April 26, 2011 at 15:25

    This is an awesome story. Keep up the great work Hank. You are a large inspiration to millions around the world. Your story needs to be heard – I will help spread it!

    P.S. I have not forgotten about your request to have me on your podcast. I am just super busy and am still working on my plan for the next few months. But, I am getting there! I will tweet you soon about when I am ready!

  10. christina_aurelius on April 26, 2011 at 16:00

    I LOVE these kinds of stories and I am stoked you have a podcast. I have just discovered the glory that is a “podcast” and I will totally be listening to yours. Thanks for sharing your story, I can use all the inspiration I can get!

  11. Chris Sturdy on April 26, 2011 at 16:51

    Looking good, Hank! Keep up the most excellent work!

  12. keithallenlaw on April 26, 2011 at 18:01

    “I think he’s just not flexing in the before shots,” Harley says.

    HA! Having fun with you Hank. Congratulations man! Well done!
    Keep it up and take it all the way. -keith

    • Hank Garner on April 26, 2011 at 18:12

      Actually I got into a bee’s nest for the before pics then I just had to take a lot of benadryl for the afters 😉

      Thanks to everyone for all the kind words.

  13. Bob Connors on April 26, 2011 at 18:39

    You the man, Hank! Looking great. Very inspirational story. Wish you well and continued good results. Come back and let everyone know how the half marathon goes.

  14. Jimmy Moore on April 26, 2011 at 20:36

    Hank, congratulations buddy and keep shining for healthy low-carb living. And Richard, kudos for highlighting stories of real lives being changed for the better.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 26, 2011 at 23:48

      Jimmy, I’d be fearful of your righteous scorn if I did not continue doing just that.

      But really, we all operate so independently and yet seem to converge every now and then. What a mystery. It’s almost like we were onto something.

      • Primal Toad on April 27, 2011 at 02:09

        Ha, you got that right! This community does know something. We “get it.”



  15. deb on April 26, 2011 at 20:43

    Hank, I salute you for getting your body and health back. Being here for our kids is Numero Uno and it does not hurt to look and feel great too 🙂
    Hope to see more updates as you continue to improve your health.
    deb

  16. TJ on April 27, 2011 at 03:51

    Six months, one hundred pounds, and you kept your muscle.

    Awesome…

  17. Sue on April 27, 2011 at 06:05

    Even a marathon with just water is doable…did that in 1984 before all the hype about replacement liquids and gels hit the market (also in 1993 and 1994…in 2003 I did suck on a few hard candies along the way, but I was 50 by then, like that’s any excuse – ha ha) I didn’t break any land speed records, and I was a little sore afterward, but I was in no physical distress. The half marathon should be no problem with just water.

    • rob on April 27, 2011 at 07:41

      I don’t think a long run on just water is a problem at all, the difficulty is doing it when you are starting off in a glucose depleted state … this will accelerate “hitting the wall” … while there is no question that you can keep running indefinitely at that point, it will be a lot harder.

      From the NYT article on Grete Waitz:

      Even in training she had never run more than 13 miles, and the science of the sport was young enough that her dinner the night before the race included shrimp cocktail and filet mignon, hardly the load of carbohydrates that even today’s rankest amateurs know to consume. As she recalled in later interviews, the last 10 miles of the race were agony, and she was so angry at her husband that when she crossed the finish line, she tore off her shoes and flung them at him.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/sports/othersports/20waitz.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=marathon&st=cse

      I wouldn’t want to try a very long run after having consumed only 20g of carbs the day before because it is going to turn the run into an ordeal. Given the amount of energy you are going to burn in a half marathon I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t eat at least a couple of hundred grams of carbs the night before.

      • Al on April 27, 2011 at 23:49

        Rob,

        That is clearly more than a case of under-trained rather than under-fueled. Of course the last ten miles were agony, she hadn’t run more than a mile in competition – ever. She was a track athlete.

        “Hitting the wall” is a carb-addict’s term.

        Adding bullshit misinterpretations to the conversation just to make a post helps no one, and confuses the rookies.

        Thanks anyway.

        -Al



      • Joseph on April 28, 2011 at 08:58

        Back when I was (even more of) a carb junkie, I remember “hitting the wall” when I would fast for 24 hours once a month (for religious reasons). Now I can go that long without even thinking about it. What is more, I can do really hard physical work at any point (full or fasted); back in my junkie days, fasting made me tired, and feeding made me sluggish. (I would spend a good deal of my fasting time sitting listlessly or sleeping. After eating, I wanted to sit or nap again rather than go out and grapple or move tree trunks.)



      • rob on April 28, 2011 at 13:30

        Al,

        Clearly you know nothing about endurance sports, so you can shove it up your ass.

        I doubt you have ever run or ridden a bike past the end of your driveway.



      • Al on April 28, 2011 at 23:39

        Rob,

        Most clearly you don’t know my background and history. Maybe you’re new here, or its hit and miss when I post – fair enough.

        My comment still stands.

        -Al



      • Al on April 28, 2011 at 23:44

        You know what, Rob – that was my fault.

        Instead of saying “bullshit misinterpretations”, I should have said “skewed notions”. Performing without/low carbs is a different animal altogether.

        And… you wouldn’t have accumulated so much sand in your pussy that you failed to notice this, and instead lunged back at me with swearing in response without thinking things through.

        -Al



  18. martin on April 27, 2011 at 08:54

    Congratulations on a fantastic achievement. One question, are there any issues of loose skin? Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hank Garner on April 27, 2011 at 08:59

      Martin, yes I do have some loose skin around the middle. We will see if that tightens up in the next few months…..

  19. J. Stanton - gnolls.org on April 27, 2011 at 12:57

    Hank:

    Most before and after photos give me the reaction “Yeah, he looks a lot better”, but yours look like two completely different people. It’s amazing that the fat guy in those pictures simply doesn’t exist anymore.

    Congratulations on losing an entire ballerina worth of weight!

    JS

    • Hank Garner on April 27, 2011 at 13:01

      Thanks so much. I feel like a totally different person!

  20. Tony on April 27, 2011 at 17:39

    Contrast Hank Garner’s story and his before and after photos with those of Harout’s story. Only someone truly deluded will think the latter is getting better with his diet.

  21. Walter on April 28, 2011 at 00:58

    Hank, I enjoyed your podcast interview with Richard and want to congratulate you on your improved health. Good luck with all your future endeavors.

  22. ulfr on April 29, 2011 at 12:57

    Hank, I really enjoyed your story. You are a real inspiration to anybody at any level of fitness. If you can do what you have done, there are just no excuses. We talk a lot about the human body here, but you are also a prime example of the potential of the human mind. I’ll be checking out your podcast regularly. Best to you!

  23. Hank Garner on May 1, 2011 at 18:41

    I added a blog post with some initial thoughts about the race yesterday. It will take me a couple of days to get out all my thoughts on it, but here is the first. http://mylowcarbjourney.com/2011/05/thoughts-about-my-first-half-marathon/

    Thanks for all the encouragement!

  24. Paleo Josh on May 17, 2011 at 15:51

    Amazing how cutting out simple carbs can result in losing 100 lbs.

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