My name is Captain Matt Webber and I love to fish. I also love to eat. I very much enjoy an adult beverage or two as well. One of the things I don’t enjoy anymore is exercising. After I left the Air Force, I vowed that I was never going to run again, being as how my shins and knees would ache something bad after every episode of early morning PT. One of the things that I came to realize after I turned 30 was the dreaded slowdown of my metabolism. Gone were the days of being able to eat and drink whatever I wanted without consequence. Mother Nature caught up to me in a big way.

The Downhill Slide

Now, I’m not a small dude to begin with. I’m 6’2” tall and when I got out of the service, I was about 200 pounds. I had just gotten a job as a facility manager for a hospital which meant I wasn’t doing a great deal of physical labor. In turn, I wasn’t burning many calories to compensate for my food and beer intake. Long story short, I started putting on weight.

Fast forward several hospital Director of Engineering jobs and many, many cold beers later and there was a BIG difference between the man I had been and the Big Ole Boy I’d come to be. I had one of those beer bellies that dudes my age bragged about. It was hard to breathe when bent over and I was heavy. 270 pounds heavy to be exact. My belly was Huge! I wasn’t ashamed about it because I don’t give a flying flip what people think about me. What bothered me was the fact that I could only put one shoe on at a time because I couldn’t bend over long enough to put both shoes on without running out of breath. That was so embarrassing and shameful to me that I wanted to do something about it.

Fall 2018: Little Bass, Biiiiiiiiiig Belly

Wanting to do something about it and wanting to win the lottery are both equal in their effectiveness. As we hear so often these days, hope is not a strategy. I wanted to diet and I wanted to make a change but I wasn’t sure what I needed to do. Well, let’s be honest, I didn’t want to make the lifestyle changes that were necessary to bring about the results I desired. I was embarrassed but not enough to change. I am the type of person that needs to self-motivate or it’s just not going to happen. I usually have to get mad, and once that happens its game on.

An End to the Rocky Road

My journey to getting mad about my physique started when I went to work for Garmin International as a sales associate in one of their two retail stores Located in South Florida. Not too many people are aware that Garmin sells fitness devices as well as Automotive, Marine and other equipment. All of the sales associates on the floor were encouraged to wear and use the products we were selling. Within my first several weeks of working on the floor, I was able to pick up a Fenix 5X plus and the Index Smart Scale. Coupled with the Garmin Connect App, this hat trick of capability turned out to be a winning combination to get my head straight and see just how out of shape I had become.

After several weeks of using my watch and weighing myself on my scale, I came to realize that I was extremely overweight for my age bracket and my height. My fitness age was listed as three decades older than my true age. On top of that, I was able to see what my caloric burn was for my sedentary lifestyle and I had a clearer understanding of why my belly wasn’t getting any smaller. I was a fatty. There is no other way to describe it, as it was the truth. Heavy meals, late-night snacking, and too many sugary treats—and let’s not forget about the beer—are not a recipe for success unless you are on a training regime similar to that of an NFL Lineman. I was not on such a regime. I got mad at the heavy hitter I had become. I had reached a tipping point and wanted to make a change.

Stepping it Up

The guys at work started a voluntary step challenge and I decided to give it a go. The challenges were several weeks in length and I participated in three of them. My wife and I would go walking every night after work for a couple of hours and I would rack up 12k to 16k steps every evening. I was doing very well and ended up in third or second place for each of the week long challenges. I noticed that I was actually losing a few pounds as a result, however it was a relatively small amount of weight considering the amount of time it takes to walk three or four miles in an evening. The other drawback of walking is that it doesn’t get your heart rate up. There really isn’t a great cardio benefit to walking and I needed a better ROI for my time spent working out.

Garmin is the kind of company that likes to have healthy and fit employees. They have a program to cover gym costs within a certain reasonable limit. I took advantage of their offer and joined the gym nearest my house. I wanted to start working out on a regular basis. After several discussions with my wife, we settled on dedicating 30 minutes of time after work on the elliptical for several weeks to see what would happen. I set up my target weight goal on my Garmin Connect App and for the next several weeks we went to the gym almost daily. After several weeks of going to the gym and keeping strict eye on my calories, the weight started to fall off. Before I knew it, I was down to 255 and I was very pleased with the results. I was seeing my resting heart rate getting better, and I could touch my toes without losing my breath.

Despite that early success, I don’t like the gym. There, I said it. I hate the gym. I wanted to do something else even though I was seeing good gains. I wanted to spend my time doing something less tedious than pumping away on a machine and not going anywhere. I wanted to spend my time a little better. One of the other factors is that my wife was inundated with work obligations and we really struggled to match our schedules to get to the gym together.  That had a profound effect on my desire to want to be there. If she’s not there, I’m not there. I was going to have to change my game up a bit and find a different way to work out.

Casting for a Better Solution

My brother, Joe, called me up out of the blue one day and told me he was getting a new kayak to replace his older, well-used vessel. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. If I would pay for shipping, I could have his old Kayak. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. The Kayak he sent me is a Hobie Pro Angler 14, which is pedal driven. This device solved my hating the gym problem and my needing to exercise problem. I have used this kayak to great effect as seen in this snakehead hunting video:

I am able to launch this vessel in just about any location whether there is a boat ramp or not, and fish as long as the weather is good. The kayak is truck-portable and you can even stand up on it. This is a game changer for me as it allowed for me to combine something that I love with something that I hate and the end result is a weight-loss strategy that has had a profound effect on my life. I love taking my kayak out on fishing trips for freshwater or saltwater excursions and I have caught some of my personal best fish on these fitness excursions.

Fit Fishing

There are three ways I like to incorporate weight loss into my fishing activities. In all three instances, I do my research on Google Maps or just paying attention in my travels to identify areas where I can launch or walk the shoreline. Here in South Florida, we have hundreds of miles of walkable paths that are open to the fishing public. I target specific areas and make a plan to fish them for several hours with weight loss and fishing in mind. I will walk the banks, ride a bike to get to the harder to reach areas, or will drop that kayak in and take miles-long adventures. This strategy has been both therapeutic as well as beneficial for my overall health. Today, I am down to 230 LBS and trending downward with a goal weight of 210. Fishing as it turns out just may save my life.

Spring 2020: Biiiiiiiig bass, smaller belly!

I hope you may find some inspiration in this article and please feel free to email me if you have any questions at matthew.b.webber@gmail.com