Going the distance with Michael Dunn.
A juicers journey to losing 90+lbs
Hello! Today I am sitting down with Michael Dunn, who after losing over 90lbs has gone on to complete his first 1/2 Iron distance triathlon (70.3 miles). Michael is a single dad of two beautiful girls and participates in numerous races all year long. His journey is nothing short of amazing and I am fortunate enough to get the inside scoop!
Here is my interview with Michael
Me: So Micheal, tell us when your journey began?
MD: August 2011 after watching my father complete Pikes Peak Ascent which is the half marathon I thought it would be cool to run that race with him the following year. I was 90 pounds heavier than I am today and had absolutely NO running base. I could barely run from home plate to 1st base on the softball field. I wanted to get back in shape and just live a healthier life style and be a good role model to my daughters. My Dad and I decided to run the full marathon the following year which meant I had to run a full marathon elsewhere to qualify for pikes peak by March 1, 2012. That only gave me about 28 weeks to train and be able to complete a marathon THEN still go on to participate in pikes peak marathon after. Boy did I have my work cut out for me…..
This is where it all started. This was me (on the right) back in 2011..
Me: Do you feel like it was more diet or exercise that contributed to your weight loss?
MD: For the first few months I thought it was all exercise but later on learned that it is all about diet. You can exercise all you want but it you are not eating right you wont see the results you are looking for
Me: How many Races have you completed since changing your lifestyle in August of 2011?
MD: Hmmm let see. I have never counted them! Triathlons-I have done two, 1/2 iron distance (70.3 miles), 1 olympic distance and a number of sprint distance. Running-I have done 7 marathons, 12 half marathons and a number 10ks & 5ks
This was at the finish line of my first marathon.
Me: What has been your most challenging race you have ran in?
MD: Haha they are ALL challenging!! :) 5k-70.3 I never take any of them lightly. Pikes peak marathon is a tough race though. It climbs 8,000 feet and gets up 14,115 foot of elevation. Thats is twice the elevation gain as the La Luz trail on Sandia mountain as the Sandias “only” gain about 4,000 feet. Last year I did what is called the Pikes Peak Doubler. Its the half marathon Saturday and the full Marathon Sunday. You run to the top of pikes peak saturday and run to the top then turn around and run back down on sunday. That was a tough weekend! FUN but tough! :)
Me: I always see your posts about running, how many miles a week do you usually run?
MD: Oh my…. right now I am running about 35-40 miles per week
Me: Besides running, do you do any other kind of exercising?
MD: I am doing a lot of biking and swimming right now but I do like doing kettle bells, yoga and TONS of foam rolling! haha
Me: Let talk about your diet, I know you said when you first started running you dropped some weight and then plateaued. What did you start doing to overcome that, and accomplish losing 90+lbs?
MD: Juicing and paleo!! Back when all of this started I changed my eating habits and started running. Within the first few months I dropped about 35 pounds and pretty much floated around there for about 2 years. For that 2 years went on a marathon and half marathon spree and kept running as many as i could. 4-5 full marathons during that time and 8 or so half marathons. I was still eating healthy (some what LOL) and running 40-45 miles per week with a couple times going over 50! I was getting plenty of exercise but was still not losing any more weight. February 2014 I ran Sedona marathon. I weighed 225 that day. I trained really hard to hit my time goal and just didn't get there. I was really bummed and knew i still needed to lose more weight and really focus on my diet if i was going to do so. The day after I got back I decided to try a 3 day juicing cleanse to jump start a change! I didn't know what specifically what my change was going to be but I had 3 days to come up with a plan to follow thru with once the cleans was over! I had been juicing randomly for about a year so i had a little experience with it but was never consistent with it. Honestly, I dreaded going 3 days with only drinking ALL day long and have a salad at night. I didn't think i could do it! I went to farmers market and bought everything needed for the 3 days and went on to do it. I was hooked by day 3 and knew what my change was going to be! From the day on I kept it up! I now juice all day every day :)
Me: So you juice a lot! How many juices would you say you have each day?
MD: yeah, I guess you could say that!! :) I drink 3 or 4 32oz mason jars of juice every day
Me: What is your favorite juice recipe?
MD: There are so many good recipes out there but I have 2 favorites right now:
1. 2 pears, 1 cucumber, 1/2 lemon and some kale
2. 3 carrots, 2 apples and a little ginger
When I make these I normally make these in batches of 5-8 though so multiply the above recipes by 5-8, make a big pitcher then separate them all out in to mason jars. I LOVE pears!! I also love recipes with pineapples, berries & melons but with the amount I consume I try to stay away from that many sugars.
Me: And tell us, which juicer do you use and do you like it?
MD: I have a stainless steel Jack Lalanne which works great! It has a big chute where most fruit fits in it with out needing to be cut up. Thats a must for me at my volume! Although I LOVE this juicer I am currently looking to getting another juicer. Masticating juicers process at much lower speeds and tend to get more juice out of "leafy" veggies along with many other benefits. Stay tuned for my selection!! :)
Me: What are your personal pro’s and con’s of juicing?
MD: Pro’s- 1. its healthy 2. I lost a lot of weight 3.I don’t feel bogged down and sluggish 3.My entire day worth of meals(except dinner) are prepared 2-3 days in advance so it saves time. 4.I have a TON of energy! 5.I get all the vitamins and minerals + some :)
Con’s-I dont really see any Cons to doing it except for maybe the process. I go to the farmers market 2 times per week because i can only fit 3 days or so of produce in my fridge. I go thru about 40-60 pounds per week. Twice a week i spend 30-45 minutes juicing the next 2-3 days worth of juice. I am use to it now and its totally worth it though
Me: When you’re not juicing, what do you eat?
MD: During the day if i get really hungry or i need more energy for training i will eat avocados or hard boiled eggs. At night i eat chicken, beef or fish along with salads. I juice during the day and paleo at night.
Me: Do you ever cheat? And if so, what is your favorite cheat meal?
MD: Haha sometimes shhhh!! :) I have a major sweet tooth so once in a while i have a sweet treat! As far as cheat meals I try to only have 1 a week at most. pizza, cheeseburgers yum!!
Me: You look great! Do you feel good?
MD: Thanks, Ashley! Yes I feel great!! My energy level is thru the roof now!! Going from a size 40 in some pants now down to a size 32 tends to boost your confidence a bit!! ;)
Me: Now, I know you’re a single dad of 2. How do you find the time to workout and eat healthy?
MD: I have no idea!! Lol! it is certainly tricky to balance work, kids, training all while still trying to stay healthy and avoid comfort foods :)
Me: How do you stay so disciplined?
MD: It's much easier now than it was in the beginning. One big thing is trying to set a good example for my daughters and raise them up to not be where I was three years ago. It's a life style for me (us) now. This is not temporary. I never want to be out of shape again nor do I want my daughters that way either. It's a mindset. Everyday I strive to stay healthy and active. Getting over the change the first few weeks was tough but once you change your routine and mindset it's easy.
Me: Losing & maintaining is far from easy, do you ever feel like giving up?
MD: Everyday! Haha Just kidding :) There are days that I just don't care and I fall off the wagon but not too often.
Me: What motivates you to keep going?
MD: My daughters! Ashley did her first tri just a few weeks ago and Haylei is well on her way to doing her first as well! They want to follow their Dad and do these together which is so fun! I also feed on my friends, family and other people who have followed my story and have encouraged me this entire way! I LOVE hearing of all the people that say that I have given them the hope, courage and motivation to make a healthy lifestyle change as well!
Me: I know you’re training for an Iron Man. What goals/ plans do you have for the future?
MD: Yes, I am currently training for Ironman AZ 140.6 miles on November 16, 2014. I'm not sure what I will do after that. I love the sport and will continue to do them as long as my body will let me! Who knows, maybe I will find a special lady friend to do these with me!! ;)
Me: What is your message to those who might be in same place you were 3 years ago who are intimated to start their journey?
MD: Don't be scared. Go out of your comfort zone. Set a goal and just do it.
You will feel amazing!
You can follow Michael on Instagram and Twitter at abqdunn.
Thank you Michael for sharing your story with us! Looking forward to hearing from you again. Wishing you all the best of luck in every aspect of life! We know you will do amazing things!