Key 3: Challenge Yourself
Although Atwater had occasionally exercised before, regular workouts were difficult at first. So he started with basic body-weight exercises, such as pushups, pullups, and squats. Then, to add challenge and variety to his routine, he began to incorporate weights. (Video: Improve your pushup with this simple trick)
"Pushing yourself further safely each time you're in the gym challenges your mind and muscles by never allowing them to adapt and become complacent," says Belly Off! trainer David Jack. If a workout seems too easy, mix it up the next time.
Key 4: Prevent Workout Boredom
Atwater eventually added single-leg, straight-leg deadlifts and spiderman pushups to his regimen. These workouts helped him improve his muscle endurance for another fitness quest: The 2011 Boston Marathon, which he ran as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team in support of cancer research.
"I finished the race," he says. "A feat, considering a 5-K—let alone 26.2 miles—was tough when I was at my heaviest."
Find out how to run off 10, 20, 30 pounds or more!