A Little Competition Among Friends is Good For Everyone

Marshall Whittey loves competition. So when he noticed his business suits getting tight around the waist, the 41-year-old vowed to use his competitive nature to make a positive change in his life.

"I organized a fitness competition with nine of my fellow type-A male friends in California, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia and England," Marshall says. "Nothing motivates men more than competition, good-natured trash talking and the potential to make a little bit of money."

Each person kicked in $200 to enter and the winner would be whoever lost the most body fat and gained the most muscle mass over 6 months. Marshall also added a fitness component where each competitor would be tested against the U.S. Army 2015 Fitness Standards for their age group, including how many sit ups and pushups each could do in 2 minutes and their time in a 2-mile run. The winner would receive the money and enjoy a night out paid for by the rest of the group.       

To establish a baseline, each competitor visited a DexaFit center for a DXA scan that measured their exact percentage of body fat and muscle mass. When DexaFit staff learned about the friendly competition, the company also contributed $200 to the winner's pool.

"The initial scans were big wake-up calls for all of us," Marshall says. "I weighed 177 pounds and 29 percent of that—or about 50 pounds—was nothing but fat. I'm five-foot-six on a good day and was shocked my fat percentage was that high. But the scan helped get my mind right by showing me the truth. I could no longer fool myself—I needed get into better shape.

"I think age 40 is when you decide what the rest of your life is going to be," he adds. "You're either going to start getting that beer belly, if you don't have it already, or you're going to draw a line in the sand. I drew that line and said, 'Let's get healthy and become the person you really want to be."  

Newly motivated and determined to win the competition, Marshall improved his diet and began lifting weights—high repetitions/low weight one week, low repetitions/high weight the next. Six months later he visited DexaFit to track his progress with another DXA scan.

"My overall weight dropped to 166 pounds, including losing 16.3 pounds of fat and cutting my body fat percentage to 20.8 percent—a drop of almost 9 points," he says. "I also added 6.2 pounds of lean mass, contributing to a total of 127 pounds."  

Despite his impressive results, Marshall placed third in the competition.

"It was close, but my friend Joe came out of nowhere to win," he says. "But I'm glad everyone lost weight and got healthier. I feel great and now fit into a suit I bought when I was 23 years old—and I'll be 42 in a few months.

"I'll probably get another scan around my birthday," Marshall adds. "It's not only a great measurement tool but a great way to stay motivated. I'm glad I didn't accept myself as someone who is lazy, out of shape and makes excuses. There's no hiding with DexaFit."