I recently had a conversation over a crisp Budweiser and it meandered into the topic of weight. My friend jokingly coined the term New York 25 that night, a phenomenon just as sneaky as the Freshman 15 but one that, unlike in college, I did not avoid.
For context, I have been living in New York City for the last 10 months, and while I have always been “big-boned” I started to notice my weight a little more a few months into living here, so I began to ponder what was different about my move to the city compared to my move for college. In theory, I was doing the same thing I did in college: eating like shit, working way too hard, and staying out too late.
While this may sound stupid, I realized that one big change in my life was that I’m not skateboarding nearly as much as I was when I was 18. I used to skate every day, and now I’m lucky if I skate once or twice every few weeks. I’m not naive and I understand this is all a part of growing up, but it is definitely a change in the amount of physical activity I am getting and is probably a factor in the weight gain I’ve experienced. That being said, I was left with a question.
If I consistently skateboarded again, would I start to shed some weight?
DO BACKGROUND RESEARCH
While I wish there was a “Jared from Subway” story out there (pre-child molestation) from the skateboarding world to draw inspiration from for my weight loss experiment, I came up empty-handed. There was no “Do 100 Kickflips a Day for 100 Days and Lose 100 Pounds” story out there.
What I did find while conducting “research” was a complete guide to losing weight through skateboarding, ironing out details like the max weight for a skateboarder (275 lbs.) and a seemingly confident claim that skateboarding will burn “belly fat.” The article ended with the 10 best skateboards to lose weight, and at that point, I figured it was just a ploy to sell me a Sector Nine cruiser.
The most exciting article I found was a GQ India piece on the topic. Not only did the article include a stock photo of a ripping young lad, but it also had a video set to surf rock of a man in a suit mall grabbing a Wet Willy and Flameboy board. It was for these reasons amongst others I knew I could trust the information in the article.
What I learned was 60 minutes of skateboarding could burn anywhere from 300 to 500 calories. At this point, I felt comfortable in the science, and the possibility of having a body transformation through skateboarding was looking more and more realistic.
CONSTRUCT A HYPOTHESIS
I was a C student in college, and I credit Chemistry and Physics for booting me from my pre-med track into the College of Journalism. I think these are two necessary facts to know about me before I make a wildly unprofessional hypothesis, which is as follows:
“It is hypothesized that skateboarding for 20 days within the timespan of a month, while keeping all other aspects of my life the same, will result in the loss of a few pounds and a banging summer bod.”
TEST WITH EXPERIMENTS
Being an extremely social skater, there are just as many days that I go to the skatepark to hang out as there are that include actual skating. It was for this reason we cooked up an unconventional workout plan to make sure I stay “focused.”
Frontside Day – all grinds and slides frontside
10 front 50 reps
10 front 5-0 reps
5 front tail reps
5 front nosegrind reps
Choice: 2 front smiths (or any harder frontside trick)
Backside Day – all grinds and slides backside
10 back 50 reps
10 back 5-0 reps
10 back noseslides
5 back nosegrind reps
Choice: 2 back smiths, 2 back tails, or 2 crooks
Manny Pad/ Balance Day
10 regular manuals
10 nose manuals
5 half cab manuals
1 more advanced manual
Pop over higher and higher obstacles
Flatground Free Day
40 tricks of choice (can be repeated)
Bonus: challenge someone to a game of SKATE
ANALYZE DATA AND DRAW CONCLUSIONS
There weren’t many specific markers for progress within this challenge, but I noticed some things during the month that should help communicate “data.”
First, I went through three boards during the month, and while this may sound normal to the average Blue Park soldier, I was previously skating the same board for six months.
Another marker of progress was how my clothes were fitting. I, similar to the rest of the skate community, love Polar Big Boys, and the XL size was feeling a little looser on my waist towards the end of the challenge. This may just be a placebo, or the fact that I stopped drying my clothes on high heat, but it’s something I noticed nonetheless.
If you weren’t following along on our IG updates, here are the official week-by-week weigh-ins:
First Week- 233 lbs.
Second Week- 234.2 lbs.
Third Week- 231.6 lbs.
Fourth Week- 230 lbs.
Overall, my physicality did not change by leaps and bounds, but my skateboarding improved tremendously. I felt really confident on my board towards the end, and tricks I hadn’t done in a long time began to return to me.
I was also reminded why I skateboard in the first place. Being outside for an hour a day helped my mental clarity, and while it was a challenge filming tricks, I enjoyed turning my brain off of all the other things I’m constantly thinking about.
Here’s what we’ve all been waiting for.
I lost three pounds.
This may not sound tremendous, and I basically look the same as when I started the challenge, but it’s something. Some of you will say you lose more weight taking shits, and to be honest that statement makes me a little more worried about you than it does me. I’ve never been judged by thousands of people online specifically about my weight, and in true Jenkem fashion I was not disappointed by the comments, but you guys forgot the main point of this challenge.
The whole point was to only add skateboarding back into my life in a consistent way. This means I continued to eat like shit and drink copious amounts of Budweiser. We got a lot of suggestions about dieting and cutting out certain aspects of my life that are unhealthy, but then why are we here? We all know eating healthy and drinking less helps you lose weight.
I have always been surrounded by rail-thin skateboarders who eat worse than I do, drink more than I do and continue to keep their belts latched on the tightest hole. This is why the experiment interested me in the first place, to see if skateboarding is a valid means to lose weight. I think it can be, and while this may look like a failed experiment, skateboarding has been and always will be a good way to stay active in lieu of spending your day with meatheads in the gym.
If nothing else, I hope this experiment got some of my fellow big-boy skateboarders to the park, and it was fun hearing all of you PhD holding at-home scientists hypothesizing what would happen and making suggestions about what I should do differently.
If you want to adhere to my workout plan, feel free. Just know it probably won’t do anything but make you much more consistent at flatground tricks.
NERDING OUT WITH THREE RARE DECK COLLECTORS
If you ever wanted to reclaim a piece of your childhood and cop that one deck you saw in a CCS catalog, hopefully, this will be a solid place to start.
A CHAT WITH LUDVIG HAKANSSON, THE OLDEST SOUL IN SKATEBOARDING
The man loves to read Nietzche, skates in some expensive vintage gear, and paints in his own neoclassical-meets-abstract-expressionist style.
A MINDFUL APPROACH TO WATCHING SKATE VIDEOS
If you love a video, watch it over and over, become obsessed, notice everything, and move on only when you feel it’s the right time.
THE FRONT BLUNT HAT IS BACK… AGAIN
We know we sound like the boy who cried wolf but this might, just might, be the last chance to get your hands on one.
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