My Jounney to Sparta:  The Chris Davis – Part 10:  “It” Hits the Fan

by Chris Davis

In this installment of the Chris Davis Project we find Chris Davis writing after finishing a monstrous weekend of training.  He’s beat up, exhausted, and at his breaking point.  He’s behind on his weight loss and being pushed by Joe Desena to make more caloric cuts while simultaneously increasing his exercise volume.  It’s adding up, surely, and the pressure is mounting as Chris is balancing on the edge, about to fall behind on his weight loss goals.  It’s not a good start to the week.

The Chris Davis Project: Week 5 video has been released.  Check out the bottom of this post for links to all previous videos if you need to catch up on the action.  -Jason J



5/29/2012 Memorial Day Weekend Recap

This weekend has been a very challenging weekend both physically and mentally.   Things really got hard on Friday morning when I weighed in.  I hit a big snag; my weight jumped up to 330lbs.  Joe believes that it is because I have added protein back into my diet.  We cannot afford to have any weight gain in the program, so we need to remove protein from my diet again.   I agree that my weight gain is also related to the protein, but I believe that the weight gain is because my body is using the protein and building muscle because of the speed in which we are ramping up my training.  Muscle building is out doing my fat loss right now.

I know these weight gains are not due to increased caloric intake, because there is no way I ate 17,500 calories (what would be required to pack on this about of poundage) on Thursday.   So Joe made a deal with me – if I was still at 330lbs by Monday, I would need to go back to a diet of only raw fruit and vegetables.   I continued to do the workout we had planned.  I did my time on the ski machine, and did my walking and kung-fu lesson that night.  I also ate a light dinner knowing that I had a very big walk in the morning.

The plan for this weekend was to get two 13+ miles days in.   To me this was a very ambitious goal because last week the goal was two 10+ miles days.   So adding 6 miles in a week was a little aggressive, but I like a good challenge sometimes.

The other big challenge is Joe was out of town so I would be doing the walks alone.   No one to help keep me going when the time gets toughs – just me and the road.   So this would be a true test of my dedication, both to myself and to this project.

Things started out great – I had completed the first 6 miles and I was working through the normal sourness, the joint pain that you get when you start a long walk.  This is when I started to notice some new soreness on the top of my left leg.  After a little observation of my current stride (because it has been changing from day to day) it looks like I have lost enough weight so that my stomach is rubbing on the tops of my legs as I walk.   Up until now this has only happened when I tried to jog or run, but now it is happening when I walk as well.

By mile 8 the soreness had changed to pain and now it felt like someone was jabbing me with a hot poker on the top of my leg, so I stopped to take a look and see what was going on.  It looked like a small line of bug bites on my leg.  No big deal, I thought, I will keep an eye on it and keep going.

A little later, I ran into Marion Abrams on the road, and we decided to take a break from my walking to do our weekly video filming.   After that was complete, I took another look at my leg and I was surprised to see that there were several new sore spots and that some of them had been bleeding.   I took some time, cleaned up the area, and it looked a lot better – the bleeding had stopped and it just looked irritated.   Determined to finish my walk for the day, I decided to continue on.   When I got to my 13.1 mile mark I was so happy to be done.  My leg was in bad shape, the raw spot was now about 4 inches long, and about 2 inches wide.    But I had finished my walk.    After walking another 1.2 miles to get back to my room I called it a day and tried to recover.

* * *

Sunday morning I work up and checked on my leg.  It looked better, but it was still raw.  I knew that today was going to be a long day.   Still sore from the night before, I got back on the road around 6:30 am.   By the time I got to the 1 mile mark I knew that my fears where going to come true – my leg started to burn and I knew I was going to be facing a repeat of yesterday.  But I know that I need to work thought the pain and discomfort and get this done.   I stopped at the 5 mile mark to take a look at it, and the sore was growing again.  On top of that, I was starting to get the same bumps on my stomach that I had had on my legs yesterday.

I was so frustrated at this point that I wanted to stop, but I knew if I did it would be a disaster for my progress, so I continued on.  By the time I got to the 8 mile mark my leg was bleeding and my stomach was completely raw.   A  little later I rolled my ankle trying to get out of the way from an oncoming car that had crossed over the white line on route 100.   At this point I started to question why I was still out on the road.

I sat on the guard rail for about five minutes rubbing my ankle, and that is when I told myself that I had made it this far, so I can finish this!  I got back up and continued on.

About 10 minutes later I was in the valley walking down route 100 when someone pulled up in a pickup truck, and said “I drive a semi around here every morning, and I have been watching you for the last few weeks.  You’re doing great, keep up the good work.”

It was at that point I knew had made the right decision to keep going.  I had a new wave of determination from this brief conversation and the encouragement kept me going through the rest of the walk.

By the time I got to my 13.1 mile mark, I was in bad shape.   Both of my ankles we swollen, my knees hurt, my hip was soar, and my leg and stomach were on fire.    But I had completed my goal.   I have now walked the distance of a marathon in one weekend.   I will be honest; I never thought I would be able to walk this kind of a distance in my life.

* * *

Monday morning rolls around and I am so incurably soar, everything hurts and I need to get up and walk into the office so I can weigh in.  I got on the scale and I was relieved to see that I was down to 325.6 lbs.  I was quite happy with my progress since Friday.   It made all that hard work worth it.  I had proven to myself that I could meet my goals by myself, even with Joe out of town.   I was feeling great, so I walked up to the general store and got an omelet with extra spinach and a Spartan Green Juice.   While I was waiting for it to be ready I send Joe a text message letting him know the good news that I was down to 325.

This is where ‘it’ hit the fan for me.

His reply was: “ Ok, did you get 5 miles in this am?”  

First of all, Mondays are supposed to be my day to recover.  I replied with “ I have 1.2 miles in today”.

I then get the next messages from Joe while I am starting to eat breakfast.  “Ok see if you can get 3.8 done with the pancake (sandbag).  I didn’t realize we have till Friday to be at 308ish.  So even 315 would not be a disaster.  Could you go raw this week?”

I was so pissed off and crushed I could not see straight.   I worked hard this weekend and kept pushing through the pain.  This is the reward I get?

I took a few minutes to cool off before I replied, “I can go raw for the rest of the week, but need to take a day to recover from the 27+ miles this weekend.  The raw spots on my legs are very soar and still bleeding from time to time.”

“Do the rower.”   He replied

At this point all I could do was throw my arms in the air and say I give up.   I finished my breakfast, and started to leave to go watch the Memorial Day parade here in Pittsfield VT.   It was a very small event, but there was a good crowd that showed up.   The parade ended in the city cemetery, where there was a small service for our fallen heroes.   It is funny how incurably small my problems felt, after experiencing this service.  Talk about a reality check that was a big one.



This morning I weighed myself again and I am back up again to 327.2lbs. I am going to keep my deal and make it the rest of the week on raw food, and we will see how thing go from there.   I am not happy about this, because I feel that my body needs the protein to build muscle and to help repair the damage I am doing to my body as I continue to push the limits of what is possible.  But I guess my opinion doesn’t matter.   I am just going to do what I am told until I physically cannot go any further, and my body shuts down.

click here to read Part 9…


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5


20 Responses

  1. avatar

    Good job Chris you are simply amazing. I have had problems with my weight for years and some friends had “liked” Spartan Race on facebook. I now have been doing the WOD’s for the last month. Soreness can be very frustrating. But I do believe that you have the spirit and heart to do this.

  2. avatar

    I sometimes experience a similar chafing problem when I go running and many running stores sell an “anti-chafing” stick (looks like deodorant) that works really well when you apply it before your workout anywhere that skin rubs. Another solution is to apply vaseline on your skin before you work out. Hope that helps! Keep up the great work!

  3. avatar

    That’s horrible, Chris. This weight-loss obsession shouldn’t come before fitness and health. Putting on muscle is GOOD thing and it’s crazy that they don’t recognize that just to meet these absurd, and unhealthy weight goals. F that. I would call the DR again and get a medical opinion.

  4. avatar

    You’re doing great!

    Have you talked to Dr. Jeff Godin about your protein intake? Maybe he may have some insight.

    I know for my journey, I was starving myself so much until one day I started adding some whole foods with protein (no legumes) and while I added a few pounds the first few days, the waistline disappeared quickly and the bulk of the fat around my face and neck disappeared too.

    Some of those raw foods may have more protein in them than you’re really expecting too, so maybe the balance is there yet.

    Keep up the good work! You’ll make it!

  5. avatar

    What an ass. Joe can’t continue to starve you. Your health should come first. Obviously, he doesn’t respect you or your needs.
    I’m amazed that he thinks he knows everything. Time for you to make some phone calls.

  6. avatar

    Hey Chris,
    Chaffing totally sucks. Since you are already rubbed raw, gells and lotions might not work as well, you might need to try bandages until your skin heals.

    A 2lb gain in a day? Sounds like water retention. Did you eat anything salty? Sore muscles also hold on to water. What do they put in that omelet you had? Also, as you increase your protein intake, are you decreasing your vegetable intake? Don’t cut out the ruffage since it keeps everything moving.

    Keep up the good work Chris!

  7. avatar

    Chris nice job getting it done! I can’t believe that a 2lb weight gain of fat, with your diet and exercise, is possible. The only logical explanation is fluid shifts and water retention. Chris you are attempting the impossible which requires more courage than any of us have. Your setting the bar for the new “possible”.

    Keep some Vaseline with you and liberally apply it regularly before the hot spots develop. Stay strong!

  8. avatar

    Good work. However you need protein! Loseing muscle because of inadequate protein intake is counter productive. If you do not get enough protein you will also set your self up for injury. I work with the obese in the hospital and I know if you do not eat enough you will not continue to lose weight. You need calories to support your monster workouts. So contrary to what your trainer says he’s a little bit wrong on the nutrition thing…Is he a dietitian? and don’t do what your told if it’s the wrong information. you need calories and protein from good whole foods.

  9. avatar

    Dude! Weight gain and fat loss are totally different things and not exclusive of each other. For years, I associated weight loss to fat burn when it could be just your body cannibalizing your lean body mass for the nutrition your are MISSING!. Less body mass means lower resting metabolic rate … ie … your body now burns less calories a day … it’s a vicious cycle. Good nutrition is a must given your level of activity. You will indeed build muscles back as you repair them … In order to do that you need both an intake of complex carbs like wheats and lean protein. What you need to do is look at your body fat to see if you are losing fat. AND remember your high rate zones. If you are constantly exercising at high heart (anabolic zone) and tired (which means you heart works harder for the same level of effort) then you are burning as much as half the fat you could be burning if you exercise at a lower level (aerobic zone). You need to exercise right to get the results. Good luck, what you are doing is admirable !

  10. avatar

    Keep going! Get some body glide and lube up that will seriously help with the chafing….then get a second opinion on the weight loss goals. If you tear down what muscle you have and then don’t give your body what it needs to rebuild you and doing damage not good. Not to mention the more muscle you have the higher you base metabolism is…those weight loss goals just don’t seem like healthy numbers in the long hual to me. Good luck and keep up the great work not matter what you do!

  11. avatar

    You’re an inspiration for me in terms of your determination and follow through. I will think of you the next time i’m out on a run and feeling like i want to stop. Please take care of yourself though (those raw areas) and don’t overdo to the point of injury. I would also get another opinion whether or not you should have some protein (eggs, chicken breast) in addition to the fruits and veggies. I know you will succeed and I’ll be looking forward to reading the next entry!

    Keep up the good work.

  12. avatar

    I have never read your blog before but have seen pictures and heard stories. i agree with some of these other posts that you need to be careful and REALISTIC about your pace with your weight loss goal. 325 to 315 in 4 days sounds a bit much. you are obviously doing AN AMAZING JOB, just make sure that you are doing it safely and that your PACE has been approved by an m.d.!! I wish you all the best and will be following your progress from here on!! you are such an inspiration!

  13. avatar

    You rock brother! Keep up the good work! I hope people follow in your footsteps!

  14. avatar

    On Jan. 09,2012 I was 248lb, on this day May 31,2012 I am 208.
    I start work out and riding a bike. I would go up and down on my weight at times. But my body was changing, i would lose an inch or two here and gain some there. I was down to 230 and the guys I work with wanted me to run a race with them. I said sure not knowing what I was getting in too. So two weeks ago I ran, walked did things I had not done in sence I was in my teens. Well I finish the Spartan race, had my backside handed to me and yes I come close to quiting. But I had come so far and I told myself not today I will finish. Now I am 51 years old, worked in a shop most of my life and did not worry about what I ate or did. Then one day I was not feeling good and my wife said go to a doctor. He told me I had three ops Take pills, get in shape or get ready to die. I joined a gym and with help from family and friends I plan on being here for along time. YOU can do this you just have to stick with it. DON’t GIVE UP! I am Spartan and so are you!

  15. avatar

    Dude….Chris man! You inspire me!

  16. avatar

    If Joe Desena is responsible for your death I will not let him forget it. Get to Dr. Jeff and get his opinion on your diet.
    Joe is an overachieving death-racer who apparently doesn’t care if you are healthy, only that you meet his pie-in-the-sky goals.
    Take Care of yourself, demand your rest day, get balanced diet, and if you miss your weight loss target by a month or three, so be it. Which is more important, losing weight at Joe’s demands, or staying out of the ER so you can continue training for the ULTRA-BEAST?
    If I wasn’t newly employed I would drive out there and give Joe the dressing down he deserves.

    What did the real trainers say you should do? Eat protein.
    What did the Dr. say you should do? Eat protein.
    What did your friends and fans say you should do? Eat protein!

    What did Joe Deathsena say you should do? Ignore logic!
    F That!
    Eric, Friend since the Sr. Help Desk

  17. avatar

    Awesome job dude. Makes my complaining about my 3 mile run kind of silly now.

  18. avatar

    Chris, Great meeting you at the Sunday Tri-state open in Tuxedo. You were at the bottom of the bean bag carry and I stopped to talk with you. Keep going brother don’t quit. Let Joe be in charge of you getting healthy again. I was in the Navy when I was 20 years old and my drill instructor in boot camp was a real S.O.B! The first month I hated him, but by the time I left I had tears in my eyes because I knew then what he did for me. I grew so much during that time. Take it a day at a time brother, you CAN DO IT..God bless, and thanks for being at my race, you helped me and you didn’t even know it!……Matt

  19. avatar

    i skim board on a daily basis, and have to deal with very coarse sand in all the cracks that my body has. Try using BODY Glide between your thighs(or anywhere else needed), its works magic. Chaffing feels almost impossible with this stuff on. Keep up the good work, and keep pushing through it.

  20. avatar

    What concerns me is that Joe has no experience with the physical limitations (amount of food intake particularly) regarding people who have had bariatric surgery. I know you are strong enough to keep going until you are hauled away in an ambulance, but I doubt that is Joe’s idea of a positive result. He knows what works for him, and other people who intentionally put their bodies in crisis mode as a way to attain their own idea of physical perfection.
    You, my friend lost the vast majority of your weight before you ever met Mr. Desena with the help of your medical team and your own will.
    I am proud of you for having gone this far, but I think that relinquishing your life into the hands of someone as ignorant of your body’s needs as Mr. Desena obviously is would not be a good choice right now.

Leave a Comment

* = Required Fields