Nicholas A. Danes, PhD

I Think I'm Back? - Part 1: Health & Fitness Update

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Hi everyone! So I archived this blog at some point in 2022, but I’ve decided to bring it back. In the middle of 2022, I lost interest in blogging, mostly because I felt I had nothing to write about. Now that has changed. There’s been a lot of changes both with my personal tech and my life in general. In part 1, I’ll start with my personal life.

2022: My Year for Health

2022 could be called the year that I focused on my health. At its worse, around April 2022, I reached my highest weight in my entire life, around 227 lb/103 kg. I had already gotten up in pant and shirt size since the beginning of the pandemic, but feeling like I had to go up in shirt size again. Enough was enough.

March to July 2022

Between March and July 2022, I mostly worked with my brother on a diet and fitness plan. He has a background in exercise science and has long been a health enthusiast. We focused on eating mostly whole foods, and I would work out with him over video calls (we don’t live close) using mostly bodyweight and light dumbbell exercises. Working with brother established consistency, but little progress on the scale and other body weight measurements.

I eventually got to the point where I didn’t need my brother to workout. I bought dumbbells and we even rented a Peloton Bike+ for a few months. The bike rental eventually was returned, but I continued to do the Peloton Strength classes throughout this period (and beyond).

July 2022: MacroFactor comes in and changes everything

Up until July 2022, I wasn’t really tracking my food, so it was hard to know how fat loss was directly going. However, throughout my obsessions with YouTube Fitness, I learned about the app MacroFactor, a macro nutrient tracking SaaS app co-developed by the folks who run Stronger by Science. Unlike other calorie tracking apps, the magic of the app is that your Total Daily Energy Expenditure is a strictly a function of two things you input: (1) Your food calories, and (2) Your body weight. Their algorithm accounts for flucuations due to water weight and you don’t have to obsess over (inacurrate) measurements of calories burned through exercise. From the calibration phase, I was estimated to eat about 3100 calories per day, while still being in a ~300 calorie deficit. From here on, my weight loss started to progress.

September 2022 - Present: Steady weight loss, running and kettlebells

By September 2022, I was down about 13 lb/6 kg (from April 2022), putting my weight from 223 lb/101 kg to 210 lb/95 kg. My diet was mostly locked in thanks to Macrofactor, eating a mostly mediterranean-style diet 80% of the time, while still enjoying all foods in moderation the other 20% of the time. My fitness goals, however started shifting.

I was mostly still doing bodyweight and dumbbell exercises, and designing my own workouts to work out at home. I was capped to about 15 lb/7 kg dumbbells and wanted to figure out how to progress. Enter the kettlebell.

I bought a cheap 30 lb kettlebell on Amazon and began to learn the fundamental exercises for kettlebells:

This started a new rabbit hole for me for my at-home strength training. A personal thanks to the coaches Dan John and Mark Wildman for all their great free YouTube resources on kettlebell training. I now have a small collection of 16 kg x 2, 20 kg x 2, and 24 kg x2 kettlebells and continue training with them to this day.

Back in high school, my personal best 1 mile record was about 5 min 50 seconds. Throughout my fitness journey in 2022, I wanted to eventually be able to run at sub-7 min mile, but hadn’t gotten the ball rolling on running; I finally started in September 2022. The runs started slow and infrequent at first, only focusing on running a mile. I eventually learned that this method was inefficient and that it was better to “run slow to run fast” to build better endurance. I’m now running regularly 15-20 mi (24-32 km) per week. I am also running my first 5K race in May!


After about 8 months of deliberate diet and exercise (I rather say dramatic lifestyle change), I am down to 195 lb/88 kg. I have no plans on slowing down with my fitness goals, and dieting still doesn’t quite feel like dieting. I hope maybe this blog maybe inspires you to find something to drive you to your own health goals. I definitely feel better, more confident and have more energy than I have had in years.

My next blog post will be an update on my tech, and how I completely left the Apple ecosystem (again).

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