Staff Sergeant Runs To 50 Pound Weight Loss

Adam Demshar - April 2014

Adam Demshar is a staff sergeant in the Army who lost 50 pounds by embracing running and changing his diet.  He has written two previous articles for, but I wanted out readers to get to know him a little better.

Quickdirt is primarily a mountain bike blog, but his story parallels mine and I find it inspiring.  We were both adult men creeping toward middle-age with expanding guts and deteriorating health.  We decided we needed to make drastic changes to our lifestyles through diet and fitness.

Adam chose running as his endurance sport, but there are many similarities in the physical and mental challenges that runners and cyclists face.

Between Adam and I, we have lost over 100 pounds.  If we can do it, so can you.  Today is a good day for you to start!

Take a few minutes to get to know Demshar in this Q&A and then check out his other articles here on the site:

Happy Trails!


Adam, Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Adam Demshar and I am a 32 year old Staff Sergeant in the Army. I have been married for going on 9 years now and have three young boys aged 6, 4, and 2.

I grew up in the suburbs of Houston, TX in a planned community called The Woodlands.  Just after my 20th birthday I decided to join the Army right on the tailwind of 9-11.  Since then I have spent the majority of my military career in Georgia at Fort Gordon right outside of Augusta as well as my current duty station of Fort Stewart, which is in the southern portion of the state about 40 miles outside of Savannah, GA. I, however, reside in the town of Statesboro, GA, home to the Gator-crushing Georgia Southern Eagles.

I also did a three year stint in Germany.  We lived in the town of Mannheim, Germany and really enjoyed the chance to thoroughly experience the European lifestyle.  In addition to this overseas jaunt I was deployed to Iraq twice, 1st for 13 months and then later for another 15 months.  Finally, I returned from Afghanistan last April after an 8 month deployment in that lovely country.

What is a brief history of your exercise and sports history and how has it changed recently?

Growing up I was always a pretty active kid.  I played just about every sport and spent a lot of time out and about with my friends every free minute I had.  Although I played a lot of sports until I was in my early teens, I was an average-at-best athlete.  I soon sunk into a sedentary lifestyle and was not really active whatsoever.

That all changed of course when I joined the Army.  Soon I was running more than I ever had in my life and exercising for the first time in years. Soon after my initial training however I began slipping back into my old lifestyle.  As the years went by my weight went up.  I was still participating in my unit fitness training but I rarely put forth more than the bare minimum level of effort and my fitness reflected this.

In the past two years I made a concentrated effort to change my life.  I had allowed myself to slip into obesity and just plain didn’t feel good.  I am not sure what brought it on.  Perhaps it was the fact that I turned 30, maybe I had just hit a wall where I had to decide if I was truly going to let myself go or was I going to make a change.  Luckily I chose the latter.  I shed the weight through diet but didn’t begin seriously training for my fitness until a few months ago.  I am now running at least three times a week as well as performing muscle failure days at least another two.

What are you trying to accomplish and why?  

I am trying to complete the 2014 Savannah Rock N Roll Marathon.  I want to prove to myself that I am capable of amazing things.  This whole exercise is a way for me prove to myself that I am capable of doing damn near anything I put my mind to.  In the process it would be fantastic to motivate or inspire others to make the same kind of changes in their lives that I am making.  I have had some amazing help on my way to improving myself and the small experiences that I have had helping others have just felt great.  I really want to create a better version of myself and help others do the same.

What is your current training plan like?  

Well, as of today I have just finished my 6th week of formal training.  I am running 3 – 4 days a week right now.  I try, when possible, to run Monday – Wednesday and then do my long run on Saturday Mornings.  On Thursday and Friday I am still doing a work out but it is directed by the Army.  Thursdays are usually something like pull-ups, wrestling, or a ruck march.  Fridays are almost always a grueling circuit training completion between platoons.  Right now I am running between 15-20 miles a week but that will begin to climb starting this week as I prepare for the Run The PBR Half Marathon in Augusta, Ga on May, 17th.

Why do you think your story is relevant to the Quickdirt audience?  

I know Quickdirt is about all things mountain biking and I am no mountain biker.  I do however think that the Quickdirt audience would like to hear the story and struggles of an endurance athlete in another sport.  I can also offer the audience a different perspective by participating in my activities in a much different climate than that in Ohio.  Georgia is an unforgiving hot and humid beast.  This is the first time I am going through a build to a marathon, which could appeal to someone who has thought about doing this themselves.  I will be able to share my mistakes as well as the things that I find work for me through this journey.

After you finish your marathon this fall, how do you plan on building on your success?

That is a good question!  I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  First I was thinking after this marathon I would hopefully qualify for the Houston Marathon which requires a 4:00 finish.  I would then like to travel home for the first time in 5 years and run in a big city marathon. If that goes well I could try to qualify for one of the more competitive big city marathons around the country. I have also thought of trying to push forward into the Ultra Marathoning world, but feel like I should try and finish a traditional marathon before thinking about that.  I have also tossed around the idea of training for triathlons.  I think that triathlons would be very challenging and rewarding.  The only issue is I almost never swim or bike.  If I went down this route I would be starting from scratch in two sports at once!  As I get closer to the fall I am sure I will decide where I go next but it will be one of these three options, moving towards qualifying for big city marathons, ultras, or triathlon training.

Anyone who has any questions for me can follow me on twitter @Ademshar or on Facebook.  I will be posting all of my workouts on both via Strava.  I hope to interact with all of you soon!

Check out Adam’s other articles here on the site:

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