One year ago, Doug Polk bet $200,000 drop 50% body fat in 365 days against another poker player Bill Perkins. He revealed on Thursday that he did not make it to victory.
There weren’t many stipulations to the bet, which began on February 11, 2022. At 1:30 p.m. CT on February 10, 2023, the Upswing Poker The founder had to drop at least 50% body fat, from 28% to 13.85%, or he would lose. I was free to choose any diet and exercise regimen I wanted.
By the end of the challenge, he was down to 15.1% body fat, just 1.3% body fat to win. Instead, he pays Perkins, an avid prop bettor, $200,000.
Early betting failures up close
PokerNews spoke to him three times World Series of Poker bracelet winner to learn about his routine last year while trying to not only win a six-figure bet, but also improve his health. While he didn’t get the former, he did the latter.
“The first five months, I was mainly planning to try to build some muscle, but not really focused on losing weight,” Polk said.
During those first few months, Polk explained, he was making no progress. In fact, he was taking steps backwards and needed to be reassessed. The owner of The Lodge Card Club in Austin, Texas hired “a lot of people (paid to help me trim body fat) who either didn’t know what they were doing or were just trying to keep their jobs.”
A nutritionist six weeks into the challenge tried to convince him he was making progress despite having increased body fat, he said. So he had to make some changes, one of which included getting rid of his nutritionist and personal trainer, or there was no way they were going to make it.
“I got to the point where I decided I had to take matters into my own hands. So I fired everyone and did it myself,” Polk said. “Since August, my progress has been very good. I just steadily dropped pounds every month.”
Poker Pro turns it around
At that time, Perkins recommended a new coach who was instrumental in Polk’s transformation. Her training and diet routine since then has consisted of lifting weights 5-6 times a week first thing in the morning, some cardio, and six small meals a day that add up to just 1,800 calories. Once every four days would add up to 2,300 calories.
Eating a breakfast that included just a couple of egg whites and a few raspberries, then equally small meals full of rice, fruit and grilled chicken throughout the day took its toll on the poker star.
“The number one problem I’ve had is that I can’t sleep when I’m in a big calorie deficit,” Polk said.
There has been a misconception about the type of wagering Polk introduced, and he said he noticed it from social media comments. This was not a gamble to lose weight. In fact, Polk could have gained weight during the challenge and still won if he had replaced body fat with muscle mass. That said, since the challenge began a year ago, he’s lost about 30 pounds of lean weight.
Down to the wire
Three weeks ago, he had a DEXA scan, which measures body composition such as body fat and muscle mass. The results showed he had 17.2% body fat, down 39% from when he started the challenge. But he still had some significant work to do to get to exactly 13.85% body fat to win the accessory bet.
Polk would face some obstacles in the latter stages of the challenge, most notably becoming a father for the first time. The Texas Poker Room Owner his wife, Kaitlin, gave birth Otis Douglas Polk on January 27th, about two weeks from the end of the prop bid. Plus, she struggled to make it to the gym and eat right during a massive ice storm that hit Austin last week.
Ice storm in Austin, no power, can’t use water, I have a week old, I threw my back last week and I’m in… https://t.co/hl8l8tzzMu
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids)
If he could do it all over again, Polk “would change my initial strategy.” But he doesn’t think he’s likely to return to his old diet and fitness habits “because now I have the foundations in place.”
While he learned that playing against a University of Iowa graduate like Perkins isn’t usually a winning proposition, he doesn’t consider it a complete failure.
“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Polk says.
That may be true, but it’s also $200,000 less rich. Polk posted a YouTube video Thursday explaining the challenges he’s faced in the past year (see below).
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*Images courtesy of Doug Polk.