Goal: Get healthy and catch more bass

Day One

I’m 26 years old, 5’ 11” and weigh 265 pounds. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, I am officially obese. The target weight for a young man my age is around 180 pounds, my fighting weight back in the infamous high school football days. Today, however, I’m roughly one Big Mac away from developing a serious set of man boobs.

I’ve always fished competitively, and my time on the road has increased year after year. After high school I joined the bass fishing team at Auburn University where I fished everywhere from Texas to Okeechobee. After a few close calls at national titles, it was time for graduation and I then stepped up to the mid-level circuits broadening my horizons a few hundred more miles.

This year, I’ve covered the Elite Series and Carhartt College Series for B.A.S.S. while fishing the EverStart Series and Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens. I’ve spent about 190 days on the road already this year; needless to say, those days didn’t help me form any healthy habits. It’s plain hard to maintain good habits on the road let alone form any and that is a perfect and all too often accepted excuse for being unhealthy.

Let’s face it; I’m not alone in this industry. I’m overweight and the more I look around the more I realize, so is everybody else. Everybody is a term I use loosely here to refer to the vast majority.

As anglers, we pay the utmost attention to every detail when it comes to gaining the slightest competitive advantage. We pay an extra 3 bucks to swap out perfectly good hooks on a crankbait for ones that have been laser sharpened, furnace hardened and mechanically engineered.

But, for some reason, we won’t take 15 minutes out of our day for a little exercise or to prepare a decent meal. It’s inconvenient, and we don’t have time. Instead, we pull through a fast food restaurant or convenience store and stuff our faces with whatever is readily available, never stopping to think about how those decisions affect our game on the water.

The next time you’re at a local tournament full of weekend anglers, take a quick glance at the crowd and conduct a little informal survey. I have and I’d put the figure on overweight anglers around 85%. Now do the same survey at an Open. The number drops down to about 75%. Now take a look at the Elite Series anglers. After working with them for a year, I can account firsthand that the number of overweight anglers plummets to around 30%. And you don’t think your physical fitness affects your fishing?     

Admitting you have a problem is the first step in rectifying that problem. After some serious soul searching, I have taken that first step. I have a family history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Complications from all three can be attributed, at least in some part, to obesity. Add to that my lifestyle on the road and my insatiable appetite for anything smothered, buttered and covered, and you have a ticking time bomb.

Traveling with the Elite Series staff this year, a running joke has been established that Shaye Baker will not eat a vegetable. My personality allows me to laugh off all the fat jokes and dish out some witty comeback as to how I could lose the weight but that the naysayer is stuck with that ugly face of theirs for life.

At the end of the day, I realize that their jabs at me were a rooted in a legitimate concern for my well being. Their remarks spawned an idea that I then proposed to B.A.S.S. chief digital guy Jim Sexton. Let’s start a blog of sorts on Bassmaster.com – one that gives anglers a resource to pull from. One that can help us as a sport to improve our game. Let’s have insight from top pros on how they find time to eat right and work out. Let’s share health conscious recipes that won’t kill you and won’t make you want to kill yourself. Let’s not talk about the problem but instead offer real world solutions.

The only question B.A.S.S. had is, where do we start? Well, if I’m to tell the bass fishing world how to be healthy, what better way to start than by using myself as a human guinea pig. So I am taking it upon myself to lead by example, and today is day one. After careful consideration and consultation with several experts, I’ve decided to start with a cleanse.

This cleanse consists of a 28-day strict regimen of vitamins and supplements offered by Genesis Pure that will help me kick start this whole process and establish healthy eating habits. This will not be easy. I understand that going in. But I’m looking at this first step as a kick in the pants. A boot camp for my body. I have the type of personality that requires structure and this system offers me that.

But I do not intend for this to be a month-long ordeal that goes away or is centered around one guy and one method for losing weight and getting healthy. No, I understand not everyone will want or even need to start off with such a drastic step. However, this is what I think is best for me, and I know will make a great starting point for many others.

That being said, I want this to be a recurring section of Bassmaster.com that helps everyone. I want insight from sports experts. I want input and ideas from you, the readers. I want to bring in everybody from Aaron Martens, who has never had an unhealthy day in his life, to Dave Mercer, who dropped over 100 pounds. I want to help you no matter what type of personality you have or what your level of physical fitness is and I know that we have the resources to do that.

Help me do that by supporting this section of the site. Share this story and the ones to come. Take up a personal challenge of your own. Use the tips that we will funnel through this outlet and when someone asks you why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing, send him or her our way. As cheesy as it sounds, together I believe we can improve our sport. Help me do that.

Day 8

Today is September 12, 2013. I’ve just finished my first week’s effort at becoming a better me. This week was centered around a detox that was put together for me by Genesis Pure. I’ve lost 14 pounds so I am already starting to see results but honestly I’m more excited about what’s to come. I think this first week was vital in helping me get my mind and body right to start down this long road of improvement.

I haven’t exercised this first week since the regimented process is intended more for rebooting your system. Through a strict schedule of supplements, I’ve flushed a lot of the bad toxins and acids out of my system, and begun to introduce foods that were foreign to me, like vegetables, grilled meats and whole grain.

Though this process was no cakewalk, it really wasn’t as bad as I had first expected. Days 1, 2, 6 and 7 were the worst. These days I basically lived off of this disgusting combination of fluids that flushed my system out. I won’t lie to you; the taste was terrible however bearable… barely. The upside, I never really was hungry during those 4 days since I was getting all the carbs and sugars I needed from the liquids.

Days 3, 4 and 5 revolved around mixing healthy, properly portioned meals intermittently with Complete Shakes from Genesis Pure. This exposure to solid food helped me appreciate the taste of grilled chicken, green beans and brown rice. Each day I had one meal and two shakes. Always a shake for breakfast and a meal for lunch or a meal for dinner with a shake in the other’s place.

Now I’m on my way to the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River and I’m faced with my first serious challenge of maintaining while on the road. I’ll be competing in this one and fishing 12- to 15-hour days for the next week and a half. Then it’s on to cover the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week and Carhartt College Classic Bracket in Michigan.

During this time, I’ll be undergoing a 21-Day Change Plan from Genesis Pure that incorporates portioned meals, Complete Shakes and exercise. These next three weeks will be tough but I’m determined. It’s time to get back into shape for my health, my fishing and my future. Wish me luck!

For more updates on Shaye Baker’s personal efforts, follow him on Facebook by clicking here. If you have a quick tip, favorite recipe or other information that you think would help the masses trim their basses, feel free to message Shaye with your ideas and we’ll be sure to credit you if that information is used.