LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Ninety-two pounds in four months.
That's the personal weight that University of Louisville assistant men's basketball coach Kenny Johnson has lost in a remarkable transformation.
Ninety-two pounds. In four months. An average of about six pounds a week or three-fourths of a pound a day.
Since he joined the Cardinal Basketball staff on April 23, he has gone about his business of coaching, recruiting and other tasks surrounding the U of L basketball program while focusing on reaching a goal set by U of L Head Coach Rick Pitino of being under 240 pounds by the start of the fall semester. When he steps on the scales Monday when classes begin at U of L, he will have exceeded that goal.
"During the interview process, Coach Pitino stressed having the best conditioned team in college basketball," said Johnson. "We don't want to ask them to do what the coaching staff is not willing to do. I feel like I am in better shape and hopefully I've been sharper, a little more focused and a little less tired."
"It was definitely a lifestyle change. Bruce Williams, a pastor at Bates Memorial in Louisville, recently put it into perspective for me. A lot of people want to have a physical restoration without a mental transformation. I had to mentally transform before I could expect any type of physical changes."
How did he do it? It wasn't the Atkins, South Beach or any other specific branded diet, but a combination of exercise and eating the proper foods. "The simple equation of taking in less calories than I burn," said Johnson.
First, he cut out bread, desserts, soda, red meat, fried foods, processed foods and juices -- the item he misses the most. "I like to drink juice, but it has a lot of empty calories," said Johnson.
He eats organic chicken, fish, egg whites and fruits and vegetables. He exercises about an hour a day, primarily on an elliptical machine, and adds an extra hour of work at least three days a week later in the day. He burns at least 1,000 calories a day through exercise. Ray Ganong, strength and conditioning coach for U of L Basketball, has been a constant source of support. "He is an angel," said Johnson.
No pills. No cleanses. Just exercise and eating right.
What's next? He wants to get below 15 percent body fat, a figure he needs to lower by just four percentage points from his current position.
"Coach Pitino's support and allowing my exercise to be a part of my daily routine here at work has been important," said Johnson. "It's a part of what we do here, from top to bottom with the staff and with Coach Pitino leading by example. You want to be appreciative of your opportunity. He gave me an opportunity to work here and you just attack it every single day."
And while improving his health, Johnson has provided an every-day example for the Cardinals.