When Jared Lorenzen was cut by the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts in 2008, he was listed at 6-4 and 285 pounds. He wouldn’t step on a scale again for eight years.
When he finally did, the digital readout climbed to 502.8 pounds.
The former University of Kentucky and Highlands High School quarterback has struggled with his weight for much of his life. Affectionately, although sometimes derisively, dubbed the “Hefty Lefty” or the “Pillsbury Throwboy,” he tossed touchdowns, won games and set records for the Cats in the early 2000s.
Lorenzen got back on the scale last year for “The Jared Lorenzen Project,” a video journal that will document his attempt to take control of his health and inspire others to do the same.
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“Right now, if I didn’t wake up tomorrow, it wouldn’t be a shock to many people,” Lorenzen says in a video that was posted on the project’s Facebook page on Friday. “‘Well, yeah, you know, look how big he is? Damn.’”
The project is being put together by filmmaker Anthony Holt, whose 2015 documentary “Gone In An Instant” told the story of former basketball Wildcat Antoine Walker’s journey from multi-million dollar NBA player to bankruptcy and how he has remade himself since.
Lorenzen first met Holt at the Walker film’s debut. “(He) said ‘hey, I want to do something with you. Here’s my phone,’” Lorenzen recalled in a phone interview with the Herald-Leader on Monday. But Lorenzen thought the former Western Kentucky and Georgetown College product was just giving him a typical “Hollywood” pitch and didn’t think Holt was serious.
They met again later that year at the UK Hall of Fame ceremony where Lorenzen and Walker were among those honored. Holt made his pitch again. Still skeptical, Lorenzen said “Here’s my number, call me.”
Holt not only called, he also hooked Lorenzen up with two high-profile fitness and nutrition experts in Gunnar Peterson, a celebrity personal trainer to Hollywood stars and pro athletes, and Philip Goglia, a nutritionist and former body builder whose credits include getting actors in shape for roles in a number of Marvel superhero movies.
“We started spitballin’ and that’s where we came up with the idea of doing it,” Lorenzen said of the project.
The teaser video released Friday shows Lorenzen talking with Peterson and Goglia and some of the training he began doing.
“We went about two months hardcore, but we had to put it on delay because with Gunnar, his schedule got too busy,” Lorenzen said about his regimen. “We’re going to get back going hardcore again in about a month.”
That’s about the time when the project will begin posting on the Now Lets Get Fit Foundation’s website, Nowletsgetfit.com, which has “Coming Soon” on its homepage for now, but will include testimonials, weekly workouts, nutrition plans and meal preparations that will allow people to follow along and join Lorenzen on his journey.
“It’s been fun so far, but the cameras haven’t been everywhere, yet,” Lorenzen said. “We’ll see (how it goes) when that happens.”
In the meantime, there will be postings from the footage they’ve shot, so far, and selfie videos like the one Lorenzen posted Monday, thanking the more than 6,000 Facebook users who have liked his page since it went up Friday.
“There’s going to be a lot of me everywhere, but, hopefully, when we’re done, there won’t be as much of me,” Lorenzen joked.
Besides losing weight for himself, the project aims to educate and inspire others, especially children, Lorenzen said. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for that effort, which will include a mobile gym Lorenzen will tour with. One of his first stops will be his son’s football practice.
“We’ll get all the stuff out and do a workout with the kids there,” he said. “And we’ll take it to Lexington. And we’ll take it to Louisville. We’ll take it anywhere. We just want to make sure kids get involved.
“My (part) is going to be the educational side of it with the kids. Letting people know that, ‘Hey, you need to have healthy choices in food, you need to exercise, you need to do some of those things you hear about or you could become big like this. I fight my demons every day, so I’ve got to continue to work at it.”
For Lorenzen, getting his weight down to a certain number is not the goal. He just wants to be healthy.
“Whatever that weight is, let’s get to that and make sure the blood pressure’s fine, the heart and everything’s working fine and whatever the weight is, it’s that weight,” he said Monday. “I’m not going to say I’m going to go out and lose 280 pounds, because that doesn’t work for me. So, let’s find a way to do the lifestyle change to where I’m healthy at this weight. Whatever that is, we’ll find out.”