How Steve Ludwig Fixed His Blood Pressure

By Emily Beers – February 2nd, 2018

Steve Ludwig’s doctor said it would take a long time for Ludwig to reverse his high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The doctor was wrong.

“At one point, I was in hypertensive crisis. My blood pressure got as high as 190/140, which is just insane. I even had to buy a special blood-pressure cuff that would send my doctor my readings,” Ludwig said.

“He also wanted me to go on a statin drug, but I didn’t want to. So I asked my doctor to give me some time to make some lifestyle changes.”

It took 45-year-old Ludwig only two and a half months in 2017. Working out at CrossFit Eternal and eating healthy, Ludwig dropped his blood pressure to a healthy 117/74. By August 2017, his total cholesterol had decreased from 300 to 177 mg/dL, and his weight had dropped from a lifetime high of 261 to 220 lb.

“I was hoping to maybe lose 20 pounds in six months. I didn’t think it would happen so fast, but it did. My blood pressure was even too low last time I saw my doctor because I was still taking my medication,” he said.

That’s when Ludwig’s doctor told him he no longer needed his meds.

ALT TEXTLudwig before he lost 41 lb. by adjusting his diet and recommitting to exercise.

ALT TEXTLudwig now: His blood pressure has dropped from 190/140 to 117/74.

Ryan Webber, owner of the affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, was less surprised by Ludwig’s quick results.

“When he came in, he was so out of shape we knew there could be a huge change that could happen,” Webber said.

His client is the epitome of dedication, Webber added.

“Literally, he hasn’t had a drink, he hasn’t had sugar, he hasn’t had anything outside of meats, vegetables and fruit. It gives testament to what we’re doing.”

Ludwig, too, credits his rapid results to his commitment—something he said was lacking in the past. In fact, Ludwig was a member of CrossFit Eternal four years ago but admitted his efforts were half-assed. He lasted only eight months.

“The difference now is I’m jumping in all the way. I didn’t do that the first time. You can’t just do it from the fitness aspect. You have to do the nutrition, too,” he said.

ALT TEXTLudwig (left) and Ryan Webber.

When Ludwig returned to CrossFit in 2017, he took three weeks off work to focus entirely on himself.

“I realized I had been spending 100 to 120 hours a week worrying about my business and spending no time a week worrying about myself, and it got to the point where I realized for me to do anything, I had to take the time for myself,” said Ludwig, who owns a manufacturing company that serves the construction industry.

“In those first three weeks, my personal-training schedule was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. And I did the nutrition planning right away. Do I have the most boring meals on the planet? Yes. But it’s what I needed to do.”

“I don’t want to be the person I was. I don’t want to be that sick person, that fat person, that unhealthy person.”

—Steve Ludwig

For breakfast, Ludwig eats egg whites with one egg yolk, some salsa and a sugar-free juice from a local juice bar, he explained.

“Lunch is protein and a small salad. I try to stay away from bars and meal-replacement drinks,” he added.

Once he found himself in a stable rhythm with diet and exercise, Ludwig returned to his hectic work schedule, which has him traveling frequently.

When he’s on the road now, Ludwig packs food from a meal-preparation service, and when he’s forced to go out for dinner with a customer, he checks the menu beforehand and seeks healthy options.

“Sometimes when I’m traveling, I’ll still work out twice a day,” he said.

ALT TEXTLudwig completely altered his lifestyle to ensure he’s able to eat well even when he’s on the road.

What used to seem daunting or difficult is now second nature.

“To be honest with you, I used to drink a lot more, but I don’t even have the desire to drink anymore. Now when my wife says, ‘Let’s go have a shot,’ she means go to the juice bar and have a turmeric and ginger shot. I don’t want to be the person I was. I don’t want to be that sick person, that fat person, that unhealthy person.”

Ludwig added: “I love my life, and I want to live it the best way I can, you know? That’s what has changed for me. I’m dedicated to the workouts, to the mobility. I’m addicted to the camaraderie and the sweat, and I’ll never go back.”

About the Author: Emily Beers is a CrossFit Journal contributor and coach at CrossFit Vancouver. She finished 37th at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.

All images: Courtesy of Ryan Webber

This article was originally published on the CrossFit Journal. You can find it here.

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About The Author

Neil Scholtz

Neil Scholtz is a certified Personal Trainer turned CrossFit coach. He has competed at the CrossFit Games and coached athletes that have competed at the CrossFit Games, but that's not his main focus. Most of his time is spent consulting or coaching individuals to improve their lives through fitness. He has worked with over 1000 individuals from various walks of life. Tailoring solutions to their lifestyle needs.