For Ronald Lopez, the turning point when he knew he needed to get healthier was a moment he'll never forget. "It all began when I started to see my father’s health decline from diabetes to renal failure," he says. "It scared me to see him hospitalized and on his death bed. I didn't want what happened to him to happen to me." At the time, Lopez, now 38, who works as a chef and gym housekeeper at Gold's Gym Live Oak in San Antonio, estimates that his weight hovered around 360 pounds.
"I tried to workout and eat healthy as much as I could, but I couldn't find consistency, and I kept falling into the same old bad habits," he says. "I knew I needed to make a change." Ultimately, through a combination of healthier eating habits and simple changes to his exercise regimen, Lopez succeeded, dropping more than 100 pounds from his peak three years ago. Even better, Lopez says, he's now training to become a full-time personal trainer and help other people do the same. Here's how Lopez managed to stay consistent-and get fit.
Tell us a little about how you gained the weight initially. Did it creep up on you slowly?
In my mid-twenties I was very inactive. Not only that, but my eating habits were unhealthy because I ate fast food every day. I was a heavy drinker and smoker and I had zero desire to stop.
Take us through some of the changes that you made. What was that process like? What kind of workouts were you doing and how did your diet change?
In late 2018, I got a job at Gold’s Gym as a housekeeper, and my new job changed everything. Being surrounded by fitness-minded people all the time propelled me to begin cutting out sugary sodas, drink more water, and eat healthier. Once I was able to consistently do that, I started sleeping 8 hours a night and exercising daily, which I did five times a week on my hour break.
I also began to include intermittent fasting for 14 to 16 hours in my daily routine. I would eat my first meal around 2 pm, which would be a combination of meats, veggies, or nutritious soups, and I’d have a similar meal for dinner. I’m still eating at fast-food restaurants, but I consider my options more carefully now and typically order a veggie burger instead.
Did you work with a trainer? If not, how did you stay motivated?
I didn’t work with a trainer, but I took a lot of Gold's Fit and Gold's Burn classes at the gym, which are a perfect mix of cardio and strength training that helped my body burn more and gain mobility, balance and stamina. I also used the gym's 3D scanner, which is a three-dimensional body scan and imaging analysis. Using that, I could watch and see the changes happening as a result of my healthier lifestyle from all angles.
When I would lose 10 pounds, I’d made it a goal to lose another 10 pounds. It began as a challenge for me and now, 8 months later I’ve lost close to 115 pounds. I feel great as a result of this and feel like a new man! Not only do I feel healthier, but my confidence is at an all-time high.
Did people notice right away? What was the reaction of your friends and family?
They think my commitment is amazing. I've even inspired some of my family and friends to begin working out and eating healthier.
What’s the next goal you have in mind for yourself?
While I’ve lost more than 100 pounds, I feel as though my journey has just begun. I eventually want to get to between 190 and 220 pounds with a lean muscle mass, so I’m always thinking of that goal.
I’m beginning to fine tune my nutrition even more and have started taking supplements to aid my progress. In addition, after seeing the positive effects of getting healthier, I’ve decided that I want to become a trainer so I can teach others what I’ve learned.
If you had any advice for someone just getting started, what would it be?
My advice to everyone is don’t overthink it. Take small steps at the beginning and always keep the long-term goal on your mind.
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