Agel Baltazar was walking to his car. He’d just gorged himself on roasted suckling pig at a buffet, and simply walking to his car left him winded. Taking stock of things, the 24-year-old graphic artist from the Pampanga province in the Philippines, then 284 pounds, decided he needed to change.
It wasn’t the first time Baltazar had tried to get fit. Years before, he’d cut rice, a staple of Phillipine cuisine, out of his diet. Eating mostly oatmeal, bananas, and bread, he hit his lowest weight. But it was unsustainable; after starting a new job and relying on grab-and-go convenience store food, he started gaining weight again. He started getting nighttime acid reflux and heartburn; his back began to hurt, and he’d start sweating while walking through an air-conditioned mall.
This time, he wanted a diet-and-exercise routine he could maintain. He bought a kitchen scale and downloaded a calorie-counting app, MyFitnessPal. He went grocery shopping, looking at nutrition labels for the first time. “I budgeted my calories like I would my budget,” he says. “If I craved for something that’s high-calorie, I’d adjust my spend on other meals, or other days.”
For four months he ran a daily calorie deficit, while working his way up to an hour of walking a day. That dropped his weight to 220, and he started on his DIY gym routine. Despite being a “newbie,” he had the confidence of having already lost 64 pounds. He started with cardio while he acclimated to the gym, then moved on to weights. For the first few months he did a six-day push-pull-legs split, then switched to a full body program three days a week.
In 12 months he lost a total of 120 pounds; the first 60 came off mainly through diet, while the next 60 were a combination of diet, cardio and weightlifting. At first he didn’t tell most people he was dieting, but once he lost 30 or 40 pounds, they couldn’t help but notice. And the changes motivated him, too: his acid reflux, heartburn, and back pain disappeared; his sleep improved; even his hair got healthier. Without his usual diet of junk food, he started to taste what he ate. He could wear clothes that hadn’t fit him for years, and he saw definition slowly develop in his muscles.
He also felt happier and more confident. “Most importantly,” he says, “through the process I’ve learned how to like and appreciate myself as I am at the present moment.” He still watches his calories, though he’s not at a deficit, and he still goes to the gym. He’s ready to really start building muscle.
You Might Also Like