Name: Joe Lopez
Hometown: Morristown, NJ
Occupation: Teacher, personal trainer
Reached His Goal In: 2 years
In high school I played three sports—baseball, football, and basketball—and I was the only person in the history of my school to earn 12 varsity letters in three sports. But I started to gain weight after high school, and by the time I busted my elbow during my junior year of college, I'd packed on 40 pounds. Without sports in my life, I gained 40 more. I lost my energy and felt my strength declining. I started to wonder if I'd ever be an athlete again.
The Wake-Up Call
I graduated from college with a degree in health science, earned my credentials to become a certified strength and conditioning specialist (C.S.C.S.), and began my personal-training career. But I could hear people thinking to themselves, This guy's my trainer? I'm in better shape than he is! (Related: If you want breakthrough results from your workout with no wasted time, check out the moves in the Men’s Health Workout Center to push you like never before!) After I saw an eye-opening photograph of myself at a wedding, I started thinking that too. Who in his right mind would ever hire a fat personal trainer?
To slim down, I started scheduling six small meals throughout the day and tracking calories with a smartphone app. (Search: best weight loss apps) With my workouts, I needed to raise my protein intake and avoid empty carbs. So instead of hitting some pub's wing night, I marinated chicken wings and grilled them at home. I'd boost the protein and creaminess of my morning eggs by scrambling in some Greek yogurt. The more control I took over my eating, the less temptation I felt to binge on the bad stuff. (For a complete eating plan that'll give you abs to compliment your new body, check out Travis Stork's Lean Belly Prescription.)
I had kept up with weight training over the years, but my cardio had slipped. So on top of my 2 or 3 gym days, I'd plan two or three runs a week. I started out slowly—just a mile at first. I eventually worked my way to 5 or 6 miles on weekends, running trails with my dog. (Video: Run Down Your Appetite) I even ran a marathon. To mix it up, I now join pickup basketball games, take a spin class, and do yoga. And I've started a fitness blog where I can post goals.
When I was heavier, I was too embarrassed to promote myself as a trainer. I just sat there and waited for people to walk in the gym door. Now I feel like an athlete again. I have confidence—enough that I can pass some along to my clients. (And you can gain that confidence too! Burn fat easier than ever and sign up for the Men's Health Belly Off! Newsletter.)
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