Lifestyle Prior To Change
All my life I was always skinny. It wasn't until I got married and had a baby that I started to gain weight. I spent the next three years overweight and depressed. I hated the way I looked and the way it felt. In my mind, everyone around seemed smaller and fit. I was living like a couch potato not realizing the lifestyle I was being dragged into.
Insecure is the best word to describe how I felt during that time. My daily routine was getting up early and barely eating anything, mostly junk foods. I spent nights crying because of the way a I looked. I didn't want to go shopping for clothes because I would get depressed. The worst part was that I knew what it was like to be skinny and addicted to the gym. And I was so far from it. Finding myself overweight was making me believe that it was just part of growing up. I was wrong. Getting older and having a family doesn't mean that you are suppose to get unhealthy and stop thinking about yourself. I had to make my health a priority. So I began this journey without any regrets. I knew it was the right thing to do.
How Did You Turn Your Life Around?
Not being able to look at myself in pictures and not liking what I saw was my turning point. In June of 2008, I decided to change my life. Not only did I want to fit in my old jeans, but I wanted a healthier lifestyle. My aunt had the same struggles and achieved her weight loss goals. She gave me the tools to start my own path. It was up to me to follow in her steps.
What Was Your Exercise Plan?
It was hard at first to take my body out of a sedentary routine and force it to workout. It took help and knowledge of a family member to get me up and going. My routine included lots of cardio and weights. I remember going to the park and not even knowing if I could run. When I tried it felt like I was carrying shopping bags in my hands. That didn't stop me.
First I started walking for half an hour. Then after the weeks passed I moved up to jogging and walking for 30 or 40 minutes. This routine was done five days a week. And two days of rest. If there was a day that I couldn't go to the park, I would follow kickboxing videos. Besides cardio, my other plan of attack was my weight routine. I did weight training three days a week. Here is an example of what I did:
- Monday - Cardio and Weights: Chest, Shoulders and Back.
- Tuesday - Cardio
- Wednesday - Cardio and Weights: Legs, Calves and Abs.
- Thursday - Cardio
- Friday - Cardio and Weights: Biceps, Triceps and Shoulders.
- Saturday - REST
- Sunday - REST
What does your current training approach look like?
My routine includes different types of cardiovascular exercises and weight training. I work out six days a week with one day of rest, unless my body needs more time to rest. For three days I do cardio for one hour and a half, and the other three I do weights. Most of my cardio includes: kickboxing, pylometrics, calisthenics and my very favorite BOXING! Every time I have a chance to go to the boxing gym makes me feel that everything is worth doing.
The other part of my routine is weight training. There's nothing better to speed up your metabolism than weight training. It's the best way to burn fat and gain muscle. The key is mixing these types of routines in your workout during the week. Always keep your body guessing and that's what brings change. I currently have workout DVDs of cardio and weight training that I mix up during the week. This is an example:
- Monday - Cardio (Kickboxing boot camp)
- Tuesday - Weight Training (Slim and Lean by Jari Love)
- Wednesday - Cardio (Boost Metabolism/Banish Fat by Jillian Michaels)
- Thursday - Weight Training (Get Ripped 1000 by Jari Love)
- Friday - REST
- Saturday - Cardio (Boxing)
- Sunday - Weight Training (Slim and Lean by Jari Love)
For my weight training, I am currently working with high repetitions with less weight. Following these DVDs challenges different muscles of my body. There are some days that I focus my weight training exercises on different areas of my body and I try to lift heavier weights. It all depends what area I am trying to work on first.
What Was Your Diet Plan?
I had to learn first how to distinguish between what was healthy and what was junk food. My main objective was to replace foods with healthy ones. I did a lot of research on nutrition and I also kept a food journal to keep record of everything I ate that week. I had five to six meals a day, small portions with snacks in between. I also forced myself to eat more vegetables and fruits. I also had plenty of water during the day and always allowed myself one cheat meal every week. I was always making sure I ate all my portions and keep up with my exercise plan.
What is your current eating plan look like?
My eating plan now is not as strict as when I started. I have a big weakness. CHOCOLATE! It's not bad to treat yourself with a little bit of something as long as it's not too much. I follow a very basic eating plan. I already know what I like, how to get it and why is good for my body. I always eat five to six meals a day and drink plenty of water. I am always keeping an eye on the nutritional facts on everything I buy and keep out of fast foods. I enjoy a home cooked dinner because I know what I'm consuming and the amount I'm getting. I don't deprive myself of food, I simply replace them with nutritious ones. Here is an example:
- Breakfast - 2 whole wheat pancakes with chocolate chips, 2 egg whites (scrambled), turkey bacon and low fat mozzarella cheese.
- Mid Morning Snack - Apple.
- Lunch - Sandwich with whole wheat bread, turkey ham, lettuce and tomatoes.
- Mid Afternoon Snack - Low calorie snack pack with protein like a protein bar.
- Dinner - Chicken breast, brown rice and vegetables.
- Late Night Snack (Optional) - Fat free milk with chocolate or almonds.
Don't skip meals, and if you don't feel that hungry, eat something light. This will help you avoid sugar and late night cravings. Don't skip breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day. It will give you energy and make you feel full. If you are in a hurry and don't have time to cook, make a power smoothie that will leave you full.
What supplements did you use?
My diet includes multivitamins and whey protein. After every workout I quickly mix up a protein shake or simply get a glass of water and mix in whey protein. I find very important that if you drink a lot of protein, you should also get lots of fiber and plenty of water.
What Is Your Life Like Now?
I feel like I could do anything. I know I can handle different challenges that comes in my way. I am more confident, secure and most importantly HEALTHY. My life has turned for the better. I look forward everyday for a challenging workout. Its been a year and a half since I started this path, giving new meaning to my life.
It inspired me to start a career out of it. I am interested in helping others understand and achieve their weight loss goals just like the trainers who helped me achieve mine. There is still a lot for me to do and learn. That's what keeps me motivated. I know that I have chosen the right kind of lifestyle.
Advice for others
Starting a healthy lifestyle by implementing a balance diet and exercise makes you feel and look wonderful. When you get your health in order you are going to be more enjoyable to be around and nothing is more rewarding. All you need is CONTROL and MOTIVATION. With these tools you can achieve your weight loss goals.
For people who want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, avoid the easy ways of fad diets that never work. Try to be old fashioned, do something that makes you SWEAT, and EAT right! Don't starve or deprive yourself of food. Simply make the healthy choice. Don't be scared of weight training. It will do wonders for you. Challenge yourself and let everyone else know how it worked for you!
More From Jesse Velazquez
I like this saying from my favorite trainer: "Find time for YOU, make yourself a priority, so you can give your best. Reach your goals and give great times to your loved ones, because if you don't take care of yourself, who will?"- Maritza Rodriguez.