• Stress from school combined with unhealthy eating and drinking habits caused Austen Garrido’s weight to climb, peaking around 193 pounds.
• To lose weight and get back in shape, he committed to an intense training regimen, which included doing cardio in the morning at 4 am.
• His improved diet and workout routine led to a dramatic 45-pound weight loss transformation in just six months.
Austen Garrido was used to being fit. The 22-year-old college student from Waterloo, Ontario, had been working out since he was 14, thanks in part to a dad who got him started young at the YMCA. So it made sense that his sister would buy him a workout belt for Christmas, 2018. What shocked him that December was that he couldn’t fit the belt around his waist.
He’d gained weight quickly thanks to the stress of schoolwork and a habit of binge-eating and drinking he’d developed, even as he kept hitting the gym four times a week. By the holidays, he’d stopped working out, and he felt awful—“like a ball with legs,” he says. He was constantly tired, getting out of bed was a chore, and anxiety about the state of his body spilled over into the rest of his life.
Between September and December, he’d gone from 150 to 193 pounds, and he hated it. So on that Christmas day he made a solemn vow to his sister about that workout belt. “I told her that I’d make it fit,” he says.
He’d lost weight before, but 193 pounds was the heaviest he’d ever weighed, and slimming down proved a serious challenge. That January he threw himself into it, introducing cardio into his intense weight-lifting regimen, hoping to recover his strength before cutting down the weight. He lost three pounds the first month (he expected he’d need time to build), then started doing cardio at 4 AM and tracking his calories, aiming for a daily calorie deficit. Six days a week he’d spend 30 to 40 minutes stair climbing or on an inclined treadmill, while also doing his weightlifting 5 to 7 days a week.
To avoid plateauing, every two to three weeks, he dropped his calorie intake by 50. (He’d calculated he needed 1750 calories a day, and initially set his daily intake at 100 below that.) He took a cheat meal every four or five days. “On weeks that I stuck to my regimen but felt that I didn’t lose as much weight as I wanted,” he says, “I would give myself a massive cheat day. Filled with cookies, ice cream, pizza, you name it.” That pushed his body into overdrive breaking down the extra food.
In six months, he lost 45 pounds. His clothes fit better, and he felt transformed. (His girlfriend was a key supporter the whole time.) He had the confidence of being in control of his own body; his family, who initially worried about such a drastic lifestyle change, are wowed by his progress. Now that he’s cut down his weight, he plans to focus on increasing his strength and muscularity.
As for anyone hoping to take greater control of their body, he says the most important element is patience. Understand that it’s a long road. “People expect results instantly and that’s just not realistic,” he says. “Your body is this miracle that can do so many amazing things with hard work. Give it time.”
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