It was summer 2010, I was just trying to run and play with my two-year-old daughter when I felt a pain on my right knee. I knew I was overweight (with 280 lbs at that time) and running was not really a good idea for me. I went to the doctor and he said I had osteoarthritis due my obesity. We started with a treatment (fluid injection) to alleviate the pain but ultimately I needed to lose weight. That was the point I realized I had to change. Unfortunately, the real change didn’t start until Fall 2011 when an old friend of mine invited me to see him competing at the Heart of Texas in Dallas. The interesting thing about this invitation was that I introduced to this guy to a gym in 2007 and four years later he was inviting me to watch his debut. I was super excited about him and also felt a big motivation to pursue an old dream that I had when I was teenager: compete in a bodybuilding show.
During this competition, this friend of mine introduced me to Greg McCoy, owner of the Metroflex Plano and we started working together on a lifestyle change (because I really don’t like calling it “diet” – either you change your lifestyle or you will probably fail to maintain down the road). We started making changes to my nutrition plan, which included six meals a day with three hours interval in between meals. For the first year, my calorie intake was about 1800 per day. My training routine also changed a lot by focusing on one single muscle group per day and finishing the training with 30 minutes cardio (I had one rest day per week). I was clearly losing weight faster than I expected – my metabolism was working hard and I was getting results every week. However, keeping up with the daily routine when you are on the road seems to be one of the biggest challenges that many people face, including me. That, and also time management, make it difficult to get things that you need while traveling and the right time. So I started to look for some alternatives to keep my daily calorie intake while on the road. It was during this time that I first tried a Quest Bar. I never really liked any protein bar because of the after taste, the high amount of carbs, and sugar. However, when I tried Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar, I was amazed by the flavor and the nutrition facts, mainly the high protein value and for having no sugar. Since I really like chocolate, I also tried the Chocolate Brownie flavor and immediately said to myself: I don’t need to try anyone else, this is it! Since this day, Quest Bars became part of my nutrition plan and it definitely helps.
The first year was tough but I managed to lose 100 lbs and got to 180, my lowest weight since I was 18. I felt like I recovered twenty years in one year – it was an awesome feeling!
After posting about my journey on Quest’s blog, I received a lot of support and words of encouragement to keep going. I was already motivated just because I felt alive again – not to mention, I was able to train and do things that I wasn’t able to do when I was obese. However the journey was not done yet. My ultimate goal was still important to me – to compete in a bodybuilding show.
I kept eating clean for the rest of 2013, consistently following a good nutrition and training program were core pillars for my foundation: it was about changing the body composition. The picture here shows how I was when everything started – notice that I had a huge belly, lots of fat in my upper body, which made things really difficult, since I had loose skin after the first year. I heard that I needed surgery, but I decided to just keep doing what I was doing and wait to tighten it up with time (and it did!).
In January 2014, my trainer and I established a 20 week-preparation plan for the competition; I was going to compete at the Adela Garcia Classic in Pflugerville, Texas. The training program got harder – with more cardio and less carbs than usual, although I kept one high carb day per week during my entire preparation.
Controlling my macros throughout the competition was very important – due my work I had to travel in different moments of that prep, and there was no better companion for those travels than Quest Bars. I was able to keep my core macros and have a healthy, tasty and portable replacement just by having always some bars with me.
In June 2014 I was sharp with 180 lbs on stage and about 5% body fat (31% less than when I started) and I was doing exactly what I planned to do: be able to compete. Stepping on stage for the first time after more than 10 years as an obese person was a dream coming true.
I was enjoying every single moment, winning was not my goal because my victory was to be there. I learned so much throughout the entire journey, it was not only a physical change, but a mind change. I learned to be more careful with my intake, what I eat is very important for my body and it will directly influence in the way I look from outside and inside. I learned that keeping my body busy by eating every three hours was vital to keep myself in a burning fat state.
That’s where little health snacks such as Quest Bars plays a big role in providing me the macros that I needed and not letting my body go in starvation mode. I’m very happy for that chapter of my life, I changed, I achieved my goal and now I feel empowered to continue competing, at least one competition per year is my goal.
Bodybuilding is about continuous improvement and competing against yourself. To achieve goals you set for yourself, you must be consistent in your daily actions and choices that you make.
I would like to finish this with special thanks to my family, my former coach Greg McCoy and all my friends that supported me throughout this process.