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5 Real Guys and How They Started Their 2017 Fitness Transformations

Starting is half the battle!
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It’s the start of a new year, and that means it's also time to set some goals towards a better you. Did weight management make it to the top of your list? To give you a head start, heed the wise words of these five men who were in the same position just a year ago. While they each had their own reasons for deciding to work on their fitness, all agree: It takes dedication, perseverance, patience and a whole lot of hard work to see even the most miniscule movement on the scale. But 2017 was their year, and they haven't just cut their weight down—they've also improved their overall well-being. See if you can learn anything from these guys.

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Troy Sitosta, 30, designer, art director and entrepreneur
“2017 was a struggle for me. The whole year was about fixing problems that were really out of my control. My businesses were also flourishing and the demands were getting higher,” shares Troy who eventually lost focus on himself. “When the year was nearing its end, I told myself that I couldn't go on like this.” 

How he started: Troy strategized and made fitness a non-negotiable part of his day. “With discipline, I made 6 to 9 in the morning my me-time.” He went to the gym for a balance of resistance training and cardio activities before heading to work. “The first week was hard because I had to get used to sleeping early and waking up while everyone else was still asleep. Eventually, I started to enjoy it as I was noticing my rapid progress. I got addicted to the bursts of energy after a workout that made me feel fearless and alert throughout the day.” He turned his diet around as well: “I ate clean—mostly greens cooked simply—and watched my calories.” On rest days, he likes changing things up by trying boxing, yoga, swimming and indoor cycling. It also helps to have people supporting you all the way: “I made new friends who are also into fitness and supportive of my start and we would set fitness hangouts to keep it fun.”

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Ace Jacinto, 23, electronics engineer
Ace started working on his well-being out of fear—a constant fear of succumbing to diseases in his old age. “Aside from that fear that lingered in my mind, I also wanted to see how much overall improvement I could get if I started working out.”

How he started: “I turned getting fit into a lifetime commitment. I became more careful of what I ate and I did a physical activity, whether jogging or working out in the gym, every day.” He had to exert a lot of effort, especially with his stressful job constantly sidelining his journey. “But I never made it an excuse to not get up and exercise. Getting fit needs so much effort but it is worth doing.” The hardest part for Ace? Seeing no visible progress during the first few months. “But seeing my old pictures made me realize that I shouldn't quit. Up to this point, I still look at my old pictures. They serve as constant reminders to continue improving even if I’m already close to reaching a particular goal. The moment people around you notice your progress, you'll feel more determined to progress.”

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Sonny Thakur, 31, photographer and part-time bartender
All it took for Sonny to get started on his fitness journey was a desire to get into a new hobby. “I just wanted to try something new so I walked into a climbing gym one day. I had a great time but really felt that my weight was making things a little more difficult than it should have been. The climbing never really made me lose weight, but it forced me to find ways to lose weight to climb efficiently.”

How he started: Sonny eventually took to climbing two to three times a week. “Climbing is a physically taxing sport, and the body takes a while to recover. Sleep is very important and it’s sometimes difficult to find time between my jobs and training to sleep well. I’ve learned to keep my nutrition in check to help with recovery.” Sonny goes to the gym the rest of the week, and on days he feel extra motivated, he swims or practices yoga on rest days. “I eat everything in moderation now and time heavier meals after a long day of climbing. I’ve lost over 30 pounds but I’ve done it very slowly and I don’t see myself slowing down or getting burnout.” Keeping himself constantly motivated has also helped heaps: “I have a regular group of climbing buddies and we set challenges for each other. There is no better motivation than completing an ascent you once couldn’t even imagine scaling.”

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JJ Henson, 48, advertising creative director
Age should never be a hindrance in reaching your fitness goals. Despite spending time in the gym, JJ wasn’t seeing much progress anymore. “I plateaued with my gym routine, so I thought of getting into competitive sports to change things up.” Out of all the workouts he tried, it was strength and endurance training that worked best for him.

How he started: JJ turned to swimming and dragonboat paddling to help him reach his new goals. “I wanted to challenge my strength, power, and endurance,” he shares. “I eventually joined a dragonboat paddling team, composed mostly of athletic twentysomethings, to see if I could measure up.”

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Francis Lim, 34, professional chef, consultant and entrepreneur
Francis used to wear XXL shirts. For his height and build, his ideal weight should be around 165 to 170 pounds. Thinking he was just in the 200-pound mark, he started to put on more weight. “Turns out I was at 245, so I had to buy bigger clothes. I didn't enjoy going out or being seen in public,” shares Francis. “I wasn’t comfortable with how I looked anymore.” This pushed Francis to start working on himself.

How he started: “I played basketball at least three times a week and soccer at least once a week. I involved myself in physical activities that were really fun.” Being inspired after seeing his old photos and a bunch of medium-sized clothes in his closet, he also started going to the gym daily; sometimes even twice a day. A part of his work called for late nights and alcohol, too, so those impeded his progress. “Not eating after drinking helped a lot! But I developed this scheme wherein if I don’t reach a target, I take away something I normally enjoy eating. I started with rice then pork. It helped me focus on reaching my goals.”

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