“It is not that you “have to” workout, it is that you “GET TO” workout. Working out is a reward, not a punishment.” -Aleo
Name: Aleo Vera (Not my real name)
Start age: 28
Current age: 29
Start weight: 208
End of transformation weight: 172
Height: 6 feet
Total weight lost or weight gain: 35 pounds lost
Why did you decided to transform?
After going through some difficulties in my life, I reached a point that I was constantly depressed, demotivated, and did not feel good about myself or my life. I went through a stage that I did not care whether I would live or die. I was taking various prescription medications for depression and anxiety and they only made my life so much worse. When I looked into the mirror and saw myself overweight, unhappy, and alone, I realized I had hit the rock bottom. I stopped taking my medications because I could not afford them anymore, and that was very difficult at first, but over the course of few months something changed in me and I felt like I wanted to improve myself, and it started with the desire to lose all the weight I had gained while being depressed and inactive. So I started to do cardio about 10 minutes a day, and started tracking my calories using an app. As I noticed my health significantly improved over the course of weeks, my depression faded, and I felt good again at times, I became more motivated to diet and exercise, and it lead to the transformation that you see now in the pictures.
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing my weight drop, my strength increase, and the overall positive changes in my psychological and physical well being have been the motivation to keep going. When I was depressed, the only thing about my life that felt good was working out. It made me feel alive, and for a moment, I would feel good about myself. I always remind myself that the number 1 reason I workout is to feel good about myself and my life, because the act of exertion of effort is a rewarding experience by our nature, and one always feels a sense of accomplishment after lifting heavy weight, or doing some intense cardio. Of course, I wanted to drop all the extra weight I had gained all at once, and looking in the mirror the results came so slow that a lot of times I felt like giving up, but I reminded myself that I did not workout only to look good, but primarily to feel better psychologically, to get rid of stress and improve my mood. I also signed up on bodybuilding.com ( I have shared a link to my profile, where you can see my transformation photos in greater detail) and started doing their monthly contests. I was scared to upload my “before” photos at first, because I felt very insecure about myself, and did not want to be criticized, but I was surprised on the amount of positive feedback I received from people there who were going through similar transformations, and that motivated me to complete the contests, and upload progress photos. Overtime, I became more disciplined because I truly started to feel very passionate about the human body, its potential to change and become, and I realized that I can actually build the dream body that I have always wanted. Now I am making a steady progress towards that goal.
How often do you workout?
I workout every day, and I take days off when I need to fully recover, but never more than a day (throughout my transformation there has been only a few times when I felt so over trained that I needed two full days to recover).
I do not have a particular routine that I follow, I rather try to sense which muscle group has recovered enough and is ready to grow more and I workout that muscle group. This naturally leads to some sort of a split routine such as chest on day 1, back on day 2, shoulders and legs and day 3, then repeat. I mostly do compound exercises with barbells and dumbbells, such as squats, dead lifts, dumbbell rows and presses, and leave machines and cables as finishing moves.
During my transformation period, I walked every day for about 5 miles, either in the morning, or in the evening, or both, and I lifted weights and did 20 minutes of cardio in the afternoon.
Are you taking any supplements?
Throughout my transformation I took multivitamins, fish oil, and green tea extract, and psyllium husk dietary fiber as it helped me keep full and control my cravings because I was almost always in a caloric deficit. In the recent months I have added creatine. I do not take any protein powder and get all my protein from mainly chicken and fish. My diet is similar to a typical bodybuilding diet, and I eat a lot of eggs and eggwhites, chicken breast and thighs, tilapia, oatmeal, rice and lentils, whole wheat and wheat bran with some green veggies.
Your favorite Gym Tracks, if any?
I love Muse, and a lot of their tracks just get me. For heavy lifting I prefer some dubstep mixes, like the ones available on Spotify under the workout category. I also listen to some stations on Pandora that play my favorite music, the best ones are probably Pop Fitness Radio, Dance Cardio, Rap Strength Training Radio, Club/Dance Radio.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
This pretty much is my favorite because it teaches the number one important principle that underlies all great achievement. Habitual consistent work towards the goal, each day every day.
Any advice or tips for aspiring transformers?
Stay committed and focus on your goal, devote mental thinking time to planning your diet and planning your training in advance. Diet takes a lot of mental energy and sticking to your diet can make it or break it regarding your motivation to workout especially if you are trying to lose fat. When you feel too weak to keep going, stop, rest a day, take a break, reward yourself for having come this far, and commit to going back the next day, no matter how difficult it may be, you will find that training is a pleasure again when your body is rested and recovered. It is not that you “have to” workout, it is that you “GET TO” workout. Working out is a reward, not a punishment. Keep that in mind and it will help you though the very few times when you will feel like nothing is improving and there is no point because you just can’t. Remember that you can, and look for people have done it and are doing it now.
Bodybuilding.com Website: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/progress-photos/excidy