“These stories are here for people who want and need to read them,” says Dave Panganiban

By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos courtesy of Dave Panganiban

Back in July, we were acquainted with Dave Panganiban—yes, that guy who went from 406 pounds to somewhere in the mid-200s. His story caused quite a stir, at least in my circle, for the kind of commitment required to undergo such a process. Fast forward three months later and Panganiban is back with a progress update, baring razor-sharp wisdom and uncomfortable truths.

Exercise, proper nutrition, and a strong support system continue to fuel his fitness routine, recalling glimpses of his first transformation that propelled his story to be shared at least 3,000 times. This time around, however, we also touched on subjects—like fat shaming and body acceptance, the struggles that come with huge changes—that serve up more than just serious health advisories.

The good news is that, the little change in his perception of losing weight—which is not obsessing over that number on the scale—is part of what makes our little chat with Panganiban so enjoyable and refreshing. He still pushes the boundaries, don’t get me wrong, but does it in a way that benefits him in the long run. Like eventually racing an Ironman. If the previous feature was a welcome wakeup call, then this succeeding interview is just as fulfilling, if not better.

 

 

How much do you weigh now?

To be frank, I can’t remember the last time I stepped on the scale. Although I do recall the last number was right under 290. I’m pretty certain I’m way under that now. If I were to guess, I would say about 240 pounds.

So you sent me that progress photo and in that three months, you became much more ripped. Tell us about your nutrition and fitness regimen.

Up until that article, I used to follow a certain routine I found online. Then I got comfortable. I noticed I wasn’t sore as much, and my time in the gym seemed mundane, almost like I was just going through the motions.

Then one day, I was listening to sports radio and heard about a morning routine that Marshawn Lynch, which, by the way, is one of my favorite American football players, does every morning. It was something along the lines of 200 push-ups and pull-ups before he even eats breakfast. I decided I wanted to try it out but take it to an extreme. So, at any given day of the week, this is what a routine looks like for me:

Workout (I’ll do this four to five times a day):
50 to 70 push-ups
15 to 20 pull-ups or chin-ups
Total of four sets with one-minute rest max between sets
Cardio:
Two 5K runs a day (morning and evening)

In total, I’m doing over 1,000 push-ups, 250 pull-ups/chin-ups, and running six to seven miles a day.

For my nutrition, I follow a macronutrient calculation I found online for a ‘lean bulk,’ which is 45 percent carbohydrate, 35 percent protein, and 20 percent fat. I put this into this an app called MyFitnessPal and use it as a general guideline for my meals. I also tried intermittent fasting, which I believe helped with looking or getting more cut.

Above all, it was the intensity of my workouts that helped the most. Really pushing myself to levels out of my comfort zone and putting my body under stress over and over, day in, day out. 

 

 

Were there times when you felt down? What kept you motivated when you were feeling down?

Yes absolutely, and it’s knowing that it’s okay to feel down that helps the most. You will always have an off day where the motivation isn’t there. It’s accepting that fact, then working towards getting out of that funk that will make those days seem like nothing at all.

I will say that I am blessed abundantly with love and support from my friends and most especially my family. They’re always keeping me in check if I ever need to be, and encouraging every step of the way. Making them proud, more so, happy, is all the motivation anyone could ever need.

 

I usually go with a thumbs-up in pictures for sentimental reasons, but throw in the shaka just to spread good vibes. The two gentlemen in the picture are brothers, Joe and Kalani.  Joe is one of the first few who started running with me and actually pushes my pace

 

FitFam in every sense of the word. This is a more recent picture with two of my closest friends, Tanaz and Henry.  They’ve always been so positive and encouraging

 

A lot of friends have been asking me how your skin isn’t loose. Can you shed light on that?

Oh believe me when I say, there is loose skin. Unless I decide to have surgery, which I won’t, there will always be loose skin. However, I’ve been using home remedies such as aloe vera (applied every night after a shower), which I do believe has made a difference. I will say that for anyone currently trying to lose weight, do it with proper nutrition and exercise. Crash dieting is not the answer and will only make it worse. Slow and steady wins the race.

Now that you’ve achieved quite a lot, how do you plan to maintain it? What are your next goals?

I’ll incrementally change the workout by quantity and distance or time (i.e. next week 10 more push-ups, two more pull-ups/chin ups, add a mile or cut my current time).

Find an activity that you enjoy doing (whether it be sports, running, or the gym), work at it, be conscious of your diet, trust in the process, and I promise you, it will happen over time. Also, one slice of pizza will not hurt. Twelve, on the other hand, might do a little damage

There are, however, two things I’d like to accomplish in my life. One is to be an Ironman.  I’ve done the MS150, which is a bike from Houston to Austin around 240 kilometers, and have ran a few half-marathons. I figured if I can get swimming down, then I could make that dream come true for sure. The other is to compete on stage. Not necessarily to place or anything, but to put myself through a regimen that I’m not used to or comfortable with. If I constantly work towards those two dreams of mine, I think I’ll be alright. 

Aside from the exercise routine, what specific changes to your lifestyle have you made that works for you?

I can’t say that I’ve changed all that much. I think it’s the fact that fitness is slowly becoming my lifestyle or, at least, influences a lot of it, that makes everything work. My friends and family, for the most part, are very active as well so we all have that much more common ground. Fitness with friends and family? Works for me!

What’s the biggest misconception about people wanting to lose weight or build muscle?

I would have to say it’s the idea of doing countless hours of cardio, crash dieting, and the ‘overnight’ fitness remedies and routines that’s really giving the topic a bad rap. Find an activity that you enjoy doing (whether it be sports, running, or the gym), work at it, be conscious of your diet, trust in the process, and I promise you, it will happen over time. Also, one slice of pizza will not hurt. Twelve, on the other hand, might do a little damage.

While some may feel like it’s shaming my former self, why can’t it be that I am that much more proud of the dedication and hard work endured to accomplish what I have? If my story offends anyone, that’s not the intention. These stories are here for people who want and need to read them

I want to go into a complicated issue, and it’s about fat-shaming vs body acceptance. I’ve seen some people throw shade at Transformation Tuesday stories because they think it’s a form of fat shaming. Where do you stand on this issue? And why do you think some people see it that way?

First off, let me say that there will always be someone who may not see eye to eye with you, in any circumstance. Listen to, accept, and respect their opinion. Just because you understand doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree. As the saying goes, to each their own.

With that being said, I am 100 percent absolutely for it, so long as it helps someone somewhere, more importantly, yourself. Regardless of the motivation behind their story, if there is positivity to be given, then give it all.

It’s really a matter of perspective. While some may feel like it’s shaming my former self, why can’t it be that I am that much more proud of the dedication and hard work endured to accomplish what I have? As I mentioned before, everyone is entitled to their opinion. If my story, any story, offends anyone, rest assured that’s not the intention nor would I think it would be in any case. These stories are here for people who want and need to read them. I personally am that much more motivated when I see them.

Charlie needed angels, right? These are mine!

Do you think positive and negative reinforcements can help in achieving weight-loss goals?

Overall, I vibe on positivity in a big way, but I’d say both. We all need a little nudge to get going sometimes, and a little pull back when we get ahead of ourselves. Whether it be someone telling you to run a little extra or not eat that bag of potato chips, It’s finding the balance between the two that makes the journey interesting.

As someone who’s been through it all, how do you strike the balance between working hard to lose weight and not becoming overly obsessed with the number on that scale?

This is the very reason why I haven’t stepped on the scale in such a long time. I used to be obsessed by getting that number down to the point where if it never went down, I’d be so hard on myself almost to the point of regression. 

My advice? Ditch the scale, work hard, hold yourself accountable, trust in the process, and give it time, and in time, you’ll be where you want to be, I promise.