Here’s what kept law student Andrew Rosales motivated enough to not only lose weight but build muscle, too

By Ea Francisco | Photos courtesy of Andrew Rosales

Law student Andrew Rosales went through years of fluctuating weight gain. There didn’t seem to be a balance, and it only worsened his struggles. After hitting his lowest point, Rosales finally managed to end the vicious cycle through intense workouts, disciplined eating, and motivational Youtube videos. From 250 pounds down to 150, he is now already taking the next big step: building muscle mass. He’s currently at 185 pounds, but his journey is far from over.

Tell us about your weight issues and struggles. When did it become a problem?

Ever since I was young, my weight had always fluctuated. There were times when I would be at polar opposites, either super thin (140 pounds) or super heavy (250 pounds). And then there are times when I would be able to drop weight quickly but rebound after a few years. It was a cycle of fat to thin to fat to thin. But there came a point when I had given up on myself. I was in a dark place; I was obese 2 or 3 already. With the weight came a slew of health problems. My doctor advised me to lose weight or else I wouldn’t even reach 40 years old. The binge drinking, eating, and chain smoking finally caught up with me.

How did you manage to get past that depressive behavior?

I was going through a lot of personal struggles and the way I would cope is through binge eating and binge drinking. It was a horrific cycle. I felt depressed, so I ate. After eating, I would feel depressed because I was gaining weight. I had to make peace with myself. When I accepted that I was obese, it was the beginning of day one for me. Up to this day, I still have an ongoing battle. There are good days and bad days. But no matter what, you have to keep pushing forward.

My doctor advised me to lose weight or else I wouldn’t even reach 40 years old. The binge drinking, eating, and chain smoking finally caught up with me

What was it like the first time trying to get back into the active lifestyle? Did you ever feel discouraged when you think about how much fitter you were before?

It was definitely hard and painful. Going back to the gym and running on the treadmill really gave me nightmares for a couple of days. I felt the difference when I was more active and fitter. It was such a struggle to return to my old pace and amount of weights I would normally carry.

What kept you motivated when you were feeling down?

Let me share with you the biggest open secret. Whenever you feel down or depressed, do these simple steps: first, open Youtube and then watch motivational videos. Whenever I feel tired, sore, not in the mood, lazy or whatever reason I could think of, I would just watch a couple of hardcore motivational videos. They are the ones that got me through the day. Those videos redefined what I was capable of. If others could do it, so can I.

What was the biggest struggle: food, exercise or temptation?

I have a sweet tooth. Life is short, have dessert first. I’m the type of person who would eat dessert first then order my main meal. Exercise is easy, but self-control is the worst. It’s so easy to fall off the wagon. You just have to maintain composure but also once in a while, give in to those small well-deserved cravings.

What did you do in order to stay composed when you were dieting?

Have a diet plan and stick to it. Never underestimate the power of will. Strengthen your resolve; you have to be willing to do things that you’ve never done before to get the results you want. Slow progress is better than no progress. Think of it as a day-to-day struggle. Just remember to do your cardio, train, and eat properly.

One trick for me is to have cheat meals and not cheat days. There are three to four meals in a day. In a week, I spread out the cheat meals, so I can still enjoy food. But of course, in moderation. No late night binge eating. Make sure you eat before or after an intense cardio session, so you won’t feel any regrets. Whenever I’m out with friends or family, I usually use one of my cheat meals.

What is your workout regimen like?

To lose weight, I do circuit whole body workout in the gym then 30 to 45 minutes of high intensity interval training with one minute rest then a run. Then, I would play basketball. At night, I would go swimming. I lost a lot of weight due to the intense workout regimen. But now I’ve shifted to strength building. Always do your deadlifts, squats, and bench presses.

What other diet tips can you give to people?

Get help. Research. Don’t try to do it by yourself. Knowledge is key. But in the end, nothing beats discipline.

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

There are no fast results. Think long term. It’s a process. Don’t get excited with quick results.

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

It’s still an ever changing fitness journey. Now I plan to focus on aesthetics. It’s a fitness journey. Just because I lost weight doesn’t mean it ends there.

What advice can you give to help people get out of their emotional slump?

Enjoy the grind. Savor each and every repetition. Each second doing cardio. Just keep doing it over and over again. Don’t ever give up. And have a support system. I have my own set of friends, but I was also able find new ones on the same fitness journey in my gym, Extreme Fitness Club. They are more or less going through the same thing. Don’t be shy to ask help from them. So you better pick your gym wisely. When people see that you are serious and really put in the work, they’ll respect you even more and help you from time to time. Get a trainer at first if you don’t know what to do. There are infinite possibilities to weight loss or weight gain, you just have to find your own sustainable way