Jo Regis has lost a lot of weight, and now he wants to help others get in shape

By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos courtesy of Jo Regis

At 34, Jo Regis is proof that a busy schedule isn’t an excuse to make life-altering lifestyle changes. A customer service representative by profession, Regis had a history of struggling with basic motor movements—walking short distances, climbing flights of stairs—due to his 220-pound frame, reaching a breaking point when he was in “constant pain.” However his story just isn’t about his desperate moments, there’s also plenty of inspiration to go around. Motivated by his desire to become stronger and to care for his aging parents, Regis managed to get it right this time—mixing a training program with proper nutrition—to trim down to 169.3 pounds. It’s a genuinely amazing feat that deservedly reinforces that idea that balance, in what you do and what you put in your body, can have huge positive effects.

Tell us about your weight issues and struggles. When did your weight become a problem? And what caused your weight to spiral out of control?

At 220 pounds, I had challenges walking even the shortest distances; climbing a flight of stairs was a struggle, my knees and ankles hurt. I was always feeling winded even without doing anything physically strenuous

At one point I was working during the day and studying at night; this led me to lose time for exercise as all I wanted to do back then was sleep whenever I can. Also, to keep me awake at night, I turned to food, energy drinks, and sugary beverages. I led a sedentary lifestyle that went on for a few years and before I knew it, I have grown a waistline between 36 to 38 inches and weighed 220 pounds.

What was it like the first time you attempted to lose weight?

It was difficult. There was a point when I was in constant pain, that I had to drag myself to work and then to the gym after my shift. It was easy to enroll myself in a boxing class, but when the physical pain kicked in, there were days when I couldn’t bring myself to go to training and dreaded facing my coach because of the routine he had set for me. I had to constantly challenge myself to show up at the gym and complete the set. Discipline was the first lesson I had to learn. Endurance and perseverance were next.

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

The temptation to skip a training session and give in to all sorts of excuses not to go was the hardest, especially when I was feeling drained from work and physically sore from the previous day’s workout.

What is your workout regimen like?

After a year’s worth of boxing, I resorted to running. I ensured that I run for at least 30 minutes a day or five kilometers (whichever I will prioritize). I then enrolled to a gym, and considered weight lifting, as I saw that the logic of exerting effort on a daily basis was pretty much the same. I saw to it that I am able to train myself, not more than two hours every day, three to four times every week. My training program is divided into two days: Day one is dedicated for my upper body and arms. Day two is leg day. Core training included for both.

Now that you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, how do you plan to keep it off? What are your next goals?

Since I am seeing favorable results in my training, I see to it that I am able to maintain my physical activities as religiously as I could. I watch what I eat, making sure that whatever I took in for the day, I am able to burn it off.

My current and primary goal is to see how much further I can go from my program. As I am amazed at what I am capable of doing, I would like to not just inspire other people to consider fitness as part of their lifestyle but also to help them in their journey as a fitness coach one day.

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

There were a lot of times when I was too unmotivated to go the gym, even in my current form. I remember my dad telling me at one point that I will not be able to go back to how I looked like when I was younger if I don’t start being physically active. Seeing the photos when I was big motivated me to keep pushing myself and to push harder.

How has your weight loss affected your relationships?

The weight loss has helped me inspire other people. That including fitness as their priority, it is possible for them to have that change (and possibly achieve more). I am able to keep up with my daily activities with friends and family, without ever needing to worry about having that long walk home that I may have to do. I was no longer invisible.

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

Consciously choosing what I eat, opting for low to zero sugary beverages and less fatty food was among the significant changes I have made. Apart from it being counterproductive to my efforts in the gym, it seemed that I lost my craving for it.

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

The biggest misconception of losing weight is that it can be done solely by just going on a diet without strenuous exercise, and vice versa. It has always been a challenge to incorporate these two on a regular basis, but once a habit has been established, it will become easier to deal with.