Rejie Ronquillo proves that it’s possible to exercise every day and go on long bike rides on weekends—all while heading a company
By Catherine Orda | Photos courtesy of Rejie Ronquillo
The heaviest 32-year-old Rejie Ronquillo has ever weighed was 338 pounds. What motivated him to change that was simple enough: He wanted to live a healthy and active lifestyle. After struggling with laziness, unhealthy food, and alcohol, the young executive (he is currently the president of Belvedere Cleanvironment Philippines, Inc., a provider of environment-friendly water treatment solutions) was able to lose about 155 pounds, once weighing 183 pounds.
Now, he religiously follows a strict diet and a daily routine in the gym, coupling that with long runs and bike rides in the weekend to maintain his current weight, which ranges from 195 to 200 pounds.
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?
I have been overweight since grade school and what skyrocketed my weight gain was when I was studying culinary arts back in college. School days were just filled with lots of food and alcohol.
What was it like the first time you attempted to lose weight?
The first time I tried to lose weight was really a huge struggle. Imagine carrying 338 pounds while doing circuit trainings, cardio, etc. It was really hard, and I almost gave up a lot of times, most especially with the diet I was doing.
What is the biggest struggle: food, exercise or temptation?
Biggest struggle was food and exercise. My diet was a very low sodium, sugar, carb, and calorie diet. I was eating approximately 1000 kcal a day. It was really a huge change in diet and lifestyle. Exercise was also a huge part. I was training with the late Bobby Agustin of Gold’s Gym Philippines who had this program that will really push and challenge you. My heart rate was really high every training session.
“Losing weight cannot be done overnight. It requires a lot of prayers, a change in lifestyle, and a lot of will and determination.”
What is your workout regimen like?
My workout when I was undergoing weight loss was twice a day, seven days a week. I did one-hour cardio (which includes stationary biking, treadmill running, and using the elliptical machine), and then I would do high intensity circuit training with sprint running in between sets with my personal trainer. I also joined fun runs. Now, I see to it that I do a minimum of five days working out at the gym. I also make sure to change my program from time to time to keep my body challenged, and on weekends I do bike rides. I also join runs and duathlon events from time to time.
Now that you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, how do you plan to keep it off? What are your next goals?
My routine in keeping the excess weight off is to go to the gym regularly and still do the low sodium, sugar, carb diet on weekdays, but now I incorporate all that with high protein. I just tweak the diet depending on the activity I will do.
Were there times when you felt down? What kept you motivated when you were feeling down?
Yes, the first three months during my weight loss were the hardest. It’s like I’m putting so much effort into my diet and workouts but still, I only see a few changes in how I look. Then, after those three months, I noticed a rapid change with my looks and weight. It seemed like I was being challenged to either give up or push harder. What kept me motivated was the support of people around me.
How has your weight loss affected your relationships?
It hasn’t. Everything is still the same.
Aside from the exercise routine, what specific changes to your lifestyle have you made that works for you?
I make sure to get proper nutrition, but still the base of my diet is low sodium, low sugar, and low carb. I make a few adjustments whenever I prepare for a race or long bike rides. I also limit my alcohol intake. But on weekends I eat whatever I want as a reward. I just make sure to balance everything—dieting on weekdays and eating to my heart’s desire on weekends.
What’s the biggest misconception about people wanting to lose weight?
Losing weight cannot be done overnight. It requires a lot of prayers, a change in lifestyle, and a lot of will and determination.