That left him in a bind, adding more pounds while not getting the exercise he needed to burn calories. “To the naked eye you wouldn't really think anything about my weight, but I could really feel it,” he says. Tired of feeling sluggish and dizzy, he finally talked to a cardiologist, who confirmed his heart was healthy. Cruz realised he’d created his own barriers to getting back in shape; he felt especially guilty for having a girlfriend who runs marathons while he worried a workout might kill him. At 71.5kg, his body fat percentage was 19.24 percent.
His doctor told him that his dizziness would likely subside as he exercised. So Cruz threw himself into a six-week transformation at Ultimate Performance. His initial assessment rolled right into a workout—“It was great ‘cause I didn't have time to freak out,” he says. He felt on the brink of dizziness, but as he kept going the feeling disappeared. Soon he was training without fear.
To fix his diet, he switched to a macro eating plan, logging all of his intake in MyFitnessPal. He’d never done that before, and soon learned the value of tracking fats, carbs, and protein. It was a challenge, but he realised how important it was to know exactly what he was eating. He even signed up with a service called MacroPlate, which delivered meals designed to fit his plan.
Along the way, he un-learned some bad habits, including form that hadn’t been serving him well. “It was a lot of pain, but very rewarding to see how much more weight or reps I was doing each week,” he says.
Within two weeks he could pinch his fat and notice it felt looser. In six weeks he lost nine pounds and dropped his body fat to just over 10 percent, giving him a super-cut look. “I was amazed at how much muscle I gained,” he says. “I didn't think I would get lean and build muscle the way I did.” He’s now bulking up, especially focusing on his legs.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health