Palmer was always “the fat kid” growing up. In middle school, he had trouble fitting into roller coasters, airplanes, and even cars.
After a violent encounter with bullies at school, he ran home crying. In that moment, he became determined to make a change.
His parents got him a trainer and he started working out three times a week, lifting weights and doing cardio.
He eliminated overeating and junk food. In his early teens, he worked his way from 267 pounds to a healthy 140. The teasing stopped, too.
His weight-loss transformation inspired him to help others get fit.
“I vividly remember explaining to my friend how to use the bench press properly and I had one of those lightbulb moments,” he recalls.
Now 28, he maintains a lean 165-pound physique and works as a personal trainer and bootcamp instructor. His “fat-kid” past helps him relate to his clients.
“I have been where they are,” he says. “I have been through the struggle and understand what they are feeling and experiencing. I understand what it is like to get bullied, to be laughed out, and to fail.”
But he also knows what it’s like to succeed.
After being honorably discharged from the Army, Rosa became depressed. He turned to food and alcohol to numb his pain.
After two years of unhealthy choices, he landed in his doctor’s office with chest problems.
His doc told him that if he continued the same lifestyle, he wouldn’t live any longer than his father, who had a fatal heart attack at age 40. That was the wake-up call Rosa, who was in his 20s, needed.
Too embarrassed to step foot in a gym, Rosa started doing at-home workout DVDs.
Related: THE 21-DAY METASHRED, the Men’s Health Fitness DVD That Strips Away Fat and Reveals Hard Muscle. One Guy Lost 25 Pounds In 6 Weeks!
He also overhauled his diet: “I eat a lot less, but more often,” he says. His nutrition plan now includes lots of protein shakes.
(For a great protein powder that tastes good in shakes but isn’t loaded with sugar, check out the Organic Whey Protein from the Men’s Health store.)
Rosa dropped 55 pounds from his starting weight of 322 in the first few months. He kept up the hard work, committing to 60-day fitness challenges to hold himself accountable.
Now he weighs in at 195 with a size 32 waist, and is stronger and happier than ever. He’s currently working to become a police officer.
When Foy turned 20, he looked in the mirror and was disgusted with what he saw.
He was overweight at 224 pounds and covered in acne. He smoked and drank excessively, and knew his unhealthy lifestyle was to blame for how he looked.
He had tried to lose weight in the past through gimmicky infomercial products, but this time, he committed to hard work—no shortcuts.
Foy cut back on calories and loaded up on protein and healthy fats.
He went to the gym every day and lost 50 pounds in about three months.
But then he started to plateau, so he joined a mixed martial arts gym—and dropped another 20 pounds of fat. After that, he started powerlifting to gain muscle.
Now he’s a lean 182 pounds and never feels more at home than when he’s in the gym. His next goal is to enter a weightlifting competition.
After dealing with a slew of health issues—like digestion problems, shortness of breath, and an overall difficulty in moving around—Devic was tired of carrying the physical burden of his weight.
He was 280 pounds and didn’t really know where to begin.
So he started small, giving up junk food and alcohol. He kept an eye on portion sizes. And he started filling his plate with protein and vegetables.
(For a nutrition plan you can actually stick to, check out The Lean Muscle Diet from Men’s Health.)
These changes in his eating habits alone helped him lose almost 40 pounds quickly.
After shedding the bulk of his fat, he began building his muscles through strength training.
His stomach, arms, thighs, and even his face were all noticeably more defined after seven months of hard work.
In less than a year, Devic was down to 198 pounds. Now he feels an energy, drive, and confidence he never thought was possible. He no longer feels shy and anxious in his own skin.
In fact, he says that leaving the gym makes him feel as if he’s “on top of the world.”
After serving in the military, Grant landed a security job that involved spending a lot of time parked in a chair. The pounds started piling up.
In 2015, he went to a checkup with a new doctor. He stepped on the scale and weighed in at 295 pounds, which classified him as obese. He was also on the cusp of high blood pressure, so his doctor loaded him up on meds.
But Grant wanted to take a more preventive approach to his health problems.
He started wearing a Fitbit and taking walks after dinner. Walking turned into running, and running turned into lifting.
He cut out simple carbs, amped up his protein intake, and of course, subscribed to Men’s Health magazine.
And as a stay-at-home dad, he squeezed in mini workouts whenever he could by knocking out a few pullups on the monkey bars at the playground or throwing one of his three kids on his back as he did pushups.
All the little changes started adding up.
He dropped down to 183 pounds and 13 percent body fat. Now his energy levels are through the roof, he can keep up with his kids, and even though he’s 36, he feels like he’s in his early 20s again.
His advice? “Just start moving. By the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did it and pushed through it.”
In his first year of college in Chicago, Deidel didn’t gain the freshmen 15—he gained the freshman 30.
He’d always been a “big kid,” weighing more than 200 pounds since middle school. And the number just kept climbing.
At 19, he was the biggest he’d ever been at 321 pounds with 50 percent body fat.
So when he came home from his first year of college and his stepdad and uncle were starting their own weight-loss plans, he decided to join them.
He started his training by working out for about 5 hours every week. He did cardio, walk-run intervals, and supersets of push-pull exercises.
But by a few years later, during January of this year, Deidel was still 252 pounds and had 20 percent body fat. So he kicked things into high gear.
The biggest difference came when he started tracking what he ate.
“I’m a firm believer that abs are made in the kitchen,” he says.
Now he preps four meals a day for every day of the week. He’s down to 198 pounds and 11 percent body fat.
His own results aren’t the only thing that keeps him going: His stepdad has lost 80 pounds and his uncle has dropped nearly 200. Together, they’ve melted off about 400 pounds total.