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Success Story: "I Didn't Want to Look Like That"

This overweight student saw the body he wanted on a magazine cover, and made it a reality.

CHRISTO PAPPADEMOS
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Occupation: Recent Graduate of San Diego State University
Age: 21
Height: 5'11"
Weight Before: 238 Pounds
Weight After: 195 Pounds
Duration: 4 Years

ChristoChristo Pappademos was an average high schooler with an above average weight problem. Before joining his school’s football team, Pappademos was unaware of how to take care of his body. Though his coaches put him through tough workouts, nothing could stop him from hitting up his favorite fast food joint after practices—Carl’s Jr. With a large appetite came an even larger waistline, and before he knew it, he had ballooned to a hefty 238 lbs.

After graduation, Pappademos retired from his role as defensive lineman, but continued playing defense in his life beyond high school athletics. Social situations were loaded with anxiety, and dating seemed impossible. “Just looking in the mirror was pretty rough, and the small teasing here and there,” he says. The discovery of our sister publication, Muscle & Fitness, changed all that. “I saw this issue of Muscle & Fitness with this guy in the navy standing on an aircraft carrier looking pretty badass on the cover,” he says. “I thought, ‘Man, I want to look like that! I don’t want to look like this.’”

CHRISTO'S ADVICE
Don't Stop!

“It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to get bored working out, but always change it up and keep going.”

Getting to the gym the first few months after high school proved to be a daunting task. Without anyone to coach him through his workouts, he fumbled around the equipment. In order to break away from his stale gym routines he consulted his fellow gym goers. “I worked out in a Gold’s Gym, which was home to many ex-power lifters, bodybuilders and fitness models. I would pick up different tips and pieces of advice about lifting and cardio from people who made a living out of working out,” he explains. Modeling his routine after those around him, Pappademos soon began to develop a program of his own. He lifted four days a week and dedicated a fifth day to cardio.

He didn’t see any changes in his body, however, until he changed his diet. Each morning he’d pound eggs, cottage cheese and fruit, and based the rest of his meals around chicken breasts. Eating was no longer a battle of cravings. It became a game of “what can I eat that will get me a good workout in today?” He also downs a protein shake after each workout.

Christo

College made things a little more challenging for Pappademos. Eating out and constantly being on the go made it hard for him to stay on track. He learned to find healthier versions of different foods at his favorite spots. He became a regular at Chipotle, making his signature meal a burrito bowl with double chicken.

After four years of incredible willpower and dedication, Pappademos broke out of his pudgy exterior and trimmed down to 195 lbs. His new healthy lifestyle has given him more energy and has made him a force to be reckoned with in sports. “It’s nice to be able to muscle someone around when you’re playing basketball or tackle football. I definitely have an advantage in that from lifting,” says Pappademos. He also assures us that his previous inability to approach women is a thing of the past.  He’s more laid back when it comes to meeting new people, and can just be himself. “It was something that [I] was ashamed of and insecure [about] and now it’s something that gives [me] confidence.” After graduating from San Diego State University, he is on the hunt for a job, and feels more confident than ever in his pursuits. 

GOT SUCCESS? Show us. E-mail your story, your contact info, and any pictures that help illustrate your progress to successstories@mensfitness.com. You’ll be considered for both the online and print edition!

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