Name: Norman Torres
Hometown: Miami Beach, FL
Weight Before: 234
Weight After: 149
Total Weight Loss: 85
Norman Torres' weight loss success story isn't like the ones you've seen on television. He didn't lose hundreds of pounds in half a year. He didn't use an extreme diet. His entire life didn't revolve around shedding pounds and shedding pounds alone. Norman Torres has the type of weight loss success story you can actually relate to: He's a working man who decided to ditch the vices he'd held on to for decades, overhaul his crappy habits by replacing them reasonable (and healthy!) ones, and undergo a fitness transformation that would let him live the kind of life he didn't think was possible for his size and age.
Forty-seven year old Torres is a restaurant manager at Smith & Wollensky in his hometown of Miami Beach. His life was a steady revolution of waking up late, eating whatever he wanted, smoking, and drinking alcohol. And he would have gone on doing so if it wasn't for a checkup and a nudge in the right direction that changed his life. If you've hit your 40s and let your fitness and diet resolve slip, you've probably had a similar conversation with your doctor.
"She said my cholesterol was too high, I had blood pressure issues, and suffered with depression," Torres says. His doctor suggested medication, which he would presumably have to take for the rest of his life. But shortly after, a friend invited Torres to a Barry’s Bootcamp Miami Beach class.
"After that, everything changed for me," Torres says.
If you're not familiar, Barry's Bootcamp features high-octane cardio and strength workouts; typically half the class is spent doing intervals on a treadmill and the rest is reserved for resistance moves. For a guy in his 40s who's overweight, out of shape, and completely new to working out, Barry's Bootcamp is terrifying. Torres, however, thrived on the challenge. That's not to say he didn't struggle—a lot—in the beginning.
"Oh, it was hard," Torres recalls. "I didn't know if I could run, let alone run a mile, and I just thought 'I can't do this,'" he admits. The guidance and support he received from his trainer Derek DeGrazio, though, and the sense of community he felt from being with a room full of people—albeit strangers—pushed him. "I thought I was going to die, but I was motivated once I saw I could do some of the things everybody else was doing," Torres adds.
It reaffirmed all his goals to lose weight, walk longer, be able to run, quit smoking, and really live life. Each class he'd go a little bit further, push a little harder, and give his all.
Diet became more of a focus for him, too: "I started waking up more energized, more positive, knowing that, yes, I can do better today," he explains. Torres didn't go to a fad diet; he did his research, reading up on everything he could to familiarize himself with the best foods to eat for his goals.
Less than three years and 90 pounds later, Torres runs to Barry's and back instead of driving, taking classes up to five times a week. Change. That’s all it takes to adopt a new lifestyle.
"I can look myself in the mirror; I have more confidence about my personal life," Torres says. "Before, I’d just get up for work at noon, smoke a cigarette, and go to work. Now I can wake up at 8 a.m., go to Barry’s, work 'till 6, then go for an 8-mile run. I've never done that in my life—never even thought about it," Torres admits. His cholesterol is down and his health is exponentially better.
Having goals in life made Torres excited to start living and doing more things he's never done before. He even traveled to Europe.
Torres' Top Weight-Loss Tips:
Set small goals: "When you’re stuck in your own world, you’re not going to change," Torres says. He had some help breaking out of his comfort zone, but he wants every guy, regardless of his weight to know: "All it takes is one small thing to change your life for the better." Go for a walk after work instead of watching TV, for example. One small achievement will create a domino effect.
Track your progress: There's a reason weighing yourself regularly helps you maintain and lose more weight; you're constantly keeping tabs on things and making microadjustments to stay on track. Likewise, mapping your growth is a huge source of inspiration. "Honestly, I'm most proud I can finish the workout," Torres says. "I used to run the treadmill on .4, and now I can go fast without struggling to breathe or getting tired because I’m carrying around so much weight."
Be accountable: "Knowing I pay for Barry’s and I have to make a class keeps me going," Torres says. Not only is the money a motivator, but when you're part of a class, there are people counting on you to be there. Your trainer expects your attendance, and you usually have a roster of like-minded folks with similar goals who can help guide you along the way.
Remember age is just a number: "Being the age I am, and when I started this process, I’m proud of what I've done and what I continue to do," Torres says. "We, as humans, can change. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can dream and do anything whether you’re 20 or 45-years-old."