big weight loss

Eric’s #UNSTOPPABLE Journey

While most in college unintentionally gain weight, Eric Pichardo decided his college days were the perfect time to get in shape. Pichardo no longer wanted to be a victim of low self-esteem or put himself further at risk for weight-related diseases, so he took it upon himself to begin working out, eventually losing 52 pounds, to date. 

“Before I began this journey, I had low self-esteem, couldn’t get a date nor could I ever really talk to a woman,” Pichardo revealed. “I would tell myself things like I didn’t deserve to be happy. Shopping was a nightmare because I could never buy the clothes I wanted or liked. Being bullied for my weight was almost a constant thing, and every word had a major effect on lowering my self-image. What scared me the most was how my family’s history had a lot of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, etc. and how nearly every single relative who died or had complications were due to not eating right or obesity or just plain not being health conscious.”

Another place Pichardo found motivation was comic books. Pichardo was not satisfied by just reading comics and admiring the heroes, he wanted to be just like them. 

“I just wanted to stop feeling sorry for myself,” Pichardo admitted. 

Pichardo started exercising by taking Taekwondo classes through the American Taekwondo Association and mixed martial arts through Pettis Martial Arts. Through his instructors, Master Larry Struck and Rey Pettis, Pichardo not only learned about a variety of self-defense styles, but also about nutrition and exercise in general. Although Pichardo considers himself an introvert and was nervous to branch out, he then started taking group classes at Xperience Fitness. 

before weight loss
When Eric Pichardo began exercising he weighed 257 pounds and suffered from low-self esteem.

“I wanted to achieve my goal so bad that I didn’t care how scary it felt,” Pichardo expressed.

His first few times working out at Xperience, Pichardo was intimidated because he noticed many of the members were in great shape and he was still unsure how to use most of the machines. 

“But I took the chance and started to learn what each machine did and how I could use what I learned to achieve my weight loss goals,” Pichardo explained. “After my first day, I became addicted and came nearly every day. In that time, I became more comfortable and Xperience Fitness has become my home away from home.”

The turning point

It was when Pichardo felt his clothes becoming baggier that he realized the effort he was putting in was paying off. His support system also started taking notice of his changing physique and would tell Pichardo his arms were getting larger and he was getting thinner and more muscular. Pichardo also began modeling, something he continues to do to this day. 

But Pichardo’s physical appearance is not the only thing changed, his self-image has soared and dating is not as intimidating. 

“I have a much healthier self-image, the gym and going to it has become second nature to me to the point that I don’t feel right unless I go for at least one session,” Pichardo said. “…It also feels great to tell people my story because I can empathize with them and share fitness tips or opinions on nutrition.” 

Instant results, or lack of

after weight loss
Now, Pichardo is down 52 pounds and is more confident than ever.

Pichardo’s exercise journey was not without setbacks or frustrations, however. Like most people, Pichardo wanted results fast and when they do not come in a timely matter it can be very frustrating. Luckily, Pichardo took his frustration and turned it into a lesson: “Sometimes, the best things in life take time.” 

Pichardo’s continued dedication to himself and his health proved how far he was willing to go to achieve his goals. 

“I wanted to be in shape and love myself,” Pichardo expressed. “What kept me going was a mixture of not wanting to repeat the history of illnesses in my family, wanting to fit into clothing I actually liked, and of course the comic book characters I would read about.”

Coming out the other side

Now, Pichardo continues to learn the most up to date ways of staying in shape. Being able to implement the newest strategies ensures Pichardo is always pushing his body and mind to the next level. Pichardo’s overall goal and one of his motivators? To be able to play Batman in a movie someday. 

As for advice, Pichardo said the key to any fitness journey is to never give up and accept that fear is a normal part of starting a new chapter in life. 

“This journey is not a sprint, it is going to take time and patience,” Pichardo said. “There are going to be times it is going to feel like you’re not improving, but in the end, you’ll realize it was all worth it.”