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“30 minutes at the gym is better than zero minutes at the gym.”
Patrick Stafford was on the verge of turning 40 when he realized that he needed to make a change. Like many others, the pandemic hadn’t been kind to the LA-based actor, and he found himself weighing the most he ever had.
“I didn’t like the path I was headed down,” he says. “I didn’t want look back on my life and regret that I didn’t achieve the body I had always wanted, and as an actor, it is important to keep your body—your instrument—well tuned.”
To top it all off, Stafford was also dealing with a complicated set of health issues that hindered his ability to get the physique he wanted—including needing a kidney transplant from his mother and a condition called SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), which can cause bloating.
“My physical strength and cardiovascular health were also on the decline,” he says. “I was unable to do any kind of strenuous training without feeling completely depleted and out of breath.”
The pandemic had also taken an unfortunate toll on his mental health. Stafford began to frequently deal with anxiety and depression. He also went on to develop claustrophobia and would find himself panicking in unexpected situations.
Hoping to make a change for the better, Stafford got in contact with an UP Fitness location in his area and began what would be a four month journey to the body he’d always wanted.
“In the beginning, I worked out only 3 times a week with Eddie, my trainer, and tried my best to get 10,000 steps a day,” he says. “We mainly focused on weight lifting and some cardio conditioning.”
Weighted lunges and pull ups were some of the most difficult workouts for Stafford when he first started out, but he didn’t let them get him discouraged.
“You just have to be patient and power through and your body will respond,” he says. “This kind of transformation requires patience, but if you listen to your trainer and follow the program, your body changes.”
As his journey progressed, Stafford began to average up to 13,000 steps a day and would even go to the gym an extra day of the week to increase his cardio conditioning and help him burn fat. And as with any truly transformational weight-loss journey, he also needed to change his diet for the better to get the results he wanted.
“Before the transformation, I almost always skipped breakfast,” he says. “I would usually eat a small lunch, a large dinner and a snack late at night.”
During his transformation, Stafford made it his mission to eat a healthy amount of protein during all three meals of the day. As a result, his snacking habits rapidly declined, and if the urge ever came, he would swap the unhealthy, high-carb snacks for some low sugar beef jerky or vegetables. He also almost completely eliminated alcohol from his diet during the transformation.
“However, the biggest change was that I began tracking everything,” he says. “At UP, you use an app to track your macros each day, and I became more aware of my daily caloric intake and was in tune with what I was eating for every meal.”
Stafford found that working with a trainer significantly helped him stay on track with his diet and avoid any unnecessary slip-ups.
“There are no cheat days with Eddie,” he says. “If you don’t push yourself that extra bit, then your body stays the same. Eat a piece of fruit instead of a piece of cake. Don’t stop at 10,000 steps if you can get to 15,000 steps.”
Eddie also made sure that Stafford was on-track with his exercise technique. Focusing on precise, well-executed reps was one of their primary goals during the transformation, and the pair would only switch to a new exercise or movement when Eddie knew that Stafford’s body was ready.
Now that he’s dropped about 10 pounds and got his body-fat percentage under 10 percent, Stafford is feeling better both physically and mentally.
“I am more confident and actually like the way I look now. I’m definitely more eager to go to a pool party now,” he says. “Before, I didn’t like going to the gym. Now, I see the gym as a positive place, and I like being surrounded by people that also have the goal of improving themselves.”
Stafford has also been able to overcome some of his health issues. His SIBO flare ups became almost non-existent—mainly because of his new meal plan, and as a result, his bloating significantly declined. Plus, his cholesterol has dropped, and he’s sleeping much better.
“The anxiety and depression I was dealing with really did dissolve away,” he added. “I think that when my life became more regimented and structured, I began to worry less and was able to be more present. My fears became less and less debilitating.”
People around Stafford began to notice his changes about 8 weeks into his transformation and made comments that he was looking thinner. Some of his family members have also become motivated to improve their health.
“I got the sense that by seeing my change, they could also believe in a change for themselves,” he says.
Despite all of the positive progress, Stafford isn’t done with his wellness journey yet. His goal now is to maintain what he’s accomplished and keep his body fat percentage low and his diet healthy. He’s also considering getting into long-distance running.
When asked what his advice is for anyone considering starting their own weight-loss transformation, he says the following.
“Just start,” he says. “Don’t be afraid of the gym. No one in the gym cares about how much weight you can lift or if you think you are fat. 30 minutes at the gym is better than zero minutes at the gym.”
This interview has been edited for clarity.