Isaac Lost 150 Pounds And Found Happiness

Isaac Velarde's past haunted him as he gave in to depression and obesity. When he decided to let go and transform his body, he became fit, happy, and successful.

An unfortunate childhood trauma turned Isaac Velarde's life upside down. "I was abused when I was about 9 years old," he explains. "Ever since then, my crutch has always been food."

Battling the horrors he faced in his past turned Isaac from a healthy, happy kid into a depressed and overweight teenager, hitting 240 pounds by the time he entered high school.

As he got older, Isaac continued to deal with his emotions by using food as a source of comfort. Junk food like burgers were his go-to. "I didn't address my issues at all until I was an adult," he says. "Until I actually got help, I just always turned to food. I would eat whether I was happy or sad. Food was my escape. It was my drug."

By the time he was in his 30s, Isaac had developed type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and osteoporosis. All of his medical issues were direct results of his obesity. But with mental and emotional healing came the motivation to turn his physical health around, and Isaac underwent a massive transformation.

This is Isaac's story.

How did your trauma affect you mentally?

It affected my whole adolescence and my teenage life. I never went out with girls, because I thought something was wrong with me. I was always suicidal and depressed. I just wasn't a normal person. As I grew up and started my adult life, the depression got worse. Through it all, food was my constant.

And how did that affect you physically?

My weight fluctuated. I played sports in school, so I would lose weight during the season, but then in the offseason I would gain it all back. In college, I got down to about 195 pounds, but even though I was working out, I couldn't keep my weight stable because my nutrition wasn't right. I wasn't eating for my goals, and that was always the missing piece. I always went back to using food as my escape and ended up gaining back more weight than I lost.

Every year, my threshold kept going up. By my 30s, I was over 300 pounds. At that point, I couldn't even look at myself; I stayed away from mirrors when I brushed my teeth. I would shave my head, but without looking. I always turned the other way. I was just so disappointed in my physical appearance. Everything was starting to hit me, and I knew that I needed to start finding out what had gone wrong and how to fix it.

Before 321 lbs.
After 167 lbs.
Age: 35
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 321 lbs.
Body Fat: 46%
Age: 39
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 167 lbs.
Body Fat: 4%

When were you able to take control of your past?

The man who molested me started trying to contact me on Facebook as an adult, and I had a breakdown. I got suspended from work, and I fell apart. I really did. Emotionally, I just broke down. That was when I started to get help. I had never told my parents what happened to me. I was able to come clean with them, and they wished I'd told them earlier.

I was sick. Being so overweight made it hard to get through a day of work without hurting at the end of the day, and spending time with my family or playing outside with the kids was impacted by my limited mobility. I started to connect the dots and realize that I was using food to try to fix myself.

That year, I had a friend die of sleep apnea. He weighed over 360 pounds, and he was just a couple of years older than me. I felt like my time clock on life was expiring—I couldn't say for sure how much time I had left, but I wouldn't be surprised if I only had a year or two at that point. I had to make a drastic change.

Who helped you make changes to your health?

I have a friend who is a nutritionist, and she saw that I was struggling. She worked for a company that sponsored me on a weight-loss challenge by supplying nutritional counseling. They monitored my weight and body fat and taught me how to eat again.

I learned about the nutritional side of things: How to make my meal plans, adjust my macros, and prep my meals. Ever since then, I've never looked back.

I learned about the nutritional side of things: How to make my meal plans, adjust my macros, and prep my meals. Ever since then, I've never looked back.

What changes did she make to your diet?

One of the first things she did was put me on a higher-protein diet. She also started giving me better options for carbs and healthier fats. I'm Hispanic, and we eat a lot of bad carbs and fats and very little protein. My nutritionist friend taught me how to balance my macronutrients so I had a concrete plan.

How did that compare to your diet before?

I used to starve all day, then pack in 3,500-4,500 calories at night. That was my meal plan. In the beginning, I remember sitting at my desk and literally crying because I was craving a burger or an unhealthy snack.

After I had a balanced meal plan, I ate seven times a day. Eating small meals every 2-4 hours helped me curb cravings because I was never hungry. Now, even when I have a cheat meal, which is rarely, I get sick because my body can't handle those bad fats and bad carbs anymore.

What does your diet look like now?

Meal 1: Pre-workout

Oats: 1/2 cup


Dymatize Iso-100: 1 scoop


Meal 2: Post-workout

Veggies: 1/2 cup


Whole eggs: 1


Egg whites: 1/2 cup


Lean protein: 2 oz.


Grapefruit: 1/2 grapefruit


Almonds: 1 oz.


Meal 3

Dymatize Iso-100: 1 scoop


Asparagus: 1/2 cup


Almond butter: 2 tbsp


Meal 4

Lean protein: 5-6 oz.


Veggies: 1/2 cup


Almonds: 12


Meal 5

Lean protein: 5-6 oz.


Asparagus: 1/2 cup


Almonds: 1 oz.


Meal 6

Lean protein: 6-8 oz.


Veggies: 1 cup


Grapefruit: 1/2 grapefruit


Almonds: 12


Meal 7

Chicken breast: 6-8 oz.


Veggies: 1/2 cup


Almonds: 12



Do you take any supplements?


How has your physical fitness evolved?

The first thing I had to start with was walking again. From there, I was put on an effective cardio plan. I also used weights to change my metabolism and burn the fat. As she was balancing my nutrition, my friend also balanced my workouts. We concentrated on getting strong and using cardio for my heart, rather than just for weight loss.



What are your workouts like now?

Day 1: Legs and Abs
1

Squat

5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

2

Leg Extension

4 sets of 15-20 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

3

Hamstring Curl

5 sets of 5 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

4

Abductor/adductor machine

2 sets of 20-25 reps
Thigh Abductor Thigh Abductor

5

Leg Press

5 sets of 5 reps
Leg Press Leg Press

6

Ab-Crunch Machine

4 sets of 15 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine

7

Standing Cable Lift

4 sets of 10-12 reps per side
Standing Cable Lift Standing Cable Lift

8

Decline Crunch

4 sets of 25 reps
Decline Crunch Decline Crunch

9

Leg Raise

4 sets of 25 reps
Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise

10

Stair Mill

45 minutes
Stairmaster Stairmaster

Day 2: Back, Triceps and Abs
1

Seated Cable Row

5 sets of 5 reps
Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows

2

Chin-Up

4 sets 15 reps or to failure
Chin-Up Chin-Up

3

Front Lat Pull-down

4 sets of 10 reps
Close-Grip Front Lat Pulldown Close-Grip Front Lat Pulldown

4

Deadlift

5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift

5

Straight-Arm Pull-down

5 sets of 5 reps
Straight-Arm Pulldown Straight-Arm Pulldown

6

Dip

2 sets of 20 or to failure
Dips - Triceps Version Dips - Triceps Version

7

Skullcrusher

5 sets of 5 reps
Lying Triceps Press Lying Triceps Press

8

Cable Triceps Extension

5 sets of 5 reps
Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension

9

Standing oblique Twist (Shown seated)

4 sets of 25 reps
Seated Barbell Twist Seated Barbell Twist

10

Ab-Crunch Machine

4 sets of 15 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine

11

Decline Reverse Crunch

4 sets of 25 reps
Decline Reverse Crunch Decline Reverse Crunch

12

Side Bridge

4 sets of 25 reps
Side Bridge Side Bridge

13

Stair Mill

45 minutes
Stairmaster Stairmaster

Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Legs and Abs
1

Single-Leg Extension

3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg
Single-Leg Leg Extension Single-Leg Leg Extension

2

Power Squat

5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat

3
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

4

Abductor/adductor machine

4 sets of 15 reps
Thigh Abductor Thigh Abductor

5

Calf Raise

2 sets of 25 reps (toes pointed in and out)
Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises

6

Ab-Crunch Machine

4 sets of 15 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine

7

Standing Cable Lift

4 sets of 10-12 reps per side
Standing Cable Lift Standing Cable Lift

8

Decline Crunch

4 sets of 25 reps
Decline Crunch Decline Crunch

9

Leg Raise

4 sets of 25 reps
Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise

10

Stair Mill

40 minutes
Stairmaster Stairmaster

Day 5: Chest, Biceps and Abs
1

Push-up

4 sets of 15 reps (close grip, wide grip, and normal grip)
Pushups Pushups

2

Flat Bench Press

5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

3

Decline Bench Press

5 sets of 5 reps
Decline Barbell Bench Press Decline Barbell Bench Press

4

Incline Dumbbell Press

5 sets of 5 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press

5

Cable Cross-over

4 sets of 12-15 reps
Cable Crossover Cable Crossover

6

Single-arm incline curl

5 sets of 5 reps
Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curl Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curl

7

Standing EZ-Bar Curl

5 sets of 5 reps
EZ-Bar Curl EZ-Bar Curl

8

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

4 sets of 12-15 reps
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls

9

Standing oblique Twist (Shown seated)

4 sets of 25 reps
Seated Barbell Twist Seated Barbell Twist

10

Ab-Crunch Machine

4 sets of 15 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine

11

Decline Reverse Crunch

4 sets of 25 reps
Decline Reverse Crunch Decline Reverse Crunch

12

Side Bridge

4 sets of 25 reps
Side Bridge Side Bridge

13

Stair Mill

45 minutes
Stairmaster Stairmaster

Day 6: Shoulders and Abs
1

Seated Military Press

5 sets of 5 reps
Seated Barbell Military Press Seated Barbell Military Press

2
Alternating Deltoid Raise Alternating Deltoid Raise

3

Reverse Fly

4 sets of 15 reps
Reverse Flyes Reverse Flyes

4

Front Plate Raise

5 sets of 5 reps
Front Plate Raise Front Plate Raise

5
Cable Rope Rear-Delt Rows Cable Rope Rear-Delt Rows

6

Standing Dumbbell Shrug

5 sets of 5 reps
Dumbbell Shrug Dumbbell Shrug

7

Ab-Crunch Machine

4 sets of 15 reps
Ab Crunch Machine Ab Crunch Machine

8

Standing Cable Lift

4 sets of 10-12 reps per side
Standing Cable Lift Standing Cable Lift

9

Decline Crunch

4 sets of 25 reps
Decline Crunch Decline Crunch

10

Leg Raise

4 sets of 25 reps
Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise

Day 7: Rest

How have you stayed motivated throughout your transformation?

My nutritionist thought that competing would be a good thing for me. I'm a very goal-oriented person, and stepping onstage was something to strive for. My friend-turned-coach set this goal for me, and it was an aggressive goal. Competing is hard mentally, emotionally, and physically, but I got there, and that made me fall in love with the sport of bodybuilding. Any time I'm able to get stronger and challenge myself to get to the next level, it's a new challenge for me. I just love it.

What was your first competition like?

Last year, I entered my first bodybuilding competition. I didn't think I was ready, but my coach took me to my first one. I was envisioning people like Arnold Schwarzenegger; I didn't know much about amateur bodybuilding. But I competed in my first bodybuilding competition last year, and I really worked my butt off and took all of their constructive feedback. It was an experience. This year, my body looks so much better. I expect to see even more improvement going on!

My quality of life just got so much better; I can't even tell you how much my life has improved.

How has becoming physically healthy impacted other areas of your life?

My quality of life just got so much better; I can't even tell you how much my life has improved. My professional life has changed dramatically. This past year I received two promotions. The clarity that you're able to think with when you're feeding yourself healthy nutrition and working out daily is incredible—I just think your body is in hyper mode. I could finally really concentrate.

Before, the littlest thing, like getting a flat tire, would ruin my whole day. Now, those things don't get in my way. I truly believe that the Lord blessed me with this opportunity to have a second chance at life.

How has Bodybuilding.com helped you along the way?

My experience with BodyBuilding.com goes back over 10 years now. Anyone who knows anything about fitness and nutrition knows that BodyBuilding.com is top notch and a place to get their supplements, information, inspiration, and exercises. I have ordered many of my supplements online, and I read every article I can. I also use the exercise library when I need new movements to mix up my routine.

BodySpace is very motivating, and I've had many members contact me regarding my transformation. It's awesome to have a forum where people track goals and talk about their progress regarding nutrition and fitness.



Isaac's Favorite Gym Tracks

Drake
"Energy"
The Game
"Mula"
The Weeknd
"Can't Feel My Face"
Post Malone
"White Iverson"
Drake
"Energy"
The Game
"Mula"
The Weeknd
"Can't Feel My Face"
Post Malone
"White Iverson"


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