Pascal Rwabukamba weighed 453 pounds, had a 62-inch waist, and required size 5XL shirts, which never made for an easy shopping experience. Light exercise left him winded and sweating on days that weren't even hot outside. And, he'd begun experiencing fluid retention in his feet, persistent thirst, and poor sleep quality.

Since childhood, the years had been a carb-filled, gluttonous whir. Now, with his confidence level at an all-time low, he was only going places he needed to: work, church, and his usual stops at convenience stores and restaurants.

Type 2 diabetes ran in his family, so Rwabukamba was genetically susceptible to it. And he began to feel like he'd been steering right into its swell.

"I developed insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetic stage," Rwabukamba says. "I was very fortunate to jump off this sinking ship before type 2 diabetes took hold."

Although he had sometimes tried dieting, it never stuck. He craved carbs, and he immediately gave in to those cravings.

In 2014, Rwabukamba decided that, to save his life, he'd have to try something completely different. He needed a change that would last longer than the time between cravings.

This is his story.

Snapshot: Pascal Rwabukamba

  • Height: 6' 2"
  • Weight: 187 lbs.
  • Occupation: Private Security
  • Location: Dallas, Texas

Social Links:

Pascal R. Transformation Before

Age: 26, Height: 6' 2", Weight: 453 lbs., Body Fat: unknown

Pascal R. Transformation After

Age: 30, Height: 6' 2", Weight: 187 lbs., Body Fat: 14%

Why did you decide to transform?

At 453 pounds, my weight was not just an inconvenience to my everyday life, I also feared I was setting myself up for type 2 diabetes. My weight challenges started in my early teenage years and remained throughout adulthood. I just wasn't happy, and I was looking at a shortened, unhealthy life span.

Pascal R. Transformation

How did you accomplish your goals?

This wasn't my first weight-loss attempt but it was my most challenging. I knew this would be an uphill battle, but I also knew that a tough mindset would be my greatest weapon.

I started working out in the gym at my apartment complex. The first few days were brutal. Fifteen minutes of light aerobic training on any machine felt like an eternity. As weeks and months went by, I could do 30-45 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of weight training comfortably. Within eight months, I had dropped 80 pounds and 6 inches off my waist.

In 2015, my apartment gym was closed for days due to repairs, so I joined a local gym. With more equipment at the local gym, I switched up my training routine to 30-40 minutes of weights and 15-30 minutes of cardio.

In just three months, I dropped another 65 pounds and another 6 inches in my waist size.

What supplements helped you through the journey?

I also highly recommend organic apple cider vinegar, 100-percent concentrated lemon juice, cold-pressed coconut oil, and cold-pressed olive oil for internal health. I also consume black coffee.

What did your diet plan look like?

With my busy schedule, it was hard to squeeze in meals every few hours when I was first starting out, and especially when I went back to school in 2015. To some extent, I was doing intermittent fasting without trying. I wouldn't always get all three main meals and snacks down every day, but I made sure to get a minimum of two full meals plus a snack and post-workout protein shake after I trained.

Here's what a normal day looked like:

Breakfast
Oatmeal (mixed with 2-percent milk)
2 instant packs
Banana
1
Peanut Butter
2 tbsp
Snack
Fruit (grapefruit, apple, or banana)
1
Lunch
Chicken (4 oz. each)
1-2 breasts
Green Salad (or mixed vegetables)
1 serving
Snack
Peanuts (lightly salted)
1-2 oz.
Dinner Repeat breakfast or lunch.
Chicken (4 oz. each)
1-2 breasts
Green Salad (or mixed vegetables)
1 serving
Post-workout
Protein Shake
1

However, I recently participated in the Bodybuilding.com 250K Transformation Challenge and changed my diet to accommodate that transformation!

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12 hours fasting, followed by meal:
Tuna (or salmon)
12 oz.
Vegetables (mixed cruciferous)
1 serving
Cottage Cheese
1 tbsp
Avocado (with 2-4 tsp olive spread)
1
Tuesday/Thursday 16 hours fasting, followed by meal:
Eggs (whole, boiled)
5-6
Vegetables (mixed cruciferous)
1 serving
Cottage Cheese
1 tbsp
Avocado (with 2-4 tsp olive spread)
1
Saturday 12 hours fasting, followed by cheat meal:
Steak
2-3 lbs.
Vegetables (mixed)
1 serving
Avocado (with 2-4 tsp olive spread)
1

What has been the most challenging part of the transformation?

My injuries! In late summer of 2015, I began to experience sharp pain and discomfort in my left shoulder and back area. Eventually I couldn't lift anything with my left arm. I finally went to my doctor who diagnosed it as a pinched nerve and muscle spasm.

I was prescribed some muscle relaxers, but they didn't help. Then, I went to a chiropractor who did adjustments once or twice a month for two years, which did actually help a lot.

Pascal R. Transformation

During this time, though, I continued to train. Unfortunately, the injury caused me to develop some bad form habits. This made things worse by creating major muscle imbalances and slower muscle response to weight-training exercises in my left, weaker side compared to my right.

I now do a lot more stretching and foam rolling. With time, I believe things will get better and return to normal.

What was the training regimen you used that kept you on track?

Weights and cardio. However, I'm still dealing with my injury today, so that has limited my current training to only machines, and bodyweight and isolation workouts. Sometimes, I still do compound movements like squats and deadlifts—but with lights weights—to see how my body responds. As far as cardio goes, I try to switch it up, but jumping rope is the one that gets me sweating the most.

Routine Before Injury

Monday/Thursday

  • 30-40 min. of chest, triceps, shoulders, squats
  • 15-20 min. of cardio

Tuesday/Friday

  • 30-40 min. of back, biceps, calves, and deadlifts
  • 15-20 min. of cardio

Wednesday/Saturday

  • Rest day or bodyweight exercises (lunges, plyometrics, and TRX)
  • 15-20 min. of cardio

Sunday

  • Rest day or very light cardio

After Injury

Monday/Wednesday

  • 30-40 min. of upper body (machines and dumbbells)
  • 15-20 min. of cardio

Tuesday/Thursday

  • 30-40 min. oflower body (machines and leg press)
  • 15-20 min. of cardio

Saturday

  • Rest day or bodyweight exercises, (lunges, plyometrics, and TRX)
  • 15-20 minutes of cardio

Sunday

  • Rest day

What are your future fitness plans?

My next step physically is to progressively add more muscle mass, which will greatly help with my injury and overall strength.

Pascal R. Transformation

But, my weight loss has been much more than a physical transformation. It also has been a learning experience. Now, I want to be a voice of hope and inspiration for those who have thought about losing weight but lack the motivation, for those who have attempted and have given up, and for those who consider surgery or using weight-loss pills as a last resort.

I am willing to go anywhere and everywhere I can to help make a difference through sharing my story. So, I am beginning to launch myself as a health-and-wellness motivator and consultant. I want to work with individuals, businesses, organizations, and government officials to implement a healthy lifestyle with guided inspiration.

Any suggestions for aspiring transformers?

If I had only three words to say, it would be: Never give up.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

This 2018 Bodybuilding.com Transformation Challenge was the motivator for me to take the next step forward in my fitness journey.

About the Author

Kailan Kalina

Kailan Kalina

Kailan Kalina is a competitive powerlifter and freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and communications from the University of Oregon. Since graduating, she...

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Transformation