The only time it’s too late to change yourself is when you’re no longer breathing. Until then, you’re simply making excuses or lying to yourself. Persevere and you will win the prize.
I claimed my prize after I made the decision to strive for my better self. I lost 75 lbs. and achieved the body and mental state I’d always wanted. When your health and self-esteem reach a low, there comes a point where enough is enough. You can either drown in the depths or set sail for the sun.
When a storm comes with rough waters, you must look it in the eye and persevere. There is no one who can do this for you. Only you.
At my heaviest, my 5’6” frame dragged a hefty 225 lbs. With a fistful of organization, determination, and hard work, I got myself to where I am now – 150 lbs., 11% body fat, and a 420-pound deadlift. This is how I unearthed my Superman.
Compromising Power & Settling For Sedentary
For years, I made excuses when it came to my health. My father proudly named me after one of his favorite superheroes, Superman (aka Clark Kent) — a hero who, in my opinion, was a physical symbol of grace, strength, and vitality. I, on the other hand, was the opposite of Superman. Instead, I had compromised my sense of power and settled for a sedentary existence.
Without knowing at the time, I was weakened by kryptonite.
Life was lived at a snail’s pace and inside a shell. I was a fast-food regular, didn’t care about exercise, and used the television as a means of escape. This resulted in gaining over 60 lbs. when I was in college. When it came to how I viewed myself during the darkest periods of my health— I was unhappy, embarrassed, and continuously rubbed the fast-food lamp, wishing the tasty, extra-value, combo meal would make it better.
The Life-Changing Hike
Then my “enough is enough” moment came. We all find inspiration differently, and I found mine during one memorable summer hike at the Grand Canyon with my father and brother.
The North Kaibab Trail will forever be a symbol of my despair and enlightenment. What was supposed to be a beautiful 14-mile venture amongst the vastness of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders turned into my darkest hour. Instead of admiring the picturesque landscape molded by the Colorado River, my father and brother had to tolerate my cries of agony.
Before the five-mile mark, I started begging the heavens for help (and a helicopter to airlift me to a bed). I honestly thought I was going to die that day. Step after step felt as if the imaginary anvil tied to my leg was growing in weight. My father and brother used every ounce of encouragement they could give me, but I was done. We shortened our hike, which was the reason we went there in the first place.
I’d never felt more ashamed of myself. It seemed like even the horses we passed were laughing at me (one whipped my face, which only added to my embarrassment). Despite how exhausted I was, I couldn’t sleep when I got back to a bed. My mind swam in a pool of reflection.
I looked into the mirror for a long time. Never had I looked so deep into my being. There was still dirt on my face from the trail. It couldn’t be this way anymore. It was time to wash off the muck and change it all. And there it was.
A drive instilled. Goals to chase. Time to become immune to kryptonite.
The Winding Road to Greatness
One of the most important lessons I learned about chasing a goal is that the planning is just as important as the pursuit. I researched diets and exercise plans, looking for ones that best suited my lifestyle.
My first fitness venture came in the form of the exercise program known as Insanity. I strictly followed the 60-day workout plan that was provided, and I complemented it with a low-carb diet that incorporated salads, lean meats, healthy fats, and minimal sugars. I was eating small, nutritious meals every 2-3 hours with healthy snacks in between (I maintained only two cheat meals per week as a reward to myself). When they say diet is 70% of the battle, it truly is.
At the end of the 60 days, I had lost 27 lbs. and added a new spring to my step. It was the first time I had been under 200 lbs. in almost two years. As proud as I was, I wasn’t satisfied. So I kept sailing.
Within a year, I ventured into the worlds of running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, and power lifting. The pounds continued to drop and my strength increased. The gym became my second home. Throughout this time, I maintained my low-carb diet as part of my new lifestyle. Which brings me to a very important point;
Healthy living is a lifestyle. Once your brain adapts, there are some junk foods (including ones you used to love) that you no longer touch.
The key is to stay hungry— mentally hungry— and never be satisfied. Your best can always get better.
Powering Toward The Prize
They say that health is the greatest wealth and it’s true. I’ve become the Clark I’ve always wanted to be. The Superman I envisioned. There is no substitute for living a healthy life where food truly nourishes your body. Losing 75 lbs. and getting in shape was one of the most rewarding journeys of my life.
I leave you with this: When chasing a goal, you must make it happen.
You must go claim your prize.
You can find Clark Pagaduan at: