Before: 230 pounds
After: 190 pounds
Jorge Cruise grew up in a family that relished anything sweet, fried, or served in large portions. “Basically, my family believed how much you ate equaled how much you were loved, and boy was I loved,” Jorge says. But with that loving feeling came serious consequences. “By the time I was a teenager I was in pretty bad shape—I had low energy, headaches, and severe asthma,” he recalls. “I was always chosen last to play on sports teams, and I couldn’t even do one sit-up or pushup.”
The Turning Point
Jorge’s initial wake-up call came in the form of a stomachache. After suffering with abdominal pain for several weeks, he landed in the emergency room where he learned a piece of meat had become lodged in his appendix, causing it to burst. However, despite being aware of his unhealthy eating habits, Jorge didn’t yet have the nutritional know-how to change.
Then, when Jorge was 18, his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “That’s when I really got the motivation I needed to change,” Jorge remembers. His dad decided to forego medical intervention and, instead, completely changed the way he lived. “I went with him to an alternative health center where I first learned all about nutrition,” he says. “That was the spark I needed. I figured if I didn’t take action, I could just as easily be facing the same disease.”
The Eating Habits
Kicking super-sized meals, excessive amounts of dairy, and processed foods to the curb, Jorge began to embrace whole grains, lean proteins, and vegetables. He traded white bread for whole grain bread, French fries for veggies, and oatmeal for protein-rich egg whites. (Look at his photo food diary!)
The Fitness Routine
Jorge’s foray into exercise actually started all wrong. “I overemphasized cardio, so my workouts were long and inefficient, and I jumped from one machine to another, just trying to get on as many machines as possible,” he says. “I tore my muscles down and never allowed them time to recover.” To learn more, Jorge enrolled in the University of California, San Diego’s nutrition and exercise program. His new knowledge enabled him to form his prevailing fitness philosophy, which emphasizes quick strength training-based routines—such as this 5-minute tummy toning routine—that burn more calories than long cardio stints.
In addition to looking better, Jorge began feeling better. “The health benefits were way more rewarding than I could have imagined,” he says. His headaches disappeared, his asthma improved, and he could do physical activity without becoming winded.
Less is more. “You don’t have to spend hours at the gym every day. The main key is to get your eating right, and then supplement that with exercise that builds lean muscle so you can burn fat.”