Wilson Velasquez, 27, Brentwood
Occupation: Technician at a semiconductor company
Before 320 pounds, March 2015 After 205 pounds, January 2019
Thin most of his life, Wilson Velasquez says it was after high school that his lifestyle became sedentary. His job of repairing electronics meant sitting all day. And going to school at night was more of the same. “My weight started creeping up . . . I felt I was going nowhere,” says Velasquez. He eventually dropped out of night school, but a year later had an experience that was pivotal: While at Great Adventure with co-workers, Velasquez was turned away from the Batman ride because park attendants couldn’t close his safety bar.
A veteran of several weight-loss attempts, Velasquez says, “I decided to do it the way I was always avoiding.” He joined a gym. “At first I had no idea what I was doing. I was intimidated, had anxiety and didn’t want be there, but knew it was the only way,” says Velasquez.
He decided that for three months he would focus only on lifting weights and would tackle the food part later. “I wanted to first make going to the gym a habit,” says Velasquez. He watched instructional weightlifting videos on YouTube, hit the gym regularly, and three months later was down almost 50 pounds.
He then started eating better by cutting his carbs in half, doubling his protein consumption and eating more green salads. He steadily lost weight until he plateaued and didn’t lose weight for two months. That’s when he started running and discovered intermittent fasting (limiting eating to within an eight-hour period), which he says changed his life.
Velasquez has lost, in total, 115 pounds. “I will never go back to what I was,” says Velasquez. He says his goal now is to inspire others who feel hopeless. He’s been documenting his transformation on Instagram as Wicho1042 and has 2,000 followers.
Velasquez has tweaked intermittent fasting and now eats only one meal a day at 7 p.m. A typical meal is grilled chicken or pork chops and beans over Spanish rice with a large green salad, two hard-boiled eggs and some avocado on the side. He drinks 3 to 4 liters of water daily.
Velasquez does isolation workouts, focusing on arms and chest one day, back and shoulders the next, and legs and core the third day. He plans his workouts a month at a time on a large dry-erase board and plans to start training for the New York City Marathon in March.
“You don’t have to hit rock-bottom like me. Be honest and tell yourself, ‘This is not working, I have to make a change.’ Once you really want to do it, it can happen . . . Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.”