1. Say hi to Adonis Hill, a 35-year-old personal trainer from Brooklyn.
He trains clients in parks and private gyms in New York City.
2. He became a trainer six years ago after losing 100 pounds and taking up weightlifting.
It went like this: When he was 27, Hill’s business failed and he lost a lot of money. He became depressed. He stopped leaving his house and hanging out with his friends. “That’s when the weight packed on. My dreams and everything I hoped for were gone,” he told BuzzFeed Health.
Eventually a friend coaxed him outside. He started to take long walks. His walks turned into jogs. He started to eat healthier. By the time he was 29, he’d lost 100 pounds and taken up weightlifting so he could put on some muscle.
3. He’s kept up that healthy lifestyle by planning and prepping healthy meals, having regular treats, and basically always moving.
A typical day for Hill starts at 4:45 a.m. with coffee, three whole eggs, two egg whites, and oatmeal. Then he’s out the door for his first client at 5:30 a.m. At lunchtime he eats chicken or fish with brown rice and vegetables, which he batch preps on Sundays since he trains clients all over NYC until 10 p.m. Then it’s a protein shake for an afternoon snack, and dinner is some kind of meat with lots of salad (he tries to have most of his heavier carbs during the parts of the day he’s most active).
He might also snack on chips or something high-protein that satisfies his sweet tooth, like a Quest bar or a Lenny and Larry’s cookie. He doesn’t sweat a daily treat because he doesn’t believe in having too many restrictions.
4. And of course he works out. Hard.
Hill trains like a bodybuilder, lifting weights (barbells, kettlebells, machines, you name it) five or six days per week, working two different muscle groups each day — for example, back and biceps on Monday, shoulders and triceps on Tuesday, and so on. After an hour of lifting he does some kind of cardio activity for about 20 minutes.
6. To gain weight for the show, Hill stopped exercising entirely and ate 6,000 to 7,000 calories per day.
A typical day of eating for Hill would be something like this: coffee with lots of creamer and a doughnut for breakfast, a few slices of pizza or a hot dog during the day, snack on Oreo cookies, and McDonald’s for dinner every night.
After he gained about 50 pounds, his weight gain slowed down. So, he started drinking a gallon (basically a six-pack of 16-ounce bottles) of soda every day.
7. He gained 69 pounds in a little over three months.
His initial goal was to gain 70 pounds in four months but he stopped three weeks early when his doctor told him to; his blood pressure was dangerously high.
8. When it was time to work with his client to lose the weight, Hill was surprised at how hard it was.
He went back to working out — an hour of lifting and an hour of cardio five or six days per week. But the weight wasn’t coming off as readily as he thought it would.
“I was putting in a lot of work in the gym but eating right was hard this time because I was coming off an old addiction… I had to wean myself off unhealthy food.” To kickstart his weight loss, Hill started a high-fat, high-protein, very low-carb diet, which allowed his body to more readily burn fat. (By the way, you should consult a doctor before changing your diet in any way, but particularly if you’re pursuing a diet that is very low in any one macronutrient.)
9. Both Hill and his client hit their weight loss goals.
Hill lost 57 pounds and Alyssa lost 58 in four months.
10. Now that the show is over, Hill is back to his personal trainer lifestyle.
11. Which means he’s back to working out like a beast and always keeping himself motivated.
For Hill, working out is spiritual. “It’s so much deeper than lifting weights. It’s where I get my sanity from,” he says.
Hill also keeps daily affirmations on hand at all times and believes in “filling up your confidence tank” with things that motivate and inspire you. He spends about an hour every day listening to positive TED talks or inspirational speakers. You can learn more about Hill’s approach to weightlifting in the short video The Lift by Francesco Paciocco.
12. For his next project, Hill is going back to the way his fitness journey started: walking.
He’s going to walk from New York City to California to promote walking and “increase access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll.” Hill is calling this Adonis Moves America, and you can support the project here.
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