Rogelio’s 4-month body transformation – Curly hair dude gets in shape!

Dear Fellow Readers,

What you are about to read is a story of fighting against all odds. It is a story of determination, of setting goals and achieving them. It is a story that is very personal and that I know very, very well. It is, after all, my own story of transforming my health and body from ill to the best shape I have been in. It is a long story, with pictures and videos, so I suggest you read the whole story instead of skipping to the pictures directly. It is worth the read and I hope it brings you the inspiration and motivation to make positive changes in your life.

September 2010 I had a health incident that almost costed me my life. I was 5 days in hospital and living in a country very far away from my family and friends (Dubai, UAE). I really don’t want to go into detail on what happened but the sequelae of this was much tougher than the acute effect it had on me. I was put on a cocktail of meds for 6 months after the incident which led to plenty of side effects. This health issue affected my ability to even walk and the doctors prohibited any physical activities other than walking. As soon as I was out of the door of the hospital I foolishly tried to prove myself I was still my own self by trying to do some light weight training and ended going back to hospital the very same day for an overnight stay and a slap on the wrist from the doctors. Hey, at least I got to meet the pretty nurses again, who would come during their breaks to keep me entertained (no naughty stuff!). Apparently they liked my curly hair. I was discharged and this time I learnt the lesson; I was obliged to turn into a couch potato.

So, fast forward 6 months to March 2011 and I am a mess. I have gained almost 40lbs (18kilos) and lost muscle everywhere. I am soft and flabby all-round to the point of starting to develop cellulite on my belly. The meds were also messing my skin and I was developing discoloured patches randomly. Moreover, I was losing my head hair like crazy, hair clogging the tub every time I showered. Not a pretty sight.

I moved to another country in November 2010 (almost 3 months after the incident) and moved to an apartment which had a gym. The gym was a very basic gym with cardiovascular machines and hardly any resistance/weight equipment: it had a Smith machine which was rusty, two bicep curl bars and dumbells up to 35lbs. In essence, not the best place to get a good training session or workout for someone looking for decent strength and muscle. Having said that, I was not allowed to do any weight training so I didn’t care at the time about what equipment the gym had.

As the weeks continued to go by through November 2010 and onward, I kept adding more and more body weight despite I had hardly changed my diet. One of the medications I was on is notorious for weight gain and I was packing on fat like I was preparing to hibernate. By Christmas 2010, just over 3 months after the devastating health incident, I could not fit into any of my clothes and had to go and buy a new entire wardrobe. Moreover, I went to a sunny place during my Christmas holidays and had some photos taken with swimming trunks. I didn’t want to look at them during Christmas as I knew it would ruin my vacation just by seeing how out of shape I had got. When I decided to look at them (in January), it was a severe psychological punch to my already medicated hazy brain. It was time to stop this crap, right here, right now. I designed a plan to reverse this situation and cleaned up my diet, which was already clean and healthy but I was obviously eating too much of it (plus the medications I had to take are known for inducing heavy weight gain).

Mid-march, I was taken off the medications. A week before I had gone to the gym induction in my apartment block and could now freely use it. The same day I left the doctor’s office door and was told to stop the medications, I stepped into the gym just to get into the vibe and didn’t do anything more than a bit of stretching and toying with the machines. It was not until May, however, that I officially started my journey into regaining my health and building a lean and muscular body. I gave myself 4 months to achieve my health and physique goals.

Started on the first week of May 2011 and on my first day I did very light Smith machine squats and dumbbell presses. I was surprised at how weak I had been left at. Did a couple of light sets and was left sore for the following 7 days. I fully appreciated that soreness, however, feeling it in my legs as I walked the next day. I felt free. Unfortunately, the doctors could not predict still whether I would have life-lasting sequelae or would make a full recovery. I remember going to the doctor in mid-May (two weeks into my journey) as I had to go every month for the following 6 months after stopping the medications and telling him about my weight training and how I was looking to get back into shape. The doctor, who had supervised me since I moved to this new country and knew my stubbornness and strong will by now, told me that I should not be weight training and to stick to brisk walking/jogging. I looked at him in the eye, and told him, with all my honesty, that out of all the impositions that I would continue to have for the coming months, that one, no weight training, was the only one I was going to skip. He told me that his advice was generic and geared to an average patient and told me that I could be the exception but that he could not endorse my decision. At least he was honest.

I decided to give myself a month to just feel the groove of the weights, nothing crazy. By week 3 of the journey (first month, May 2011) I was really digging it and I would not get massively sore as opposed to the first week where getting out of bed was a task with all the whole body soreness I was experiencing. I started getting a taste for Smith machine squats and was looking forward to every training session. This is how I looked the first day of my journey:

 

First day!

 

 

I was 218 lbs. Fat as a morse. I have all the measurements but to skip any embarrassment, I will only say my waist was quite over the 40 inches mark.

After the first easy-going adaptation month, I gave myself 3 months to get down to business and go from out of shape to healthy and fit. My goals? Get healthier, stronger and get down to a 34 inch waist. Also, if possible, to look decent enough. I am not a bodybuilder but I have an interest in developing a healthy, strong and attractive physique. I designed my plan: training, nutrition and lifestyle. And started.

Following this paragraph you will find the pictures of my transformation from the end of each month. Month 1, Month 2, Month 3 and then Month 4 (end of journey). Sometimes the lighting is not the best but you can see the monthly changes nicely. Overall, from the first day (picture above) to the last picture, 4 months went by.

 

Month 1

 

 

Month 2

 

 

 

Month 3

 

 

 

Month 4

 

 

That was it. 4 months of hard work and determination. I actually got down to a 33.5 inch waist so I surpassed my goal and dropped 38lbs of crap (read, fat) while building muscle (final weight was 180lbs). I also accomplished the health goal as my doctor confirmed and got much stronger: did a 375lbs ass to grass back squat on the good ol’ rusty Smith machine. On Month 2 I have allowed for my face to be seen so that you guys know this is 100% real, genuine and no bullshit (as opposed to most body transformations you find online). I haven’t edited the photos save for removing my face and putting the Manly Curls watermark and I took the pics as I continued with my life (I went on holidays and got a tan on Month 2). Of course, I didn’t touch any steroids (never touched them in my life nor do I plan to) nor did I use any performance enhancing drugs. My transformation is 100% natural to the point that the only supplements I used were a few vitamins and minerals to make sure my diet was 100% satisfying my nutritional daily needs. I didn’t even use whey protein.

On Month 3 of my journey, I visited the doctor again for a scheduled visit. I had some tests done and everything was perfect. He was impressed with not only the physical changes but also my health changes. Everything came back perfect and he had never seen someone recovering like I had done. Being brutally honest, his positive impression and vibe gave me so much satisfaction and pride that I actually broke into tears in front of him. He had seen the state I was left at from the medication and the health condition, and he confirmed that I was back to being in optimum health. I had regained my life and that was the most important achievement of this journey.

 

4-month transformation – first day of journey vs. last day of journey

Another picture after the 4-month journey was completed

 

The pictures from Month 4 (and the one above this line) are now 5 weeks old and it was then that I decided to start training in a proper gym with free weights. I am now doing heavy power cleans, front squats, presses of all types, Turkish get ups, fast one arm snatches and the likes. My waist has also shrunk to 32 3/4 inches yet I have gained 4lbs of solid muscle while still eating the same! My body has gone into defensive mode with all the increased heavy compound exercises and built some functional muscle to cope with the increased demands. I can’t complain.

Below are some videos of lifts from the last two weeks, illustrating my gained strength and physique after these 4 months. You can even see in the videos a much more defined six pack and how I am looking leaner and more muscular. I am still transforming even more and my health is 100% perfect!

 

275lbs power clean

Click here for video

 

Strict Clean & Press with 187lbs for two reps after 8 sets with this same weight

Click here for video

 

Playing around with 225lbs for power cleans to improve my technique

Click here for video

 

Doing a Turkish get up with 88lbs (used a light weight for me to illustrate the lift)

Click here for video

 

In coming articles I will be talking about my diet and training plan, my ideas and beliefs in fitness (they go against conventional notions!) and everything to do surrounding this transformation and regaining life. I sincerely hope this transformation has provided you with the inspiration and motivation to improve your life in whichever areas it may need improving. By being at the lowest point in my life and seeing how my life was ending as I was told I could have died, I learnt to put things into perspective and wake up every morning appreciating the fact that I can get up from bed and decide what I want to do with my body. Not everybody has this privilege, so cherish it.

I would like to end by writing here what I actually told the doctor on my last aforementioned visit:

“You tell me I have to be a couch potato and I will do squats, you tell me not to jog and to walk instead and I will sprint, you tell me I will be limited and I will prove you wrong.”

This is my story.

Thanks for reading folks.

All the best.

Rogelio

Edit 1: Click for this curly hair man’s body transformation freshest update!

Edit 2: Click for Rogelio proving that eating pizza and keeping a six pack is possible!

Edit: 3: Click here for my training videos!

Edit 4: Unfortunately, I edited the page without knowing that the 30+ Likes that had been clicked for this post in the Facebook like button below were erased and re-set to zero. Feel free to LIKE again below to spread the word and inspiration! Thanks!

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Rogelio

Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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26 comments for “Rogelio’s 4-month body transformation – Curly hair dude gets in shape!

  1. Kacper
    March 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Hey Rogelio!

    Quick question, did you lose all that fat with only your manly strength program, or did you add some cardio to your schedule? I have around 10 kilo to lose, and yet alot of gym vet tell me that i should do weight training AND cardio, is that a right thing to do , or should i start doing the manly strenght program without cardio?

    My sincere regards,

    Kacper

  2. Per Hedberg
    December 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Rogelio,
    I just found your great web-site and got very interested to follow you in your transformation footsteps. I wonder though, if it would be possible for you to give me an example how an “eating day” may look like for you? I think I read somewhere else among your post that you only eat once a day while loosing fat. Is that correct? Furthermore, do you have any food resource, cook book etc. you may recommend? I need some help and inspiration especially when it comes to eating part of my transformation. Many thanks in advance for your advice!
    All the best,
    Per

  3. Jim
    November 22, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Mate,

    Which gym in Melbourne do you go to? Seems like a good place.

    Jim

  4. Heiðar
    January 27, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Hey Rogelio.

    I’m a pretty skinny 17-year old guy and have become interested in developing my physique into a better looking state. As of this post I don’t really go to the gym, however I do have an athletics class twice every week. I also don’t seem to gain weight regardless of my diet (probably due to my metabolism)

    I have an okay endurance and am a pretty good runner for my state, my average time on 2,5 km runs is about 9:30 and my best time is 8:57. However as stated earlier I’m pretty light and don’t have a lot of muscle. Specifically I’m about 174 cm and 57 Kg (about 18,5-19 BMI). To give you a better idea of just how light this is (though I’m pretty sure I don’t need to) I’m skinny enough to show a sixpack without any effort.

    Could you give me instructions on how (and if) I could possibly try to build some muscle, mainly chest and arms, without going to the gym and focusing on doing exercises at home and thinking of the gym classes at school as extra as they aren’t always demanding.

    Sorry for the long post but I figured you were the guy to ask :) I can also give you additional details if you just ask for them :)

    Yours sincerely, Heiðar.

    • Rogelio
      January 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Hi Heiðar

      I saw that you posted twice, I’m assuming because you thought your post didn’t go through. New posts are automatically placed in a qeue, and, if approved, I answer them. Got yours, so let me see how I can help.

      The best way to gain muscle is to use progressive overloading with weights, and this is best done with free weights either in a gym or at home (i.e. have a barbell and plates). However, if all you have are body weight exercises, my advice is to:

      – Do 3 sets of as many push ups as you can.
      – Fill up a big bag (e.g. gym bag), put it on the floor, bend down with back parallel to the floor, and row the bag to your chest. 3 sets of as many as you can do.
      – Remove some weight from the bag, now grab it with one arm, and do bicep curls. 3 sets of as many as you can.

      Do the above 3 times a week, leaving one day in between training days. Increase by a few reps every training day (e.g. do 1 more push up, 1 more row and 1 more bicep curl).

      Hope that helped. Body weight training is not the best way to build muscle though. But the above will get some muscle mass. Also, make sure you’re eating enough; distance runners are known for not eating enough, and get in some protein in every meal.

      All the best.

  5. Ali
    September 28, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Hey Rogelio,

    Your post have definitely inspired me but it also frustrated me. You see, i have almost the exact physique as you have (before). But the thing is, i’ve been working out for 4 months and i am in no way shape or form close to your results. My 4 months transformation is not even close to your 2 month transformation. I eat incredibly healthy and only 1 or 2 meals a day. I workout 3 days a week and i do cardio 1 day a week and sometimes 2 days a week. Please give some advice so i can become just like you man. How many days a week u used to workout and did u do cardio?

    Help a bro out bro.

    Thanx

    • Rogelio
      October 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Ali,

      The main issue with progressing like I did is that you have to emphasize what is called progressive overload above all, that is, you need to move heavier and heavier weights (wile eating smart). A big problem in the fitness industry is that there is too much nonsense fitness/weight loss/weight training advice spouted by personal trainers and online “experts” whom all they do is take steroids and fool newbies about what works and what doesn’t since they have a monetary interest in selling stupid routines/supplements/advice to these newbies.

      For my 4 month body transformation, I used a training routine very similar to my Manly Strength routine, which you can find here:

      http://www.manlycurls.com/2011/07/the-manly-strength-program/

      In my specific case, I did Day 2 of the routine not once, but 3x a week (so I was training 5-6 days per week), but this is something that I don’t recommend you do. If you want to do my routine, do it as it is outlined exactly in the article of the link (e.g. only train 3 days).

      With regards to nutrition, all you have to do is to ensure that you are eating enough protein, as the goal of weight training is to spark a muscle building response in the body and/or to stimulate the muscles so that they are not wasted from not eating enough (i.e. when dieting down); this all means that an important amount of protein must be taken every day if you aim to transform your body. A good amount to go for is about 1.7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (e.g. if you weight 80 kgs, about 140 grams of protein per day).You can get your protein from meat (I know ins KSA, you guys love lamb!), fish, milk, dairy (I love liquid labneh when I’m in the Middle East!), eggs, and beans with rice. However, ask your doctor first before increasing your protein intake; if you have a healthy body (e.g. no bad kidneys or diabetes), you should be able to up your protein intake safely, but it is best to always ask your doctor prior to changing your diet. This is basically the diet that I used for ym body transformation:

      http://www.manlycurls.com/2011/11/ask-rogelio-diet-used-transformation/

      For cardiovascular exercise, do either the treadmill or static bike for 30 minutes after your workouts. Put on your MP3 player and just go for 30 minutes. You can also instead do your 30 minute cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach first thing in the morning when you wake up.

      This is pretty much what I did for my body transformation although I didn’t use cardiovascular work because I was weight training 6 times per week. Keep it simple and basic; the only thing that you need is consistency and hard work. Lastly, give yourself at least 1 year of consistent hard work, I can guarantee you that if you do as I’ve outlined for 1 whole year, you will get there.

      Feel free to update me and let me know how you progress bro.

      All the best.

      • Ali
        October 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

        Rogelio,

        Thank you so much for your reply and all the hard work you put in your blog. You are a boss Rogelio. I’ve never seen an honest fitness blog before. I have read the Manly Strength program yesterday took notes, and started Day 1 today. This info is pure Gold to me and i will stick with this program 110% I’ll send you my transformation pics by December that’s for sure man.

        Also, yes we love lamb hahaha! that’s amazing you’ve been in the middle-east! Ahlan Wasahlan anytime you wanna come in the middle-east man!
        You have definitely inspired me man!

        Also, one more thing, tell us more about the Turkish Get Ups, how did you start it? what weight you first started with? and did you incorporate it to ManlyStrengthProgram? You started with Dumbbells at first or straight to barbells?

        Thanx Rogelio and best of luck to your life!
        Ma’salama bro

        • Rogelio
          October 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          Hi Ali,

          Thanks for the kind words, buddy. I like my blogs (I actually have another one) bullcrap-free. The fitness industry is full of frauding and deception, in a way that disgusts me. Thus, I always take the opportunity to help others and let them see the real light: hard work + consistency is the “shortcut” to building a great body. The rest is secondary.

          Feel free to send me your update in December but like I say, don’t rush it. Give yourself a year, or at least think of next summer. By next summer you can be looking pretty good if you start working hard now and stick to it.

          The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is an awesome exercise, but I don’t recommend it for beginners like yourself because it requires technique and too much coordination, and you need to be moving some serious weight to get a benefit from it. For the time being, squats will work the same muscles as the TGU. I started with a 20kg (45lbs) Olympic barbell and graduated to 70 kilos. I am wanting to write a Turkish Get up tutorial some time, so look out for it. Don’t worry about the TGU for now, just do the weight training routine as depicted.

          And yeah, I have been all over the Middle East, I’m a bit of an adventurer; the picture on the About Manly Curls page is from Petra (Indiana Jones style!).

          Any questions, let them know.

          All the best, Ali.

          Rogelio

  6. Ali
    September 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Badass progress man!
    Interestingly is that i am from Saudi Arabia and you look 80% just like me except i have a straight same length hair and wear glasses haha. Fucking amazing transformation man!

    • Rogelio
      October 2, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Hi Ali,

      Shookran kteer!

      Ma’salama

  7. brauko
    November 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I have recently decided to get down to a fighting weight of 168 after hovering between 185-200 for the past two years. I stumbled upon your website through a link on Men’s Fitness UK. This is exactly the motivation I have been searching for. Something that could show me what to expect of myself if I stuck with the lifestyle change. So, thanks, Rogelio. Four months is easily manageable with the program you have outlined.

    • Rogelio
      November 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Brauko,

      You are welcome. The key is to inspire others, to let them see what they can too do. Don’t sell yourself short, hard work pays off eventually.

      Likewise, fitness changes should be approached from a lifestyle angle. Do these changes because they fit into your lifestyle as it is human nature to be good at something because one truly enjoys doing that something.

      I wish you all the best in your journey and feel free to contact me if you have any difficulties/get stuck.

      All the best.

    • Ali
      October 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Same here baruko! this the exact motivation i was looking for! this blog is pure Gold

  8. Hashemite
    October 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Top transformation!

  9. Rogelio
    October 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Many thanks for the replies. Means a lot!

    All the best.

  10. Hairdresser
    October 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Great physique and curls. You gotta tell us your secrets!

  11. Kate
    October 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Awesome and inspiring. Congrats.

  12. Mark
    October 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Wow, that’s some amazing transformation. Looking forward to your updates on your training and diet.

  13. Roy
    October 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    An inspiring story, dude.
    Congratulations. Now don´t give in, don´t give up.

  14. Martin
    October 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I am left with no words to express the extent of your work, effort and results. Keep up such an attitude that you have! My hat goes off to you.

  15. GB
    October 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Solid progress and you also have some of the thickest hair I have ever seen. Much respect.

  16. Zeus
    October 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Great work and effort.

  17. Another one with curls
    October 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Wow, this is the sort of stuff that inspires one. Thanks a lot my friend.

  18. Ed
    October 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Awesome progress Rogelio.

    Nice to see an author who talks the talks after having walked the walk.

  19. Strongman
    October 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Simply amazing mate. Not only did you build a great body but you are also strong, both body and mind.

    Very motivating. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

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