Get to know the gym trainer who helped obese teen lose over 200 lbs

Barbie Salvador-Muhlach

Posted at May 14 2018 06:00 PM

Ed's note: This is the second part to the story about how a teen lost over 200 pounds. Read the first part here.

Cyril Morales before he lose weight with his fitness coach fitness coach Ken Rioveres. Photo provided by Cyril Morales

MANILA -- An estimated 18 million Filipinos are obese and overweight. Many of them wish to change their lives for the better but not a lot find success in losing the excess pounds. 

So what did Cyril (aka “Bboy”) Morales do right? He credits a big part of his weight loss to professional help. And he found that in Planet Infinity Wellness and his fitness coach Ken Rioveres.

We asked Rioveres 10 questions to find out more about how he helped transform an obese to a “gym beast.” 

1. Describe the first weeks of fitness regimen you prescribed for Cyril.

"From Cyril’s stories, I knew that his daily living activities were limited by his weight and that those needed to be addressed. We used different modifications for certain exercises to build his strength, like using a bench in doing squats and using the stair railings for his modified pushups. I let Cyril work by using all of his muscles to function as one unit. As soon as we see improvements, we then progress to a more challenging workout."

2. What are the most important things to watch out for when training with an obese person?

"It was my first time handling a 400-pounder and I only got two things in mind: his safety and well-being. In dealing with an obese person, safety is always an issue. They have higher risk of falling and even higher risk of getting injured. Also, as a nurse, I learned to practice empathy. And many obese people have a very low self-esteem. 

"So in Cyril's case, we strategically agreed to train in the morning at a time when the gym is not packed with people. We did that so he can freely express himself, and ask me questions without being shy. Eventually, he gained more confidence on his workout routines."

3. How is working with Cyril different from your other clients?

"He is the only student I train for more than three hours! That's because he needed more time to recuperate back then. And while he was recovering from an exercise, that would be my time to discover more about his other goals and other areas he needs to improve on."

4. What's the winning formula for such drastic weight loss?

"Mutual trust, grit and a growth mindset. Trust always comes first. This is the most important factor in having a successful working relationship with your athlete/student. When you develop trust, you earn respect.

"Next is grit. Quoting from one of my favorite books, 'When things get hard, you push harder; when you fail, you get back up stronger; when you don't see results, you don't get discouraged, but you just continue to pound away day after day, after day, with relentlessness, consistency, heart, and passion-- that is grit.'
"And last but not least, the never ending hunger for growth and knowledge. I provided Cyril with lots of reading materials regarding inquiries on nutrition and exercise and even other topics. Cyril is simply the type of student who is willing to unlearn everything to gain new knowledge. And that helped him stay on track with his goals."

Cyril Morales after his weight loss poses with his fitness coach fitness coach Ken Rioveres. Photo provided by Cyril Morales

5. Would you prescribe a specific diet for weight loss?

"No specific diet actually. Just eat real food, i.e. lots of vegetables, meat, nuts and dietary fats. Avoid sugar in all forms including refined carbs such as bread, cereals, gluten, etc. Stay away from processed food and other food that are inflammatory. Such junk food have empty calories and will just harm your body."
6. Why do you think many people are unsuccessful in their weight loss journey?

"Lack of support system. Self-discipline is key when you want to achieve something, but having a support group will surely hone you to have that self-discipline. Some say they don't have time, some say they lack enough funds to support their goals, and some are just tired of trying. Those are the common problems why people were unsuccessful. 

"But for me if you have a strong 'community,' those like-minded people with the same goals as yours, you will definitely reach the things you think you can't achieve. Believe in the power of community."

7. Now that Cyril has lost quite a lot of weight, what's the next fitness plan for him?

"Next goal for him is simply to improve more on his fitness. He currently weighs about 220 pounds and our next target weight is to reach 210. Cyril is very much active now and he can do a lot of things already. He is also currently enrolled at CrossFit Infinitas."

8. Do you prescribe any supplements to take?

"The essentials, i.e. Vitamin C for immunity, Vitamin D3 for resistance and bone health, Omega-3 which is anti-inflammatory, magnesium for muscle recovery, and whey protein for muscle repair and growth). Those and real food."

9. How do you feel about having helped your clients such as Cyril?

"Every time I witness a student's success story, the first thing that always pops in my head is this: 'I must've done something right!' I feel proud, humbled and grateful at the same time. 

"As a coach, it is my duty to help my students understand the process of the program and let them enjoy every single bit of learning. And that process of building their character is just as important as losing weight."

10. How do you motivate your clients to keep going to the gym?

"I don't really motivate them. All I know is that every session, I make sure that they will learn something new like a new skill or new info on nutrition. And as their coach, I just remind them of their purpose on why they started training in the first place."