Going through a complete body transformation is one of the most difficult things someone can do. It takes discipline. It takes self-motivation. It takes purpose. But when a person pushes him or her self through the grueling physical and mental demands, the rewards speak for themselves.
One person who knows all about the exhaustion of a body transformation is Nick Peres. Peres, who struggled with his weight from a kid up through adulthood, wasn’t seeking to completely change his life around, but, like most things in life, it sort of found him because of pure circumstance.
After a routine eye checkup led to blurry vision and potential of blood clots, Peres knew that he needed to make a change to his life. He found fitness as his outlet, and, in the decade since, has gone through one of the most incredible body transformations you’ll ever see, dropping an insane 120 pounds — and he’s showing no signs of slowing down just yet.
While Nick Peres has already completed grueling races like half-marathons, his next obstacle is a half-Ironman, which he’s currently training for. He’s inspiring others to follow his lead, and he told us all about his fitness journey and how he’s been able to accomplish what he has to this point.
Shut Up & Hustle: What Made You Want To Go Through This Body Transformation?
Nick Peres: “It started with a trip to the eye doctor. He did a scan of my head instead of dilating my pupils. When he showed me the results, he pointed out the different levels of shading in veins and arteries in my eye. The doctor told me there was plaque building, and if I didn’t do something, I was at risk for clots that could blind or kill me.
The room went white.
Somehow, I finished the appointment. When I got in my car, I looked at myself in the rearview mirror and knew I had to do something. That’s when I made a doctor’s appointment, hired a personal trainer and started on this journey.”
Shut Up & Hustle: Talk About The Fear You Had Taking The Leap And Changing Things Up
Nick Peres: “As silly as it sounds, the biggest fear I had was what I would be like after I lost the weight. There really never was a time in my life that I would’ve considered myself “thin” or even “average.” In a lot of ways, my weight had become a major part of my identity.
I was also afraid of the process. I’ve never been an overly emotional person. Eating was one of the main ways I processed feelings and emotions. I was very afraid to lose that crutch/coping mechanism. But, it turns out that it was actually one of the best things I ever did.”
Shut Up & Hustle: How Much Weight Have You Actually Lost?
Nick Peres: “I can safely say that over the past 10 years it’s been 120 pounds, going from a size 56 to 36.”
Shut Up & Hustle: Were There Days When You Lacked Enthusiasm To Workout, And, If So, How’d You Overcome Them?
Nick Peres: “Oh definitely. I still do, and I think it’s important to recognize that everyone is going to have those days.
I usually try to figure out why it is that I’m not feeling overly enthusiastic about the gym. Am I tired? Stressed? Sick?
If it’s that I’m tired or stressed, I give myself a 15-minute “out” clause. Meaning I’ll go, but within 15-20 minutes, if I’m still not feeling it, I’ll call it day. I’ve honestly never left, because I find that once I’m in the gym and moving, I’ll start to feel a lot better and want to finish my workout.
If I’m sick, it depends on how sick I am. If it’s just a stuffy nose or slight headache, I’ll at least hop on my Peloton or do something light at home (so I don’t risk getting anyone at the gym sick). If I’m running a fever, I’ll just take it easy.”
Shut Up & Hustle: Any Methods To Push Yourself Before Or During A Workout That Has Proven Successful For You?
Nick Peres: “It’s all about the music for me. I’ll turn it up on my way to the gym and pick high-energy songs to listen to while I’m there to keep me motivated.
I’ve also become a huge fan of the podcast Small Town Murder. Each episode is usually at least two hours long, so it’s good to listen to on a longer run or bike ride. It’s not your typical true crime podcast, as its hosts are comedians. I’ve learned it’s a lot easier to laugh while running than it is while riding a bike!”
Shut Up & Hustle: What Routine Did You Use To Get In Shape And Drop So Much Weight?
Nick Peres: “It was pretty straightforward; calorie deficit and exercise. I tried a lot of the multi-level marketing (MLM) products, fat burners, etc., and they didn’t work over the long-term. I’d lose a lot in the beginning, but I’d slowly begin to put weight back on as I’d get bored drinking shakes, eating pre-boxed meals, etc.
I think hiring a personal trainer really helped, too. It gave me the motivation I needed to get to the gym regularly, and, more importantly, the comfort level I needed to be in the gym. I was definitely intimidated to go into the gym by myself, so having a trainer forced me, in a way, to get over that fear.”
Shut Up & Hustle: How About Your Diet, How Has That Changed?
Nick Peres: “I’ve changed my entire diet. I don’t eat out nearly as much anymore, I eat more whole foods and whole grains, and I cook more. I make an effort to not keep anything at home that I’d be prone to overeat. I also make sure to take my time when eating, and include more filling foods (yes, like vegetables) at each meal.”
Shut Up & Hustle: Can You Describe Your Diet Now?
Nick Peres: “Right now, I’m averaging about 2,200 calories a day, but that’s slowly increasing as my training intensifies. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make has been adding a lot more carbohydrates to my diet. I was initially fearful of this, because carbs tend to bring water weight, but I haven’t noticed that too much. In fact, my weight has started declining again even though I’m consuming, on average, about 400 more calories a day than I was just earlier this year.”
Shut Up & Hustle: What’s Been The Most Difficult Thing About Going Through This Body Transformation?
Nick Peres: “The most difficult thing has been relearning who I am. A lot of times as a child and a teenager, I would shy away from sports or other activities because of my weight. More honestly, I’d use my weight as an excuse not to participate in certain things.
I can still fall into that trap sometimes, which is why I keep challenging myself with new and different things. First it started with 5 and 10ks, and that led to a half-marathon and, eventually, a full marathon. Last year, I ran four marathons in five-month period. And, this year I’ll complete my first half-Ironman and run my 10th marathon.”
Shut Up & Hustle: I Know You’re About To Compete In A Half-Ironman, That’s Insane. Can You Describe That Training Process?
Nick Peres: “It’s been intense. I quickly figured out that I needed to hire a coach, and began working with Mike Fecik in late-March. He loads all of my training for the week into TrainingPeaks, and I follow the plan. It’s been a good mix of swimming, biking, running and strength training.
It’s challenging both physically and mentally. There are some weekday mornings that I’m in the gym over two hours, and on weekends it’s not uncommon for me to spend 4-5 hours on a combination of biking and running. I never would’ve thought I’d be someone that could, or would, workout this much… especially for one event.
Mentally, it’s tough because the training can look intimidating. At first, it psyched me out a little bit. But I’ve learned to just take it one step at a time. I can already tell it’ll help me feel more confident (albeit still nervous) the morning of the half-Ironman.”
Shut Up & Hustle: What’s Your Goal With The Half-Ironman? Just To Finish, Or Something Even Bigger?
Nick Peres: “My goal is to finish. I’m already eyeing a full Ironman next year. From there, who knows? I’m open to suggestions.”
Shut Up & Hustle: What Advice Would You Give People Who Struggle With Their Weight And Have A Fear To Make A Change?
Nick Peres: “First: realize that a majority of people are afraid to make a change, and that’s a perfectly normal feeling. Don’t let that fear stop you from making the changes that you need to find success.
Second: start now. Stop making excuses. Stop saying you’ll start “tomorrow” or “Monday,” because you and I both know that those days will never come. There’s nothing you need to get ready. There’s no grocery shopping you have to do. You can start right now just by being more mindful of what you’re eating and getting a little more active. It’s not about big, sweeping changes. It’s about the small things you can do every day to move yourself in a more healthy direction.
Last, but definitely not least: don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of great resources out there, and a lot of really good coaches that you can work with to keep yourself accountable. Make sure to tell your friends and family about the changes you’re making, and ask for their support. I think you’ll be surprised just how supportive everyone will be — and how much easier it will make it for you.”
Shut Up & Hustle: Any Future Fitness Plans To Help You Keep This Body Transformation And Lifestyle Going?
Nick Peres: “I got my certification from Precision Nutrition late last year and started my own online fitness coaching business just a few months ago. I’ve become extremely interested in food, food choices and fitness. So, continuing my own education and helping others seems like the next natural step.
I also want to keep running marathons, but instead of running just to run, start running in support of charitable organizations and causes that I believe in. Whether it’s raising money, raising awareness, or both, I think it’s a great platform to use, and gives a real purpose to why I continue to run.”