For most of his life, George Katrantzos had been a bigger guy.
“I was chubby in middle and high school,” he tells Men’s Health. Even as he grew into his 6’2” frame as an adult, however, his challenges with weight continued. Poor diet choices and a chronic smoking habit caused his weight to climb steadily. Katrantzos weighed nearly 275 pounds by the time he was 33 years old.
His turning point arrived in the Fall of 2018, when Katrantzos posed with his nephew for a family photo. “I thought it would look so good because we look so similar. I saw that photo and thought to myself, ‘You’ve really let yourself go—it’s time to make some changes,’” he says.
First, Katrantzos decided to take a closer look at his diet and exercise routine—he’d tried different programs over the years, but none of them stuck.
“I was always trying to lose weight by dieting and trying all sorts of low carb and low-calorie approaches,” he says. He also felt sluggish and unmotivated, part of which he attributed to a habitual weed smoking habit.
“I was using marijuana daily, which kept me numb and feeling content, but without the desire to work towards anything,” he says. At first, he focused almost all of his attention on refining his diet. This time, he gave keto a try, focusing on a combination of low carbs, moderate proteins, and mostly healthy fats, he says. After about a month on the diet, he incorporated intermittent fasting.
Then came the more difficult part: He would need to start working out. “I didn’t have the first clue what to do,” he says. He tried to join a local gym and even hired a personal trainer, but the training was costly—and Katrantzos felt he wasn’t pushing himself as hard as he wanted, nor seeing dramatic enough progress. “I realized that the more consistent and monotonous my programing and diet was, the slower my weight loss.”
Seeking a more dramatic change in his workout routine, Katrantzos joined a CrossFit box—CrossFit Unleashed—near his home in Astoria, Queens. At first, he couldn’t tell if the “WODs”—workouts of the day—were getting him anywhere, but he kept at it. In the Fall of 2019, his trainer, Ant Lucic, posted a few new photos, and Katrantzos was struck by the dramatic difference from nearly a year prior.
Since going on keto and taking up CrossFit, Katrantzos lost about 50 pounds. “I definitely feel stronger, I have more overall energy, and I feel clearer mentally,” he says. For people just starting out, he advises, “You need to see the whole process as a lifestyle adjustment. There’s nothing short term about it, it’s hard work and you need to commit.”
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