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Boxing for weight loss

About one year ago, Perry Panesar's girlfriend of five years called it quits. For a while, he couldn’t figure out why. Then he stepped on the scale, took a hard look in the mirror, and realized that he had completely lost control of his weight—and his life.

Today, the 26-year-old real estate agent from Ontario hardly recognizes the guy he was last November. No more late-night runs to McDonald’s after a long night of drinking. No more mindless eating.

But giving up those old habits didn't happen overnight.

“I was always the chubbiest kid growing up, always the ‘fat guy’ with my group of friends,” says Panesar. “That was my character.”

It didn't really hit him until he started college, though. In high school, Panesar joined the basketball team and loved spending time in the gym. After he graduated, he said goodbye to the team that motivated him to stay in shape. Before he knew it, Panesar was also in a committed relationship, which made him far too comfortable. “I didn’t feel like I needed to impress anyone,” he recalls. “I was eating all the time.”

Dorm food didn't help, either. Having a cafeteria nearby made french fries slathered in gravy and cheese the norm. “I never stopped eating,” says Panesar. “I just didn’t care. I thought to myself, hey, my role is the ‘fat guy,’ so I’ll just embrace it.” On top of that, he was out drinking with his friends at least two nights a week—the perfect combination for calorie overload.

“I didn’t have a lid on the food. I’d say I was pushing at least 4,000 calories a day,” he says.

It didn’t change once he left school. His friends would ask him to join in on pickup basketball games, but Panesar would make up some excuse, knowing he couldn’t run up and down the court. His clothes were fitting tighter, but he’d just replace them with larger sizes.

After his girlfriend broke up with him, he spent the rest of the year buried in work. His mood and energy tanked. Realizing how unhappy he was, Panesar snapped a picture in the mirror, which you can see on the left composite above, and weighed himself—257 pounds, the heaviest he had ever been in his life. “I told my sister I was going to lose weight. Telling someone made it more real for me, and held me accountable,” he recalls.

In January 2017, he started going to the gym every other day and severely restricted his diet to roughly 1,000 calories a day. “I developed a fear of food,” he say. “I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew I didn’t want to be the ‘fat guy’ anymore. I just didn’t want to eat.”

Cardio became his obsession. Panesar would start his workout by reading two chapters of a book on the stairmaster, which took anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes. Then he’d head over to the treadmill and do 20 minutes of high intensity interval training, finishing with another 45 minutes on the elliptical. But after about a month, Panesar knew it was time to familiarize himself with the weight room. Despite seeing progress in the beginning, he noticed that his body wasn’t changing quite how he wanted it to.

“I always had this sort of pear shape to my body. I was seeing that the pear was just getting smaller, not changing,” he says.

He also noticed that his energy was extremely low, but he kept pushing through, not realizing that he wasn't eating enough at the time. After three months, Panesar was bored.

That's when he discovered boxing. “I went out and bought all this new equipment: gloves, shoes wraps, a new sweatshirt, everything. I had a feeling that this was going to really change my life.”

Panesar took his first class mid-April and didn't look back. He went all in at first, and eventually toned it down to a maximum of five sessions per week. But he wanted to get better, so he started trading some of his group sessions for more personalized time tailored to technique.

The Speed and Power Boxing Circuit:


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