• Years of unhealthy eating habits led Pawel Kurowski’s weight to climb to nearly 220 pounds.
• Combining the ketogenic diet with a rigorous lifting routine, along with simple changes to his diet, fueled a dramatic weight loss transformation.
• Now a lean 154 pounds, Kurowski competes in bodybuilding competitions.
“I always used to be quite active as a kid and teenager. Football, handball, capoeira and gymnastics were my passions back then,” says Paweł Kurowski, a 30 year-old personal trainer from Kraków, Poland. “During university—not so much.” It’s a familiar story, really: After graduation, Kurowski got a job that had him spending 90 percent of his time behind the wheel, traveling to train clients on an electronic payment system. His diet was a mess of sweets, take-out, and high-calorie drinks. And after work, instead of exercising, he’d while away the hours on video games.
Eventually, Kurowski hit 220 pounds—a significant amount on his 5’8” frame. He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. The numbers were alarming, but it took something more visceral to bring home just how bad things had gotten. “The tipping point would be my girlfriend crying through the sleepless night because of me snoring mad like a truck,” he says. “That was really a wakeup call for me.”
He threw himself into rebuilding his lifestyle. He ditched the sweets and take-out food. He traded gaming for reading everything he could find about diet and exercise. Then he hit the gym. He picked up tips online, deciding a ketogenic diet might be for him. With calorie control, a full-body strength workout program, and cardio, it took him about a year to get down to 154 pounds.
By then, Kurowski was hooked on the lifestyle. He didn’t just want to hit a weight number—he wanted to reshape himself. He started thinking of himself not just as someone looking to get fit, but as a bodybuilder. Soon enough he was sculpting his figure, even dipping below 10 percent body fat. These days he competes as a bodybuilder, and hope next year to enter the International Natural Bodybuilding Association competition. “It’s quite addicting,” he says, “like progressing in a role-playing game.”
For Kurowski, getting to where he is now meant completely re-inventing his life. His progress from an overweight, under-exercised video game player into a personal trainer and bodybuilder wasn’t easy, but he stayed focused on his goals. “Have a plan, have a goal and stick to it,” he says. “Consistency is the key to success. There is no magic trick.”
Motivation, he says, wasn’t enough—at least at the beginning. “You can get motivated and you have to get into the habit and consistency as fast as possible before the motivation runs out,” he says. “When you get in the habit of eating healthy and training consistently, you don’t need motivation anymore, you become motivation for others.” Poland, he notes, is starting to see the familiar issues associated with obesity, and Kurowski wants to do his part to help people attain the healthy, fit bodies they want.
“I would love to help people battle through,” he says, “and keep to the healthy side.”