Riccardo Guglietti, 23 – from one minute runs to Muay Thai fights. How he lost 50kg and is loving life.
Being young, wild and free is what most people dream about.
So on the surface, Riccardo was living the dream. Fresh out of his teens, traveling the world, and partying almost every night. Surely he must have been loving life?
In reality however, he suffered from anxiety, and low confidence. At just 20 years old, he tipped the scales at 119kg – far too heavy for his 1.78cm frame. In the last three years, through a mixture of sheer determination and developing a love of sport, the meat-loving party animal has transformed into a vegetarian Muay Thai fighter – and lost almost 50kg!
Riccardo shares his story with us:
When I was in my teens, I didn’t really care about my health. I loved traveling, partying, eating, drinking and smoking. I work in hospitality and can cook, so every time I felt even slightly hungry, I’d cook myself a full meal. It was a ritual that at 3am every morning, I’d make myself a carbonara pasta with three eggs and bacon.
At the age of 20, I was 119kg. My friend who hadn’t seen me for a while had a “serious talk” with me, warning me that I could have a heart attack. But, it didn’t really bother me. I was young, and I didn’t worry about things like that. What did worry me was the fact that girls weren’t interested in being more than just friends with me. So the main reason I decided to lose weight was so that I could get a girlfriend.
I didn’t know much about diet or exercise, so I decided to try and run every day.
The first time I went running, I ran as long as I could – until I couldn’t breathe and I thought I was about to have a heart attack. I dropped to my knees and I thought I really thought I was going to die. I thought I’d been running for 10 minutes, but when I looked at my watch, I was shocked to see it was just over one minute.
I started to run almost every day, and slowly I worked my way up to two minutes, then three minutes. I was shy and imagined that people were staring and laughing at the “fat boy”, but in reality, I don’t think anyone actually cared.
After a month, I could run 10 minutes and I had lost 10kg. As for my diet, I just cut carbs and ate mainly meat. Now I know that I was missing out on a lot of important vitamins and minerals and how important carbohydrates are for your body. I tried a vegan diet a couple of years ago and while I love meat, I felt so good that I decided to give up meat.
As I lost weight, I noticed not only my body changing, but also people’s behaviour around me change. I work in hospitality, and while people were never rude to me when I was fat, they were never interested in getting to know me. It’s strange, because even though I’ve changed on the outside, I’m still the same person inside. It became easier to meet girls too. I have to admit however, that my friends treated me the same. The only difference is no more fat jokes!
In the last few years I’ve travelled from Italy to Spain, Germany, Australia, through Asia and to New Zealand. I used to worry that travelling would cause me to fall into bad habits again, but I make it a point to go for a run every day.
I found that including sports in your travel makes the experience much better. And running is a great way to get to explore nature and see new places. When you’re vegan, you also have to be more particular about what you eat, so you can’t just always eat junk.
In 2014, I went to Thailand for the first time. I did all the partying in the islands, and then in Chiang Mai, a girl introduced me to Muay Thai and I fell in love. I looked at the fighters and admired how strong they were and wanted to be like them.
Since that day, I train Muay Thai at least five times a week. I trained at Hong Thong gym in Chiang Mai for a month and even though I was technically ready to fight, I was still too heavy at 90kg.
I was scared. But my desire to fight was big was bigger than the fear that I had so I had my first fight in Chiang Mai against a huge guy over 100kg and won.
I came to New Zealand in August last year. It’s a beautiful beautiful place and I’ve always wanted to visit. I had my second fight at and won. I am now weigh around 75kg which I think is a good weight for me.
I’ve always worked in hospitality, surrounded by food, so there has been some sacrifice. Italian food is a big part of my culture and I don’t get to eat pasta and pizza very often. I highly recommend learning how to cook. I love cooking and I love cooking nice stuff which I can’t wait to eat.
The exercise part I’m addicted to. It makes me feel good and I enjoy feeling my body change. I have become more confident and can see life more clearly.
It has inspired me to change my career path. I now want to help people achieve similar results to me through diet and exercise.
In the latest three years I lost almost 50kg I was overweight and unhappy with my self, now I’m more confident and very happy.
I learned something very important: “Impossible is nothing.”
Muhammad Ali was right.