When Andrew Goldblattwas 15, his father passed away. Goldblatt, now 25 and working at a gym in Hauppauge, New York, fell into a deep depression. He’d always been a hefty kid growing up—he consistently broke the weight limit as young football player—but with his father’s death he wanted nothing more than to lie in bed all day and eat, barely moving, not talking to anyone. He figures he was consuming 10,000 calories nearly every day; in five years, he gained more than 200 pounds. At 6’5,” he weighed 540 pounds. He was not just overweight, but essentially bedridden.
The turning point came when he had a seizure in his bedroom. Paramedics rushed to help, but because of Goldblatt’s size, they had no way to get him to the hospital. He was too heavy for the stretcher, so they considered cutting open the side of his house and using a forklift to transport him. “I ended up walking down my steps so they didn’t have to do that,” he says, but after that he resolved to change.
t was hard at first—carrying 540 pounds made it impossible for him to jump right into working out. Instead, he started with simply walking. He walked a mile a day, which took him about 35 minutes. Over time, he turned his focus to diet, counting out his macrosand watching his calories. When he got bored of the walking, he says, “I joined a gym, started lifting weights, and fell in love instantly.”
He’s never really followed one training regimen or diet plan; he’s just tried to find what works for him. And thus far, what works is taking his time. “Slow and steady wins the race,” he says. And he continues to find the intensity for his workouts. “I keep pushing myself to push more weight, to get one last rep,” he says. “I challenge myself to never look how I once was.”
In five years, he’s gone from a debilitating 540 pounds down to 320 pounds. He’s dropped from a 5XL shirt to an XL one (remember, he’s 6’5”) and his waist has shrunk from 74 inches down to 44. (He also found that hauling all that weight around gave him massive calves and quads, once he unearthed them.)
He compares his progress to a snowball rolling downhill until it becomes an avalanche. “Hard work pays off,” he says, “and good things don’t happen overnight.” His mantra is “Be proud, but never satisfied.”
He says his family is amazed, while people who’ve known him his whole life don’t recognize him. “It’s an amazing feeling literally becoming a new man,” he says, “a new person—just with hard work and determination.” He’s become more confident and comfortable with himself. “It feels amazing,” he says. “Gives you a boost of confidence, a boost in confidence you didn’t even know you once had.”
He keeps moving forward, and he encourages others to do the same. “You’re the only person who can help yourself,” he says, “The only one who can make the changes is you.”