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Cedric Gardner: A Man With A (Weight Loss) Plan

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

If you play ball at the courts in Pearson & McGonigle Hall or frequent the Fox School of Business, you probably know someone by the name of Cedric Gardner. The always-friendly 21-year-old and Maryland native just went through a pretty astonishing weight loss transformation. His hard work and dedication will hopefully inspire others that seek to do the same! Below, Cedric shares his story, as well as some tips that helped him along the way. 

Hometown: Riverdale, Maryland

Year: Junior

Major: Economics, minor in Managment Information Systems (MIS)

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Vice President of Marketing For the Temple Real Estate Organization
  • Student Manager with Temple Basketball
  • Equipment and Event Management Liaison with Temple Athletics
  • Facility Monitor with Campus Recreation.

What does being healthy mean to you?

To me, being physically fit means a lot of working in sports. A gym pushes you because you are surrounded by so many people that are active. It serves as a reminder that whether or not you are an athlete, you need to take care of yourself. I’m not saying you have to have a six-pack, but you should be physically fit. If there does come a time or day when you need your body to do specific things, they can get done with minimal problems.

Who or what inspired you to get in shape?

For me it was getting a job at the gym and just being around athletes this summer gave me the motivation to get in shape. Seeing the college athletes and pros I helped this summer was definitely motivation to get my body right. Since being in high school, I had stopped being active and I went from being 201 lbs. in 11th grade to being 272 lbs. this past summer. It really made me look myself in the mirror and evaluate my health. 

What are you favorite workouts? And how often do you workout?

I would say back & shoulder [exercises] are my favorite workouts. Exercises like deadlifts, barbell shrugs, lat pulldown and shoulder press are generally my “go-tos.” Also, an exercise I like to do that’s not included in the shoulders and back group is the “bicep barbell curl.”

With my schedule, sometimes I go to the gym five to six times a week and there are times when I’ll go three times a week. When I go five to six times a week, I work on one muscle group everyday with about 20 – 25 sets per workout, and reps vary depending on my focus. Sometimes I may go for muscle endurance, which requires less weight and more repetition (around 12-15 reps). And on other days when I go for muscle mass, which requires heavier weights and less reps (around 4-6). When I can only go three times a week, I incorporate multiple muscle groups. I lift the same amount of sets with moderate reps (usually about 8-12).

What meals do you prepare to stay in shape?

I try to eat five to six times a day. Some people might think you should eat less, but losing weight is a process and generally you want to eat smaller meals more frequently. For those who aren’t aware, your metabolism is similar to a fireplace: If you just put in a bulk of heavy logs, it will burn slowly. But if you consistently put in smaller pieces of wood, the fire speeds up and begins to burn faster. You have to strategically place different kinds of food in your diet, due to the fact we are generally doing certain things throughout our day and we need certain foods to provide us with certain nutritional value.

What a typical day (in meals) looks like for Cedric:

  • Meal 1: 5 boiled egg whites, ½ cup of oatmeal, ½ a grapefruit
  • Meal 2: 40 g. whey protein
  • Meal 3: 6 oz. chicken breast and ½ cup of brown rice
  • Meal 4: 6 oz. tuna, 2 cups of spinach, 1 banana
  • Meal 5: 6 oz. tilapia, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 cup of spinach
  • Meal 6: 6 oz. salmon or chicken breast, asparagus

How has this lifestyle change positively affected your life?

There have been many positive changes I have noticed. First and foremost, I have noticed that I generally feel healthier. People always think that the scale is a way to consider whether you are healthy or not. It’s more about how you feel and if you see the gains you are making with your weight loss program. Second, I have noticed my clothes fit better. I have went from a size 42 waist to a 36 and went from wearing 2XL sweatshirts to wearing larges and mediums (based on brand fit). And lastly, the people around me are making health changes and saying that I serve as an influence. So many people are looking to make changes and are beginning to take their health seriously, which is a motivation for me. They are a constant reminder of the goals I am striving to reach.

What advice do you have for other people looking to lose weight and life healthy lifestyles?

Honestly there is so much I could say in this area, but the key things I will say are that:

  1. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither will your body in two or three weeks. Don’t expect to lose weight or gain muscle overnight.
  2. “You are, what you eat” it’s a cliché, but it true. People make their body in the kitchen and sculpt it in the gym. You can’t eat whatever you want just because you went to the gym, and then expect to see any type of results. You have eat clean and train hard. For example, you can’t eat a garden salad with a load of ranch dressing and say you are eating healthy, because with all the toppings and the amount of dressing, you might as well go get a #1 from McDonalds. You have to understand what you are eating, why you’re eating it and how it is beneficial to you. Also, you have to understand that you are not going to like every healthy food out there, and that you have to figure out what works for you in terms of food options in relation to preference.
  3. It is okay to have a “cheat” meal. You can have some fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, ribs, and cheesesteaks, but realize that those things have to be in moderation. And as I said, it’s a “cheat meal” – not a cheat day, cheat week or cheat month. You can have these things once a week on maybe a Saturday afternoon.
  4. Lastly, remember that slow progress is still progress. Nothing is easy, and results aren’t going to come right away. Progression is incremental, but it still requires the discipline of eating the correct foods and exercising properly and consistently.
Jennifer Nguyen is a senior journalism student at Temple. She has been a part of Her Campus Temple since its formation in 2010 and being a part of HCTU has been one of the best things she has ever done. She aspires to be a magazine writer in New York after graduation. Jennifer is passionate about learning more about the world around her and hopes to travel the world one day. As a journalist, she strives to share the stories of people whose voices need to be heard. In her spare time, she loves reading French literature, learning languages and watching Bravo reality TV shows.