Anthony Leo is a truly impressive guy. Not only is he an Academy Award-nominated film producer, but he’s also a man who knows the secret to changing one’s life for the better. And he did it for himself this year when he lost 16 percent of his total body fat in mere weeks. All it took was a complete lifestyle overhaul and 15,000 steps a day.
“I’ve considered myself a pretty fit guy but three years ago I hit a really intense period of film production and I let my work take over,” Leo says. “I love what I do so it was easy to let that become the priority, to the detriment of my fitness level.”
The biggest contributor to his weight gain, Leo admitted, was his own inactivity during a highly stressful period in his life, combined with a poor diet.
“I have a sweet tooth and had a habit of combating stress by reaching for something sugary,” he explained. “It didn’t help that on a film set you are never more than a few feet away from a craft table loaded with treats.”
At his heaviest, Leo weighed 188 pounds. And it was a number he was totally in denial about until he saw a photo of himself on set and finally realized he truly let his own health fall by the wayside. So he went into a health expert to have his body fat percentage measured.
“I found out that I was sitting at 30 percent,” he said, noting anything over 25 percent for men is considered obese. “That was a word I never thought I’d hear uttered in the same breath as my name.”
But rather than getting depressed about the state of his health he saw it as an opportunity to change. And, as a guy working in Hollywood, he often read the stories of actors getting into insane shape with the help of trainers for different roles. He figured, if they could do it why couldn’t he?
“I decided to make an investment in myself and signed up with Ultimate Performance in Los Angeles and committed to a 12-week fitness program,” Leo says. The workout regimen, he explains, was surprisingly simple. The first step for Leo was a literal one—purchasing a FitBit and logging 15,000 steps a day.
Next, he worked out with his trainer, Onur Can, three days a week for an hour each session doing mostly resistance training.
“I have a lot on my mind most days so it was a blessing to be able to just ‘show up’ and have [Can] think about what I should be doing instead of me,” Leo says.
But, as we all know, abs are made in the kitchen too. So, Can had Leo use the MyFitnessPal app to monitor his diet.
“At first, I was skeptical about weighing my food and entering my daily food intake, but the app made it very easy and within days it became second nature. This was probably the biggest revelation for me—it’s all about the math.”
Leo explained that with the help of the app and the trainer he worked to put himself into a calorie deficit to lose weight quickly. And in just 15 weeks with the help of Can and the app, Leo was able to lose 30 pounds and 16 percent of his total body fat.
“I think I’m still in shock at the progress I was able to make,” Leo said. “It really hit home that before the program I was essentially carrying around a 30-pound dumbbell all day, every day.”
But, Leo isn’t stopping yet. His goal for this summer is to both maintain his new lifestyle and to take on a muscle-building program by fall.
“This experience has definitely given me the confidence to go for it and see where I can take things from a fitness standpoint which is exciting,” Leo said. He added: “Don’t underestimate the impact your diet will have on your progress. I’d say it’s more important than what kind of exercise you do.”