They say quitters never win, I say they’re wrong.


John Michael Sagcal

They say quitters never win, I say they’re wrong.
by: John Michael Sagcal

Hello, my name is John Michael Sagcal, and I’ve quit the lifestyle I’ve been living before to engage in a battle. A battle against myself and my unhealthy habits. A battle that, if won, will atleast ensure me that I’ll have a higher chance of living longer, for my two kids and fiancee. A life that I’ve never even dreamt of having, not even in my wildest dreams.

My friends, after a year and a half, I come before you now to declare, that I am victorious. Let me tell you my story.

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Two years ago I weighed approx 270 pounds, never watched my diet, ate what I want, when I want and only focused on my work and my family. It got to a point that I was eating 5 cups of rice every single meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), drinking nothing but coke and snacking on chocolates and junk food.

I never really paid any attention to my weight and though to myself (my weight can wait), until one fateful day, when I decided to go to the Doctor for a random check-up (didn’t know what I was thinking back then but I glad I did). When the nurse went to check my BP it turns out that I was spiking at 160/100. Whoah, I was only 22 at that time and never thought that I had such a high BP, so I daily had my BP checked only to find out that it never went down lower than 150/90.

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That’s when my doctor determined that I was hypertensive and gave me a lifespan of not more than 20 years if I don’t change my eating habits and overall switch to a healthier lifestyle.

Soon, thoughts of not seeing my son grow up and my family suffering because of my choices were flying through my mind. That’s when I decided to embark on a journey of weight-loss with the goal of being a better version of myself, for myself and my family.

Approximately one and a half years ago, I stepped inside the gym for the very first time. I tried that step ladder, and it didn’t take long before I got dizzy (13 minutes I think) and almost collapsed.

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That was Day 1. From then on, I dedicated a good portion of my daily life in research of how to eat healthy and what to do best to burn the fats that my body doesn’t need. I decided to do the whole body workout, 3x a week, but with more focus on the leg muscles (squates, calf raises, etc.), because I planned on being a runner when my muscles are ready and my weight, relatively lower.

I also quit drinking coke and gradually lowered my calorie intake by lessening the cups of rice from 5 to 4, to 3, to 2, and finally, to just a cup of rice a meal. After 8 months, I was about 50 pounds lighter (from 270lbs I was down to atleast 220), I decided to try running for the first time (back then, a jog for me at around 9min/K was actually quite significant and I actually considered that as running).

So I got my class A Kobe Bryant (straight from Divisoria) basketball shoes (I had 0 knowledge about proper running shoes/gear), found a good stretch of pavement (which was actually quite hilly), and tried running (without proper stretching). I did that for about a month and sure enough, I developed shin splints on both legs (hahaha, serves me right for not researching enough).

After a good month, finally recovered and with a good pair of authentic running shoes (I got a gait exam at RUNNR which determined me to be a neutral runner with high arched feet), I went for another go (now with proper stretching).

Days, weeks, months passed, my mileage was getting longer from 3k to 5, to 7, to 10, to 12, to 15 and finally a 21K solo run around the Ayala Triangle (yup, I ran 21K around the Ayala Triangle).

From that point on, things became easier, and easier. I decided to join the a half-marathon last July and finished with a not so impressive time of 2:55. If there was one thing that I got from that run, it was HUNGER. HUNGER for bigger challenges and for more glory.

I decided to use to search for upcoming running events and have since then I ran the Milo Marathon (10K category), Energen Healthy run (10K), Artistakbo (21K), Candy Rush (21K), Gold Rush (21K), Run United 3rd Leg (21K) and most recently the PINOY FITNESS 21K CHALLENGE (CHALLENGER WAVE) wherein I finished with an official time of 02:06:28 and ranked 146/904.

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This is me now. My current weight is 155 lbs. with a body fat of around 15-16% and can run sub-1 10Ks anytime. I’m hoping to run my first sub-2 half mary this Milo Marathon National Finals.

I’m also currently training for the Condura Skyway Marathon and plan on running an Ultramarathon after that. I’m sending this to you with no intention of bragging about my achievements or whatnot. Rather, I want to serve as an inspiration to others that nothing really is impossible.

With the right mindset, and the willingness to devote your time and effort, you will achieve greatness.

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For me it took a while but it was sure as hell worth all the blood, sweat and tears (yeah I literally cried when I did my first 21K running around the Ayala Triangle which made me look silly).

Final thoughts, for anybody wanting to get into the sport of running, here are my tips:
– Get yourself checked and cleared by an MD to make sure you have no underlying heart ailments, etc.
– Have your gait checked to make sure you’re wearing the proper running shoes for your running style
– Follow the 10% rule. Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% every week so as not to injure yourself.
– Be patient. Greatness doesn’t happen overnight

For my eating habits, as a runner, I go for a high carb, mid to low protein diet with wheat, banana, rice and potatoes as my primary source of carbs and eggs/fish for my protein. Fish oil and calcium tablets are my only daily supplements. Drink a glass of water atleast 8 times a day and skip the carbonated drinks and junk food.

Trust me, you don’t need those. — END

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  1. Thank you all. I’m still living the healthy running lifestyle and to date, have 4 full marathons under my belt! Although as of the moment I am sidelined with my 2nd bout with ITBS, I’m hoping to make a full recovery and be back on the road by this December.
    Again thank you all and thank you for reposting this. You guys are the best!


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