Losing 20 pounds in 2020 during the pandemic

The picture above was taken on January 20, 2021.
The picture above was taken before the quarantine, sometime in 2019. It never occurred to me to take a photo for a before and after. Sorry. I never thought I would write this, so there you go.

Let me begin by stating that I am not a personal trainer, health professional, nutritionist, or any type of expert. I’m a 5ft 8in regular guy who didn’t grow up overweight but at 38 years old got to the highest weight I’ve ever been, 194lbs. I’m going to explain what I did to lose 20 pounds in 2020 during the pandemic.

Before I get there, let me briefly explain how I think I got to 194lbs. The two main contributing factors in getting to 194lbs is not exercising regularly and eating poorly. Lack of sleep I’m sure didn’t help, but I continue to do that to this day, so for now I won’t talk about that. I’ve exercised throughout the years but it would be on and off. I’ve never had a gym membership and so the types of exercise would usually consist of home exercises that use dumbbells. I have a set of 20, 30, and 40lb dumbbells. In addition to using the dumbbells, I would incorporate pushups and situps. I would usually do a circuit of pushups, squats (holding one dumbbell), bicep curls, hammer curls, and situps. This would usually be my routine. I’m sure if done properly and consistently this could help, but this was not the resulting factor in my weight loss.

In late 2018 I changed careers and became an insurance agent and being out in the field eating whatever is most convenient was a factor in gaining weight. I also went to the movie theater 2 to 3 times per week eating either two forms of candy (peanut M&M’s always) or a combination of peanut M&M’s with pretzel bites or popcorn. For the beverage, I would always drink water. I got used to drinking water with my food years ago. After seeing a movie I would then go buy food at a fast food place.

When the pandemic hit and when we were ordered to quarantine, obviously not going to the movie theater was not an option and so that was essentially taken out of my hands. It wasn’t something I had to gain the willpower to stop doing, it was something that was forced upon me. Let’s hope I don’t regress when the movie theaters reopen. Obviously, I could buy the same types of snacks outside the movie theater, but I never really felt the need to eat them when not in the movie theater. I was so conditioned to that specific experience that it wasn’t something I needed to do or wanted to do outside the confines of the movie theater. I also didn’t feel the need or crave fast food as it was mostly something I did after watching a movie. My sales job also came to a screeching halt during the quarantine. I could have continued pursuing it but in reality, I was mentally checked out and not willing to continue a path where I was spending more of my funds than getting in return. The sales job was 100% commission, which means you could make good money but also lose a lot if you don’t sell regularly.

Here is now where I get into the specifics of what I did to lose 20lbs in 2020 during the pandemic. One thing I decided to do food-wise that I think helped with the weight loss, was not necessarily change my diet completely. The big difference was that instead of eating fast food on the weekends when I would go see movies, I decided to buy microwavable food that is vegetable-based. For instance, a dish would be vegetable pasta. A vegetable would be used as a substitute for both look and taste. When it came to exercising I decided I wanted to try something other than using dumbbells or buying heavy, big, expensive workout machines. In doing some research on what I could buy and use that was relatively light in weight, portable, wouldn’t take up much space, and most importantly effective, I decided that I would buy a rowing machine. With a ton of options out there I wanted something that looked sturdy, compact, and gave me a range in motion that I believe would help in my weight loss journey. Ultimately, I decided to buy the Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion Rowing Machine — SF-RW5720. This isn’t a sponsorship or review of this product, it’s just the one I decided to buy and the one that helped me lose 20lbs.

Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion Rowing Machine — SF-RW5720
Sunny Health & Fitness Incline Full Motion Rowing Machine — SF-RW5720

The main reason I went with this particular rowing machine is that it has arms instead of a cable for the rowing motion and it uses your body weight as resistance. I’ve seen too many failed videos of people pulling on the cable and it breaking and smacking them on their faces. I already have a bump in my nose that I don’t need or want to add to it. This is not to say that this would be the case, but it honestly was a deciding factor. I also like that the arms do provide a range in motion that cannot be done when pulling a cable. Using one’s body weight as resistance was also a big reason for buying this machine. Other rowing machines use hydraulic cylinders, magnetic tension, and other various forms to provide a challenging workout. I wanted a form of resistance that didn’t rely on something that could over time become less effective or need replacing. This is not to say that this machine wouldn’t or couldn’t break down, but it seemed to me that it may last longer. Of course with proper maintenance, hopefully, any rowing machine or workout machine for that matter would last as long as possible.

In my research on what type of workout equipment to buy, I did see many articles that say that a rowing machine is a good full-body workout and a low-impact exercise, meaning less strain on the body. For myself, I try my best to keep a consistent schedule and workout 4–5 times a week for 50 minutes each workout. Why not an hour, you might ask? Well, for some reason going past 50 minutes is such a mental challenge for me that at least for now I haven’t conquered. Physically I can go past 50 minutes, but mentally I’m done.

Hopefully, this will give you inspiration and ideas of what you would like to do for your own personal physical and health goals. I’m not there yet, but I’m on a good path. I hope you find a path of your own. Good luck everyone.



Always wanted to be a writer, as many have but never actually did it. Let’s hope this is the start of my first chapter in writing.

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Abel Armenta

Always wanted to be a writer, as many have but never actually did it. Let’s hope this is the start of my first chapter in writing.