Real life weight loss: How this man went from obese teen to fitness model

New Yorker Stephen Campolo underwent a dramatic weight loss, from chubby teen to fitness influencer

Stephen Campolo transformed his life via weight loss
(Image credit: Future)

At his heaviest, Stephen Campolo from New York, weighed 305lbs and was struggling as an obese teenager. Aged 13, and Stephen was 100lbs overweight with zero confidence and got bullied by other children. 

Our sibling YouTube channel Truly caught up with Stephen as part of a documentary series on dramatic transformations, Brand New Me. Stephen told Truly: “Being overweight was a death sentence. When you're young, you're a teenager, people judge you on your appearance. I got bullied a lot, I got called fat boy. My last name is Campolo, so kids would call me fat Polo”. Stephen was fed up, no girls wanted to talk to him and he was even rejected by his crush. 

When Stephen broke his finger at 14, the doctor delivered some life changing news. “The doctor told my dad 'your son is clinically obese, he has to make some type of lifestyle changes or he's going to have some serious health complications'. So if I hadn't broken my finger and had to go to the doctor, I would have never known that I was clinically obese." 

Watch Stephen's full inspiring weight loss story here:

In order to make a difference, Stephen made lifestyle changes, stuck to a strict new diet and ran every night. “I lost a bunch of weight, I wanted to build my body, be confident with myself, feel strong, feel sexy and feel confident!" 

Today, Stephen is helping others with similar body transformations and is a successful online coach. He continued: "I don't think the fat high school version of Stephen would have believed that 10 years later, I would be a successful online coach helping people transform their bodies because back then I was the absolute opposite of where I am now." 

And Stephen has words of wisdom to others who are wanting to follow a similar journey. “If you never start, you're never going to build enough traction to get ultimately to where you want to be. So, take the first step, jump in, start and then you'll figure it out as you go!”


(Image credit: Sportlab/Unsplash)

Stephen is absolutely right: the first step is the most important, and hardest, one to take. Stephen first fell in love with fitness through running, which is an accessible exercise which gets you outdoors, burns calories, improves heart health and more. 

Anyone can take part: all you need is a set of comfortable clothes and some of the best running shoes for men or best running shoes for women to get you started. Running your first few times can seem daunting at first, but you can start slow and gradually build up your distance and pace. Our Couch to 5K plan is a perfect jumping-on point. 

If you want to more accurately track your pace, calories burned, heart rate, position and more advanced metrics, you should definitely check out our best running watch guide. More information can allow you to build up a more complete picture of your exercise, allowing you to make small tweaks to your diet and training that end up making a big difference on the roads.

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.