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Young recruit loses lbs. for his country

May 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
He was looking to serve Uncle Sam, but the Army told him he had to lose a lot of weight before basic training. So how did this young recruit shed the pounds? We enlisted Food Coach Lori Corbin to find out. While Favian Rodriguez wanted more out of life, the Army wanted less of him.

"Took me about a year and a couple months to lose my100 pounds," said Rodriguez.

Favian Rodriguez, 18, was overweight and had high blood pressure, but he still wanted to join the military. Apparently the armed forces are seeing more of those with hefty girth.

"Yes, we do have a lot of overweight people that come in the office. We don't immediately turn them away because if we turn them away they won't know how much weight they need to lose to get in the Army," said Staff Sergeant Delvin Jrmon.

So after taking a version of a practical SAT test, they assess height, weight and body fat to see if they're close to qualifying. Knowing the score, Rodriguez got busy.

"Basically what everyone says, diet, exercise. Watch your calorie intake. Also watch my fat, just lower the fat and just reduce portions. Don't eat that much and no soda obviously, just water, water, water," said Rodriguez.

Tough for a guy who used to eat chorizo, 6 eggs and 4 tortillas for breakfast.

"Oh it was the most horrible thing I ever did in my life. I have to admit the first month was just so hard. I thought I couldn't do it," said Rodriguez.

But he did, checking online sites and fitness magazines to get in shape.

"I tried to run, but I probably did half a mile and I was out of breath. I probably walked 3 or 4 miles around the park right after I started and a month or two later I started jogging slowly, trying to build my lung capacity," said Rodriguez.

Working up to 5 miles a day and adding weight training.

The Army, which is always looking for recruits, has set requirements on weight, body fat percentage and things like sit-ups, pushups and running 2 miles.

"I think they told me it's 50 pushups, 50, 60 situps and run 2 miles in 15 minutes. I think the max is 18 minutes," said Rodriguez.

"We don't expect you to be a super stud. But we expect you to be within certain guidelines because that's what basic training is for. To train you to become a soldier," said Staff Sergeant Jrmon.

Favian Rodriguez met his goal and is looking forward to serving his country.

"I ship out September 28, 2009," said Rodriguez.

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