Success Stories | Transformation Stories

Leo Figueredo: From Overweight Teen to Personal Trainer

Leo Figueredo

Excessively overweight as a teenager, Leo Figueredo was an easy target.

The self-esteem issues he already struggled with were intensified by the constant teasing from classmates. Harmless fun to some was a crushing reality for the source of their amusement.

It took time, tough love, and determination on his part, but to simply say that Figueredo has made his way out of the darkness would be an understatement. At 36 he is the epitome of fitness, has a striving business as an ISSA certified fitness instructor in his native Miami, and has even done some fitness modeling.

As for what he would say now to those classmates who taunted him, Figueredo offered two words: Thank you.

“It fueled me to do something about it,” he said.

Getting Help Through Personal Training

Figueredo weighed 250 pounds when he was 16 years old, with 40 percent body fat. His mom, knowing her son needed help and that his overall health was suffering, took the important step of hiring a personal trainer for him. The results were dramatic.

Figueredo lost 40 pounds in three months, and a new lifestyle became set in stone.

“I was tired of being overweight and determined to lose it,” Figueredo said. “I am a goal-oriented person, so once I put my mind to it, it wasn’t that difficult. Along with working out, I changed my diet by cutting out fast food and things like that. I changed my lifestyle.”

It wasn’t long before Figueredo became a fixture in the gym. He enjoyed the atmosphere and the lifestyle so much that upon graduating from high school he took a job at a local gym. He’s been in the business ever since, learning and growing every step of the way.

Helping Others Through Personal Training

Figueredo started his own business in 2014, realizing that, “I was making everyone rich but myself. I figured out the business model and was able to become an independent trainer.”

As the owner of X-Core Miami, he pays a fee to various gyms in the area to be able to train clients there. Figueredo offers group training, kettlebell classes, cycling classes, and Animal Flow training sessions, which are bodyweight workouts that mimic animal movements.

Figueredo took advantage of social media to help spread the word about his business, including relying on clients to share their experiences while working with him.

“I’m very active in the community,” Figueredo added, “helping out people. Even if someone isn’t my client, I will help them out, because maybe later on they would find the need to work with me. I think you always need to give back, and you’ll be rewarded later on.”

Educating Teens

While Figueredo has clients in all age groups, he takes particular satisfaction in working with overweight teenagers.

“I connect with them because I’ve been in their shoes,” he said. “A lot of trainers have been fit all their lives, and they don’t know what it feels like to be a kid who is overweight.”

Figueredo, who also has an ISSA certification in fitness nutrition, said an important part of his work with overweight teens is to find out the causes of their eating issues—be it emotional or a lack of knowledge—and to help them make better choices they feel comfortable with.

“You also have to educate the parents,” Figueredo said. “It might have to do with their culture. They have to know that there are other options.”

Figueredo said a lot of his young clients are amazed when they find out he, too, once had a weight problem.

“There are a lot of superheroes out now [in movies] and the kids compare me to them,” Figueredo said. “They see how far I have come. It shows them that they can do it, too.”

One of his professional goals is to raise his profile within mainstream media. He has written articles for a couple of fitness magazines and would like to branch out into radio and television to increase his reach within the industry.

He’s also interested in serving as a mentor to any kids in the community who are struggling with their weight and don’t know where to go for help.

It was a lifetime ago, but he used to be one of them.

Are YOU ready to change lives by teaching others about health and fitness? Get started with a personal training certification from ISSA. You’ll increase your own knowledge and learn how to help clients get fit and build healthy habits.