After taking down over 300 pounds, DJ Varela now eyes his next venture of becoming a professional MMA fighter.
During an episode of the Truly webseries Brand New Me, Varela documents his journey from once being over 500 pounds to now being fit to begin MMA training after a drastic weight loss.
Varela was not always overweight. In high school, he was very active in sports and lived a healthy lifestyle. However, when he began working as a nightclub promoter at 24, he began to live more excessively, including constant snacking and heavy drinking. Before he knew it, he tipped the scales at over 500 pounds.
He then decided to join a gym and work with a personal trainer. In what serves as a source of inspiration for those beginning their New Year’s resolutions, Varela lost over 300 pounds over the course of 18 months (via MensHealth.com).
“My workout routine has evolved throughout the years,” Varela said. “In the beginning, it was mainly based off of strength training, now it’s moreso based on technique and being more functional… Being an MMA fighter has been a dream of mine since my weight loss journey.”
As any fighter will tell you, a key ingredient to being a successful mixed martial artist is confidence. Once lacking in that area, Varela’s hard work and commitment have now instilled the self-belief he always envisioned for himself and that he hopes will translate inside the cage.
“When I look in the mirror now, I see the person I always visualized,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the future as far as making sure my body, my mind and spirit can be where they need to be to compete as a mixed martial artist. I’m going to continue to evolve and become more and strengthen up my body. The first way out is in, so look inward to the answer that you need, once you find that answer, go from there.”
You can watch Varela tell his journey in his own words as well as catch a glimpse into his early MMA training in the video below.