SALT LAKE CITY -- Big Budah is closing in on the three-year anniversary of his weight loss surgery. He’s hit a few bumps along the way, but has found a way to bounce back.
FOX 13’s Tamara Vaifanua recently checked in on Budah’s Losing for Life journey.
Changing up his workout routine is where Big Budah is finding success. After hitting a plateau, and then packing on some pounds, Big Budah discovered a new workout plan that's working.
Not too long ago, Budah tipped the scales at 450 pounds—the most he’s ever weighed. He said at that weight, simple tasks like tying his shoes or walking up stairs wore him out.
“When I was 450 pounds, I had to save all that energy for work, you know, for those nine segments,” Budah said.
In January 2013, he decided to make a change. Budah underwent gastric sleeve surgery, and, over time, he dropped 156 pounds.
“I lost all the way down to 290, no 294,” he said. “That was the lightest that I lost.”
For the first time in 18 years, Budah weighed less than 300 pounds.
He was on track, but he soon found out it was hard to maintain that progress.
“I did gain 15 pounds back,” Budah said.
Determined to bounce back, Budah kicked his workouts into overdrive. These days, you could say Budah has become a gym rat. Today, he works out with a group of friends who call themselves Team Fleks.
“It originally started to Pacific Islanders to come in and get fit and eventually compete in body building,” Budah said of Team Fleks.
“That’s not going to happen,” He adds, laughing at the thought of himself competing as a body builder.
Their motto: Road to 300, as in, working out hard to look like the muscular characters in the movie “300.”
His trainer, Phil Filimoeatu, says Buddha’s drive is inspiring.
“New excitement and commitment on his part: it’s kind of motivated us all around,” he said.
Budah is motivating fans, too, as they follow his intense workouts on Facebook and Instagram.
He said: “When I go out and people say, ‘Hey, I saw that workout this morning, holy cow you guys look like you're killing it, thanks for doing that. I didn’t feel like going to the gym, but because I saw your video, now I need to go to the gym.’”
His clothes are becoming looser and looser, going from a size 6X to 3X and from a 60-inch waistline to 44 inches.
Budah says his happy place is with family. These days, he is coaching his kids in softball, football, and basketball.
“Before the surgery, he was always like going home after work and then coming home, laying in his room,” said Lisona Te’o, Budah’s son.
His daughter, Jaelyn, added: “It's just always great too, when I’m on the court and I can look to the sideline and he's there.”
Jennifer, his wife, is proud of his progress.
“This is the first exercise thing that he's done that he has stuck with,” she said.
She said her husband is a new man, both mentally and physically.
Budah doesn't have a goal weight. He said he is sticking with the basics: clean eating, exercise and hard work.
“It’s so much easier now to be the real me,” he said.
Budah writes a weekly blog, and he's always sharing his workouts on social media. You can follow his Losing for Life journey by clicking here.