In Control

An inside look into one student’s fitness journey.


Mina Takahashi, Feature Editor

Fitness has a different meaning for everyone. For some people, it is something that is either forced or avoided. For others, it comes naturally through participation in sports or other everyday physical activities. However, for Alex Pradarelli ‘18, fitness is a way to have control over something in life.

“I’ve been interested in fitness on and off all my life. I usually don’t stick with things. I tend to do something for maybe a year or two and then I get bored with it, but I think this is just a way of having control of something in your life,” Pradarelli said. “Sometimes as a high school student you don’t necessarily have control. You don’t get to make a lot of life choices, and fitness is a way to have some control in your life and have something to focus on.”

However, maintaining the energy and motivation to keep up a rigorous fitness routine is not easy and there have been many struggles along the way.

“I used to be 170 pounds, and I lost 40 pounds within 2-3 months. I think that it is more of a mental game. Especially while you’re bulking, you put on body fat, and some days I think I’d rather just cut because it’s nicer to have veins popping. But I have to realize that the finished product is not going to look as good. I think that’s probably my biggest struggle in addition to finding the motivation to go to the gym when I’m exhausted at the end of the day. That’s always hard,” Pradarelli said.

How often Pradarelli goes to the gym depends on the specific routine he is doing and how much free time he has.

“Right now I’m doing a four-day routine but sometimes I’ll do five. I used to go every day and then I cut down to six days. How often I go depends on what routine I’m doing and also what I have going on in my personal life whether it’s school or my job,” Pradarelli said.

Sometimes as a high school student you don’t necessarily have control. You don’t get to make a lot of life choices, and fitness is a way to have some control in your life and have something to focus on.”

— Alex Pradarelli

Besides a consistent workout routine, Pradarelli makes sure to watch what he eats.

“I used to eat completely clean. I was not eating any processed foods for about 3 months and that’s how I lost all of that weight. But that’s not really sustainable because we live in America. As high school students, we are surrounded by junk food all the time. Now, especially since I’m bulking I definitely eat more junk food because I used to not eat any at all and I wasn’t really putting on weight. For a lot of people, it’s not great for your health, obviously, I mean I don’t go to McDonalds every day, but I definitely don’t eat completely clean anymore,” Pradarelli said.

One key factor in maintaining a strong work ethic is to change your routine, and never let your body or mind get used to a specific regimen or exercise.

“You have to change your workout routine because otherwise it’s going to get boring and your body is gonna get used to it. That’s what people don’t understand. So once I feel like I’m not making any more progress on a program after sticking with it for a few weeks to a month or two I’ll switch it. That’s one of the things I’ve learned over time. Before I was doing a high set workout, like 7 sets of 10 which is insane. Now I’m back down to 3-4 sets of 10-12 so my routine varies,” Pradarelli said.

Pradarelli’s main source of inspiration and motivation comes from looking at the bigger picture.

“Some days I don’t want to go to the gym, and, I’m not going to lie, some days I don’t go. But I think at the end of the day I have to remember that no one else cares whether you go to the gym or not. You’re the only one who’s going to know. When you say ‘I’m not going to do that last exercise’ or ‘I’m not gonna go to the gym,’ the only person you’re hurting is you. So do you really want to do that? It’s only going to take longer to reach your goals. That’s something I always have to remember, and it’s probably what keeps me motivated the most.”