PLATTSBURGH — Facing a challenge many people around the world have since the onset of the more sedentary pandemic lifestyle, 14-year-old Aidan Varin decided to make a change last fall.

The Beekmantown Central School District student gained over 50 pounds last year, he said, weighing in at 244 pounds in November 2020 when he decided to go to JS Fit gym in Plattsburgh.

“I wanted to lose weight to become healthier; I was very out of shape,” Varin said. “I was playing soccer before the pandemic, I wanted to do better.”

And that was when, after being recommended by a family friend, Varin started working with fitness coach Steve Galietta at the gym.

Varin has since lost 56 pounds, as of April 6.

“I’ve seen him make a huge transformation,” Galietta said. “For a younger person to be as driven and motivated as he is, it’s been inspiring.”

Varin, who enjoys playing soccer and basketball, was hoping to get back into a place where he could do that and do it well after the weight gain.

In the early days of his training with Galietta, that first involved a “really clean-eating nutritional program,” Galietta said, with the first few weeks of exercise focused on “functional training” like joint stability and mobility work to make sure that his body was healthy and stable before moving on to strength training.

And that training has been yielding results for Varin mentally, too.

“I feel a lot more confident in myself; A lot happier, a lot healthier, a lot more able to move around,” Varin said. “I’m much more excited to work out than I’ve ever been; Instead of the old me being like, ‘Ah great, I’ve got to work out,’” he said sarcastically, “instead I’ve been like, ‘Oh cool, I can do boxing.’”

While he’s seen good progress out of his clients in the past, Galietta has been particularly impressed by Varin.

“His discipline, his motivation, his hard work and his willingness to be coached are huge, huge key components to how he’s been and continues to be successful,” Galietta said.

Varin is currently playing in two indoor soccer leagues, his dad Jim Varin said, with hopes to get into basketball as well.

He and Aidan’s mom, Karen Killouth, both said they were incredibly proud of the progress Aidan had made since last fall.

And for anyone else who may be looking to get in better shape after spending more time inside than usual over the last year, Aidan encourages people to not feel ashamed, but also to look into ways to help yourself if you find your weight gain getting in the way of the life you want to live.

“It’s not impossible to lose weight; I would have many talks and conversations about how I was gaining so much weight, thinking I was too far gone, and, clearly, that’s not true,” Varin said. “Don’t feel sad about (your weight gain), don’t feel embarrassed about it, but also know when it’s time to do something about it.”

Email Ben Watson:

bwatson@pressrepublican.

Twitter: @BenWatsonPR

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