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Committed to fitness: Man drops 102 pounds in 10 months

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
Jun. 27, 2014

Before and after: Subway Commit to Fit ambassador Carl Savard, left, performs jumping jacks in front of City Hall in Edmonton on May 29, 2014. Savard lost 100 pounds in 10 months. (Codie McLachlan/QMI Agency)


For Carl Savard, it was a photo that was difficult to, er, stomach.

There he was with his two young kids … and his “big belly.”

The rotund image of himself in the snapshot didn’t quite jive with a decidedly more svelte view he clung to in his mind’s eye.

Was that really him? Had he really let himself go that much?

“I had difficulties recognizing myself in the picture,” he tells Keeping Fit.

Oh, it was definitely him. All 290 pounds at five-foot-nine.

“I realized that I wasn’t setting a great example for my kids,” he recalls. “It was kind of the slap in the face that got me started.”

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That was circa 2009.

In January of 2010, Savard “started being active daily and making healthier choices food-wise.”

The Montrealer was committed to getting fit. Within six months, he dropped 75 pounds. It took him another four months — and plenty of persistence — to get to 100. After 10 months, he was down a total of 102 pounds (he reached a weight of 188 pounds).

Swapping poor eating habits for sound nutrition made a big difference, Savard says. Daily activity was also crucial throughout his transformation.

Daily as in seven days a week.

Savard, a hospital worker, insisted on working up a sweat every single day — even though workout enthusiasts advised him to take days off.

“I was always answering them, ‘I’ve been off for 20 years. I need to get going,’” he laughs. “If one morning I was feeling tired, I would just take a walk instead of training really hard, but I was active daily.”

Savard started jogging in the summer of 2010 in an effort to get out of his comfort zone and try something new.

“I wasn’t at all interested in running,” he explains. “I didn’t get why people were running. There’s no finish line. Why are you running? But I had been doing cardio (an elliptical machine) for some time and I was able to do cardio for an hour and a half while watching a full movie. So I was like, ‘If I can do cardio for an hour and a half, I can run like 5K.’”

Savard logged 5 km twice in two weeks, before gradually increasing the distance and frequency of his jaunts.

Guess you could say he was hooked.

By that fall, he was running four times a week and logging up to 170 km in a month.

It was around that time that Savard started to consider running a half-marathon in the coming year.

He did that before eventually talking himself into doing the full meal deal.

He completed the Ottawa marathon — all 42 km — in May 2011 in just under four and a half hours.

Savard’s next challenge came that summer when he applied to become what is essentially the French-Canadian version of Subway’s Jared Fogle.

In June 2011, Subway announced a nationwide search for two Commit to Fit ambassadors (one from English Canada and another from Quebec).

Savard easily pictured himself in the high-profile role because he was already inspiring Canadians to make healthier food choices and live active lives.

“I had already started a Facebook page where I was telling people my little (weight-loss and workout) tricks I had discovered and just encouraging people to be active,” he explains. “I remember going to the Subway Canada Facebook page and reading what they were looking for as an ambassador and feeling that the only thing that wasn’t written on the page was my name. Really, it was a perfect fit.”

Subway agreed. In October 2011, Savard was named the sandwich chain’s francophone Commit to Fit ambassador, earning $10,000 cash.

“Since then, I’ve been going all over the country and getting people to be active and make healthier choices,” he explains.

“Commit to Fit is a personalized commitment to living a healthy and active lifestyle — just trying to get people to realize that you don’t necessarily need more time in the day when you decide to change your life. You can just swap old habits for fresh new ones.”

The 38-year-old savvy sandwich pitchman says Subway is his first choice whenever he’s in a hurry. He typically opts for a six-inch roasted turkey breast along with apple slices or yogurt, and washes it down with bottled water.

Savard won’t let slip whether free sandwiches are part of the deal.

“I have certain privileges,” he chuckles.

Regardless, life has never been more appetizing for Savard, who maintains his weight at around 200 pounds these days.

“I’ve never felt as happy as I am right now,” he enthuses. “I realize that what I’ve done is great and that I just have to keep going.”

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