While Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and romance for some, there are others who navigate the day with a broken heart or a desire to finally make an important connection. It’s fair to say that cupid gets a great deal of attention in February, but don’t discount the fact that it is also “International Boost Self Esteem Month” too. Of course, losing out in love is hardly a great starting point for building self-esteem, and this is where we pick up with “The Bachelorette” finalist Erich Schwer . Fortunately, having caught up with the former commercial real estate analyst from New Jersey, we soon found out that friends and fitness are essential for rebuilding our mind, body, and soul.

Having previously worked crazy hours in real estate, the fit-looking Schwer that you saw on Season 19 of “The Bachelorette” was the product of his dedication to being in shape while managing a career.

“You have to have some sort of outlet or release, and for me, it was working out,” he tells M&F.

As viewers of the show now know, Erich Schwer was the man to earn Gabby Windey’s heart and he proposed to the lady that he thought would his true soulmate in the finale. “I had a really good connection with Gabby, like off the bat,” he says. “So, I just leaned into our connection, and didn’t really necessarily worry about what everybody else was doing.”

Erich Schwer Wrestled with Losing His Love, and His Confidence

Unfortunately, this particular relationship wasn’t destined to have a “happily ever after,” and with Windey back on television as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” Schwer soon went to ground as news of their split became public. This was an emotional time for the New Jersey native, who not only had to deal with the ending of his engagement, but also had to endure the endless judgment and speculation of journalists, fans, and of course; social media.

“It is a difficult environment to have a successful relationship, when you are on a public platform,” says Schwer. “I think we had a really great connection and there was just a lot of outside factors, and I think once we got back into the public our lives were kinda quickly going in different directions.“

He adds: I’m proud as hell of her. She’s turned this into an amazing career and she’s doing amazing things. I think from a fitness perspective, you know when you go through a breakup and you kind of wallow? It took me a little while to get back into my fitness routine

and everything, because there was just so much going on. I just kinda hid for a little while because it was a lot.”

Spending time alone at home following the breakup, Schwer, who has also worked as a model, lost a grip on both his confidence and his fitness levels, finding himself somewhat removed from the man that had put himself out there to compete, and win, against some of the most eligible Bachelors on the planet. “One [contestant] came shirtless, oiled-up, on a horse, with long, blond hair. I was like, I’m going home first,” jokes Schwer, knowing that he outlasted them all.

Fortunately, friends and loved ones had his back during his time of need, and he finally grew tired of wallowing, deciding instead that it was time to get back on track with his fitness and nutrition goals. Schwer’s self-esteem retuned to base level as a result, and he’s once again feeling optimistic about a great future ahead.

For Eric Schwer, a Healthy Body is a Healthy Mind

Schwer tells M&F that he has struggled since youth with digestive issues. Some his ailments include suffering with irritable bowel syndrome and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).

“Basically, I know which foods I react to,” he says. “My diet, for the most part, on the weekdays, has just been chicken and vegetables. So, I kind of just parlayed that with working out. And before I knew it, I was getting in really good shape. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise because it’s easy to follow.”

He’s also a keen surfer who is also able to torch quite a few calories while riding a wave. It seems that the California lifestyle is super-suited to Schwer, who loves nothing more than getting outdoors and being active with his friends.

“We surf, we ski, we hike, we like to go out at the weekends and just generally be outside,” he says. “I think that’s really one of the things that pulled me out of that rut that I was talking about before. I am blessed with a really close-knit group of friends and family. They really cared about me, and checked-in. For me, it was definitely helpful to lean on the people in my life that really, truly, care about me.”

With Schwer now hitting the gym four times per week and doubling-up with those outdoor activities, his body is looking better than ever before. No doubt, being involved with The Bachelorette has brought its fair share of mental challenges, but Schwer says that he wouldn’t take his time on the show back, and believes that he has learned a lot from the experience. “I’m more in tune now with who I am as a person, more confident, and I’m OK with having feelings and emotions and talking about them,” says Schwer. And should anyone be looking for dating advice from a fellow that was the last man standing on “The Bachelorette,” he does have some words of wisdom, but keeps it pretty simple: “Go in as the truest version of yourself.” Words to live by!

Follow Erich Schwer on Instagram Here!