A 61-year-old businessman has astounded his doctor just weeks into his body transformation journey at Ultimate Performance.
Keith Dawson has type 2 diabetes, a potentially lifelong condition which affects millions of people and can cut life expectancy in the over 50s by six years, according to Diabetes UK statistics.
But the Manchester entrepreneur put the condition into remission after just 10 weeks of training under the expert guidance of UP.
Despite not having been in a gym for years, Keith’s training and nutrition plan with UP was so effective that he normalised his blood sugars in a matter of weeks, which has meant he no longer has to take diabetes medication.
(8 weeks into his 20-week transformation with U.P.)
Keith’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ images were taken after just eight weeks of training with UP, but the difference in his physique is considerable.
His doctor has now officially declared him in ‘medical remission’ from the lifelong condition which, according to Diabetes UK, can lead to serious long-term health problems like blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, and is associated with higher instances of dementia and depression.
Keith says it has changed his whole life. Even though he was previously retired, he bought back a former company he owned and now has huge growth plans for the next five years, which he says his UP transformation has given him the energy, drive and motivation to take on.
“I was feeling like an old man,” he said of his lifestyle before coming to UP.
“Now, I would say I feel fitter and more energetic than I did 20 years ago – and that’s me after 10 weeks.”
It was never about getting the six pack abs for Keith – it was about trimming down and gaining control of health and feeling more motivated and energised in his life.
Keith, who still travels the world on business, feels like he has got that and more – and says to anyone thinking of transforming their health and physique that its never too late.
“You can only say this the older you get, but it’s never too late. If you’re 24 – it’s never too late. For me at 61, it’s never too late.”
Keith explains what made his transformation so successful, how it’s put his diabetes into remission, and how it’s impacted his lifestyle and productivity at work…
What did you know about UP before you started?
I didn’t know anything about UP when I started other than looking on an internet site and seeing all these pictures of ‘before and afters’.
Obviously, there was something about it that was going to work for some people.
I made the effort, came in and had the induction and once I had the induction, I thought ‘yeah I can do it.’
I walked away from the induction, if I’m being honest, with a little bit of trepidation because a lot of the people in here were younger than me.
(8 weeks into his 20-week transformation with U.P.)
Were there any other concerns that you had?
I think for me one of the big issues is, you get to around 60 and you tend to think ‘I can put it off until tomorrow’ – there’s nothing there that can drive you anymore and it’s easier to think you’ll do it later rather than do it now.
I knew, for me, if that was to continue, my life was going to go nowhere. So really part of the motivation for me was that I had diabetes. I had diabetes and at the time, on tablets, my blood sugar levels were around 11 – 11.6. After a couple of weeks I came off the tablets and for the past eight weeks my blood sugar has been below 6, which in terms of type 2 diabetes is a kind of monitoring level. Last Friday when I went for my diabetic blood sugar test I am now, according to my doctor, ‘medically in remission’ as far as diabetes is concerned.
So there’s no need for the tablets anymore, just control my lifestyle, my exercise, my eating habits and drinking habits.
How have you gone and done that and put your diabetes in remission? And how has it benefitted you?
I think it’s the food with UP – you never go hungry. For example, at breakfast time it could be eggs or smoked salmon, midday it could be fish and meat with plenty of vegetables.
Fortunately, the trainer I had – Emily, made sure my diet was balanced to my particular health circumstances. In the early days it was a great help because virtually every day I get one or even two emails saying ‘how’s it going? What you doing? What you up to?’ And so you felt like you weren’t alone and that someone was with you on this journey.
For me, I started to feel the benefits after about two weeks when my energy levels were certainly improving.
What have your doctors said when you went back?
She was very surprised. When I went on the scales, since my last test, I was something like 38 or 39lbs lighter. My body fat had dropped quite considerably and my blood sugar had improved tremendously. When I just said to her that I’d just stopped taking the tablets – and to be honest, I never wanted to be on tablets, but they tell you ‘if you don’t do this, your life is going to be shortened’.
Coming off tablets and having far more energy and having a more ‘can-do’ attitude rather than a ‘do-I-have-to’ attitude, it transforms your life.
What was your lifestyle like before – your energy levels and what you felt like – and contrast that to now
Going back in life, I suppose from my early 30s I’ve always had my own businesses, I’ve done a lot of travelling around the world, I had businesses down in South Africa, Istanbul, Italy and Poland. I had a lifestyle that was a lot on planes, corporate entertaining, so that in itself more or less dictated how my life was running.
Now, I would say I feel fitter and more energetic than I did 20 years ago – and that’s me after 10 weeks.
Have you started seeing that carry over into different aspects of your life?
It’s amazing. I suppose I could sound like a dating website, but for the first time in my life, I’ve had a woman come up to me, over the last 20 years, and start chatting me up, rather than the other way around.
I suppose socially I’m seeing the benefits, insofar as I do get a lot more out of life now. I’m finding I’m walking more and I’m finding I’m caring for my body a lot more.
One of the other things, which has really changed in my life after doing this whole exercise regime, is sleeping patterns.
Before, going to bed at 12:30am and then waking up at 6:30am or something was the norm.
Now, I’m tending to go to bed, at least five or six nights a week, around 10:30pm and sleeping a good, solid eight hours. Before it was always broken sleep and now, maybe because the food’s easier to digest and the exercise is making me that little bit more tired, I am sleeping better.
What were your expectations going into the transformation at UP?
When I started this, I think for the first two or three times, I came and said ‘I’m not looking for a six pack’.
I suppose in terms of clothes size, around the stomach, I’m probably about 3 to 4 inches less than when I started which was one of the objects of the exercise.
It was to get slimmer, to get fitter, and more or less get a body that I could cope with. At the same time, I was getting so many aches and pains, because once you do get overweight your body seems to react differently and you start walking differently to counteract what you’re not doing right.
One of the big advantages without a doubt, and again I think it’s because this has all been tailored for me, after every session we would do maybe a five-minute stretching class which gives me so much more flexibility, because a couple of years ago I had bad sciatica, I was always had an issue at the base of my spine, but those flexibility exercises have seen my life transformed on that.
Have you noticed subtle things like aches and pains going away?
Unbelievably so. I was feeling like an old man, but now I do feel more akin to what it was 20 years ago.
I think one of the issues with your body, it gets to a point where because you do nothing about it, its constantly making up for the lack of correct posture or the lack of something, I think with now it’s actually transformed me as a person. To say get my life back? I hadn’t lost it, but I feel I’m going to get more out of life.
How were you physically and mentally before you started this?
Mentally, it is funny because I mentioned that I’d started businesses over the years and recently I’ve now become the chairman of a young company with a couple of dynamic young guys that are more into IT, and it’s refreshing to work with people like that.
I find that all helps me along. So in terms of business now, I had retired. But I’ve got back into business and I’ve bought a company back that I sold a few years ago and now that’s going to be catalyst for the next four or five years of my life in growing a business, building it up and selling it on. Now I feel like I have the energy to do that.
Was it a struggle fitting this into your busy lifestyle?
The gym, for me, it’s not been a problem. The one thing I would say about this whole regime – I have done diets before, but this one is easy to keep to.
I think you can get a fad diet which is about a powder.
But you can walk into any restaurant and they’ve always got meat, fish or chicken, avocados and vegetables, sweet potatoes. I think wherever you are in the world – this week it’s Barcelona, then I come back it’s Mumbai then towards the end of the year it’s Phoenix, Arizona, and I’ve got no problem finding a hotel that’s got some weights and restaurants that can accommodate your diet.
So it doesn’t really impact on your life. It’s a little like golf – if you cheat, you cheat yourself.
So you know whether you’re doing something you shouldn’t – and if you do something you shouldn’t, you don’t lose the weight or you don’t build the muscle and you’ve only got yourself to blame.
What are the best or most life- changing things you’ve experienced with UP?
You can only say this the older you get, but it’s never too late. If you’re 24 – it’s never too late. For me at 61, it’s never too late.
Would I have thought two years ago that something like this would have been any benefit to me? No, I wouldn’t.
But now it is, for me, life changing – no doubt about it.
How much have you changed in the 10 weeks so far and how much of a difference have you seen in yourself?
It’s funny – again, a lot of people that would use this kind of facility, don’t have the same issues I have.
Quite often some people have already got a reasonably fit body.
But with me, having the big belly, and everything like that, something as simple as tying your shoelaces – it is tiresome and you’re getting up puffing and panting.
Rather than taking escalators, I will take stairs.
So it is all about just enjoying the fact that I’m back where I thought I should be. My whole lifestyle has definitely changed.
Has it carried over into your business?
Without a doubt, there are a lot of things… My personality is always about creative thinking and trying to come up with concepts that give that different balance on something, and it left me I would say 10 years ago. But now I would say it’s coming back…and coming back with interest.
What was the main obstacle that would have prevented you from coming to UP?
For me, the main reason for coming here was the mindset. It’s easier to sit there and think ‘Oh, I’ll sit here and watch TV and do it next week.
If you have the right mindset you’re going to do this, and stick to it. It isn’t necessarily hard, but you’ve got to have a little bit of dedication.
The main thing that spurred me on most was my desire to get healthy.
Where are you at now after 10 weeks with UP and do you have goals for the future?
I want to lose about another 2 inches off my general body size. Like I said, it’s not about weight, as I generally believe that muscle weighs more than fat. So now for me, it’s more about inches, it’s more about health and not so much about looking at the scales.
When I first started this programme it was always, every day looking at those scales. You have a lot to lose in the beginning and so you will always see a result, but what I have learned is that my body weight will go up and down and fluctuate a little bit, but as long as my clothes sizes are getting smaller and my blood sugars are continuing and I’m really invigorated, then that’s what’s working for me.
What would you say to people like yourself who are maybe thinking about changing their life and coming to UP?
I think one of the things to say to people about this particular programme is that when you look at it, at first, it would not appear cheap. You’re paying for professional people to change your lifestyle.
So I think when you break it down to a value per session and what difference it can make to your life, I think it’s very good value. So what I would say to people is not necessarily to be put off by the initial costings of it, I think with the payment plans and the way they’re structured, they are very reasonable for the kind of benefits you’re getting out of them.
What are the most tangible improvements that you’ve seen in your lifestyle and health since coming to UP?
I’ve always thought that I could achieve most things. In my youth, I used to be the captain of the England junior volleyball team, so I’ve always had a focus on sport.
But for about 30 years I’ve done nothing. So for me, one of the big things at the back of my mind, was could my body stand up to it? That was the primary concern – you think you’ve not done certain things for so many years, will your body stand up to it?
The way this programme worked for me was that my levels of fitness were assessed at the beginning, it was determined what would perhaps push me or wouldn’t push me. Then gradually over a period of time we’ve built up to something now where no one session gets any easier because each time you’re managing something, it’s like most things in life – continual improvement – where you go up a little bit.
But the good thing about the personal trainer is she knows exactly where my limits are and she moves the goalposts around for that. The one great thing about this that I found a massive help was having one consistent personal trainer that understands you and is there to support you.