David just wanted to be slim again.
But every time he lost weight he would end up ‘skinny fat’ before piling it all back on.
The way his body looked was making him feel more and more despondent, to the point where he was ready to get rid of every mirror in his house.
But instead 55-year-old David took action and started a body transformation with Ultimate Performance.
Twelve weeks of hard training helped him lose 16kg and cut his body fat down from 24% to an ultra-lean 8.6%.
Now more than a year and a half on from his original transformation and he is still in remarkable shape.
David, who is a partner in a professional services firm, said: “The biggest benefits are having a plan that I know works, and having confidence in a trainer that has my interests at heart, that will push me, and help me avoid getting injuries.
“I now wear 28- or 30-inch trousers, and feel comfortable in them, and I look the way I should look – no overhanging lumps of lard anywhere!
“I feel at ease in myself physically at all times – clothes on and clothes off.”
Here David explains how his diet changed that transformed his body and the six key things he learned on his training programme with UP…
What were your motivations for starting a transformation?
I wanted a plan to get back to being slim from being overweight. But I didn’t want to get back to the “skinny fat” I’d been nine months before I’d rapidly put on weight.
I knew I could get back to being okay. I didn’t believe I could look great, and didn’t need to.
How were you feeling physically and mentally before starting with UP?
I had high energy for work – I always do. But I was feeling increasingly despondent about my physical appearance to the point that one weekend I seriously considered taking down all the mirrors in my house.
I cringed and died inside when I saw photos of myself, every time I bought clothes, and every day when I dressed.
What was your health and lifestyle like before you started?
I went to the gym and had had personal trainers before, although not in the previous three years.
There I’d achieved a certain amount, but my eating was out of control.
Up until a year before starting at Ultimate Performance, I hadn’t been eating enough, so I never put on any muscle.
In the year before UP, I discovered I could put on some muscle if I ate. However, with the muscle came the fat, and lots of it!
Although I achieved some results with trainers before (I remain grateful to them), it just wasn’t the same as at UP.
At UP, I have never had an injury. Previously, I’d never had a trainer where I didn’t have an injury on their watch. Technique is key.
I have had two PTs over the year and a half I’ve been at UP. Both of them, (and all the others I see in the gym) are relentless in their focus on form.
What was your diet like before you started your transformation with UP?
I ate and drank too much. I knew what I could do to lose weight and become skinny fat. But that didn’t feel like a good plan.
I basically didn’t know what I was doing, and I was fearful of how my body would respond to ever-decreasing cycles of calories on a diet.
What kinds of things were you eating every day and how did this affect you?
I probably wasn’t eating anything extraordinary – I know it’s quite different to how I eat now though! The main difference though was wine and alcohol. I’d drink as I ate. And I’d feel groggy the next day, without even particularly being aware of it.
How did your diet and lifestyle change when you started your transformation with UP?
I started on low carbs, and learned to eat controlled amounts of good fats, as well as protein. Everything was measured. The only person I would be cheating was myself. Gradually the calories and exercise were built up from a low base.
I continued to socialise, but there were no exceptions to the eating – it was the rule. And there was no alcohol.
I moved client entertaining away from the evening, so I could lunch and breakfast where not drinking was less noticeable!
Gym sessions were the drumbeat of my life, and however challenging, the time that was ultimately “me time”.
I learned a lot about myself and mental and physical strengths I didn’t know I had.
What effect did this have on your health, performance, lifestyle and energy inside and outside the gym?
My energy is high – good high rather than bad high. I’m very focussed, and although I always was, I think I’m calmer in my focus than I was. I’m still on a journey there though!
How did you find the training and did it fit around your busy lifestyle?
It’s not been easy. However, managing multiple commitments to multiple clients isn’t easy either. You just have to manage it, and prioritise.
You define what success means, and you go for it! Setting very clear expectations with colleagues as to when you are and aren’t available is important.
Having times marked out months in advance in my diary has helped. I take it as seriously as I do my work, and I don’t hide what I’m doing from anyone.
I am always available for clients and colleagues after my PT session! But the PT session itself is sacred (even if it moves occasionally).
What results did you achieve following your transformation?
Results came fairly rapidly in the first six weeks, I changed shape, at a rate I couldn’t believe.
By weeks nine to 12 weeks I had dropped to sub 10% body fat from 24%. My weight was below 70kg, where it had been close to 85kg before.
The following year has seen muscle growth and a cycle of fat-shedding over a six-week period, down from 73kg to 67kg. Nothing like as hard as the first time, but still quite challenging!
What were the most important things you learned during your transformation?
1. If isn’t measured, it doesn’t get done. I know that from work. Everyone does. And this is no different.
2. Know exactly what you are eating and drinking.
3. Know what you are doing in the gym, when you’re doing it with great form. Measure it all and don’t pretend.
4. I started meditating, which helped my stress levels, and also helped my focus in the training. And potentially this was part of my engaging with my physical limits in a different way.
5. Pain is there for a reason of course, but not all pain is the same. If you trust your trainer, you know that any pain isn’t a signal of an injury, it just a signal that you are pushing your physical boundaries, pushing them out further, week after week.
6. No excuses. Never. If I have a bad day, I get back on it. And I don’t lie about it. Complete honesty and openness with the trainer.
How has doing this transformation changed you and do you think it will benefit you going forward?
Life is transformation. It’s not over, is it? I’m still on the journey!
Would you recommend UP and why?
Absolutely! It gives you a plan around both exercise and eating which works, and just as necessarily encompasses other aspects of lifestyle (such as stress).
The continuous support between sessions is very valuable especially early on. It keeps you true.
Above all, training to improve without injury! Getting stronger each day rather than hurtling off a metaphorical cliff when you end up injuring yourself.