So many ‘body transformations’ you see out there don’t last.
After the hard dieting is over and the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are done, people can rebound hard and pile weight back on
But with Ultimate Performance it’s different. It’s never about making a quick buck or getting people lean at all costs like many PTs, it’s about providing clients with the most incredible results while giving them knowledge about training and nutrition that lasts a lifetime.
Never is that more apparent than with incredible UP client Victoria Ferris.
The tax advisor and mother wanted to get rid of her ‘mummy tummy’ after having a baby, so she came to UP in London.
Her 12-week transformation with trainer Sean Murphy was truly awe-inspiring – the results speak for themselves.
But her story didn’t end there. Despite having never lifted weights before, her new-found fitness, strength and physique have motivated her to progress and develop even further in the gym.
Months after her transformation and she is in her best shape ever – leaner, stronger, fitter and more confident.
Victoria explains how her UP experience has changed her life and what she is doing with her training now to stay in amazing condition…
Why did you come to UP for a 12-week transformation in the first place?
I had a baby and didn’t recognise my body afterwards. I guess all I knew at the time was that I wanted to lose my baby tummy. Little did I know where I would end up!
How did it compare to any training you’d done before?
I hadn’t really done any training previously. Certainly nothing structured. I joined gyms from time to time (mostly cardio machines and classes) but spent most of my twenties working and studying without any focus on fitness, so I usually just cancelled my memberships after months of not using them.
What was the whole 12-week experience like?
Very well structured and therefore surprisingly easy. I feel as if I was just led through it by the hand, with very little effort on my part. I was given a specific diet plan to follow which was routinely reviewed and adjusted where appropriate.
All I had to do was follow it. Even the training itself was progressive and tailored to my ability and therefore, even though it was hard, it was completely doable even for someone with zero training history.
My trainer was (and still is) extremely professional. He understands that clients are paying for a service and he really tries (very successfully in my opinion) to deliver that service to the best of his ability.
And it was also incredibly fun! UP is a very welcoming environment. I love it and all of the trainers. I felt really at home as soon as I walked in (which is probably why I’ve never left!).
What were the results you got during the 12-week programme?
I got amazing results over 12 weeks. I lost 10 kg, 10% body fat, and 15 cm from my waist. I definitely got rid of my mummy tummy (and a lot more besides) and also became much stronger and fitter. When I started I don’t think I had any idea how good my results would be. I was (and still am) genuinely thrilled.
Now Victoria struggles to fit into dresses for the RIGHT reasons
How did it change your lifestyle, your training and your diet?
It changed it fundamentally. I haven’t actually stopped. I’ve been following Sean’s programmes consistently for a year and a half. Training and eating properly are just part of my life now. I love cooking anyway, so I’m happy to prep meals and plan around eating out.
I track my weight and macros on a weekly basis and record all of my workouts. I don’t drink often and when I do it’s in moderation, so I realised (with smugness) that I haven’t had a hangover since 2013!
Saying that, I do realise that balance is important (I’m naturally an ‘all or nothing’ type personality, so I really do have to work on balance), so I do socialise and I don’t actually restrict anything from my diet these days. I just don’t eat treats all of the time. Beliefs aside, you only get one life and I want to enjoy the full spectrum of all that mine has to offer.
What are the key things you learned from the 12 weeks at UP and the most useful knowledge you developed?
“Shoulders back and down” ha ha. Seriously though, the single most important thing in terms of training anyway. I’m very lucky to have been taught how to train with correct form in order to keep myself pain- and injury-free and to efficiently work the muscles I want to target.
“There are hidden calories in EVERYTHING” has also been pretty useful. Tracking my food really does make me focus on what (and how much) I’m eating.
It would be all too easy to lie to myself, advertently or inadvertently, as I love food and eating is most definitely one of my favourite things to do!
Other very useful stuff has been how to go about structuring a training programme for myself, how to work out how many calories I need and how to break that down to an appropriate macro split.
Whilst I still follow Sean’s programmes, he has also taught me all of this (and where to read up for more information) in order that I could do it myself if I had to (and if not to his standards, then at least to a reasonable one!).
A bit less day-to-day, but another quite crucial lesson was the importance of a properly structured ‘reverse diet’.
Being upfront about it, I dieted hard during my 12-week programme (and then again for a photoshoot at the end of last year). Sean built my calories up slowly after that so that there was no rebound and I’ve managed to stay reasonably lean over the past year (I’m probably as lean at present as I’ve ever been), even though I’ve been eating slightly over maintenance calories for most of the year in order to try to build muscle.
There’s actually so much that I’ve learnt, that I could go on like this for a long time!
How has this influenced the way you train now?
I make time to train. I have a consistent training schedule and a proper plan to follow. I don’t move my training sessions unless I absolutely have to and then I only move them, I don’t skip them because I’m too busy.
I’ve also learnt (okay, I am still technically learning this and cannot claim to be perfect) how to focus on contracting my muscles properly, rather than just lifting heavier weights, or trying to make reps. This is definitely an ego thing and I’m learning that failure is actually a good thing when it comes to the gym!
I check facilities in advance when I travel too to ensure that I don’t miss a workout, unless I deliberately want a rest.
I’m also much more confident in the gym – like asking people to share equipment, for example, as I have an objective when I go in that I’m determined to complete. I find that being a woman in the free weights area is still just about enough of a novelty to afford me some chivalry (and the equipment that I need) ha ha!
What is your training like now and what are your goals?
I weight train four times per week. Twice with Sean at UP and twice by myself. I train lower body and upper body twice each. I don’t incorporate structured cardio but do run the odd 10K or half-marathon as a social thing and take a few yoga and other classes for enjoyment. I’m particularly loving Buti yoga at the moment, it’s a nice counterbalance to the resistance training.
In terms of goals, I have a particular body shape in mind that I am aiming for (Anna Virmajoki, Finnish IFBB Pro, is ‘body-goals’ for me).
However, I realise that it will take years rather than months to attain a shape like that (and it won’t be the same as her but rather the best version of me). Therefore, I am trying to maintain a relatively lean body that I am happy with all of the time whilst I just keep working and enjoy the process.
I have given some consideration as to whether I might enter a bikini competition in 2017 if I were good enough. However, what I’m realising is that it is the process: the discipline and structure, that appeals to me, rather than the competition element and so I will concentrate on that for now as an end in itself and see what happens.
What would you say to anyone thinking of doing a 12-week plan with UP?
I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. However, if you’re going to do it and you want to get the best results, you must commit to it 100%. If you do that, prioritise your training and nutrition, don’t think you know better than your trainer and don’t make excuses to, or for, yourself, the results are basically textbook.
It is the best investment I have ever made and has given me the perfect pastime going forward. I love the training and nutrition and all of the associated learning. I only wish I had found weight training 10 years ago as it, and the associated lifestyle, is a perfect fit for my personality and makes me genuinely happy.
If you want real and lasting results like Victoria’s, get in touch with us to find out about our UP Personal Training plans.