Sam's Fitness Journey - The Results!
Yes. It really is that time...time to show what on earth all the fuss over this '12 week transformation' and why I've been writing about my emotions for the last 84 days. If you're reading this it's probably because you've been following my journey (thank you) with Ultimate Performance and you can't wait for me to get this over and done with ;) ...but if you've only just joined us, you're about to see and read about my 'after' part of the 'before and after'.
You may know UP for its incredible transformations and the famous 'before and after' photos where you see the physical change of a client who has worked their socks off with a personal trainer to achieve such results. What you don't see is what they have been through to get there and what UP has done to help them get there - so that's where I came in. For the last 12 weeks, I have done a lot of sweating, I have craved sugar more than ever before and I've been telling you all about it and for some reason, you've enjoyed it.
But that's enough of me talking now, here it is...here's what I managed to achieve with UP's personal trainers.
What Made You Decide to Embark On Your Personal Transformation?
Honestly? Originally it was more of a ‘work thing,' to experience what it was like to be in the shoes of a UP client, to understand exactly what UP does and to see what they could do with me. Or so I thought. It didn’t take me long at all to realise it was so much more than that. I’d been a gymnast all my life, doing somersaults was all I ever knew so when it ended last year after snapping my Achilles it had a huge impact on me and not just physically.
I really struggled, I struggled to find anything I enjoyed enough to stick to, and I’d lost that thing that made me ‘me’ – it was always a confidence boost to be able to say I was a gymnast and not having that was hard to get used to.
"I lost my confidence; I started to lose that athletic shape I always had, and I had no focus, drive or energy anymore."
I tried everything, and some of it was fun, but it was never something I got into a routine with. I started to suffer from anxiety – I was emotional, I worried about everything, and this had an effect on my friends, family, relationship, and work. I’d like to say I had no idea what was going on, but I knew exactly, I missed the buzz, the sense of achievement and the passion for gymnastics. I was miserable, and I knew I just needed to get my ass into gear but knowing where to start and what to do was always the problem.
Did You Have Any Concerns Going into Your 12 Weeks?
I’ll be the first to admit that my perception of a personal trainer before I started at UP was that it wasn’t anything I couldn’t do myself. Why pay someone else to count my reps or tell me what to do when I could just find a plan online and send myself into a gym? When I think about it, that would always result in me being bored to death before I could achieve any kind of results. I just wasn’t sure how much they could really do for me.
It’s safe to say that my first ever training session proved me wrong, oh so very wrong! Training with a UP personal trainer made my ‘good training sessions’ look like a warm-up in comparison…basically, they kicked my ass.
"They kicked my ass, but they were clever about it, there’s thought in the ass kicking, there’s education, knowledge, passion and accountability to how much of an ass kicking they gave me."
UP are on another level, and I’ve witnessed it first-hand.
What Were Your Expectations of the Whole Process?
Working for UP means not only have I seen so many incredible transformations but I’ve also seen how much really goes into the results they achieve. A lot of the time you will only see the ‘before and after’ photo but what you don’t see is the dedication and will-power those clients have. You don’t see the endless hours of support, guidance, and education the trainers give to their clients, and you don’t see the hard times that have led them to that ultimate goal.
What I can tell you is that what they’ve done and what I’ve done is not easy – if it were easy we’d all be doing it, but I can also tell you it will be worth both the time, effort and money more than you can ever try to imagine. I would honestly describe it as ‘life-changing’ and not in a cheesy way.
"12 weeks is all it took with UP. That’s all they needed to get me into the best shape of my life, to get me feeling ‘me’ again, something I’ve been trying to do for the last 12 months…they did that in 84 days."
I cannot tell you how much that type of experience can change your life and that’s not just me – that’s every client that will and has walked through a UP door, they will tell you that too.
How Did You Feel Both Mentally and Physically Before and After Your Transformation?
Well, I wasn’t myself that’s for sure, I was an emotional wreck if I’m perfectly honest. If I were to describe the way I was going about life I would say I was taking on the lifestyle of a grumpy sloth, although the difference between me and a sloth is that they seem to enjoy the ‘slow life’ – I did not. I was down, unsociable and almost lazy at times – wasting any spare time I had watching Netflix and eating takeaways.
Physically, to the outside world, I’m sure I looked just fine, but I wasn’t happy with my body anymore, it wasn’t the body I was used to but the thing I noticed the most was that I felt unhealthy. The funny thing is, I didn’t actually think my diet was that bad – I actually thought I’d done myself proud by only having one Chinese takeaway a week. That was my idea of a good diet, without even thinking about all of the crap I’d eaten on the other days. My skin was gross; my energy levels were non-existent, and I was unhappy.
It wasn’t until I got into the swing of my 12 weeks that I realised just how much all of the above was affecting me. I started waking up fresh a daisy, raring to go and would still feel the same at the end of the day, even with added training, more work to do and actually being allowed to eat more food too.
"Now, I can train, I feel strong, confident and I’m sure everyone around is pleased that I’m bouncing off the walls again."
I’m taking on challenges, I’m proud of what I’m achieving and it feels incredible that I’m having a positive influence on others too. Friends, family and strangers who happen to read what I’m up to are being motivated by me, it’s nuts, but it’s awesome.
How Do You Feel About Weight Training?
Until UP, I had never really even lifted a dumbbell, let alone a heavy one and for women, I think for most you almost feel like you don’t need to go near that stuff.
The great thing about having a personal trainer is that it doesn’t matter what you knew before, just turn up ready to go and they’ll show you the way.
Training at a UP gym couldn’t be any further away from a commercial gym if you tried. There’s no judging, in fact, every single trainer is so encouraging, and even clients spur each other on. You feel part of a family that is full of support and just as invested as you are in getting the best result possible – they want it for you and that is a quality that will push you more than you ever will on your own.
What Results Did You Achieve?
I’ve lost body fat I didn’t even know was there! Hiding under my bum and on my back where I can’t even see it but now I can feel good about my body. When I train, I may now look ‘jacked’ as the lads would say but when I’m in my own clothes when I dress up to go out, I feel great…and that’s what you want.
"I started off at 22.5% body fat and 12 weeks later, 11.6% – I couldn’t be happier."
I’m honestly proud of myself, and it just goes to show what you can do when you’ve got something to aim for.
I think the biggest thing for me is just knowing what on earth it was I used to eat; it was horrendous. I just wouldn’t care at all about what I was stuffing my face with – and not just what I was eating but how much of it I would eat. When I first started at UP they told me to write a food diary of what I’d eaten the week before and as I started doing it I was genuinely embarrassed at what I saw on my page. Learning about nutrition, even just the basics has taught me to be healthy for the rest of my life – and that doesn’t mean eating rabbit food, it’s just about being clever.
Learning to train, learning how your body can do so much more than your mind thinks it can, is a powerful tool to take away. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a huge wimp at times, especially since injuring my Achilles. As soon as something hurts, I would have a rest, move on to something else or simply give up. Now I can push myself and be confident that I actually have it in me to keep going, it feels pretty epic to feel like that…and then that ‘buzz’ I’ve been missing is back.
When I first started writing about my journey I just saw it as my job…to write. Never did I think people would actually read it! As each week went on I started to receive so much support, so much encouragement and even being stopped in the street by strangers to egg me on, it was pretty surreal just how much power sharing my experience had. We even have new clients coming into the gym saying I was the one that motivated them to get back into shape, to get going again and I couldn’t have ever imagined doing that for someone, especially someone I didn’t know.
How Much Weight Have You Lost?
You know, I’ve hardly lost any, but I think that’s a common mistake a lot of people make, it isn’t necessarily about weight loss, it’s fat loss you want to focus on. Of course, it depends on your goals and your shape but losing the weight isn’t the most important factor.
"In fact, I didn’t even bother stepping on the scales after so long because I would just need to look in the mirror to see the changes and if I was happy with that, that’s all that would matter."
The great thing about progression is that there are so many ways to measure it that you wouldn’t even think of. Having a personal trainer with UP means they are there every step of the way, taking your body fat measurements, checking your progression with how much weight you are lifting, what you’re not doing so well on. It all plays its part.
How Has Writing About Your Experience Helped You?
I talked about how I seemed to have influenced others to get back into a fitness regime, but the best part of sharing my progress was how those who were reading it had an effect on me. I felt like I had to keep going to do those people proud, they were watching me and expecting great things from me, so I kept going. I started to complain less about not eating cake, and I cracked on so I could do those people proud. Of course, the main thing is that you’re doing it for yourself but telling as many people as possible meant there was pressure on me to do well – I worked my arse off so I wouldn’t let anyone down, including myself and my trainers.
What Made You Decide On Doing a Photoshoot?
Having my own photo shoot was flippin’ awesome – felt like a model didn’t I? ;) On a serious note, it’s something I’ve never done before but something I’ve secretly wanted to do for a long time and having that as an ‘end goal’ was the perfect point of focus. When I think about it, at no point during that 12 weeks did I question why I was doing all of the training and sticking to the strictest diet I’ve ever been on because I always had the photo shoot to work towards. I couldn’t put in all of that hard work and be disappointed with how I looked at the end of it – it really is a great motivator.
If I were to give any advice to our current clients or anyone thinking of starting it would be to set yourself a realistic timescale and just book a date – for a photo shoot that is. Not only is it a driving force behind everything you do, but it’s something to take away, like a trophy of yourself – nothing wrong with that.
This is going to be the soppy part where I thank everyone for being so supportive, but it’s true. I have to thank everyone for putting up with my constant complaining, my outbursts due to lack of cake and for those who had to work with me every day, I’d like to congratulate you for getting through the 12 weeks with me – I’m sure I was a bundle of joy.
My trainers should receive an award for ‘most patience’ as I really am a pain in the arse at times. I thank ‘Big Steve’ for all of the ‘what does this do?’ and ‘why am I doing this?’ when it came to my training and to Mark who would be asked several times (a day) whether I was allowed to have cake yet.
"They really were put through their own challenge, but having trainers who really cared about my result made me feel like I had to work hard, I couldn’t make them look bad."
I’m genuinely proud of what I’ve achieved, and it’s such a nice feeling to be confident with my body – that’s not being big headed, there really isn’t anything wrong with being happy with your body. I mean, that’s what we all want, to be happy. Now I’m ready for my next challenge, and I feel like I’m ready for it, I’m excited.
Would You Recommend UP and Why?
Before you all think I’m biased, I think that by now you can tell I’ll always be rather honest, but I would have no doubts whatsoever recommending UP’s personal trainers – EVER. I say that, but I haven’t stopped recommending them since I started and why wouldn’t I?! You only have to see what all of UP’s clients have achieved, all over the world to see why you should be here.
"They are the best of the best, and I challenge anyone to tell me otherwise."
Why would I recommend them? I’ve written about my life for the last three months and how it’s changed because of UP, so if you want any more reasons to start, and you’re only just reading this blog post…go read the rest. But to sum it up, if you’re struggling in the gym, if it bores the brains out of you, if you need a challenge, a goal, some motivation, someone to push you, someone to help you with your diet, someone to give you a good telling off when you lose your way or can’t be bothered anymore – that would be why.
Until next time.
Social Media Manager at Ultimate Performance.