Weightlifting the ‘Secret’ to Cyclist Stuart’s New Body
by UP Fitness June 28, 2017
So many people feel like they're putting in the hard effort with their fitness – but not seeing the results and getting the body they want.
Father-of-two Stuart felt the same way before he came to Ultimate Performance.
A keen cyclist, the London law firm partner regularly tackled hundred-mile bike rides but felt frustrated at still not being able to lose weight and get the body shape he wanted.
But it was a personalised weight training and nutrition programme with his UP trainer which finally helped build him a body he could be proud of.
In just 12 weeks he managed to lose 12kg, shed pounds of body fat and build a muscular physique.
The weight loss combined with the new-found strength and power he developed meant his cycling performance has vastly improved – even with doing fewer long rides, he found he was more powerful on the bike during a 450km cycle around the Scottish Highlands.
The bespoke programme created by his UP trainer also helped him overcome a long-term shoulder injury – and now he says his shoulder feels stronger than ever.
Not only that, but Stuart says it has given him better focus at work and has helped him become a healthier father for his two young children.
Here he explains how weight training with UP has improved his lifestyle, his health and his performance in the gym, the office and out on the bike…
What were your expectations going into the programme and what were your motivations?
Having had an operation on my shoulder, I was keen to get back in training to lose some fat but also improve strength and movement in my shoulder.
I was also aware that while I still did a reasonable amount of cycling and could cope with fairly long rides, I was some way off my best fitness.
I was therefore keen to see how my body reacted to weight-based training and ultimately what I could achieve if I stuck to the plan.
How were you feeling both physically and mentally before starting with UP?
I was feeling physically okay in terms of fitness (I had done various long distance cycle rides) but knew that I was overweight and some way off my physical best.
From a mental perspective I was frustrated that I had put on weight partially through lack of activity with the operation, but also knew it was as much as anything a lifestyle change that I needed to make.
What was your diet and lifestyle like before you started your transformation with UP?
While my general diet was okay, I had a real weakness for nights out, particularly work-related nights out, and if I had done any cardio, I felt that I was due a "reward" in the form of either a more indulgent meal or a night out (or both).
Equally, if I was on a team night out or a client dinner, I would take the view that I could eat and drink what I liked and train the following day to compensate.
That was fine in theory, but it meant the training was not effective particularly if the compensatory training session never took place or was half-hearted.
How did your diet and lifestyle change when you started your transformation with UP?
It was a slow start, with too many excuses like ski trips etc, but after a couple of weeks I buckled down and made some wholesale changes.
I cut alcohol and was more honest in terms of sticking to the meal plan.
It was tough to start, particularly in terms of peer pressure from friends and colleagues with respect to drinking, but I quickly saw improved performance in the gym and my weight began to drop which created a virtuous circle in that I wanted to remain committed and train harder to keep the results coming.
What effect did this have on your health, performance, lifestyle and energy inside and outside the gym?
The difference was amazing.
I had thought that I generally slept well, but I quickly found I was waking up with much more energy and felt more awake from the get go.
The sessions in the gym also became more effective as I moved from barely being able to complete the various sets to powering through.
I rapidly saw increased strength, particularly as my shoulder went through its rehabilitation, but more generally as the weight for squats and deadlifts increased.
Adam, my trainer, was fantastic in coaching me through technique so that the loads could safely increase, but also had the knowledge that when I said a particular movement didn't work for my shoulder, he could amend and adapt the plan to keep the muscles working without putting a strain on my shoulder.
Twelve weeks later my shoulder feels stronger than it ever has before, and I have much more confidence in its movement and stability.
I have also noticed improved cycling performance, despite spending less time on the bike this year than previous years. The weight training has helped increase my power on the bike and the weight loss has certainly helped.
I recently completed three days and 450km of cycling hills in Scotland and felt strong, despite a relative lack of time on the bike.
How did you find the training and did it fit around your busy lifestyle?
I can work long and often erratic hours, plus with two young kids I thought it would be a challenge to fit three sessions in a week.
However, with my trainer being flexible and always trying to accommodate any last minute changes it is eminently doable.
It also requires commitment from me to keep the appointments, but I find doing the sessions hugely beneficial from a mental point of view, as getting an hour away from the office to concentrate on training, rather than work, allows me to come back to the office refreshed, energised and ready to focus on my work.
What were your results like after your transformation?
I have dropped 12kg and massively increased muscle mass.
It has been quite a stark change, as evidenced by the number of people who have asked me how I've lost so much weight.
However, for me, it's not so much the weight loss, but the change in body shape that has been the most dramatic. Irrespective of 'how cycle fit' I have been in the past, I have never been so lean or managed to maintain upper body strength while dropping weight.
It's been an expensive exercise, however, as none of my suits fit me anymore!
What were the most important things you learned during your journey and what really worked for you in helping you make your transformation?
The key learning point for me is that you only get out what you put in.
In the first few weeks while I did the training, I was not committing to the diet and so the training was not having its maximum impact.
Small changes and considerable dedication meant that I suddenly saw huge changes and increased performance. The payoff has not just the improved performance though.
I felt much more confident and proud of the results, which spurred me on to achieve more.
I also had the realisation that with two young kids I should be looking after my body better, plus that by feeling healthier my mind was actually much more sharp for work too.
My trainer helped massively through the transformation with the right level of support, encouragement (and chastising when required!) but even more the support of my wife who encouraged me and was pleased to see me improving my health for my family.
How has doing this transformation changed you and do you think it will benefit you going forward?
I've changed the way I think about training and realised the value in getting proper coaching.
Having played rugby and cycled in the past, I am now convinced of the benefits of personal weight training to achieve fitness goals.
I love the fact that I feel energised and mentally focussed. But probably most important to me is the change in lifestyle.
I feel I am much better equipped to understand what my body needs in terms of diet and training, which means I can make the right choices whether that's eating out at client events, going out with mates or just everyday life.
Would you recommend UP and why?
Absolutely. I have found the coaching amazing not just in terms of delivering results, but listening to me and adapting the plan to fit with the rehabilitation of my shoulder or other niggles.
Communication with Adam has been key, whether it is just the daily check in, update as to how I am feeling or a niggle, he tailored the plan as required.
That included tweaking my back at work and putting me in touch with the chiropractor at UP Mayfair who listened to how it happened, gave me a series of exercises and in a matter of days had me back to full fitness.
In summary, the level of support you get is unparalleled. Results only come if you commit to the plan, but I can think of no better way to get the results you want.
If you want real results like Stuart, start your own body transformation today – BOOK A CONSULT NOW!
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