Moving countries, living off takeaway food, and excessive drinking brought 33-year-old James to a point where he just gave up on the dream of ever looking fit and healthy again.
He had always suffered simmering negativity about his looks, but now it ballooned out of control and took over his life.
Luckily, James was not the type to give up easily. He sought help online, and Google guided him to the experts at Ultimate Performance Amsterdam, where he started a body transformation programme.
“I had heard some quotes about this place; people described U.P. as the Goldman Sachs, Champions League or the Porsche of the personal training world. I’ll add to this; they are the gold standard of personal training.
“The results were much beyond anything I expected! I feel happy with my body, and the seed of dysmorphia that used to demotivate me has been eradicated.”
James started out at 84.5kg, but it took him just 17 weeks to shed 13kg and half his body fat. Now he stands at a lean, happy and healthy 71kg, and he is thrilled with his results.
Remembering where he first began his transformation journey, James wasn’t in the best state of mind or body. He knew he wasn’t anywhere near his ideal weight, but felt too depressed to motivate himself to work out on his own.
“I was deeply unsatisfied with my self-image; my confidence was mediocre. I felt that as I was past a certain age, that the body I had was the hand, I had been dealt, which massively demotivated me. Physically, I knew that I was at least 10kg over my ideal weight.
“I had moved to Amsterdam from a country where eating out and takeaways were the norm, so I didn’t cook at home that much. Alcohol consumption wasn’t so much of an issue, this being more or less eradicated since moving to Amsterdam. However, prior consumption led to my current terrible physical appearance.”
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His main challenge was getting his diet right. When he had tried training before, he had not seen results despite hitting the gym 5-6 days per week. James was quite sure this was due to his erratic diet plan.
“I was body dysmorphic, and whenever I looked in the mirror, I never felt I was getting where I wanted to be. I might have looked okay, but my brain was saying you are not.
“And I always felt I was failing on the diet side of things. I wasn’t really sure how much I was taking in, what the portions ought to be, or which foods I should be going for.”
The confusion was eliminated right at the start as a big part of U.P.’s programme is the very focused and personalised diet plan.
James’s trainer, Damien, took control immediately and started educating him on how to eat a balanced meal that aligned with his transformation goals.
“In terms of my diet, I was placed on a more balanced macronutrient intake and was initially surprised by the amount of food I had to consume, but trusted how Damien was guiding me. I had to tweak my lifestyle and be smart about eating out, checking out menus before heading to the restaurant, being mindful also to minimise alcohol or not drink at all.”
James’s education at U.P. was more holistic, and along with nutrition, he also learnt weight training techniques that could serve him in the long run.
Of course, the benefits of the U.P. transformation process go well beyond the physical state. Looking good and feeling fit, left James feeling much happier and confident.
“The biggest benefits, I would say, are twofold. I now feel confident in managing a diet which is sustainable not just for keeping me at a desired weight but is also something I can enjoy eating. The second benefit is continuous learning about exercises from a technical and physiological perspective.
“I actually feel comfortable with my body now. I can look in the mirror and not have that body dysmorphia at the back of my brain. After being at U.P., I feel comfortable going to the gym and know exactly what I need to look at, and also mainly I feel happier. The change has given me my confidence back and more so, provided me with the motivation to continue past my journey at U.P.
“What I learned the most is that for keeping healthy and attaining one’s ideal body, there is no panacea; U.P. doesn’t provide a magic pill. What they teach are simple, logical steps: follow the diet, do your steps, be smart about working out, and track everything.”