This is the mantra that motivated Ollie Jowett to achieve a remarkable online transformation with Ultimate Performance, despite battling a brain tumour.
Given a grave diagnosis of malignant brain cancer a year ago, the 22-year-old has refused to let the disease stop him from achieving his fitness goals.
In fact, the Belfast personal trainer has used it as fuel for his fire to get in shape, inspire his clients and show what is possible, even in the face of cancer.
Inspirational Ollie wanted to prove to himself and others what could be achieved when all excuses are set aside, so he committed to an online transformation with U.P.
Twelve weeks of hard graft and determination in the face of fatigue and sometimes-debilitating symptoms and Ollie has come out smiling, with a result even he often doubted might be possible.
Ollie lost 10kg to build an incredible physique, saying he has finished more physically and mentally strong than ever.
“Why I signed up to U.P. was that I wanted to inspire my own clients and people on social media.
“People make excuses all the time about their diets and their weight loss. The bane of my job is all the excuses I have to listen to!
“I make excuses myself. So, my purpose with signing up with U.P. and training for a photoshoot was I wanted to inspire people and eliminate their excuses.
“Having done the photoshoot, it was so rewarding seeing the photos come through. It’s been an unreal experience.
“I’ve never been in that kind of condition in my life. I’ve never been shredded with a six-pack. You almost doubt to a degree whether you can even get there.
“Now that I have, it’s like ‘wow!
Ollie’s journey has been tougher and more testing than anyone could imagine.
It started back in September 2017 with the devastating diagnosis that he had a malignant brain tumour.
Just months before, Ollie had moved from his home in Cornwall for a new life in Belfast as a personal trainer.
Being a personal trainer had been a dream of his since he was 14 and to be handed a diagnosis of cancer at the age of 21 and be told he potentially had just five years to live was a crushing blow.
“I was heartbroken, obviously. But it was quite a numb emotion I was feeling.
“I thought ‘what am I meant to do now?’ Because you don’t prepare yourself for this, certainly not at 21.”
His diagnosis was a long time in coming. He had been suffering severe headaches which had been repeatedly overlooked by doctors.
“Rewind to 2016, I was getting headaches every single day. I went to the doctors four times and every time they would say ‘Ollie, it’s a tension head. Ollie it’s a cluster headache. Ollie, they’re migraines.’
“Every time I would leave and think ‘it’s more than just a headache.’
“I knew in my gut and in my heart there was something underlying here.”
It wasn’t until he finally got an MRI scan that doctors confirmed the worst the following year.
Ollie’s age and where the tumour is in his brain mean there are limited conventional treatment options available to him.
“Surgery isn’t really a valid option for me, given where the brain tumour is located. The consultant said it’s just too risky,especially given my age.
“The likes of chemotherapy and radiotherapy aren’t really options either because it’s just so risky and I’m just so young.”
Ollie’s health suffered and his symptoms were at their worst at the end of 2017, meaning he struggled to work such long hours and had to scale back his work training clients in his 168 Coaching business.
It was then he started sharing his journey on his Project Beat Cancer Instagram account to show the true face of battling a disease like cancer.
“I put my story out on social media, largely because I wanted to be honest, particularly with my clients.”
Ollie has refused to let his cancer stop him achieving his goals, building his business and achieving what he wants in life.
Since his diagnosis, his focus has been on getting healthy, eating a nutrient-rich diet and putting his body, his mind and his immune system in the best place possible to fight the disease.
Not just that, but he has been raising money, raising awareness and forging ahead to prove that cancer is not the end.
“The prognosis with brain tumours is not great. It’s five years. That gives me until I’m 26, so the time is ticking.
“Now I’m just trying to inspire, motivate and inform people.
“I’m a believer in that we all have a purpose. I know I’ve been dealt a bad hand with cancer, I now have a purpose to inspire and bring awareness about cancer.”
Twelve weeks ago, Ollie decided he wanted to start an online body transformation to inspire his clients and people following his journey about what is possible when you stop making excuses.
He knew Ultimate Performance were the best in the business and he wanted the expertise and accountability of working one-to-one with an online trainer.
“I needed a coach. Who are the best coaches in the world? U.P.
“When I got assigned my trainer, Umar, you do your homework on the coach. I stumbled across his transformation and I thought ‘bloody hell!’
“He went from 180kg to 97kg. His transformation motivated me and eliminated all of my excuses.
“He is a walking inspiration with his transformation alone.
“With Umar’s support, with his guidance and with his accountability, it’s how I lost the weight I did, and how I got in the best shape of my life.”
Twelve short weeks is all it took, but Ollie’s journey was tougher than most.
On top of his busy schedule working with clients and running a business, he had to contend with his cancer and the debilitating symptoms he experienced.
“The 12-week transformation was the hardest process of my life. I wanted to give up nearly every single day.
“Trying to find the energy just to train and trying to find the energy just to work is horrendous.
“But despite my health being the problem, it was my health that was my motivation in the first place. I had to constantly keep reminding myself of this when I wanted to give up.
“My health was the transformation that I wanted and the inspiration behind it.
“It wasn’t just to get a six-pack. That wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to get to the end so that I could inspire other people with my story.”
Ollie described it as a rollercoaster during his 12-week program. But working with an expert trainer kept him focussed on his goal.
“There are highs and lows. When you’re high, you’re buzzing. When you’re low, some days were impossible.
“Everyone is motivated at the start. The first four weeks you’re loving life, dropping weight, dropping body fat and you’re looking better.
“After a few weeks, you hit the wall. But the reason I signed up to U.P. is that everyone needs accountability.
“Motivation gets you started, but accountability keeps you going.
“The reason I signed up with U.P. is that they get the best transformations in the world, that’s fact.
“But also I needed the accountability of a coach.”
Ollie says the low points with his health were particularly low, when his symptoms hit hard.
“The predominant symptoms are fatigue and tiredness and weakness.
“Some days I would feel too weak to even walk up a flight of stairs. It can get that bad.
“I can be so exhausted and so drained even the simplest of tasks are really difficult.
“Even walking down to the shop can be difficult, let alone doing 15,000 steps.
“I would just do what I could do and that was the commitment I had to myself and to Umar and to this process”
Ollie says the guidance of support of his trainer was invaluable when he was struggling most with his health.
Having someone in his corner constantly helped him stay focused.
“The training was hard. It’s not going to be easy. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, it’s not going to be a walk in the park.
“Umar was my coach but he was also there to support me, and if I was ill with my cancer, he was understanding of that.
“There were quite a few days with my cancer where I was ill and I just said to him that I’ve not been able to train, or I’ve been in bed all day because I’ve been really ill.
“He has been completely empathetic and understanding around that.”
Come what may, Ollie was determined not to give up and achieve what he had set out to do.
He just focused on doing his best to execute his programme one day at a time.
Every little bit of progress over the 12 weeks added up to a truly incredible result that Ollie is so proud of.
“It’s surreal. I’m just absolutely chuffed with the photos.
“I’ve never done a photoshoot before. It’s always been an ambition of mine to do one and I was over the moon with the photos.
“That’s what makes it all worth it seeing the results at the end.”
The physical results are impressive, but Ollie says it’s perhaps the less tangible benefits of doing a transformation which have had the most profound impact on his life.
“I knew that this transformation would be outside of my comfort zone. I knew it was going to be hard.
“U.P. doesn’t get the best transformations through a walk-in-the-park process.
“But the reward is that I’ve come out of it a lot stronger, mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s the growth and self-development I’ve achieved through this process which has made it invaluable.
“Looking good doesn’t hurt either. It does a few things for the Tinder likes, anyway!”
Self-development and learning was a big part of why he wanted to work with U.P. to achieve his goals.
He says the experience has helped him improve as a coach when working with his own clients.
“One of the benefits of doing this programme was that I learned more as a coach.
“My training knowledge has undoubtedly improved, my dieting knowledge has improved and my mindset has improved.
“It’s made me a better coach and I can actually deliver more value to my clients as a result of it.”
Starting this journey to getting in the shape of his life was about challenging people’s excuses and becoming an inspiration to others.
Ollie thinks he has now achieved that and has been complaining his experience into a book.
“It’s acted as an inspiration and motivation to them (clients) to work harder with their training and diets – everyone can!
“I wanted it to produce a book and inspire people. The title is ‘What is Your Excuse? How I got photoshoot lean while battling brain cancer.’
“The purpose of the book is to eliminate people’s excuses – the lack of motivation, the lack of time, the lack of willpower.
“If I can do this, given my health. Then what is your excuse? If at the very least that’s what has come out of it, then it’s been so worth it.”
Ollie is already looking to the future. He is fighting harder than ever to beat cancer and he wants to get in even better shape than before.
“I’ve now been thinking about training goals for 2019. It’s like ‘what’s next?’
“This year, I’ve got into the best shape of my life, so it inspires and motivates you to think ‘what can I now do with my body?’
“It was an incredible experience working with U.P. and I have intentions 100% to work with them in January to take my physique to another level because that’s the constant evolution to keep training and chase the next goal and the next goal after that.”
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DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!