You can have the dream life and the high-powered job, but at the core of this success has to be your health.
This is something Dee has come to understand after completing an incredible 22-week transformation at Ultimate Performance.
The 37-year-old is now in the best shape of her life; feeling fitter, stronger, leaner than ever and performing optimally both in the gym and at the office.
After completing her transformation, losing 11kg and shedding two-thirds of her body fat, she says she feels years younger.
“I’m 37 – I now have measurements smaller than I did when I was 26.
“I’ve knocked 11 years off my age in terms of being physically stronger, fitter; my head game is like when I left university. I was like ‘I’m going to start a job. Get a career. Let’s go!’
“I’ve got my life back. This is how I want to do things now.”
But before she started her UP journey, her busy life, sparse diet, hectic work schedule and chronic sleep problems were taking a real toll on her health.
A post-traumatic stress disorder had left her with serious insomnia for more than 20 years – not sleeping until 4 am every night.
Dee says she saw her insomnia as an advantage to fit in more work hours and give her the advantage in her career – but she was suffering because of it.
“Before I started here I had a very bad sleep disorder,” she explains. “We’re talking 20 years of bad sleep compounded by the fact that I would work 10-12-hour days, six days a week, and travel on top of that, with very bad eating habits.”
Dee’s diet was typical of a busy executive – food was seen as an inconvenience around work. She says she would often skip breakfast and skip lunch, subsisting on shop-bought sandwiches and up to 12 cups of tea.”Eating-wise, you get into this ridiculous idea that if you have a cup of tea and a sandwich on the move that you’re being efficient while eating because you’re doing three things at once.”I’m gluten- and dairy-intolerant, so that’s completely off the chart for me.
“I didn’t even know what I was eating. I’m 37 years old and I’ve finally realised that I knew very little about how my body worked and I know very little about food.”
Dee considered this lifestyle of burning the candle at both ends and putting everything else before her health as ‘normal’.
“When I started my career, I got it in my head that I had this nervous energy and I didn’t need to sleep – I could get more work done and get my career really far. All I needed to do was stay healthy and fit.
“What I did was put my work first. I worked exceptionally hard, I travelled and I slept very little and over time it started taking its toll where my metabolism was utterly screwed up.
“I wasn’t eating at all while still putting on weight, then losing weight really quickly – so really yo-yo.
“One day I would wake up and think ‘oh I look good today! This is great!’ Then the next day I would wake up and not understand why I looked 2 stone heavier. That’s down to my body doing what it needs to do when it clicks into a survival mode.
“From no sleeping, I would say my memory started to go a little bit and I was quite shocked with that.”
But the toll it was taking on her health, her life and her job was slowly starting to dawn on her and the spectre of burn-out was looming large.
“I have a great job and I have a good career and I work for a fantastic company and I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to achieve.
“It’s not sustainable. 10 years from now I would not be able to do this.”
It got to the point where Dee had to take action and she was ready to make a huge change in her life. Ultimate Performance was that change.
“When I explain to people what I’ve done, people have noticed the weight loss. But weight loss wasn’t my ultimate goal.
“I needed to do something so drastic that it would shock me into doing it properly.
“I needed an approach that was all or nothing.
“I knew I wasn’t happy and I knew something had to change. I had come to the realisation that I had to change it, but I didn’t know how to do it. I needed an education.”
An education is exactly what you get at UP in how to train for optimum body composition and how to eat for peak health and performance in a way that’s sustainable.
The impact of working with her UP personal trainer was almost immediate and her dedication to change has paid dividends.
“I’ve achieved things I didn’t even know you could achieve.
“I wanted to be strong. I came in and said ‘I feel frail. I feel weak. I feel terrible.’
“I looked in the mirror and said ‘this isn’t good enough anymore.’ I wanted to be strong.
“What I’ve achieved is I can lift heavy things. I can lift twice my body weight. I’m proud of that. And being able to be proud of that is an entirely new feeling to me.”
Dee says learning about nutrition from her PT and being able to understand how food can improve her health and performance in every aspect of her life has been a revelation.
Previously food got in the way of her job – and poor diet choices were denting her health. But her UP journey has given her a complete mindset change.
“I’d never seen food as fuel before. I’d seen it as this inconvenience that I had to do in between trying to do everything else.
“Working through the sessions every week, looking at the nutrition plan, and understanding that every choice I make is for my benefit, has utterly changed the priorities of what I do.
“Everything before was for my career – ‘get a good job, work for a big company, earn lots of money.’ That doesn’t help your health at all.”
Now she has priceless knowledge on optimising her diet that will keep her healthy for life.
She learned about macronutrients, the importance of tracking and weighing meals, portion size and eating what she wanted, but in the right way – all the elements of a diet that really works.
“It’s a game-changer. It puts you in charge of it. It allows you to make very clear and specific decisions to ensure that you can do and achieve what you want.
“It means that at 3 pm in the afternoon, like most office workers, you don’t have a nap. Because you get to 3 pm and you normally feel like you’ve burned your day then you feel like you need that energy and off you pop to have half a litre of coffee. It doesn’t help.
“I don’t consider myself on a diet. I’ve not been told to cut things out.
“Now my week includes lots of steak, chicken, burgers if I want to – and a lot of smoked salmon. My breakfasts are smoked salmon and spinach. It’s decadent, but it makes me really happy.”
“I’ve lost just under 2 stone. I don’t even know where I kept that.
“Showing people my results photos, my Week 1 to my last week is just incredible.”
Even just looking in the mirror, Dee sees a completely different person that she was just 22 weeks ago.
“I see myself. I see the face I saw when I was at university.
“I feel taller, I stand upright, my body language is better – I have actually gone through my wardrobe and tried on a dress I bought when I was 22 and haven’t worn since I was 26; got back into it, buttoned it up no problem.”
A huge benefit of her transformation was feeling strong and confident again – and this mindset change is perhaps the biggest thing she has achieved over the 22 weeks at UP.
On day one she did a glute bridge at 20kg and now after just a few months she is lifting more than double her bodyweight on the same exercise 120kg.
She says that feeling strong has had an incredible effect on her..
“It gets rid of anxiety. I’m naturally a very anxious person. It makes you confident in the sense that you will try things you’ve never done before.
“You are braver in what you do. I find myself being braver in meetings at work. Take a seat at the table – be present and contribute.
“I find myself doing that now because I’m not worried that ‘oh did I shuffle in the room late? Does everyone think I look overweight and I haven’t slept?’
“I’m more confident and I speak up for myself. By having physical strength, my mental strength has improved. Having that control – nothing compares to it. It’s fantastic.”
It’s not just her physical strength that has improved – the wider benefits to her health have been astonishing.
After 20 years of insomnia, Dee is now able to go to bed early, sleep well and wake up fresh in the mornings.
She says her memory is back on-point and she can feel confident and on-the-ball at work.
“I’m doing great at work and I’m confident doing things at the gym, she says.”
She even says her childhood psoriasis, which she’d had since the age of 14, cleared up in a matter of weeks on her nutrition plan.
“My psoriasis disappeared three weeks into my programme. I’ve had that for 25 years.
“I’ve had medication the doctors have put me on sunbeds, just by being healthier, less stressed and eating better it’s solved a problem.”
Even Dee’s relationship with alcohol has changed.
“I now only drink when I want to. When I go home I don’t need to; why? Because it’s not going to help me achieve my goal for the next day.
I’m making such specific decisions around alcohol now. I’m very proud of myself for this: I study wine. I’ve just done my Level 2 Wine and Spirits.
“I’ve tasted 27 wines in the last few weeks. I’ve not drunk one of them. It’s so rewarding. I’ve got my life back. This is how I want to do things now.”
Dee says her whole UP experience has changed her life immeasurably.
“It’s very intense. If you’re going to do something and make such a big change to yourself, if you don’t go somewhere that’s entirely focused and lives, breathes and bleeds the kind of ‘hard work pays’ then you’re not going to achieve. You just can’t.
“Everything you do here is focused on your results. You’re not guaranteed anything. What you put in, you get out.
“This environment breathes it. The encouragement you get is amazing.
“When you see people achieving great results then it drives you to achieve those results.”
Dee says that the programme, which was tailored to her exact nutritional needs and training goals, was worth every penny.
“It’s an expensive outlay but there’s so much that goes into it.
“What I’d recommend is add up all the areas where you’re wasting money, wasting time; if you live in London, add up what you spend on bottles of red wine, taxis and dinner – add all that up and that will give you your transformation because that’s exactly how I did it.
“I added up how much money I spent on glasses of red wine, bottles of red wine, gin and tonics, Addison Lees and Ubers, over a three-month period last year and it came to £50 less than what my transformation cost.
“Do it. The only reason you don’t do it is yourself.”
If you’re inspired by Dee’s stunning results and are ready to start your own life-changing transformation, speak to us about our Personal Training Plans….
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DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!