You might remember seeing Rachael’s incredible transformation almost two years ago. It caused quite a storm and was even featured in Women’s Health magazine.
We can see why, as a busy career-focused woman, Rachael’s incredible results and positive attitude inspired so many. But for Rachael, her journey didn’t stop at the end of her 21 weeks. Over the last couple of years, she’s continued to train with Ultimate Performance Manchester and has even trained to be a qualified yoga teacher.
Let’s rewind to two years ago when Rachael first came to U.P., she was in a pretty dark place, she wasn’t happy with how she looked, felt or how her clothes fit. Despite going to endless classes and spending hours on cardio machines, she wasn’t getting the results she wanted. One day she stumbled across Nick Mitchell’s Ultimate Body Transformation book and saw that Ultimate Performance had a gym in Manchester and decided to sign up.
Wanting the ground to swallow her up
Rachael remembers her first session vividly, she was squatting with a broom handle, unable to bear any weight, and wanting the ground to swallow her up. Now, Rachael squats with more than her body weight loaded on her back. Pretty impressive for someone who used to avoid the weights area at all costs.
Her initial results were amazing, Rachael lost 23kg in 21 weeks but to this day she still believes it wasn’t what she lost which was the most life-changing, it was what she gained.
“It’s not necessarily what you lose, it’s more what you gain — okay, it might be that I’ve lost a lot of body fat, I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I’ve also gained a different mentality and a different view on life. It made me maintain the result.”
Rachael’s original 21-week transformation
Still eating the foods you love
It was Rachael’s mindset towards her transformation which has allowed her to maintain her results. Right from the beginning, Rachael knew that this wasn’t a diet where after the 21 weeks she could go back to the way she was eating before, more to the point, she didn’t want to. Rachael worked with her trainer, Steve, to ensure her food plan was full of things that she liked to eat.
“He found out what foods I liked, he found out about my lifestyle, he found out I spent a lot of time travelling, found out that I liked the odd gin and tonic and we factored that in.
We worked together to out a plan for me and what I liked, so it’s finding the food you really enjoy eating and how you can work that into the plan and get the results you want. It’s not about saying you can’t eat this and can’t eat that, it’s about giving you a plan that’s sustainable.”
Does lifting weights make you look like Arnold Schwarznegger?
Training at U.P., Rachael also found her passion for lifting weights. Like a lot of females, Rachael believed the misconception that weights made you bulky.
“I thought I would end up looking like a bloke, but there’s just no way. If anything it’s going to give you a really nice toned athletic figure and it’s going to get you into the best shape of your life. I just can’t recommend it highly enough.”
But, instead, Rachael realised that lifting weights made her feel like Wonder Woman and, that she was actually pretty strong, now deadlifting double her body weight!
Making maintaining her results easy
Rachael now refers to a ‘toolbox’ she has built up with everything she has been taught at U.P. that has made sustaining her results a breeze. This means that now she’s equipped to make better choices with food when travelling with work, going out or even grabbing something quick to make at home. She now has the confidence to go to the gym on her own and the knowledge of how to put a good workout together even with limited resources in a hotel gym.
Since her initial transformation, Rachael has taken maintaining her fit and active lifestyle to the next level and trained as a yoga teacher. A way to keep her sane when her job gets stressful, Rachael has always enjoyed the release and relaxation of yoga and finds it has complimented her weight training well as it helps her stretch out and not feel stiff.
Qualifying to be a yoga teacher was always something Rachael had thought of doing but never had the confidence. Since her transformation and ongoing training with U.P. she’s gained the confidence she needed to go for it.
Treat your sessions like you would important meetings
As an area manager for a car company and a part-time yoga teacher, Rachael’s top tip for ensuring you fit a workout in when you’re busy is to plan it in the diary like you would a business meeting.
“I wouldn’t not turn up for a meeting, so I put my training sessions and my yoga in my diary and then I make sure that gets achieved.”
Trying to find motivation?
If Rachael is ever struggling for motivation, next time she’s in the gym, she hunts for a 23kg dumbbell and holds it — a quick reminder of how much she has achieved and how far she has come. Rachael also always looks back at her original transformation photo.
“I actually have my initial transformation photo on my fridge at home and I know that sound a bit mental but it keeps reminding me of the progress I’ve made and how hard I worked to get to that initial transformation, so it stops me from going back over. ”
Exceeding her initial goals
Looking back, Rachael remembers what her initial goal was when she started at U.P. It was to get back into this bright yellow dress that made her feel happy whenever she wore it.
“If I can get back into that dress that will make me really happy again, so that was my initial goal, that dress is now too big, in terms of my initial expectation and my actual result, it far exceeded the result I was expecting, but you’ve got to trust the process.”
What’s kept Rachael at U.P. for so long?
Quite simply, she loves it. Rachael enjoys eating and training the U.P. way. Her new lifestyle makes her feel good and looking back and remembering how she felt, she doesn’t want to feel like that again.
“I don’t want to go back to that girl, the girl I was when I first came in here, I don’t want to go back to that feeling — that feeling where I was cancelling social events because I just didn’t feel right in my skin. I was saying to my friends I was feeling ill and I wasn’t feeling ill, I just didn’t want to go out because nothing fit me. I don’t want to go back to going into meetings and not wanting to look anyone in the eye because I just didn’t feel happy in myself.”
Looking at how far Rachael has come over two years, from not being able to bear any weight when she was squatting to now lifting double her body weight proves that everyone has got to start from somewhere. This has been a lifestyle transformation for Rachael and the changes have made her happier than ever.
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- Your results are a function of time spent following the plan; your genetic response to the right exercise and diet program; how hard you train; how consistently you come to the gym; how disciplined you are with your diet; & your starting point.
- Oftentimes the lower your starting point (poor fitness, terrible body composition) the better your results.
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