Journalist and TV presenter Steve Pennells has fallen victim to fat-shaming a number of times, but his new body will make the haters eat their words.
After personal training at Ultimate Performance Sydney for just 8 weeks, Steve has lost 13kg and about 15% body fat, and dropped two pant sizes – and he’s now in need of a new wardrobe!
“I didn’t think at my age, I’m 48, I would get the result that I’ve had. Because you assume you got the metabolism of an old person you kind of make excuses and think I can’t have the body of a 20-year-old.
“I’ve learned that that’s not true, because I’m seeing abs that I haven’t seen since the 90s.
“I’ve been amazed, everyone else is noticing it too.
“It’s not just people who haven’t seen me for several weeks, even people who haven’t seen me for two weeks notice a significant change.”
Prior to joining U.P. Sydney, Steve had always maintained an on-and-off relationship with fitness.
“My fitness experience has been a bit sporadic.
“When I was a kid I swam a bit, I played sports every now and again, so it’s been peaks and plateaus – and it’s been a plateau for the last 20-odd years.”
Since he became a reporter on Channel 7’s Sunday Night, Steve’s started travelling extensively for his job. As a result, he found himself letting his fitness and diet fall by the wayside.
“I travel with film crews and we spend long hours overseas and on the plane, so I default to junk food and comfort food.
“Alcohol is a big thing both socially and at work functions; but the lack of time for exercise is the biggest obstacle.”
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Working on the foreground of media has also left him and his appearance open to public scrutiny.
“I was in Syria covering the refugee crisis. I was crossing the border between Syria and Jordan with the refugees and this woman had dropped a baby, so I went and picked up the baby and helped the woman carry her baby across to Jordan talking to the camera the whole time.
“This is fantastic, amazing television.
“Then I came back to Australia and my boss went ‘You’re looking a bit fat in that shot. Did you eat the baby?’
“I thought that was a bit gut-wrenching. It was then that I realised I got a taste of what it’s like to be in the public eye.”
But it didn’t stop there – finding his topless photos circulating on the internet was the final straw.
“I was in Poland doing a story which involved me taking my shirt off and going in some freezing cold ice water.
“A few days after that story aired, some shirtless shots of me from that story turned up on a website called Fat Male Celebrities – that’s obviously pretty devastating.”
He thought enough was enough. He needed a drastic change to his lifestyle, and that’s why he decided to take up personal training at U.P. Sydney.
After several failed attempts with personal training, Steve soon learned that U.P. is unlike anything he’s ever experienced before.
“With U.P., your whole life is taken into consideration – not just when you’re at the gym.
“If I go to a restaurant, I can email my trainer the restaurant menu and he will just tell me what to eat even when I’m travelling.”
While our commitment (both inside and outside of the gym) has played a massive part in the success of his body transformation, Steve cannot deny that having an end goal has been hugely advantageous too.
“If I didn’t have a certain goal at the end, I’d probably just go ‘oh, my goal is just to get fit’ and I’d make excuses for a little bit of this here and a little bit of that there, so having this endgame is something to strive for.
“And knowing where I should be every week and seeing if I’m a bit ahead, that’s kind of the little race to motivate me like ‘Yeah, I’m progressing!”
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As Steve started to see progression in himself, he began to notice something unusual about U.P.
“One thing that I notice here that I haven’t noticed in any other gym is I’ve seen my results quite quick, but I’m also seeing the same people here in the gym week in, week out and the changes in them every week.
“I’ve never gone to a gym, and seen all the other people there and witnessed a transformation from week to week with everyone.”
Recounting his past personal training experience, Steve admits he was never able to sustain the results the way he can with our programme.
“When I used to go to the gym, even with a personal trainer, I felt like I was just cruising through and not feeling like I’ve actually done anything at the end.
“Now I end every session at U.P. thinking ‘Okay, I’ve put it a good effort.
“What I’m amazed by is that I’m only doing three sessions a week, whereas other transformations involve six days a week and all these exercises.
“I’m training less now than I’ve trained before.
“I’m training half the amount I trained before, and I’m getting twice the results, so I’m obviously training more effectively and better – and that’s what I’ve noticed.”
Now that we have prepared him for any challenge his job throws at him, Steve is excited to see what’s ahead for him professionally and personally.
“Next week, it’s Kilimanjaro!
“I’ve had a couple of tests when I’ve travelled on the programme before, but this is going to be a big one. It’s the world’s highest free-standing mountain, it takes about 8, 9 days to get up and get down again.
“That’s daunting but I feel that the prep I’ve done here has put me in good stead.
“Already I’m going to be carrying 13kg less that I would’ve been up that mountain, which will make things a bit easier.
“You talk about ‘results, not promises’, but you’ve given me both – you promised me that if I stuck to the programme that I’d get the results, and I’m getting the results.
“I’m getting better results than I thought I’d get, and now that we’ve got them, the sky’s the limit!”
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