When the deadly first wave of the pandemic hit, 36-year-old Steve feared Covid-19 could kill him if he caught the virus.
He weighed over 127kg (280lbs), his blood pressure was high and heart problems ran in his family – all worrying risk factors that put him firmly in the danger zone for Covid-19.
But instead of letting fear and excuses paralyse him, he decided to take back control of his health by starting a transformation with the LiveUP programme.
It’s the best investment he could have made in himself.
Now he has lost over 30kg (66lbs), brought his blood pressure back to safe levels and significantly reduced his mortality risk for Covid-19.
“So far with LiveUP, I have lost 33kg (73lbs) and counting. I have halved my body fat – I started at 41% and I’m now at 18.9% with my target of 10% in sight!
“My clothes sizes have gone from 2XL tops to an M-L, and my trousers have gone from a 42-inch waist to a 34-36 inch.
“I have now finally been able to pull my bodyweight to do bodyweight pull-ups which has always been a goal of mine.”
“From a health point of view, my blood pressure is spot on and friends and family now ask what I’ve done, what I eat, and they have made changes themselves which is amazing.”
Thinking back to before he started LiveUP, Steve says his health was in a bad way.
He had always been fit and healthy – he was sporty, played squash and football, and lifted weights in the gym.
But when he started working behind a desk, his activity levels dropped, his diet went downhill, and his weight just skyrocketed.
“I actually used to work in a gym but became massively disillusioned with the fitness industry and left it to work in an office job at a school. It was then that I started gaining weight.
“Before LiveUP, I wasn’t tracking or even acknowledging my daily activity, but now I look back it was woefully low.
“Working shifts of 10-plus hours mostly sat down at a desk with a vending machine sat right outside the office ready for when discipline slips, followed by a negative mindset of ‘I’ve ruined it now so I may as well write the day off’, and more poor choices followed.
“It was a bad relationship with food that I now recognise and I’m proud to say these things don’t even go through my mind anymore.”
This negative cycle of no exercise and poor diet choices quickly snowballed.
Steve was only in his mid-thirties, but he was on a dangerous path and he knew it.
“It isn’t an exaggeration to say U.P. not only changed me, but probably saved me from myself.
“I was only heading one way and it’s only now I look back that worryingly I didn’t see myself as being that big or in that bad a shape.”
“Two years back I had knee surgery and my blood pressure was worryingly high pre-op, but I would use excuses that it was anxiety when really I was just an accident waiting to happen.”
But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it brought the importance of his health into sharp focus.
He knew he needed to take immediate action to lose weight and get fit again.
“At the start of all this there was the fresh threat of Covid and I took a hard look at myself and thought ‘if I get this, I’m not sure I’d survive.’
“I was massively overweight, my blood pressure was high and I had heart issues in the family. I had an opportunity right here and now to make a change.”
“My goals were simple – to come out of lockdown a new person. I wanted to get down to below 10% body fat and have abs to show others it can be done from my starting point of nearly 20 stone and 41% body fat.
“I’m not there just yet, but I know it’s coming with the help of U.P. holding me accountable.”
It was now or never for Steve to get back in shape and bolster his health.
He set aside his excuses, signed up for LiveUP and committed himself to the transformation process.
“I had been feeling horrendous for quite some time. It’s very easy when you gain weight to my extent that you are just exhausted all the time and the more down and tired you get, the more you turn to food and the cycle continues.
“But the good news is it doesn’t take long to snap out of that cycle if you set your mind to it.”
For too long, Steve had been stuck in this cycle of eating junk, feeling tired and eating more junk.
But having a programme and meal plan to follow and a community of like-minded people in LiveUP to keep him accountable, things quickly started to change.
“Once I started LiveUP, I gave my head a good shake and stuck to the plan as Elliott (Head of LiveUP) explained.
“It was simple and no stress at all – stick to the foods listed, stick to the portions stated and each week I did my progress pictures, weighed in and there was a difference.”
“That was all the motivation I needed!
“Each day I would religiously hit 10,000 steps minimum. Once I was back at work, my outlook had already changed, I would now find ways to get my steps at work even if I had to walk laps for 10 minutes.”
Back when Steve was at his heaviest, he would live off processed junk foods that left him feeling tired, lethargic and always craving more.
Breakfast would be a flapjack washed down with a Monster energy drink. Lunch would be sandwiches, crisps and an afternoon trip to the vending machine for a snack. For dinner, it would be huge portions of chicken with rice, pasta and potatoes, followed by chocolate later in the evening.
LiveUP helped him refocus on nutritious and satiating foods that helped support his body transformation goals and energy levels.
“I’d swap the flapjack for eggs, nuts, fruit, and the Monster to Amplify. The two sandwiches were reduced to one, and it was chicken salad on brown bread with celery and carrot sticks with peanut butter.
“Evening meals were now portion-controlled with a quarter cup of rice or a fist-sized sweet potato with steak and mixed vegetables, for example.
“At no point during the 36 weeks have I felt bored of the diet either – it’s what you make of it and it’s become a lifestyle that I don’t even have to think about. It’s been easy and at no point have I tracked calories.”
Training throughout the lockdown and seeing his progress has been a joy.
“I love the variety of the training phases, and I love having a new training plan to follow every month so you don’t get bored.
“Each session is a challenge and each week is a chance to improve on your last week’s results.
“I have done the last nine phases all using a home gym and it’s worked a treat as all of the exercises can be done with your basic equipment.”
Steve’s commitment to the programme and his consistency with his diet and training has paid dividends for his health and wellbeing.
He can feel the difference every day.
“Strangely, I was pretty strong and relatively fit, considering my weight, from my past of working in the gym. I had always lifted weights, I was still playing football once a week, squash and would try most sports.
“Once I started LiveUP, though, my energy was so much better, I am fitter than I have been at any point in my life.
“When restrictions lifted last year, and I went back to football, I was mind-blown how much fitter and faster I was.”
It’s not just the physical changes that have been so gratifying for Steve – mentally, the benefits have been life-changing.
“I have come out of this mentally stronger, with a better relationship with food where I can still enjoy foods but know how to implement them and not hinder progress.
“My relationship with food was so bad that a bad day at work, stressed or anxious would see me at the drive-thru turning to food.
“I can honestly say those days are well behind me now. Fitter, healthier and now I shrug negativity off and previous anxiety and panic attacks are a thing of the past.”
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DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!