The Diet and Workout Routine That Helped Me Lose Nearly 40 Pounds

Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Mark, 48, from Manchester, shares his weight loss journey with Men’s Health.

After the second period of lockdown in early 2021, my weight had risen to an all-time high. Over-eating over a number of years meant that my weight had gradually crept up, and I was hiding behind baggy sweatshirts and bigger clothes. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or the way that I felt, and my overall fitness levels and energy were very low. I also suffered from a lot of headaches, and stomach and digestion issues.

I knew that I was at a point in my life where I was approaching 50 and needed to make a change. So I signed up for a transformation program with Ultimate Performance Manchester.

As soon as I started the transformation program there were immediate changes to my diet. All meals were logged via the UP app, and my personal trainer Nathan advised me on suitable foods and what not to eat. The first part of the program was as much about controlling the diet as training, and from Day 1 you have to be committed to change the way you eat. Out went the snacks, the chips, all the things you know you shouldn’t be eating, and they were replaced by chicken, fish, salads and vegetables. I was restricted to 1,600 calories per day to start with. I soon got used to the food, and within a week or two I felt better with no headaches or stomach issues.

The training consisted of three sessions a week at UP. The workouts started with a mix of weight training and cardio, and the weight quickly started to drop off. Nathan kept me going with advice and support throughout, and the weekly weigh-in and measurements kept me on track.

Photo credit: Ultimate Performance

Photo credit: Ultimate Performance

I wasn’t very strong to start with, but it never felt a struggle. The UP environment is very positive and supportive, and so if you aren’t particularly good at one exercise, then the focus is on getting the technique right and building confidence. The pendulum is a killer, but gives the most benefit and results. When you’ve been on that then you definitely sleep at night, but that also shows you that it’s doing something good! I dreaded the pendulum at first, but now actually want to retain it as part of my overall training program, as that it the one that grinds out the results.

I lost a total of about 17 kgs (37 pounds) and I’ve now got muscles and some definition where I would have described myself as flabby before. My body fat also went from 26% to 10% in eight months. In addition to the weight loss, I have more energy, and don’t have any more headaches or indigestion. I couldn’t even run even 1km without feeling out of breath and stopping, but now I can comfortably run a 5K in 26 mins. I’m stronger, healthier and feel so much better in myself.

Photo credit: Ultimate Performance

Photo credit: Ultimate Performance

I am now in the process of setting myself additional goals, including building more muscle in my arms and chest where I’ve made some great progress already. The initial transformation was to lose the weight, now we are looking to develop strength and muscle. I really enjoy it, so want to keep going and see where we can get to. My overall goal is to be in the best shape of my life when I turn 50 in October 2023.

I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending a PT to anyone, as they’re a constant source of advice and will push you in the right way and build your confidence in the gym. If you’re thinking of trying this yourself, my advice is simple: Start with one good day, then turn that into two good days, then a week. If you stick to the plan then the results will come. It’s all about consistency and building one good week after another. Break the old habits and create new ones and you’ll be on your way.

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