Could you tell us a little about yourself Chris?
I’m a 59 year old, 5 ft 7 inch female who is 60 in about 10 weeks! I’m a Finance Director of one company and Chairman of another and up until 3 years ago I was a size 18/20 weighing 96 kilos with 48% body fat.
Then I met Paul.
I have two children and was divorced about 14 years ago and in that time I’d let the weight gradually pile on.
How would you describe yourself when you first started training with me?
Over weight, stressed, very unhappy with myself and I genuinely wasn’t sure that I could do anything about my weight. I suffer, for all sorts of reasons with issues around how I look and how I imagine others view me.
I’ve always seen myself as ugly and unattractive and that had gotten considerably worse as I gained weight.
By the end of the photo shoot prep I was just under 60 kilos, (down from 69kilos when I started) I had hoped to get down to 58kgs but didn't quite manage it. Next time! However I am now in a size 6!!
How long did your transformation take overall?
I've been training with Paul for just over 3 years and prepping for the photo shoot was the last 15 weeks.
What did you find the hardest part of all of the process?
The start was fine but as the weeks went on and we dropped the calories lower, I got tired and grumpy, being hungry sucks. Sorry about that for anyone who knows me. Training become harder and seeing my weights going backward in the gym was very difficult, it made me feel pathetic.
What did you learn, and if you were to do it again what would you do differently?
I was pretty consistent, but I missed a few too many sessions. I need to work on getting in and getting it done even when I don’t feel like it. I also listened to people at work who kept telling me I was too skinny, it played on my mind and I shouldn’t have let it.
I love upper body workouts but hate squats due to a hip flexor problem. I’ve changed my body shape considerably and my upper body most of all. That change alone has really helped me see that next time I can do more to alter the shape of my butt and legs.
Do You Have Any Advice for Those struggling to lose weight?
When I first started to train and lose weight with Paul, I could not have envisaged being able to do the training and prep I’ve just finished. Don’t start something like a photo shoot prep until you have set some good foundations. Then you need to be consistent with your weight loss and make sure you are generally improving your weights in the gym.
Maybe that’s just me, but I’m sure I would have failed if I had tried this earlier. (Paul's note - agreed!)
If you are generally struggling with weight loss, and I did plenty of times, I talked to Paul. He was very supportive with good ideas, tips and motivation but dished out tough love when needed as well. The other thing I did was keep reminding myself why I wanted to lose weight, what my goals were and why I wanted it. It was being specific with these that helped not just thinking of them in general.
What did a typical week during this look like for you?
A typical week towards the end of prep was 5 weights sessions a week divided into 2 upper (lovely), two lower and one whole body lower load day. This was with 3-4 sessions of either HITT or LISS Cardio and RPM on a Sunday.
I carried round a set of digital scales, which made me look like a drug dealer, and weighed all my food so I didn’t over eat my calorie allowance. Most of the time I’d get in from the gym in the evening and the only calories I had left for the day was for my protein shake. I then had to watch others at home devour thousands of calories, so sometimes I’d just go to bed.
Were you Always perfect?
Never perfect and you don’t need to be. If you fall off the diet just get back to it, don’t let it be an excuse to fall off the wagon for days. I found some days training was easy and some days it was the last thing I wanted to do, that’s when I needed Paul the most.
what are your top tips for someone starting out?
Be realistic about time scales, if it's taken you a while to put the weight on, its going to take a while to get it off. So be realistic and kind to yourself. There is no magic bullet.
Be consistent with both your eating plan and your training, don’t worry if you slip occasionally, but don’t use it as an excuse to continue overeating or give up.
At the beginning track everything you eat, you are probably consuming more calories than you realise.
Find some friends who you can train with and who are supportive of what you are trying to do.
Get a good trainer, I really don’t think I would have made it to where I am today without Paul.
A Coach's View
When Chris first started with me, she didn't believe that she could lose weight or change her body. To the extent that we had a bet about it!
I think I won.....
The only stipulation was that she had to do exactly as I asked or the bet would be null and void.
And in fairness to her, she absolutely stepped up to the mark and is 100% one the clients I am most proud of.
Also before anyone reading this starts to think of the “buts” and “she’s not me reasons”, let’s list some of the obstacles she faced:
- Overweight female who had never succeeded in weight loss before
- Other than Skiing, no strong athletic background or gym experience
- In the Office for 7:30 each morning and usually there until 6-7pm each night in a high stress environment
- 2 Children
- Hip Flexor Injury
- Shoulder Injury along the way
- Half her Thyroid removed
- Early stage Breast Cancer
- Putting up with me!
There are plenty of other bits and pieces that have come up along the way. This isn’t a journey without periods of strife, difficulty and some grit. It’s also not a story with win after win. There were rocks, cracks, crevaces and straight up cliff faces along the way and it is a credit to Chris that these things weren’t enough to stop her. Not to say that she didn’t doubt plenty of things along the way because that would also be a lie.
And that is the reason I am proudest of her here. Not just because Abs are awesome (though they are) and certainly not because she found it plain sailing and easy. No, it is precisely because it has been testing and she came through it nonetheless that I am proudest.
"Nothing in this life worth having comes easy" - Bob Kelso (Scrubs)