“The physical changes have been fantastic but the real benefit has been a mental one”

Ben, 32, built an athletic body to get back on the sports field and make him feel like a winner again

I’m in the Navy, and I was away when I did the plan. I finished it on a Sunday and then on the Monday morning I flew back to the UK for two weeks off. I got off the plane at RAF Brize Norton and my wife and children were there. All three of them were like, “wow, Daddy, you’ve lost so much weight!” When I saw family and friends during those two weeks they said the same thing. It was just brilliant. The positivity was fantastic.

While I was back I put my ceremonial uniform on to go down to the Remembrance Sunday parade and my wife was in fits of laughter because my trousers were a 36in waist and I’ve gone down to a 30in waist. I had to wear a belt and braces to keep them up.

I joined the Navy 14 years ago as a 12-stone [76kg] lad and I was playing rugby to quite a high standard. I was in great physical shape but, like a lot of people, I fell into a rut. I got married, I had children and I lost control of keeping myself fit and healthy. When I had time off at the weekend I wanted to spend my time with my family, so I gave up playing rugby and I think that’s when I spiralled out of control. I was making excuses not to keep myself fit. I’m also a big fan of crisps and ice cream!

I had tried all sorts of fad diets. I tried the C9 diet – which gave me good results after three weeks but it was just water retention so I wasn’t really changing –and the acai berry diet but nothing seemed to work. I suppose I hadn’t committed to anything 100% and I think that’s where my problems lay. I was making excuses. Being out of shape had been bothering me for a while – not just physically but mentally. I saw Jon’s New Body Plan story and I could really relate to it.

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Flying start
I remember the first session really well. I came out of it feeling really good, and that spurred me on because it felt like it was achievable. If in the first session I’d been lifting silly amounts of weight and putting my body through a huge amount of stress I think that would have had a negative effect but the way it was set out meant that straight away I felt I could do it.

As the plan progressed my fitness improved massively. I remember doing the first of the “finishers” [metabolic conditioning exercises at the end of each session] in Block 3 and feeling like I was going to be sick. It was hard but I was seeing physical changes and feeling fitter so I stayed motivated. When it came to the next finisher, I knew I was going to be knackered afterwards but I also knew it was having a positive effect.

I noticed changes to my arms and legs after the first block. I could see definition. But it was when I took a photo and weighed myself at the end of Block 2 that I saw a massive change –and so did my wife. That was when I started to realise that the plan was doing exactly what it said it would. A friend from the Navy came out to visit me and her first words to me were, “fuck me, Ben, you’ve lost a lot of weight.” And I was just going into Block 3 then so I was only halfway through the plan.

Perfect fit
Because I’m feeling happier with how I look, I’m no longer constantly in a bad mood. I used to get up in the morning, look at myself in the mirror and hate the way I looked. Now I get up, look in the mirror and think, “I feel really good about myself”. That puts me in a great mood.

I can get into 30in jeans and wear medium T-shirts again when I had been in extra large T-shirts and 36in jeans for a number of years. I’ve started playing rugby again. My whole family life has changed and I’m doing more things with my children. I’m not going to the park, running 50 metres and then being completely out of breath. It has had such a great impact on me. The physical changes have been fantastic but the real benefit has been a mental one – feeling good about myself and knowing that I could achieve something.

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