“The results far exceeded my expectations”

Mark, 50, realised that the key to getting in shape was being honest with himself and committing to the plan

I had been going to the gym for many years and I’d had personal trainers. Nothing seemed to work. But when I saw Jon’s New Body Plan transformation I thought, there’s got to be something to this so I gave it a go. You see other people going to the gym and they don’t change, but here was someone who has actually done it. I felt motivated from seeing that it could be done. I thought I might lose a couple of kilos, tone up a little bit. But I thought, how much can you really do in eight weeks? As it turns out, quite a lot.

My first reactions were that I loved it and I didn’t find it too challenging. I noticed changes around the third or fourth week. I was taking a progress photo every two weeks, and it was after four weeks that I really started to notice a change. When I finished the plan I decided to get a spray tan before taking a progress photo. When I saw the difference, I was blown away. I was really chuffed. When I went for my spray tan, a lady from the gym was there and when I came out without my shirt on she said, “oh my God, you’ve got pecs!”

At my gym one of the trainers asked me if he could post my pictures on his website. So many people at the gym commented on that Facebook post and that gave me a massive self-esteem boost. I would never ordinarily go outside without a shirt on but now I’m quite comfortable doing that. That’s huge from a self-confidence point of view. It really has been a life-changer.

Staying on track
Throughout the plan I recorded everything I ate and everything I did in the gym. That made it easy to stop doing unhelpful things – “look at this week, you had a beer on Tuesday and Wednesday – what are you doing?” I’ve also got an activity tracker so it tracks my calorie burn every day. That helps if you’re trying to lose weight – a calorie deficit is a thumbs up and means you’re heading in the right direction.

Now I’m 50, I find that heavy weights can put stress on the joints, so it wasn’t about getting too big – but I’m now able to do ten chin-ups, which I never could before. So I am getting stronger.

When I go to the gym I like to get in, do my thing and go. It drives me nuts when you see guys do a half-arsed set then get on their phone for a few minutes before the next set. Regardless of your age, you have to put in the effort. That’s been the difference this time. Not only have I wanted it but I’ve been prepared to work for it. And it can be done. That was the great thing for me. If you put your mind to it, it does work.

Staying on track
My advice to someone thinking of doing the plan would be to work hard and don’t give up. And be honest with yourself. That’s the big thing. It’s OK to think, I’m going to have a bar of chocolate. But if you do, realise that you’re only cheating yourself. You’re not cheating anyone else. You’re only sabotaging your own success. If you’re happy with that, great. But if you really want to achieve this goal, have one square of chocolate and put the rest away.

I’d also advise people to avoid using scales or looking in the mirror all the time. Take a progress photo, work hard and in two weeks take another photo. That way you’ll see a difference, and that will keep you going.

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