Gary, 43, proved that self-belief, total commitment and the right plan will give you the results you want
I’m one of these guys who can put weight on quite easily. When I was younger I was never big. I was into sports but as you get older, that slides away. I had been to the gym on and off over the years but one day at work I realised I was breathing heavier than I should be going up some stairs and that’s what made me want to do something about it.
You don’t realise the shape you’re in because you’re living day to day. Your mind is telling you that you’re 21 but you just become this middle-aged man all of a sudden. Jon’s story rang really true. He’s not that much younger than me and he’s a dad. I looked at the plan and it all seemed very achievable. I’m 43 now and I almost felt like this was a last chance saloon. I didn’t want to be fat and 50. So I thought, go for it. What have you got to lose? And my two boys are proper boys. They’re into everything and they’re good fun and as a dad I knew that I wouldn’t be doing the right thing by them if I was too fat and lazy to go and have a kick-about in the garden.
I was a member of the local gym but I had always been upstairs in the cardio area. Going downstairs to the weights room was intimidating. But you go in and do your thing and nobody’s interested in what you’re doing.
I was quite surprised about how quickly I felt the benefits of the training. It was pretty much the first few days. I felt better instantly and getting a sweat on was really empowering. I took a photo every two weeks and after the first two weeks my wife said, “you know what, you can see it already”. But it wasn’t just physical. My sleeping was starting to improve. My job can be high-pressured and I feel that my concentration is better.
The first time I did the prowler push fat loss finisher, I was breathing heavily after three rounds. But I got to ten rounds and the endorphins were going crazy because I had such a sense of achievement. I was so determined that it wasn’t going to beat me. I knew the final two weeks of the plan were going to be intense but it was also exciting. And by that time I had strength that I didn’t even realise I had. If you had asked me to do the final week’s workouts, with the prowlers and battle ropes, in week 1 I’d have curled up into a ball and given up. But in week 8 I did it and felt great.
I surprised myself in the end. My chest is defined, my shoulders are bigger than they’ve ever been. So now I’m thinking, if this is how I look after eight weeks, what am I going to look like after eight months? It has had a positive impact on my family too. My wife is going to the gym again and she’s trying to get fitter as well. My boys know about the gym and my eldest boy is really into his mountain biking so my plan is to get this healthy element into all of our lives so it stays with us.
I know it gets harder as you get older to get in shape, but I was really committed – and it doesn’t take much to keep going because you do start to feel the effects pretty quickly. And then you can’t get enough. It’s almost like a drug. I couldn’t wait to get back to the gym.
I’ve found a love of training again. When I was a young man I was active and played football, but then girls and alcohol get in the way. You get to a point where life creeps up on you and you don’t realise that the young man who was looking back at you in the mirror is now an older guy.
For anyone who wants to get in shape, I’d say don’t put any pressure on yourself. If you want it, give it a shot. You don’t have to be an experienced gym-goer. Just find somewhere you’re comfortable. Gyms can be intimidating if you haven’t been before but don’t put pressure on yourself or be self-conscious. You’ve just got to believe that you can change your life and see where that takes you.