I was always one of those people who could eat whatever I wanted and never put on weight but, I was a bit scrawny, with no muscle.
For most of my teenager years and in my 20’s I was quite active – I competed at a high level in Ballroom and Latin American DanceSport competitions, training 5 days a week, for 4+ hours a night. So I was quite aerobically fit and lean.
Once I retired from the sport, I discovered the party scene – I was out clubbing every weekend, drinking a lot, making bad choices with food and I was burning the candle at both ends. But I stayed ‘slim’ (clubbing is cardio right?). Once I got in to my mid 30’s I took up swimming, as I wanted to stay fit and started to become more conscious of my health. I swam 4kms a morning, 3-4 times a week with a swimming squad. So I was relatively in shape.
I also joined a gym and got myself a personal trainer to start doing some weights – nothing too extreme, just enough to keep me fit and looking reasonably good. I even went to a naturopath who helped clean up my diet. So I was feeling like I was more on top of my health. I drastically reduced the amount of sugar and carbs I ate and I would lean down a bit when summer drew closer or if I had a beach holiday to go, but never really got to where I wanted to get to. I bought a bike and tried cycling and a bit of running, as I thought cardio was the answer to everything.
But once I hit 40 (2 years ago), keeping in shape became harder and harder. My weight would fluctuate. Most people would say I looked good, but I hid it well. I would be embarrassed to go to the beach or a public pool with my friends, as I didn’t look as fit as the crowd who regularly go there.
I started to blow out. I carried weight around my stomach and I developed ‘love handles’, like most guys my age. I found it hard to stick to any type of ‘diet’ as nothing seemed to be maintainable.
I thought I was being healthy during the week. I was eating 2.5 meals a day: Usually a protein shake or nutri-bullet smoothie for breakfast, canned tuna with brown rice/salad for lunch and meat with veggies for dinner. I would avoid carbs at all costs. I didn’t realise I was actually under-eating. I would basically eat really well on the weekdays and then cave on the weekends with drinking and eating out a lot, to then start over again every Monday. A vicious cycle.
I realised that the problem for me was that I had no goal. I decided I needed to do something drastic if I wanted to get into shape. I had seen a friend of mine transform by taking the challenge to enter a body sculpting competition a few years ago. It was inspirational. So I decided this would be a fantastic goal for me. I figured if I did the training and had the right nutrition advice, I would learn a lot about how to eat right and how to train properly at the gym to achieve a better physique. Then after the competition, I may end up somewhere between where I was at the start of the journey and a competition fit body – a shape I would be very happy with.
I spent a good month doing some thorough research, and I’m so glad I did. I enquired at a number of gyms and PT studios. I looked at feedback on their websites, had chats with some PTs over the phone/via email and met with some in person.
Enterprise Fitness made me feel the most comfortable. Tania, who has competed herself and now works at the front desk, was really patient with me. She was very thorough and understanding of what I wanted to do. She listened! And there was no pressure. Others who I enquired with or met with were either too pushy, didn’t get what I wanted to achieve or just didn’t feel warm and welcoming. That gut feeling is important.
Enterprise Fitness is much smaller than where I’m used to training and didn’t look as ‘flashy’.
But I’ve soon realised, that what they do have is what is the most important – the best equipment that helps you get the results.
No causal users, only people working with a trainer, so rarely are you waiting for equipment.
My trainer Lewis has been fantastic. He’s quite young , which means he is up to speed with the current methods and strategies. Don’t be fooled into thinking a younger trainer isn’t experienced enough! He is extremely technical. He pushes me hard.
It’s the first time I have been really shown how to do a program with the right technique, which means I’m injury free for the first time that I can remember! Possibly most importantly, at Enterprise, the nutrition support you get is equally as valued. We sit down together and go through a meal plan (that we are constantly revising after regular measurements) and this has changed the way I think about food. It’s all extremely thorough and scientific.
What’s more, is that it feels like a bit of a family at the studio.
Other trainers get involved where necessary and offer tips. They all work together. You feel like they all care about your journey and all want to help you.
The owner Mark Ottobre, is also very friendly and engaging. From day one he came and introduced himself and assisted with technique in the first session. He still now offers advice and tips on training, nutrition, supplements etc and is the first to compliment us on our progress. He genuinely cares about all of the clients. He’s a real hands on business owner who is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the industry.
It’s been 14 weeks now since I started and not only do I look much better and feel more confident, but I also feel a million dollars. I’ve lost almost 6% body fat and am gaining good muscle. I’m eating 6 meals a day, but still shedding fat.
I can really see now, how little I used to eat!
I don’t crave sugar anymore, now that I have been off it for so long. After about 4 weeks I didn’t miss it much at all. I’m not really drinking alcohol anymore, apart from the occasional treat on special occasions. The food is the most challenging part of this journey; social events can be really hard. It takes a lot of self-control to say no. But once I leave the event, and am on the way home in the car, I’m always so proud of myself for not slipping. Once you start seeing results, it becomes addictive and you don’t want to deviate away from your meal plan anyway.
Yes you have to make some sacrifices, but if you really and truly want results, that’s what is needed.
One of the great things about this journey is that my partner also agreed to take part. This makes things like meal times so much easier. I don’t think I would cope nearly as well, if it was just me doing this without support, while my partner was eating pizza next to me! It also means that we can motivate each other to get to the gym – we can lift the other one up when we are feeling flat and we are quite competitive, so that’s always a bit of fun in our PT sessions. I highly recommend having a friend or partner who is going through the same journey with you – the support is really helpful.
I also started an Instagram account to keep myself accountable and to be able to look back on how far I’ve come. It will be great to look back on in years to come. It’s also nice to share my journey with other over 40 year olds, who think it’s too late to start. You’re never too old!
My first competition will be in May this year. I can’t wait!
If you’d like to follow my journey on Insta, find me on: @fit_az_40plus
Thank you to the team at Enterprise Fitness – you’ve really helped me get back my confidence!