Age means nothing.
If you want to achieve the ideal body, there’s nothing standing in your way.
Business owner Angela Middleton has turned back the clock and sculpted a stunning figure at the age of 55.
CEO Angela trained weights just three times a week and balanced her diet to make this incredible transformation.
Just 10 months before, she had struggled to counter hormonal weight gain.
But strength training, the right nutrition and optimising her sleep and activity levels have given her a physique she hardly believed possible.
“I started weight training at UP Fitness following a recommendation from my son – my previous regime wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.
“Ten months later, I’ve lost 10kg – and the dreaded tummy roll – and gained a six-pack. At 5ft 2in, I now weigh 7st 5lb, eat 2,000 calories a day, including carbs, fat and protein, and I am in better shape than I was even in my twenties.
“It’s a really lovely surprise to look in the mirror every day, as opposed to what had been happening to me for the last few years where I’d think ‘It’s all downhill. My body is changing and not in a good way and I’m not happy with it.’
“Whereas now I’m thinking ‘my body is changing and I’m really happy with it,'” added Angela who marked the culmination of her journey with a full professional photoshoot.
Angela says her transformation has benefitted her in her role as a leading CEO of MiddletonMurray, a leading apprenticeships and training company.
“I’m an advocate for the mantra that a healthy body supports a healthy mind and this crosses over into your working life as well.
“Gaining abs is not a vanity project, I have renewed vigour to come to work every day and motivate my team. My transformation shows that a body transformation is possible with even the busiest of schedules. If I can do it, so can you.”
Gaining back control over hormonal weight gain…
Angela, who broadcasts a first careers podcast series iwant2ba, first came to UP after finding herself gaining weight around the time she turned 50 due to hormonal changes.
“For a while, I had been searching for a way to get rid of the excess weight that had crept up on me over the last three or four years,” she explains.
She had long been fit and slim throughout her career and maintained a healthy size 8 figure.
“I’ve always been very active right the way through my thirties, forties and I had done all the typical things that women do; all the different cardio classes etc, as well as the less usual things like training for a marathon and boxing training for about six months.
“I did a whole variety of things and I think in my thirties and forties it enabled me to stay reasonably slim and fit, because I’ve always socialised a lot, worked a lot and not slept very much, gone to nice restaurants, travelled and drank lots, so I’ve always managed to get away with it. I really didn’t have to think much about looking fit. I was in size 8 clothes, and everything looked fine.”
However, things changed around the time Angela turned 50, and she was finding it harder to stay in the shape she wanted.
“I suppose with hormonal changes etc., I just started to feel less and less in shape. It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get on top of it.
“I was reading everything and trying all sorts of different diets – not crash diets, I’ve always been conscious of healthy eating – but trying to control my intake. It just wasn’t working.”
Nothing she did seemed to have the desired effect and get the results she wanted.
“It was a niggling annoyance because I was having success in a lot of other areas, but this was just in the background,” she adds.
That was when she found out about the world-leading body transformation specialists Ultimate Performance.
Her son had started at UP City, had changed his diet and training and was seeing some great results.
“I started seeing him measuring his food, and suddenly he was eating different things and eating separately from us.
“Then he started to physically change right in front of us, right before my eyes. I couldn’t believe it.”
This inspired Angela to start her own body transformation journey at UP Mayfair.
Discovering the ‘secret’ of strength training…
Angela had always been conscious about her health and fitness – but strength training was something she’d never done before.
She’d previously been to a ‘celebrity’ personal trainer but had only ever done light weights – something that will only burn calories rather than stimulating lean muscle growth to bring about the big changes in body composition she has now achieved.
“That had been my only exposure to weights – that, and in boot camp lifting maybe 5kg was the maximum I’d ever lifted. Even that felt really hard. I never contemplated lifting heavier weights than that.”
Now Angela understands the benefits of lifting weights for women of any age – but when she first started at UP it seemed quite daunting and alien.
“For me, it was really scary. I tend to be confident and walk in anywhere, do presentations in front of hundreds of people and not be phased by it, but I walked in here, and my initial impression was that it’s all great big muscly guys lifting heavy weights and I just felt really small and inadequate and pathetic.
“It was scary at the beginning.”
But it soon became clear the benefits of weight training and the speed at which change could happen when done correctly and progressively.
“I didn’t know anything about the benefits of lifting weights until I started to do it.
“Once I started to do it, then I started to read up on it, then I read up on all the benefits of it for strengthening your bones, and the fact that you would use much larger muscle groups and that could consequently enable you to burn fat quicker, and it would help your posture and all these great things.
Once she experienced the benefits of lifting weights for eliciting dramatic body composition changes, strength and fat loss, Angela was hooked.
“I found myself listening to podcasts with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tim Ferris and really getting a lot more interested in it and being able to see beyond the superficial image of weightlifting and bodybuilding, which for me was just tans and weirdly-built individuals eating just egg whites and things.
“Now I understand there’s a lot more to it than that and it’s probably not given the kudos it should be really in the fitness world from a layman’s perspective.”
The watershed moment Angela started getting results…
Angela admits that her first eight weeks were actually quite slow progress until she stepped it up a gear and dedicated herself wholly to the process alongside her trainer Harry.
“We sat and had a chat. I said to him ‘I don’t think I can achieve those transformations’.
“He said ‘I really think you can, but I just don’t know that you will.’
“I think he got my psychology then. He knew what buttons to press, and I thought ‘yes I bloody will! Okay, I’ll do what you say and then we’ll see what happens!’
This was the moment that Angela started seeing real results. She was eating everything right, following the macronutrient guidelines and putting 100% effort into every training session.
“I really started to get excellent results from the beginning of January onwards.
“It was really motivating. Suddenly, I start to think ‘Wow! I can get control back over my body!’
“Because what happened round about that turning 50, I went and had my hormones checked and the doctor said ‘well, you’re 50 now, so you’re going to see changes’.
“Then I was trying all these different types of exercise and diets – I even went vegetarian for six months.
“Because nothing was working, I was almost starting to resign myself to the fact I’ve had my best physical years now, and it’s something you just have to resign yourself to.
“I love fashion, and I love buying lovely clothes, and it was just a real niggle that they weren’t quite looking how I wanted them to.
“What was so motivating was that once I started to follow these directions, to the letter, then my body started to change. It was just brilliant to look in the mirror and think ‘wow! I’ve got control back now. That looks better!
“And feeling so much better, feeling more energetic and stronger was really motivating and still is, to get to the next level.”
Looking and feeling 30 years younger…
It’s often the case that women look at fitness magazines or see the results that Ultimate Performance help clients achieve and think ‘I can’t achieve this’.
Angela was in that same mindset. But with determination, consistency and hard work with her training and nutrition, she has exceeded every target she set.
“Now I’ve got more targets I want to achieve, so I don’t know where it will stop, but I just really like doing the training now.
“It is transformative. Literally, now my body is the same size, dimensions and probably looks better than when I was mid-twenties before I had children.
“It feels a lot stronger. It probably looks similar, but it’s actually more defined and toned and stronger.
“I never would have believed that not only would I hit those goals but that I could have ended up with a body that looks better than it did.”
Yes, Angela is 55 – but age doesn’t matter – seeing what can be achieved has only ignited her desire to improve her body even further.
“Now it’s funny because I’ve got that shift in mindset where I believe it can look better than it does now.
“Whereas before, when I had that talk with Harry and said ‘I don’t think I can achieve this’, I actually do believe I can achieve even better than that now.
“It’s great. You get the results so quickly once you put your mind to it.
“I know, talking to other women and clients here, there’s no-one that’s not had those similar kinds of experiences. I think it’s because it’s the holistic approach.”
Harnessing the power to achieve any goal…
Strength training is now a part of Angela’s life and integral to maintaining a youthful body and mind.
Lifting weights and feeling strong has been a game-changer for her.
“It just makes you feel very pleased with yourself and very confident.
“I’m very motivated to get things done and I’m a strong believer that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
“But this little bit was missing, for some reason, and it seems to have completed the picture in my life actually. Because I didn’t realise it was niggling away, but it really was.
“So if you’re going to get up and present, or you’re going to be on TV, I’d be thinking ‘should I put that on, or is that going to make me look fat?’
“Whereas now, that issue has been eliminated. I don’t even think about it.
“It makes you feel like you can accomplish things and that’s been a significant change for me.
“It’s made me realise that in six months that you can really change things that you thought you couldn’t.”
The diet that changed Angela’s body…
One of the big things Angela has taken from the process is the education on nutrition.
Understanding about diet, what works for her body and how to use food to improve her figure, her health and her productivity outside of the gym.
“I thought I was pretty au fait with food and healthy eating. I was in terms of healthy eating, but not in terms of the impact of fitness – so the composition of your food, the type of macros, when to eat, and portion sizes.
“So, when I started to measure what I was eating, I couldn’t believe how much I was eating compared to what my trainer said.”
Small changes in her diet made a big difference to her body. It’s not that Angela was eating things that were drastically unhealthy before coming to UP, but now she knows the exact food and calorie levels to optimise her progress.
Before she would eat a very carb-heavy diet, low in protein – eating takeout noodles, pasta and green juices.
Now her diet is much more balanced and designed for optimal body composition – lots of chicken, fish, steak, eggs and vegetables, along with healthy fats from nuts, butter ghee and MCT oil.
It has brought about big changes in her eating habits which have helped her achieve the results she wanted.
“The big thing for me was that I love pasta and wine. Or I used to. So I would eat that as default four or five times a week. So that was probably the hardest thing.
“The second thing was I used to like flat whites; milky coffee. But now I just have espresso.
“I used to like wine. Now I don’t really drink wine; I drink G&T, if I drink. It’s those kinds of things I’ve changed.
“In terms of the volume of eating, you eat a lot and you eat frequently, so I never miss breakfast now. I always have a snack, then lunch, then something else in the afternoon before dinner. I’m eating five times a day.
“I’m very aware of the macros. I think I’ve become a bit of a macro bore.”
Part of the UP process is becoming more intuitive about how food makes you feel – and which foods make you energised and productive throughout the day.
“I’ve always been fairly energetic. But that’s more mind over matter. Now I naturally feel more energetic.”
Becoming better in business…
It’s not just her body that has been transformed by her diet – Angela says it has had a positive benefit on her role as CEO of a large business.
“It has definitely carried over into business because it has inspired all my staff to get involved.
“We’ve just initiated this ‘Million Step A Day Challenge’. I’ve got over 100 staff, so we agreed we would donate some money to Cancer Research if all 100 of them did 10,000 steps a day.”
The 10,000 steps a day concept is a significant one – it’s the daily activity level we recommend to all clients to help speed up their calorie burn and fat loss which falls under the umbrella of ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis’ (NEAT for short).
“So 10,000 steps a day to me was an alien concept; it’s another thing that Harry was saying ‘you’re going to have to be more active’.
“And I was thinking ‘10,000 steps a day!? That’s a lot of walking.’ But now, to me, that’s easy. I would just build that into my day, naturally.”
“It’s had a massive impact on my life.”
Angela says her social life has changed as a result of her time at UP and the choices she now makes to maintain her optimum health.
“Definitely as you get older, especially in business, what you realise, unless you’re not conscious about it, is that all your socialising revolves around eating and drinking.
“That’s why people are out of shape when they get to my age. Now being conscious of it, I can avoid that.”
Angela explains that taking on a new challenge and learning a new discipline was a timely reminder that you can progress and develop, whatever your age or experience.
“I was in danger of forgetting what it felt like to not be able to do something.
“We’re never fully confident and able to do everything, and you can always learn and make really significant changes in your life no matter where you are in it.”
Completing such an incredible transformation has changed everything for Angela.
“It’s given me a new lease of life really because I think ‘I’m now 55, but there are huge amounts more I want to do.
“When I listen to the likes of Pete Diamandis who says he believes life expectancy could be 700 for those of us who do all the right biohacking things.
“Maybe I might live until I’m 150, who knows?
“In which case I’m just a third the way through my life. I’m really glad I got the strength and energy to do whatever life throws at me in the next few years.”