If you want to transform your health, your appearance and your life, then go all-out!
This is what Panos did and his body transformation results after 20 weeks of working with Ultimate Performance were astonishing.
The London accountant was ready to make a big change in his life and wanted to turn his health around after years of doing an inactive desk job, no exercise for over 15 years and smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
That’s exactly what he did – and 20 weeks later he is 16kg (35lbs) lighter, leaner than he’s ever been and with a physique that would be the envy of most men half his age.
Incredibly, Panos managed to quit his 20-year smoking habit after just one training session at UP with no nicotine patches or help from e-cigarettes.
Panos’ transformation journey at UP has helped him achieve the complete 180-degree lifestyle change he was looking for.
He now knows about nutrition and exercise and how combined together effectively, they can improve the way you look, the way you feel and the way you perform at work.
Panos says he is stronger and fitter in the gym, and better and more mentally sharp in the office.
Here he explains why his transformation was such a success in helping him achieve the results he wanted…
What inspired you to come to UP and start a transformation?
At the start of 2017, I felt that I had reached the most unfit level I had ever been in and my weight was at its highest level. I was in my 20th year of smoking about a packet of Marlboro lights a day, I used to drink alcohol at levels which were above those recommended by doctors, I was physically very inactive and generally, I was getting tired quite easily and my lifestyle was overall unhealthy.
I decided that it was time to take action. I wanted to feel healthier, less fat, more fit, more energetic and at the same I wanted to improve the way I looked and generally see what I could achieve by having the right guidance, dedication and self-discipline whilst having a very busy professional life and other personal commitments.
I saw the ‘before and after’ results of other UP clients in a magazine and after considering other options as well, I decided that I had to give the UP programme a go because it looked exciting and promising.
Had you done any training before?
The last time I went to the gym was over 15 years ago, but without the guidance you get at UP, the transformation I saw over three months then was not comparable to the changes I managed to see here even in the first two weeks.
The guided exercise and balanced nutrition I was given by Simon, my personal trainer, were much more instrumental in me losing a significant amount of weight and body fat and making an overall lifestyle change than what I did on my own 15 years ago when I was younger, and change was supposedly easier to get at that younger age.
How tough did you find training at UP?
Very tough, especially at the start of my training program
In the questionnaire I completed before I started at UP, there was a question about what I wanted to achieve. I responded that I wanted to be pushed to the limit and generally achieve the best we could during the program.
That’s what we did. From the very first session, and in every training session thereafter, Simon has been pushing me to the limit and he never backed down with my early-day hypochondriac comments about whether I was about to have a heart attack! Simon knew that I was feeling tired in a manner that I had not experienced before due to my previous inactive and unhealthy lifestyle and my smoking habit.
I realised from the very first session that this program would be something that would be absolutely worth it. The training felt absolutely spot on throughout and targeted to my needs.
How long had you smoked for? How had it affected you?
I had been smoking for 20 years. I was smoking about 20 cigarettes a day. I knew that at some point I had to stop, but I never realised how much damage it was doing to my energy levels and my breathing.
In the very first session at UP, I realised that the level of exhaustion I felt was not just down to being completely unfit and having extra fat, but that smoking was a significant contributor to it.
I therefore decided that I had to quit smoking there and then. Quitting smoking ended up being less difficult than I thought it would have been because I had replaced a bad habit with a number of good things, such as exercising, walking more, eating better, etc. So I never really missed smoking in any particular way.
What kind of shape were you in before you came to UP?
Terrible! Just look at the ‘before’ pictures! I had excessive fat and I was very unfit and physically inactive. I was spending hours and hours sitting down in the office. I would get tired very easily. Generally, I was in a bad shape due to my unhealthy lifestyle.
What was your diet and lifestyle like before you started your transformation with UP?
My diet before starting my transformation with UP was generally uncontrollable in the sense that I would eat food without considering whether healthier options may be available or whether I was getting all of the nutrients that I should be getting.
I was skipping breakfast and I would generally have two large meals a day, lunch and dinner, and many snacks in between meals (generally chocolates, biscuits and other sweets).
Water intake was very low (less than a litre a day) and weekly alcohol intake was above recommended levels.
As I said earlier, I used to smoke a lot and I was physically very inactive.
My lifestyle was generally overall unhealthy.
How did that change when you came to UP? How quickly did you start to see results?
Coming to UP made a significant change to my lifestyle from very early on.
The nutrition and training plans that my trainer Simon put together for me, throughout the program, were specific to me and following these plans and Simon’s guidance on exercise technique, resulted in visible changes from the first two weeks without wasting valuable time.
When at the end of the second week into the program we took the first ‘after’ pictures – because we take pictures and measurements every two weeks to see what progress is like -– the transformation was a huge surprise to me.
It was visible (and my measurements proved that) that inflammation and belly fat had significantly reduced. That was the biggest immediate change.
Another immediate change, as I said earlier, was my decision to quit smoking immediately so that I could cope better with the overall training program and especially the cardio kind of exercises we do.
Overall, my lifestyle was now at its healthiest level for the first time in years.
What has made the biggest change for you?
Everything was a change. It was a whole lifestyle change.
Quitting smoking and replacing it with exercise.
Moving from a very inactive to a very active lifestyle, realising what it means to actually feel physically tired and the amount of effort required to achieve changes.
My eating habits moved from eating uncontrollably without thinking whether what I was eating was good for me, to eating more systematically taking into account nutrition elements and quantities.
I realised the importance of cooking your own food because you know exactly what you put in it.
Everything was a lifestyle change.
How has the change in diet made you feel?
Initially I was worried that the diet would make me feel constantly hungry. However,
I actually felt I was eating more food than before because (1) I was eating more systematically, (2) I was eating 4 times a day two and (3) what I was eating was nutritionally better and healthier.
As a result, I was feeling healthier; I had more energy, and my sleep improved as well. In terms of work, I felt I could think better and more quickly.
It was overall a positive change.
How does it feel when you’ve done a hard session at UP?
Absolutely worth it. Despite being pushed to limits I did now know I had there was never a time I left UP feeling I wish I hadn’t come. On the contrary, I would feel proud of what I had achieved at each session at UP.
How motivating is it to see the pictures every week and seeing the body fat coming off?
To a large extent, it’s what kept me going because they are the most visible and objective measures of progress.
Many people will say one of the main reasons they wanted to go to the gym and have a better diet is to have a healthier lifestyle. That was the same for me.
But at the same time, what is more evident is the change that you see in pictures. Seeing the statistics on how my body fat was dropping and how my body mass was going up and the changes in different parts of my body, together with the pictures; it was really motivating and definitely contributed to keeping me going.
What were your results like after your transformation?
I personally never believed that I could have achieved what has been achieved in such a short time period.
My body fat percentage dropped from 28.9% to 8.8%.
Also, other than the visible results from my ‘before and after’ pictures, I feel much more energetic, positive and happier and generally I feel that my previous lifestyle is a distant memory.
Does it surprise you how different you look now compared to when you started?
Yes. As I said earlier, I never thought I would be able to achieve the changes I have achieved in this short period of time.
I was thinking the same thing two weeks ago, four weeks ago and six weeks ago. Every two weeks I keep surprising myself.
That’s why I decided to continue training with UP because I want to see what more can be achieved going forward.
What has surprised you the most about doing this journey?
The importance of nutrition was the first and biggest thing that surprised me. It’s very easy for many people to assume that the change can be achieved through exercise alone.
But you can’t continue eating the potentially unhealthy food you’re eating without changing some of your nutrition to achieve better results.
The second thing was the exercise itself. If I had to do this on my own, I wouldn’t know where to focus on, which exercises I should be doing and whether I’m doing these exercises correctly.
On Day 1 at UP, my trainer Simon asked me to do a few exercises to see how my body moved and see where my weakest muscle groups were and we focussed on those. That also contributed to seeing some changes faster.
Also, I would never have known the difference it makes (and how much time you can save by) using the correct technique in all exercises.
What have been the biggest benefits you’ve found?
Energy. I have much more energy. It’s one of the biggest benefits I’ve found.
Also, in terms of UP’s approach, it was knowing that you’re in good hands, that you’ve got a personal trainer who knows what he is doing and is going to give you a training and nutrition plan that is specific to you. That he is going to push you to limits you originally thought were not your limits (where you thought you were going to have a heart attack)!.
It was also the targeted exercise. Everything is under the guidance of a professional, which will help you achieve your results in a faster pace.
What were the most important things you learned during your journey and what really worked for you in helping you make your transformation?
During my journey the most important things I learned were that:
(a) There is a real value in having a personal trainer that knows what they are doing, understands your body type and objectives and is someone that you can trust and work well with;
(b) Exercise and nutrition complement each other and they have to be specific to your body type and your specific needs; and
(c) Technique is important to avoid wasting valuable time.
What really worked for me in helping me make my transformation were:
(a) The fact that my trainer Simon was exceptional throughout which helped me completely trust him from the beginning and follow both the training and nutrition requirements he gave me, almost (I am human after all!) to the letter.
(b) The relatively regular measurements of key things (e.g. body fat) and the ‘before and after’ pics during the program to monitor progress, which were helping my motivation levels.
(c) The constant push and encouragement from Simon and the UP team at the London City gym; they really are a fantastic team!
(d) My wife’s, my friends’ and my colleagues’ positive reactions and comments as I was transforming throughout this program.
Would you recommend UP to other people?
I would absolutely recommend UP.
I fully agree with UP’s motto “Results, not promises” because this is what I feel UP achieved with me to date and this is why I decided to continue training with UP.
As I said earlier, I never expected that I could have achieved the results that I have achieved in such a short time period.
I believe that the biggest changes come from the targeted guidance a personal trainer can give you. I think that unlike any other personal trainers, one of the benefits UP brings together is that they are a large number of personal trainers who share their knowledge and experience with each other, they learn from each other and then incorporate what they learn into their clients’ programs, and helping them, in this way, achieve changes at a much faster pace in a way that’s targeted to them.
I believe that UP can be hugely beneficial to anyone that is interested in improving their lifestyle and physique but especially for people who have not done much exercise before or they don’t have the expertise or knowledge to do this by themselves.
UP is the perfect place for them to come and achieve the changes they want to achieve.
If you’re inspired by Panos’ transformation, get incredible results of your own with one of our Personal Training Plans – BOOK A CONSULT NOW!