Actress Catherine Tyldesley has sculpted her best-ever body at Ultimate Performance Manchester.
Since overcoming obesity in her teenage years, the former Coronation Street has always looked after herself, eaten healthily and stayed in shape.
A long-time U.P. client, Catherine wanted to really challenge herself and take on a 12-week transformation and see what she could achieve.
She had been struggling with a long-term glute and hamstring injury from the birth of her son, Alfie, and looking to add some definition to her figure and get in the best shape possible.
Training hard and consistently with the goal of getting more definite and feminine curves like Jennifer Lopez and Eva Mendez, produced some incredible results.
She is stronger than ever, she has overcome her injury and got the tight and toned body she thought she had lost after becoming a mum.
“Yes, I wanted to drop a bit of weight, but it wasn’t really about the weight loss, it was about the challenge and about being stronger than I ever have been before
“This is going to sound really cheesy, but I honestly think this 12-week transformation has given me a new lease of life. Genuinely.
“I feel more energised and stronger, mentally and physically, than I have done in such a long time. I’ve just loved every second of it.”
Here Catherine explains the training program she followed to get in stunning shape, why weight training is as good for mental health as it is for fat loss, and how pushing herself has helped her develop a steely and confident mindset.
What motivated you to start this transformation?
I’ve been training with U.P. for quite a while now. I do like to physically challenge myself, but I’ve never actually pushed myself to do a 12-week transformation.
Every time I came in, I was looking at all the amazing photographs of all the clients that have been there and done that, and I thought ‘I’m just going to push myself that little bit further and see what happens.’
Especially because I’d had a bit of an injury over Christmas and I’d felt like I’d put a bit of weight on, and I wasn’t feeling as strong as I used to.
So, I did it and I’ve loved every single second of it.
How did you step up your training for your 12 weeks?
‘Evil Steve’ just got more evil. We had done 13 weeks of rehab on an old injury. So I was so ready to train properly again.
It was hard from the beginning, but the stronger I got, the more he pushed me, the more he increased my calories, the better I felt, the stronger I felt.
Whenever I left the gym, even if I was in a bad mood coming in, I always left in a good mood and felt so much better.
I think I got quite competitive with how much I was lifting. So every time it got a bit heavier, I was like ‘yes!’ It’s just such a buzz.
What areas did you really focus on?
For me, because my injury was on my glute and hamstring, I really wanted to strengthen that up. It was something that had really bothered me since I gave birth really. Something went wrong there and I had constant pain shooting down my hamstring.
But with Steve’s help, we’ve completely rectified that and my legs are stronger than ever now.
That has probably been the biggest difference for me.
Also, when you either lose a lot of weight or when you’ve been pregnant, sometimes you can have a lot of loose skin on your stomach and things don’t necessarily ping back.
But training with Steve, I think my stomach actually looks better than it did before I had Alfie, which is just wonderful. Evil Steve is a miracle worker!
How hard has your trainer, Steve, pushed you through the 12 weeks?
Steve pushed me really hard over the transformation.
There were several moments when I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore’. But he gives you that encouragement and that motivation non-stop.
I did surprise myself massively. I am a bit of a girly girl, but when I get in the gym, I’m hardcore now.
I feel like Steve has really inspired me and helped me to realise that I can go that extra mile, when I think I can’t do anymore, I can.
You do absolutely get a buzz from the training here.
What’s your relationship like with Steve and how does he help you inside and outside of the gym?
Steve has just been the most patient man. He is there for me 24/7. If I’m out and about and getting food on the run, and I’m not sure what I should be eating, I know I can text him.
A lot of the time I feel like I have that knowledge for myself, but if I’m stuck with anything, or if I’m in a hotel, for example, and I’m stuck for what to do in the gym, he will whizz over a little program for me.
It is just invaluable. He is just amazing. There are times throughout the session when I hate him a little bit, but I know he’s doing it for the greater good and he’s pushing me that little bit further.
I think when you train on your own, you don’t necessarily go that extra mile, whereas Steve will always get that extra rep.
When you think you can’t do it, it’s such a buzz when you actually do it. He is a phenomenal trainer. The results that that guy gets are just amazing.
How does challenging yourself in the gym impact other areas of your life?
For me, I thrive off challenging myself, and it has been difficult.
There are days when I wake up and think ‘I really don’t want to train today’. Or, and I’m sure other women can identify, there are certain times of the month where you’re retaining a lot of water, you feel bloated, so it’s the last thing you want to do.
But, actually, they are the days when you push yourself that make the difference physically and mentally. They really help you here with that.
I think with a lot of personal trainers they wouldn’t necessarily look at hormones, whereas U.P. encompass everything and cater to the individual.
Hormones are a massive part of things, especially for women. My hormones during the 12 weeks have really levelled out.
They were a little bit ‘kookoo’ before this, but changing my food slightly and taking supplements when needed has really helped.
I’m not quite as psychotic at certain times of the month now!
What makes the training at U.P. so effective?
The training that you do in that hour is set up so you’re getting the most from that hour.
The trainers here are like no other trainers. They are so educated and they continue to learn.
They are constantly learning about everything – about nutrition, about training, about hormones, about blood work. It’s so fine-tuned that you don’t need to spend hours at the gym.
How easy was it to balance the transformation with family life and work commitments?
The beauty of it is with U.P., is that you are utilising your time at the gym so much better.
Before I started training at U.P., I would literally spend two hours at the gym, just doing cardio, and not really knowing what I was doing.
I was bored to tears and just going about things the wrong way, when actually weightlifting, in terms of body composition, is the best thing you can do.
I think there’s a misconception that weightlifting is going to make you look manly, or you’re going to be too ‘bulky’. But I don’t think I am. I’ve still kept my curves.
You haven’t lost a lot of weight but your body composition has really changed, what are your thoughts on this?
I think people get obsessed with how much they weigh. I don’t weigh myself. I go off measurements and how my clothes feel.
If you’re gaining lean muscle mass and dropping body fat, your weight on the scales might go up or stay the same. Again, for girls, at certain times of the month, I can go up 5lbs and it’s all water.
I think it’s looking at the bigger picture. Scales don’t always tell you exactly what’s going on.
When did you start seeing the benefits of resistance training when you first started at U.P.?
I started seeing the benefits of resistance training and weight lifting more or less straight away, especially up here (mentally).
With cardio, that is like taking a glass of calories and emptying it out. That’s it. That’s all your getting rid of.
Whereas, with weight training you carry on burning calories when your session has finished as you’re building lean muscle mass.
So, therefore, you’re going to drop body fat, which makes so much more sense than just forever doing cardio.
I do feel if you want to ‘tone up’ or have more definition, weightlifting is 100% the way to go.
What are the mental health benefits of doing weights you have found?
I feel so much more confident. Generally, I wear a one-piece on the beach. But I wore a bikini last time we went on holiday and it was the best I’d felt in ages.
I am still a mum. Yes, I’ve still got a few stretch marks and there are certain bits that are still a bit wobbly, but I feel like I’ve done the best I could do and I feel super confident. That, for me, is just priceless.
How much of a difference does it make now knowing the training that works to shape your body?
I feel a lot more confident in my ability to train on my own because I know how to lift properly, I know what I should and shouldn’t be doing, and, as an individual, I know what works best for my body.
So, that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
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