37-year-old Joan tells Men’s Health how relocating and starting a new chapter in his life led to a physical—and mental—transformation.
The same as many people over the last year, our lives were hit hard by lockdown. We were stuck at home, having to work remotely, and due to a huge increase in workload, I was frequently working late hours, while also helping to take care of our daughter, who was seven months old at the time. That means I wasn’t doing any exercise at all, despite trying a couple of times. This lack of activity, combined with a bad diet and drinking alcohol a few times a week, led to me being in pretty bad shape.
I wasn’t feeling good at all, and I didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was noticeably more tired, and it was hard for me to wake up every morning. Around that time, my company decided to open an office in Dubai. I decided to move there with my family; I saw this as a life change, and a great opportunity to work on myself. I really wanted to get fit and feel good again.
I knew that this would be a major challenge, and that I needed someone to help with this journey. I also know myself, and that I need someone to help keep me motivated. I signed up with Ultimate Performance Dubai, and my trainer Giorgio was the perfect companion on this journey; he understood me from the very beginning. My stress levels were high due to work, and I realized that my training sessions could be a time for myself, to forget about work problems and focus just on me.
I changed everything; my diet, my exercise routine, my daily activity, even my sleeping habits. And I learned so much, the first thing being that in order to make a change, diet is extremely important, as is how much you move each day, and finally, consistency in your training. Ultimate Performance has an app that helps me check my daily progress, and Giorgio designed a diet specifically for me. This way, I was able to understand exactly what is happening to my body, and how easily food and exercise affect my progress.
I started losing around 1 kg per week. Some weeks I struggled, like over Christmas, but thanks to Giorgio we kept going and didn’t lose the progress I had made. In the span of 15 weeks, my body was completely different. I lost 13 kgs (29 pounds), and my body fat has dropped from 22.6 percent to 11.6 percent.
I felt like a new person, not only because my physical appearance changed, but also my sleep improved, and I generally felt much better. I was more confident, felt better equipped to manage work stress, and as I now lived away from my family, was making more of an effort to call my sisters and catch up with friends. I learned just how important it is to take care of yourself, and if you’re good to yourself, you’ll be good with the people you love.
After my transformation, I have been discussing what to do next with Giorgio. I’ve maintained my weight at 71.6 kgs (175 pounds) for a few months, and now I’m training hard to grow some more muscle.
To anybody who is just getting started, the most important thing I can say is you can do it. No matter what your situation or starting point, you can do this. I won’t lie, it’s not easy, but with persistence and dedication, it’s something anyone can achieve. There will be ups and downs, as with everything in life, but keep in mind that with every day, you are getting closer to your goals.
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