My battle against ‘fat John’ has been won – but let’s not waste any time, here is what I’ve done:
– Lost 51lbs of body weight (226lbs to 175lbs)
– Reduced body fat by 21.6% (32% to 10.4%)
– Reduced 9” off my pant size (40” to 31”)
Those are live stats – I’m still making progress on my physique, and don’t plan on stopping. Ever.
So how did I get to the point where I needed to declare war on ‘fat John’?
I played no sports growing up – I was the guy in high school who got a report card that had the best score for every subject, but a below average score for sport. I was academic and by no means ‘sporty’. I should have realised at the time that physical activity was important… but I didn’t. I focused on my academic success while welcoming junk food into my life with open arms as a means to beat the associated stress of studying hard. After all, who wanted the added stress of having to worry about eating right?
But the nutritional failures continued beyond that point. I got into my course of choice at university but had absolutely no nutritional awareness, ate whatever and continued to overindulge in food. I still engaged in no physical activity. I just ran with each day as it came – whatever food was convenient, I ate. If I craved something, I ate it. I had absolutely no concept of proper nutrition and how to eat right.
One day, I woke up and decided I was fed up. To put it simply, I decided I needed to get my shit together. I realised that the battle had been lost for too long – I was feeling defeated by food and my own physique and this just wasn’t an option for another day. I realised eating for convenience and eating to satisfy my cravings was a sign that I had lost control. I learnt from a very young age that nobody owes you a thing, and nobody is going to hand you a goddamn thing on a silver platter. I took ownership of the fact that I had lost control, equipped myself and declared war. Control was going to be mine.
That morning when I woke up, I was truly repulsed by my body. I took a few photos and emailed it to myself (so I could delete it off my phone in case anyone ever saw it) – subject line was “before photo, take control”.
I haven’t looked back since the war against ‘fat John’ broke out. My warfare strategy has evolved and changed throughout my transformation, and the strategy will continue to evolve as I continue to improve my physique. By that I mean I have made plenty of errors along the way.
When I initially started, I did meal replacement shakes and many hours of cardio. I realised after about a week or two that this was not going to get me the physique I wanted, so I got in touch with one of Sydney’s premier PT organisations. They told me that to lose fat effectively, I needed to be gluten free, sugar free, alcohol free, no beige carbs, no dairy, avoid insulin spikes, eat meat and nuts at breakfast, cut out environmental toxins (e.g. switch to organic shampoo etc) – the list goes on. I was allowed one cheat meal per week. They also got me comfortable training with weights. Their protocol was effective at making me shed fat fast, but it was not sustainable and did not encourage me to understand nutrition properly – it was a regimented ‘clean eating’ meal plan of essentially meat and greens.
I then decided to take some time off from dedicated active fat loss transformation to finish up law school, enjoy partying at university and just enjoy not being a fatty anymore. I had a whole new wardrobe, and I felt great in my clothes. I went on a three month holiday and started my first full-time job late last year. I was loosely following ‘if it fits your macros’ / ‘flexible dieting’ in this time, but was employing a high margin of error in tracking my intake throughout.
Once I settled into my full time graduate lawyer role, I decided it was time to kick my butt into gear yet again. I reached out to another trainer in April this year who I had been following on Instagram. I knew that his style would be more aligned to my own as he practiced flexible dieting – but I wanted someone to fine tune my approach to this and fill in the gaps for me (I was essentially looking to outsource as I was too busy with work).
He didn’t tell me that I needed to restrict my lifestyle to achieve the physique I wanted – I have no food restrictions (I eat dairy, all kinds of carbs, sugar), I go out and drink etc. But I track my intake and maintain a low margin of error with my tracking. I regularly work in Quest Bars in my macros because they are a very tasty way to spend part of my macro allowance – my favourite is Peanut Butter Supreme and the Quest Cravings Protein Peanut Butter Cups (yep i’m a serious peanut butter junkie). I also love cutting up the Brownie and Cookie Dough bars, heating them slightly and mixing them with some low calorie ice cream for some fun chunky bits. Or rolling them into balls, flattening them, heating them and sandwiching some PB between them. So good!
I eat plenty of healthy foods and don’t believe flexible dieting is all about eating junk – I think it’s a more sustainable long term approach (sure counting macros is arduous, but it’s worth it). I have always focused on resistance training as I know improving your physique isn’t about losing numbers on the scale but improving body composition – so my goals have always been put in terms of my body fat percentage rather than ‘weight’.
There is one certainty today – ‘fit John’ is a dictator of his nutrition, workouts and physique. No one gets a say and he will never accept loss again. I look for success in every aspect of my life, and this is just one area I feel I can now call a success (although I am definitely not done).
Today, I am still a 24-year-old busy corporate lawyer, who is much happier than that guy who woke up and was repulsed by his own body; who understands nutrition, kills his workouts and looks forward to seeing progress.
I also created an Instagram account of my own and dubbed myself @fitlawyer. That page is by no means self-serving – I believe knowledge is power, so I’m sharing the knowledge and experience I have regarding fat loss to anyone who wants to learn from what works for me. There are 2000+ people who follow the page (it’s still growing, I can’t believe it!).
I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I am not a ‘fitness professional’ (I’m a gym junkie who just so happens to be a lawyer and was once fat!) – but my goal on that page is to motivate just one person who finds it to get started or push someone forward on another day in their own journey or clear up confusion in the areas I was confused when I started out. I have been amazed at the response to the page but I have been even more amazed by the impact I am having on my ‘real life’ friends who are also following the page – friends deciding to track their macros, eat better, start exercising and start exercising differently (i.e. using weights).
My quick tips:
Get started. Now. I know it sounds cliché, but I never thought I’d get to where I am today. But…here I am. You just need to start!
You can do it. Take control. Don’t accept another loss against yourself. You can keep telling yourself you’re fine because you aren’t going to feel like changing. Ever. Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not after X, Y or even Z significant life event. Or you can recognise you want to change and turn off the shitty autopilot on your standard life routine. I hated my autopilot mode, so I turned it off. I stopped saying I was fine and I forced myself to change. Actively turn your mind to forcing yourself and embrace that feeling of doing something different day in and day out. That feeling of force is unparalleled, it’s uncomfortable, it often sucks, but when you emerge you have emerged with power!
Dreams don’t work unless you do. I dreamt of how I wanted my physique to look at Point X. And I worked my ass off for it. You gotta put in the work. There’s no way around it, there’s no magic formula or some secret. You just need to do the work – want fat loss? A slight calorie deficit week in and week out is the way to go. Don’t rush it. Slow progress is the best progress. I went about fat loss the wrong way for so long thinking more extreme deficits and more cardio was better. No, subtle deficits are best. People want to believe there is a quick fix because that would be easy. Nothing is easy. But it’s definitely worth it!
It gets better. The hard work doesn’t end – there is no end point. You get better at what you’re doing with time and it becomes easier. Enjoy the process.
Never forget how far you’ve come. No matter how small the progress is you’re making, celebrate it. Be proud of your achievements. Own them. They are yours! You lost some body fat? Good! Take a moment to stop and recognise it. Didn’t give into that craving? Congratulate yourself. I find these practices helpful in self-motivating – something you will need to do a lot of!
Follow John on Instagram!
Team Quest – We are here for you! Share your transformations and triumphs with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email them to us at [email protected]. Remember that these transformations took hard work, discipline and a plan. Quest products are a delicious component of, and not a substitute for, an exercise regimen and effective diet. The Quest Community is always there for you if you need help, inspiration or motivation!