Where do I even begin with this?
84 days ago, on the 17th January I was about to embark on something which I had no clue would work.
|Please don't sue me for using the logo James|
I stood there on the 17th January in my boxers lacking confidence, lacking a feeling of self-worth, overweight and if I’m honest a bit unhappy with my life.
A lot of these feelings stemmed from a previous relationship which had stripped me of my happiness, my confidence and any feeling of self-worth. No, not the loss of my wife and best friend. That break up did start my depression that forced me to deal with the unresolved grief from losing my Mum in 2006.
The subsequent relationship stripped me bare, exposed me and destroyed the kind hearted happy go lucky person I was. My very close friends told me to get out but I was stuck in a rut and felt like I couldn’t escape.
Sorry for digressing but in the following two years, I had healed my depression with the help of a lot of tears, counselling and cathartic blogs but what was left of me was a shadow of my former self.
Back to being stood in my boxers, I was about to take some starting photos for the JSA Bali Challenge. My baseline. My day 0. Could this be something which could get my life back on track? Could it help me lose the weight I had put on when depressed but more importantly, could it help me find the person I had lost since my life took a turn in 2016?
The scales showed my weight as 98kg. Back in late 2015, it was below 90kg.
But more importantly than that, as I was stood there in my boxers you could see how unhappy I was from my body language and more importantly my eyes. There with no filter and nothing to hide behind. I looked and felt well……. Just sad and scared!
84 days later I stood there in my budgies, amazed at what the final pictures showed.
No I wasn’t just floored by the physical transformation which was frankly impressive and in summary;
- 9kg in weight lost
- 5.5” lost from my waist
- 4.5” lost from my chest.
- Greater muscle definition
What struck me more than that was the life and fire in my eyes, the change in my posture, the effortless smile and the zest for life which had accompanied the physical change.
If you had asked me 84 days ago, what I thought was possible. I would have answered. I don’t know.
I entered the challenge for accountability, to help keep me on track for my triathlon races in 2019. I never in all honesty expected this amount of change.
To have achieved either the physical change or the mental improvement would have shocked me in such a short space of time.
To have somehow managed both absolutely blows my mind.
In 84 days I have morphed from a shy person who wasn’t happy in their skin to someone who truly loves the person they are. Someone who is resolute in the fact they are a nice helpful person who goes out of their way to help others.
And I owe all this to James Smith and the JSA. Quite simply the most awe inspiring supportive community of people I have ever had the pleasure of coming across.
Honestly the amount of confidence I have gained is beyond words.
This amazing group of people. The Academy coaches and all the JSA members.
These LEGENDS (and I don’t use that word lightly) have helped transform me into the person
- Who can walk into a room of strangers as I have done several times on JSA meets and start conversations with people he has never met before.
- Who can swagger round the gym like Conor McGregor.
- Who can stand there in his budgies on holiday in Tenerife and frankly not care what anyone thinks of him.
These people have supported me, encouraged me, commented on my progress, drank gin with me, drank shots with me and some amazing truly inspirational people have become friends for life.
James I can honestly say no amount of thanks can repay what your Academy has done for my life.
Let’s take a look at two photos side by side. One is from 27th January before a sea dip after the first JSA meet I attended in Newcastle. The other is from yesterday. Same person, completely different posture and belief in himself. #mindblown
Another thing I owe James a lot of thanks for is his stance on mental health. James is using his social media presence of ~660,000 followers to promote something which is very close to me. And I can never ever repay my thanks for that.
As someone who has battled with depression and suicidal thoughts, this floors me. I wrote a blog about my battle with depression and if it helped one person get help it was worth the tears shed writing it. James is doing something of a similar vein but his reach is far greater than mine will ever be and on his podcast he said exactly the same. If it helps one person, it was worth it. You James are a diamond for sharing your thoughts on mental health and I firmly believe that prehab for mental health could be something which could change society.
Anyway back to the challenge. Here are the full before and after photos from my challenge. I literally can’t believe these.
I can’t believe I have managed this scale of change while drinking gin beer, tequila and vodka slushies. While eating pizza, ice cream and takeaways. While #livingmybestlife. The knowledge I have learnt about being mindful with my food will benefit me for years to come. So James again thank you form the bottom of my heart. If you want to see what the Academy is all about, please investigate the free trial.
I approached this challenge to make is sustainable, to fit any changes around my current life. To ensure that it is no flash in the pan fix, but to make permanent changes which I can manage for years to come.
I admit I do a lot of cardio to train for my sport and any changes I was to make had to fit around that. I want to be the best version of me and I get a joy from my #nutjob sport of triathlon. I love coaching people to swim and I love pushing myself across swim, bike and run.
The changes I was to make had to fit around all aspects of my life. I get joy from being social and being the happy go lucky person I am so being able to do this challenge while enjoying all the gin was a must to me.
What changes have I made in the last 12 weeks?
- I’ve tracked my food
- I’ve upped my protein
- I’ve started eating more carbs and less fat.
- I’ve upped my water consumption
- I’ve had less beer and more gin.
- I’ve started going to the gym twice a week to lift weights. This is something I have never had any interest in, in the first 37 years and 5 months of my life.
- I’ve backed off my running a bit to pursue this challenge because I started to notice the benefits of weight training. Somehow I got within touching distance of my 10km PB form 2015 off minimal training. Who knew lifting shit could have such an impact on my running?
I literally feel like I have won at life in these short 12 weeks and it is all down to the Bali Challenge and the support of the JSA coaches and members. Thanks all.
So what is next for me after the challenge?
As I have approached this sustainably I plan on using the knowledge I have gained to continue losing weight. I still have some fat to lose and with my qualification races looming where I could qualify represent GB in 2020 in Canada. I want to be in the best shape possible come race day. Can you believe some legends and friends have offered to come and support me while I race?
I have more JSA meets planned in Belfast, Cardiff, Leeds and Barcelona and I can’t wait to meet some more legends in the flesh and catch up with some friends.
As well as all that I plan on using the things I have learnt to help others. Be they family or friends or members in JSA because the last 12 weeks have truly changed my life. So I’m enrolling for the next challenge as it helps keep me focussed and I have a few important races on the horizon.
Thanks for reading,
91% of the person I was 12 weeks ago weight wise, but 1 million percent more confident, outgoing and fun to be around.
Proud JSA member.
JSA Bali Challenge 2.0 Finisher.