Tom Shaw shares his body transformation journey with Men’s Health.
I always used to be an active person, and trained regularly (up to five times a week) since I was a teenager. But then I had a shoulder operation which left me with severe pain, and I was unable to work out for three years. This, coupled with a lot of stress related to my career, inactivity during lockdown, and drinking more than I should, meant that I began to gain weight. I had no real structure in my life, and lacked all confidence and self-esteem.
I wanted to take on a physical challenge that would translate to the rest of my life and kickstart me getting everything else on track, so I signed up for a 12-week transformation program at Ultimate Performance’s gym in Leeds.
I had a complete nutrition overhaul: I wasn’t eating terribly beforehand, it just wasn’t consistent. So I stripped everything back initially to help me achieve a balanced, structured approach to eating. I became very disciplined in tracking my calories and macronutrients. Nothing was off the menu, but it was a case of making sure I hit my targets every single day. A typical day would consist of five meals: salmon and vegetables; chicken and rice; chicken and vegetables; steak and sweet potato; protein and oats.
I worked out twice a week for one hour, in addition to to 45-minute cardio sessions, and maintaining 10,000 steps every day. Due to my shoulder issues any pressing movement caused pain and was difficult to progress on, but my trainer took a huge amount of time to work through what I could and couldn’t do and then adjusted accordingly to make sure the overall end goal was always achievable.
My training became very much quality over quantity: I learned to focus more on tempo and quality of lifts as opposed to what the number on the side of the dumbbell was, and had to remove ego from the process. 20-year-old Tom could lift a huge amount more than 35-year-old Tom with two kids and a busted shoulder, so there was zero point living in the past trying to match this. But then by the end of the 12 weeks, I looked significantly better than the 20 year old me!
I dropped from 208 pounds to 181 pounds at my lowest, a total loss of 27 pounds. However, as impressive as my physical transformation was, the real change was the one people couldn’t see, in my discipline and confidence. This process basically allowed me to roll back the clock, forget about the previous “failures” I’d had, and help me realise anything is possible with work and consistency.
The best tip I can offer for getting results is consistency. This isn’t rocket science, it’s actually fairly straightforward, but the hardest part to it is sticking to the plan day in day out. So many people diet and train but don’t get the results they want as they don’t see them overnight, so just bounce in and out of it – it’s the same with life and anything else. Keep doing what you have been and you’ll get what you’ve always got. If you want what you don’t have, you have to change what you do then stick to that change. Do that and you’ve cracked it!
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