Ricky · Long-term

Dedicated Dad, Ricky, Lost 25+ Kgs Got Shredded And Built Muscle

When Ricky started out on his RNT journey he was already in really good shape. Before signing up he had followed us on social media and used a lot of the free information available on our website to educate himself on nutrition as well as on training techniques.

However, a couple of years before signing up with RNT Ricky had been far from fit - at 5 foot 6 inches tall he weighed in at 80kgs and he was feeling the effects of carrying so much extra weight around.

As a busy dad of two, he felt his health was affecting the quality of his life, especially the time he spent with his children. While this was always at the back of his mind, he only decided to take action and really make an effort to improve his health after Antony Joshua (British boxing champion) threw him a friendly and off the cuff remark at his work-place.

“Antony Joshua happened to be a brand ambassador at the company I was working with. And at a meeting he called out to me and referred to me as a ‘big boy’. At first I thought it was a joke about my height as I’m not very tall. But later when I saw the pics, I realised he wasn’t really referring to my height at all!”

After this moment of realisation, Ricky took matters into his own hands and made a conscious effort to change his lifestyle. He had made a lot of progress but he wasn’t satisfied, he knew he needed help and guidance to truly integrate his new habits into his way of life.

“I had lost weight in the past. I would watch what I ate and I even trained hard to be an endurance racer. I managed to run 10k in 45 mins, which for me was pretty good. But once I hit a particular milestone, whether it was a PR at a race or a drop in weight I would go back to my old behaviours and I would gain all the weight again in a few months.”

Ricky knew that losing weight was simple, even if it wasn’t easy. If you eat less and move more you can lose weight. It’s a simple equation. The gap he identified lay in not knowing what to do after he had lost all the weight, how he could successfully keep the weight off.

“I joined RNT because I didn’t know how to build muscle in the most effective way. I knew how to run and ride a bike, but I didn’t know how to pull 3X my body weight off the floor! I didn’t know how to grow a physique and get stronger.”

Ricky saw the value in learning the technical skill involved in growing muscle. And this is one reason why Ricky’s physique has transformed so rapidly. He enjoyed the progressive nature of the journey, with it’s singular focus on performance. This was important to him as he wanted to be fit and in the best shape of his life when he hit 40.

“I really enjoy the fact that RNT is so performance oriented. I realised that the better I performed at the gym the more confident I was at work. I found it easier to have those tough conversations or state my views clearly in meetings. The fact that I could pick something heavy off the floor gave me a boost and made me feel mentally stronger as well. This is why I prefer to train first thing in the morning as it is like a precursor to the rest of my day.”

The Benefits Of A Home Gym

Ricky intentionally chose to set up a functional gym with some basic equipment like a bar, bench and a rack at his home.

“I didn’t want my training to impact my home life. I wanted to be available to the children in the morning and help with getting them ready for school. And since I had the space at home it was easy. Another big reason for this was it gave me no room for excuses. The fact that I was working out at home eliminated all those mental barriers that can crop up.”

With the support from the RNT team he learnt to use the equipment he had available and he realised you can have a really good workout with just some gym essentials.

“The RNT team was great! They gave me so many great and innovative ways to exercise so I could always have a challenging workout.”

Cultivating A Growth Mindset

Ricky wasn’t satisfied with just going through the movements. He had a hunger to learn and absorb all the intricate details of training.

“My job is based on testing and learning about products, a lot of my time is invested in determining the effect that a 1% change can have on the useability of a product. I applied the same to training. I found it fascinating that the body can react so differently to something as simple as changing the position of your grip and these small changes could work the same muscles differently.”

Ricky stays motivated by having a few short-term and long-term goals. His long term goal is really to compete in power-lifting.

“I really want to challenge myself and compete in powerlifting and I know that when you are pulling something so heavy off the floor, technique is everything.”

One of Ricky’s strong points is his approach to failure, he knows that not all of his training experiments will work but he has no reservations about trying.

“Failure is an opportunity to learn why something didn’t work and find an opportunity to do it differently the next time. I’ve been trying to squat with my heels elevated but it was just not working, and that’s totally fine! I have tried it and now I know, I’ll move onto something else.”

Nailing Nutrition and Intuitive Eating

Ricky’s work revolves around consumer psychology. Despite his rather wide and deep knowledge in this field he still found it hard to introspect and change his own habits and behaviours prior to joining RNT.

“After I joined RNT I realised how much I was just mindlessly picking at food from the kids’ plate. I ate the same breakfast and lunch but dinner was one from our usual repertoire of about 7-10 meals. When I started with RNT I had my set meals and I made a conscious choice to stop snacking and eating the kids’ food. This made a huge difference.”

This is where the power of meal prepping comes in. When you know exactly what you are going to eat and you have it ready and prepared for you the chances of you reaching for a less than ideal snack is going to be a lot less.

Letting Go Of Bias

Our food habits are so deeply ingrained that we find it hard to change the way we eat and think about food. Ricky throws more light on the psychology of consumption and why it is hard to rewire our brains to accept a new way of eating.

“The truth is that most people have a meal repertoire of about 7-10 meals that they eat regularly. We have the misconception that we are foodies and love a lot of variety, but when you actually look at what you’ve eaten you’ll realise you cook the same things. Despite this, a lot of the time, when people are given a fixed meal plan their instinct is to challenge that. As humans we rely on what is called the confirmation bias, this is when we seek to validate our preconceived notions from our peers. When told that you have to eat the same thing every single day for the next 6 months, the reaction is to reach out to friends who will verify that it is in fact a bad idea. This takes us to another bias that is the anchoring bias, we have an idea of how things work and we use that as our anchor, so if we are asked to eat the same thing every day and we dislike that idea as it goes against the set norm and we want to try and anchor ourselves back in the bias that actually variety is what our body needs.”

This is why at RNT we educate our members so they can learn to let go of these biases and adopt a new approach to nutrition that will enable them to stay fit for life.

Meeting friends socially presents a whole other set of challenges, we can exert a lot of control while we are at home. We can choose what is available to eat at home and keep temptations at bay. The pressures of eating socially often take over the will of even the most well-intentioned.

“When I started with RNT in 2020, I decided to give up alcohol completely for 6 months. Mostly because I wanted to see if I could do it. I also have to socialise a lot for work and alcohol was always something I didn’t have a grip on. When I gave it up it was hard initially as I was worried about how it would impact my work, my friendships and also how it would impact the date nights I had with my wife. But then I realised I was using food as a crutch to help me navigate social situations and once I stopped doing that, it became a lot easier.

Before, I could finish a whole plate of food in a couple of minutes. Now I eat a lot more slowly. I also practice meal hygiene: I have a one plate rule with the majority of my food being protein and veg and then carbs.

I have also grown a thicker skin and don’t get so worried about what other people will think about my choices.”

Reverting to the Mean

The truth is that establishing new routines and new behaviours is only half the battle. The reality is that for these new behaviours to become ingrained and even instinctual takes a long time. Without taking deliberate steps to establish a new pattern the behaviour will quickly revert to a previous set point.

Our body and our brains like to take the simplest path and when presented with a new behaviour it will work really hard to bring you back to what is familiar and established.

“This behaviour is what’s called ‘Reversion To The Mean’. It happens in nature, in statistics. You also can’t assume that the same behaviours that brought you to a point will keep you there. This is why we have to change gears once you have completed your fat loss phase, to maintain and stay at the new weight you need to change behaviours and then work actively to integrate those new behaviours.”

This is the importance of The Consolidation Phase where we gradually change behaviours from fat loss to maintenance. A lot of people typically fall off the band wagan at this point as they don’t know how to switch out of the fat loss mentality into a steady maintenance phase. If they don’t rebound in 6 months they will probably rebound slowly in 2 years.

“Our brains have two systems: system one, which is instinctual in nature - for example, if you see a big cat you will immediately go into flight mode. We don’t care if it’s a tiger or a lion, we see and we react instantly. System two is more rational and is the slow thinking part of the brain and our brains don’t really like to do that.

When learning new food behaviours we are using system two, which is harder and takes more effort. It’s only by actively working on those behaviours everyday for a prolonged period of time does it switch out from system two and into system one making it more instinctual and effortless to make better choices.”

The Physical Is The Vehicle

When asked how his life changed and how the physical has been the vehicle after RNT, Ricky shares this:

As a 37-year old dad of 2 young boys I’ve become increasingly aware that what I say, do and how I act really rubs off on them. Both the good and the bad! We’ve always enjoyed eating together as a family but more and more I realised we were making bad choices. From too many treats and sweets, to not enough activity - it was no surprise that I woke up one day at 80kg whilst 5 ft 6.

On top of that, I was becoming increasingly aware that my 40th was approaching. And I wasn’t going to “wake up” one day and all of a sudden be fit. I’d seen some RNT’s results previously but the one that made me sit up and take notice was Suraj’s case study. Here was a guy that I knew who had transformed his life! If he could do it. Surely I could?

And through picking up simple nuggets and following the advice - hitting a daily step count, being in a calorie deficit and strength training - I slowly started to lose weight.

Fast forwards and the final trigger was realising that I needed help to go the last mile. Could I get really lean? Could I build muscle? Could I be the example that I wanted to be to my kids of a fit, healthy dad?

I took the plunge and signed up thinking “right, muscle building here I come”. I’d dropped 20kg by this point and was pretty lean but the RNT team had other ideas. They pushed me to drop probably another 5kg and took my results to the next level - veins in my abs level! RNT’s encouragement and the way they held me to account and pushed and pulled me when needed has now set me up for a lengthy muscle building phase and ready to get to 40 in the shape of my life.

Beyond the physical - the effect on me has been profound. My performance at work has skyrocketed- I take fewer prisoners and am more assertive and decisive. I’m up at 4am working out. I’ve refined my life to focus on what counts and not a lot else. And the best thing?

My boys have now started thinking healthier. My eldest did homework to show healthy food and he drew my meal preps. My youngest asks me about spinach. And both want to do steps!

The process of working with RNT has been deceptively simple but what’s been the game changer hasn’t been the plans - it’s the accountability. Knowing I’ve gotta send in my reports pushed me harder. And the Facebook community is fabulous, for motivation and food inspiration. Who knew oats could look so amazing!

Every day people ask me how I’ve done it. How have I lost now 25+ kg. How am I eating such healthy yet delicious food. How am I training. What’s the secret? Keto? Paleo? Weight watchers?

Nah bruh… RNT!

Podcast

Listen to Ricky’s conversation with Akash on Episode 197 on RNT Fitness Radio where they talk about his own journey and the psychology behind human behaviours and motivations.

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