This case study is a little different to the norm. After losing 2 stones in body fat in 16 weeks, and achieving a phenomenal transformation both physically and mentally, we asked Ric to say a few words about his thoughts on the process. His email completely blew us away.
Instead of writing about Ric’s story, we’re going to paste Ric’s email directly into this blog so he can tell you his journey in his own words.
It’s a real, raw and heartfelt piece as Ric candidly writes how the physical has proved to be the vehicle in enabling him to be a more active father, more focused at work, and how it’s allowed him to set himself up to win at life.
He’s now on a relentless mission to continue improving in every aspect, and it all started with that first step…
Through this piece, he uncovers:
– How his daughters proved to be the ‘why’ behind his transformation
– The mindset shifts that changed as he went through his journey
– Juggling his fitness goals with his family, his busy job in the City and regular social events.
Ric’s transformation has created a domino effect with everyone around him, most notably his wife, who lost 11kg as a by-product of the healthier habits instilled into the household.
A truly inspirational piece, that Ric wrote about 22 weeks into his transformation journey. And without further ado, let’s dive in…
It took very little coaxing to sign up to the RNT program back in late June. I’d just been on an all-inclusive holiday in Portugal and I felt like I was at a watershed moment, both physically and mentally. As I gazed around the pool at other overweight middle-aged parents, I turned to my wife (with pina colada in hand) and said something has to change. Not just for us but also for the sake of our two young daughters (the eldest of which was giving me the run around which was embarrassing!)
So I threw myself into the process wholeheartedly. I read every article, studied every lift technique on YouTube, and listened to the RNT podcasts. It being summer I was able to combine plenty of outdoor cardio with 5 gym sessions a week. My cycle commute was 25km per day, twice per week. I ran 10km every weekend. My game face was switched on.
And it was all because RNT set me on a clear path from the get-go. First goal was to lose a ton of body fat. Diet had to change and I knew it. I’d weighed in at 96 kg scale weight with body fat in the high 20% range, which was quite frankly, ridiculous. My eating had not been terrible beforehand, there had just been too much of it, and the wrong types. It was time to get down into the low 80s with 16 weeks to do it! A lot of kgs to drop!
So out went the staples of booze, bread, pasta, cheese, milk, potatoes. Down came the portions. In came chicken, eggs, oats. Veggies and fruit stayed put, maybe more greens. What surprised me most at first was that I wasn’t getting hunger pangs. Macro targets were set reasonably high at first, but since they were targets nonetheless I was able to get really scientific. I tapped every little thing that passed my lips onto MyFitnessPal, which soon became my app obsession. Instagram went in the bin! I became intrigued with cause and effect. Food in, energy out. Calorie deficit. Consistency and rhythm.
What helped massively food-wise was having my wife Jess onboard. She was also keen to lose a ton of weight. Because we always cooked and ate together we could team up so both of us could hit our own macros. We’d cook simple, healthy meals with proteins and veggies (weighing everything of course) and encourage each other to stick with it. The weekly Tesco shop was so boring although much quicker because I could skip about half the aisles selling junk and head straight for the counter! It was awesome to jump off the scales each morning knowing we were both heading in the right direction, enjoying looking so much better and feeling cleaner. Jess took off about 11 kg in the end. I was so proud of her, particularly as she has chronic back problems to cope with, as well as being on maternity leave.
After setting off like a train with a ton of momentum, the obstacles appeared. Summer socials, garden parties, nights out. All handled delicately, planned ahead, and with apologies for sobriety made in advance! In August we headed to a friends’ son’s birthday party, and the sun was beating down. Everyone was there, music was great (my mate used to be a DJ), buckets of beer littered the garden. The smells from the BBQ were tantalising. Yet all I could think about was MyFitnessPal macros! Anyway, I explained my training programme to anyone who asked as politely as I could. I excused myself from the beers, stuck to the lean burger, no bun or sauce… except for a tiny bit of cake! It was still a great afternoon!
4 weeks in
The first 4 weeks in the gym were a baptism by fire. It was all about finding my level, getting a rhythm going. Locating the dusty piece of kit for that chest-supported row and getting onto it without killing yourself. Or looking like a fool. That was the other issue – I’d joined a local sweatbox gym down the road from my house. Perfect I thought; 4 mins door to door, open late, cheap as chips. I could squeeze in all these sessions when I had tiny pockets of time to slip out from full-time parenting. This gym had low ceilings dripping with condensation, cast iron kit from the 70s that bore the scars and big dudes with biceps wider than my chest.
I had a foolish tendency to pile on weights early, my male bravado kicking in. The bicep curls proved my downfall – one hefty weight and my right bicep wrenched, then my left a week later. Still sore, 20 weeks later! Watch out people, take it slow and steady.
Nevertheless I got into the swing of things on the gym floor. I was pleased with the additional strength I felt on key exercises like chin-ups and RDLs. I got hold of decent grips that were recommended at the RNT meet up, they were a game-changer. My work gym was a godsend which, although small, was great as I could peel away from a hectic City job for an hour or so. Perfect.
I remember about 7 weeks in, my macros dropped, I felt quite a bit weaker, especially in the late evenings. I knew it was my body adjusting to a new level. It sucked. The RNT team suggested starting breakfast later, like 11ish, and eating in a 9-hour window. That was hard to master in the mornings, especially while hurtling around getting the girls ready for nursery and myself on the bike commute to work. But it certainly helped with evening cravings.
Week 10 I took off to NYC then Italy for holidays, which were planned well in advance. The RNT team told me to enjoy myself, but stay mindful, and get a couple of gym sessions in. Buffer my meals for the evenings. So I located my mate’s gym in Brooklyn and found myself blasting out double sessions for a couple of mornings to keep on track. It felt good. Got plenty of cardio in too, as you ought to in NYC. But I mostly enjoyed myself, got back on the beers (it’s too good not to), and a couple of hefty dinners, which were amazing. I was then off to Italy for a quieter family thing. It was great that we could cook for ourselves too, and that the produce and food is generally such high quality, fresh and delicious. And as for wine…heaven!
The damage after the 2 weeks off was there, but thankfully limited. Within a week I was back at the scale weight I was at Heathrow a few weeks earlier. My gym progression had stalled a bit, but not noticeably.
10 weeks in
Weeks 12-16 I had a clear run with respect to the social aspect of our schedule. I felt I could make significant progress. My core and abs needed definition, but my back, rear, legs & shoulders were more toned and muscular. I was doing all the right things consistently now. Food had dropped again, and hunger was kicking in hard as the scale weight plummeted. I kept the cardio going, but balancing this was tough. I had to start timing my food better so I had energy when I needed it, like the ride home, getting the girls to bed, lifting a dumbbell.
The other tricky thing at this time was that my wife returned to work after maternity leave. So I adapted my working patterns for more working from home, more nursery runs and shorter days in the office. I created a more militant, planned approach to my week, both at home and at work. It was the only way to get through it intact so I could support my wife and kids. They were all feeling super challenged, with the big changes in their lives. Not the ideal time to be feeling weak and under-nourished…but that’s the task at hand, and I pushed through it!
Week 16 was the pivotal one. I’d got scale weight down to 82.5kg. That’s over 13kg gone! 2 whole stones! My chest was looking striated. Veins were showing, even the abs were popping out. But it’s not been easy at all. It’s such a hard slog at times, a real rollercoaster. And occasionally a journey without end. However for me the satisfaction comes from looking back at the old check-in photos, comparing the new me to the old me, and gasping at what I’ve achieved.
It’s taken ruthless discipline, a ton of consistency, denying yourself lots of things you would normally take for granted. Sucking up the crappy times, like when you have no energy to get off the couch to even get to the loo. Or hitting 10,001 steps as you fall through your front door. RNT on your shoulder week in, week out, offering a bit of support here, encouragement there.
However, the good things are really good: I can pick up my 3 y/o daughter and carry her home from the park with one arm. I could only do one chin up, now I can scratch together 32 reps (over a few sets) with a weight dangling. I feel focussed. I know and understand so much about my body that I had never even contemplated. Being wiser is something I’ve always craved. I can now make good decisions based on my own insights. Carbs are not my enemy. I need more protein.
Most importantly, I’ve set myself up to win in life. Back in June I had the choice to stay where I was, would have been fine, if a little chubby. Now I have a platform to grow, a real sense of achievement inside me, and RNT has helped me tackle one hell of a mission. But I’m only halfway there.