What’s (Im)Possible?

12 months ago I got a message from an old mate. “I need your help, I look and feel like shit and I don’t know what to do”

My reply:

“I do mate, meet me at the gym next week and we’ll have a chat”

Fast forward a few days and in walks Richard (Rooney). A sad and unhappy looking fucker which is a shame as he’d always been the dopey young happy go lucky kid when I worked with him a few years ago.

We talked and I heard a pretty standard story, one I’ve heard a hundred times since working with people 1-2-1 as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach. 

Got a little older, stopped playing as much sport, settled into a long term relationship, built some bad diet habits, worked his way through the ‘hungry joes’ takeaway menu (10x over) (in a week), and basically started a downward spiral that ended up in him putting on 4 stone of pure bodyfat. 

“What’s done is done mate, you can’t change the past 2 years but you CAN take control of the next year”.

Fast forward 12 months from that conversation and the proof is in the after photos shown further down the page.

***the important bit in between*** 

Training with me 3x per week at first wasn’t a bundle of fun. It hurt. He ached. He felt/was sick a few times). He sweated. A lot. I’ve never seen a mans shins literally leak like a tap doing a leg press before. It was impressive!

I’m not saying these things to try and put people off or say you need to push yourself to nausea. I take no pleasure in seeing that. But the truth is it isn’t easy getting started again when you’ve fallen out of shape. There will always be a level of discomfort associated. Sorry that’s just the way it is. 

But it does get easier. And it did. And he started seeing positive results and the fat started dropping off. Results that motivated him and brought back a love for exercise and life again! 

We were on our way.

2 stone off in the first 3 months. 

An impressive start but the bad habits were only just starting to be broken. Replaced with good ones. 

I always tell people that the 2-3 hours you spend in the gym with me each week is the easy part. What you do with the other 165 is the crucial bit. 

Making the right choices. Deleting the takeaway number from your speed dial and going shopping for ‘real’ food is a start. 

Getting up 20mins earlier in the morning to have a proper breakfast and prep some lunch to take to work is golden.

Drinking more water.

Cutting out fizzy pop, packets of doritos in front of the TV, late night crackers and cheese, and large ‘skinny’ caramel lattes on the run because you are tired after only sleeping 4hrs last night. (Bonus tip: get to bed at a decent time and 2 or 3 of these bad habits get squashed straight away!)

So back to Rooney. 

The gym was now becoming enjoyable (bare-able) and eating healthier was becoming normal. But we were still a decent way off doing that unassisted pull-up he told me he wanted to achieve. 

After working with him 1-2-1 in the gym for about 3-4 months a couple of huge things happened in his life. He was told there was a distinct possibility he would be getting made redundant from his job at Christmas. And he was definitely being made redundant from his long term relationship. Oh and his mum was moving to another country in a few months time!

No job, no girlfriend, no parent. No home?

In short enough to de rail anyone and send them into a negative spiral of self pity, comfort eating, and misery again.

Thankfully not though. He stuck with the one thing that was making him actually feel good in life. Improving his health and fitness. We stopped working together 1-2-1 so he could save as much money as possible but I gave him a plan and gym membership to work from on his own. We still talked weekly in the gym and even trained together now and then (which was annoying as he was quickly catching my numbers in the big lifts!) (told myself it’s because he had youth in his side! Haha!) 

He surrounded himself with like minded people. Became a regular fixture in the gym. Asked questions. Lots of questions!! Read articles that interested him and followed social media accounts that inspired him. 

Never ever underestimate the power of the environment you immerse yourself in. It shapes you. For better or for worse!

The weight was still dropping off him and he was now visibly changing body composition week on week. Muscle definition. T-shirts that were now tight around the biceps and baggy round the gut. Even the start of some Abs popping though. Which brought back the cheeky grin to his face every time he walked onto the gym floor.

The turn of this year (2017) he told me he had a goal of being in the shape of his life for a holiday in the summer. I told him to keep doing what he was doing. Simple. And we’d work 1-2-1 together again nearer the time for a final push. 

He kept his job, moved on from his ex, and bought a new house. 

Training hard and eating well was now an every day thing. He had literally created a ‘new normal’ way of life. 

Some people find it strange when they see someone do that. They don’t understand. And that’s fine because it’s not ‘normal’ to them. The easy way out that makes them feel better about their own situation is to call the person ‘obsessed’. Or worse.

A little unfair but hey ‘haters gonna hate’ i told him. And once you give up the need for the approval of others it’s a beautiful thing. You see the options of others is actually none of your business. And does it really matter anyway? Your happy. Move on. 

So 6 weeks ago we started a final push in the gym I named #ProjectX. I like giving my plans little names. Just a fun way of adding some motivation and accountability for the client. And the results were pretty incredible!


But in truth #ProjectX was a 12 month plan and journey that Richard went on. I knew last year he had it in him to change his life around. All I needed to do was provide the spark and watch him rise back up and light the whole fucking fire. 

It’s hard to quantity exact amounts because so much bodyfat has gone and new muscle tissue has been built. But the scales say:  

16st 11lbs

Down to

13st 5lbs 

A loss of 48lbs or just over 20kg. 

But they are just numbers. Incredible ones but just numbers.

The real changes are unquantifiable. He has a new life. Like literally a new life. A new body. A new mindset. A new outlook. A new passion, and new goals. 

He’s still single though girls!

Oh and now he can do pull-ups. Lots of them.

As a trainer and a coach the changes we see in our clients are justification we are doing our jobs right. Because it is a job. The best one in the world. Which should be based on results and how we make people feel. 

I couldn’t be prouder of the journey we’ve shared together and I couldn’t be happier for Rooney. He’s a client, a mate, and a top lad.

Think I’ve created a monster though. If he sends me one more topless selfie he’s getting deleted and blocked! You’re 15 years younger than me man!! Got youth on your side!! Haha! And I can still out Burpee you! (About the only thing like!)  

I may not be able to change the world. But I can help change someone’s world and that’s good enough for me.

Well done mate. Enjoy your time in the sun!! 


If you need ‘help’ with your own health and fitness goals then please get in touch. I’d love to help.

Email: mark@thefitnesslifeacademy.com 

Instagram: @middmag 

Facebook: M1 Fitness and Nutrition or The Fitness Life Academy



We’d be happy to help.