Despite having the best intentions, some people find it hard to stick to a regimented health and fitness routine.
This isn’t always attributed to a lack of motivation. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and it can be a lot harder for somebody who works six night shifts a week, for example, to achieve their fitness goals when compared with someone who has more free time on their hands. That’s why it’s always great to hear real-life stories from people who have managed to stick to their plan despite having a busy or awkward schedule.
You may have read our post about Claire Crowther, a night shift-working midwife from Wrexham who lost six stone through sheer determination, discipline and hard work. Now we’re here to tell the inspirational story of her husband Steve, who despite working away from home for lengthy periods, managed to lose four stone and dramatically change the look of his body.
“From an early age I was always very active, but didn’t necessarily have the best diet. As a result, I was never overweight, though probably not that healthy either. However, in my early twenties, a combination of an unpredictable career in the music industry and settling down into a relationship meant that my activity levels reduced and my diet worsened, and I began to gain weight,” Steve said.
Having taken on a sedentary office job, Steve’s weight had increased to 15 stone by 2010 - the heaviest he’s been. Clearly uncomfortable with his figure, Steve was reluctant to feature in too many photographs at the time, something he now regrets.
“When you are so lacking in confidence you very carefully control the photos that are taken and kept, and try to avoid seeing the true scale of the problem. It is one of my major regrets now, though, since I can’t show the true starting point of this journey,” he added.
The journey begins
Steve admitted that he and Claire have always been big food lovers, which was a big obstacle that they needed to overcome when they embarked on their fitness journey. In Steve’s opinion, there’s a certain stigma attached to overweight men.
“We’re almost expected to just shrug it off as we appear not to care on the outside. The reality is that a lot of us do feel it affects us just as much as women, and people almost seem to feel it’s okay to make hurtful comments to guys in a ‘jokey’ way about weight, though they would never dream of insulting a woman in that way,” he continued.
Claire’s impressive journey was featured in a number of national newspapers, and Steve’s role was a little underplayed. Many of the publications suggested Steve was doing it to support his wife, and while this was true up to a point, he actually wanted to boost his own confidence in the same way that Claire has.
“We followed Slimming World for about a year, and during that time my weight reduced to 12 stone,” Steve said, before pointing out that his subsequent fitness work resulted in further weight loss, taking him to 11 stone.
“My confidence did improve, and I certainly felt significantly healthier as well. Following this I maintained that weight for a couple of years, which was important to me as I wanted to ensure it was a lifestyle change that would be permanent.”
Stepping things up a gear
Having done so well to shed this weight, there was no chance that Steve was going to rest on his laurels.
“Towards the middle/end of 2014 I decided that I wanted to make further changes,” he continued.
“I have always felt very ‘average’, in so many ways - both in terms of who I am and how I look. I was tired of not standing out, and of just feeling like I always blend in to a crowd. It sounds a little silly, and it’s difficult to articulate, but it is something that increasingly bothered me up to this point. I just wanted to be noticed for once - recognised for doing something big.”
Steve upped the intensity of his training, but the desired results weren’t being achieved. He knew what the problem was - diet.
“My calorie intake was too low and I was not eating clean, natural food. Beginning in January 2015, my wife and I decided to take on an organised 17-week challenge to make as much of a physical transformation as possible. This was ideal for me as we decided to use the help of one of Fitness Firsts' personal trainers, Genna Loskutnikov. His background and interest in nutrition was a perfect way to support my goals, and combining this with an intensive training regime resulted in huge changes.”
Knocking down obstacles
As mentioned earlier, some people find it hard to fit regular gym sessions and healthy eating plans into their schedule. Steve certainly had plenty of challenges to overcome, but he stuck to his guns.
“The process was difficult because I work away from home during the week, so fitting in meal preps and 5-8 training sessions a week was a huge challenge, but seeing the results each month was a great way to stay motivated.
“Since reaching the end of that challenge, I feel like I have finally been able to stand out in the way I wanted to - to be proud of achieving something big. I have been told a number of times that my outward presence has become much more confident, and I come across in a much more self-assured way, which is fantastic. I have had professional photographs taken while at my peak, and it was difficult to believe it was actually me in them! It has been overwhelming to have heard so many people say I have inspired them, and be able to give advice and encouragement to them. The process has also been a big positive for my relationship with my wife as well, because we supported each other through this process. I also found that I have enjoyed the process so much that I am making plans for my future goals in fitness as well.”
We hope that Steve’s story inspires others to fulfil their own dreams. You can hear more from the Crowthers on their SharedGains website. For even more inspiration - read about the incredible Lee Pickering, who went from being 22 stones - to a PT at our Wigan gym.