Can you really lose 10 stone in a year without doing any running?
27-year-old Nathan Clowes of Cheshire has proven that you can!
With the help of Fitness First Clubs personal trainer Sam Jones, Nathan managed to slim down from just over 23 stone within the space of 12 months.
”We’ve got a year to save your life”
Nathan’s journey started in traumatic fashion.
“I was given some stark advice from my doctor, who told me that unless I lost weight and changed my lifestyle, there’s a fair chance I wouldn’t see my next birthday,” Nathan commented.
“It’s easy to discount the advice that your friends and family give you, so I needed help from somebody that I didn’t know. That’s why I approached Sam.”
Sam is an experienced personal trainer, but even he admitted that Nathan presented the biggest challenge he has ever faced.
“Nathan’s BMI was easily the biggest I’ve ever seen from a client and he was breathing heavily just from walking to the gym. The stats were against him,” Sam remarked.
“We sat down and I said; ‘Well we’ve got a year to save your life!’”
Workout plan – How to lose weight without spending hours on a treadmill
Here’s a small caveat - when Nathan first started out at the gym he spent a little bit of time on the treadmill just to get him into the swing of doing some regular exercise.
However, the key to his incredible success has been weight training.
“The biggest misconception is that you need lots of cardio to burn fat,” Sam asserted.
“I put together a weight training programme for Nathan to follow. It wasn’t about lifting heavy weights, but it featured a range of movements such as squats, pull-ups and deadlifts. In theory, because he would have been building lean muscle mass, it’s likely that Nathan has lost more than 10 stone of fat.”
Sam also put together an exercise log book for Nathan to use, giving him an “arsenal of exercises” that he can follow and develop over time.
Nathan exercises on his own for an hour four times a week, in addition to his one weekly PT session with Sam. To avoid a plateau, Nathan ensures that his workouts are varied, using a combination of free weights and machines.
“I’ve not done much ‘cardio’ at all, but by focusing on weights and functional training, it means I’m doing short bursts of 100% effort. I try to work on a different body part each time I visit the gym. It’s important to mix things up,” Nathan told us.
After the first three months of intensive training, Nathan had lost nearly four stone. He continued to lose weight more gradually over the course of the year.
How did Nathan’s diet change?
For the first week, Sam instructed Nathan to eat how he normally would and write down everything he’d consumed.
Nathan told us what he used to eat on a day-to-day basis.
“Because I worked shifts, I would be up at 4am but I wouldn’t eat until we had a break at 9am, at which point I’d normally have a fried breakfast,” he added.
“I’d then have lunch and dinner later on, but in between I’d eat a lot of crisps and chocolate. I’d also drink two litres of full-fat Coke a day. I ate a lot of junk food too.”
It was clear to Sam what the problem was, but rather than force Nathan to completely cut out certain foods, he put together a plan that allowed everything in moderation.
Sam told us: “This is where a lot of people go wrong – they go to extremes and completely cut things out of their diet.”
Nathan’s food diary – 2015 vs. 2016
Tuesday 25th August 2015 (night shift)
Breakfast: 2 Chinese-style chicken sandwiches
Lunch: Cheese and onion baguette and a can of Coke
Dinner: Cottage pie, gravy and veg
Snacks: 2 Milky Way cake bars, 2 Mr Kipling cakes, a can of Coke, a packet of Munchies, a packet of biscuits, a white Kit Kat and a 2-litre bottle of Pepsi.
Saturday 20th August 2016:
Breakfast: Protein shake + porridge
Lunch: Homemade chilli con carne
Dinner: Chicken in Chinese powder marinade, basmati rice and veg
Snacks: Veg-based smoothie (designed by Sam)
Nathan eats a McDonald’s each week and still enjoys a beer.
Diet tips to help you lose weight effectively
- Eat 80% “wholefoods” and 20% of whatever you like – You don’t have to cut enjoyable foods from your diet. Nathan continued to eat the odd ice cream or burger from McDonald’s.
- Increase your protein intake – This made Nathan feel full for longer, while also helping him to build lean muscle tissue.
- Use the MyFitnessPal app – This helped Nathan to monitor exactly how he was fuelling his body.
- Keep a food diary – Nathan knew he was in this for the long haul, so it was important to track his progress and allow Sam to see where improvements/changes could be made.
- Food prep – Cooking up healthy curries and super-lean turkey Bolognese meals in advance meant that Nathan didn’t have to eat unhealthily at work.
- Spread your meals out – Previously, Nathan would go four or five hours before he ate anything after waking up (you can read about the importance of breakfast here). Now he spreads his meals out more evenly, keeping a close eye on portion control.
- Make sensible substitutions – Instead of drinking sugar-laden soft drinks, Nathan now satisfies his cravings with flavoured carbonated waters.
Is Nathan’s story too good to be true? Facebook thought so!
Without seeing the before and after pictures, and without speaking to both Nathan and Sam, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is impossible to lose this amount of weight in such a relatively short timeframe.
Sam told us that when he attempted to promote Nathan’s achievement on social media, he was warned that it’d be “false advertising”.
“I tried to set up a paid advert on Facebook and I received a response saying that they couldn’t allow the ad to be published because they didn’t believe the story,” Sam added.
“Everything was rigorously logged and I’ve got three full notepads with weekly weigh-ins and printouts from DW’s scales.”
What other advice would you give to people who are hoping to lose weight?
So, what advice does he have for others who are looking to shed some weight?
- Don’t think there’s a quick fix – You’ll only hit your goals if you are prepared to play the long game. Too many people give up when the scales stop moving downwards. Nathan didn’t!
- Ditch the scales – Building on the last point, Nathan explained that he hasn’t paid too much attention to his actual weight. Instead he has used before and after photos to track his progress. Remember – muscle weighs more than fat!
- Don’t go to extremes – If you completely deprive yourself of foods that you enjoy, you’ll end up resenting your fitness regime. This is why many diets fail.
- Have a plan and be organised – As we’ve demonstrated, Sam tracked Nathan’s progress meticulously, ensuring that he maintained good habits.