I had a pretty rough childhood and never learnt how to eat properly meaning I was a bigger kid who struggled with weight for years. I reached my heaviest, 135kgs, due to my poor diet and laziness.
At my heaviest, I wasn’t exercising at all. I worked, and still work, in administration and sales, so I didn’t exactly have a physically demanding job that helped me to maintain a healthy weight. I struggled to be motivated day to day, so I would start drinking as soon as I could just to get through. I was polishing off a pizza and a litre of ice cream nearly everyday too.
I felt terrible at my heaviest. I refused to look in a mirror and would never take my clothes off, even in front of my wife as I felt ashamed. I was struggling to keep up with my son, so that was a turning point. He’s the reason I wanted to get healthy and make some positive changes so one day I decided “enough is enough.”
I began researching food and how certain foods benefit the body, particularly when you eat healthy. I started walking everyday, cut out the beer, ice cream and reduced the amount of takeaway I was getting. I learnt how to monitor my calorie intake and within six months, I lost 35kgs.
Now my day consists of a mix of food from all food groups. I don’t follow the fad diets out there, I believe it’s all about balance.
I also eat a lot of Youfoodz ready-made meals. Youfoodz is something that really works for me. It’s a perfect fit for my dietary needs and it allows me to achieve my goals every day. Now, the meals have become a staple everyday, that way I never have to make a decision about what to eat, the hard work is already done for me.
I started to plateau between 85 and 88kgs, which is when I realised I couldn’t lose any more weight, otherwise I would lose my size. That’s when I realised that I wanted to start focusing on building muscle, shaping muscle and keeping lean.
I did a lot of research and found what works for me is eating 4 to 5 meals a day with about 25 grams of protein in each. For breakfast, I love to have French toast with sugar free maple syrup (anything sugar free is great!). For lunch, I’d usually have a meal from the Youfoodz Large Range like the Steak & Chips with Mushroom Sauce, or I’ll make a wrap with lots of protein & nutrients such as chicken, spinach, capsicum, and sometimes low calorie tomato sauce. As a family, we’d usually make curries, burrito bowls, or steak with a heap of veggies.
In terms of exercise, I do weight training six days a week. One day, I’ll to a push routine focusing on areas such as the chest, shoulders and triceps, the next day will be a pull routine, focusing on areas such as back, biceps and hamstrings, and on the third day I’ll focus on core and legs, before resting on day four. I’ll also go for walks every single day, for about 20 to 30 minutes. I prefer to walk in the mornings depending on my schedule, as it sets me up for the day and helps me focus.
While I really enjoy the physical benefits of training, for me, the best thing is the improvement in mentality. Building muscle is fun, but it’s the way I feel mentally that keeps me going. My wife has noticed the positive change in me, and is onboard now too. She got right into the healthy lifestyle with me and has since lost 10kgs. I’m so proud of her.
It’s basically changed my life. I stopped living just for myself, and now that I have more energy, I wake up and think “how can I help someone else today?” I’ve been talking to some of the young guys at the gym, and I’ve been starting to educate them on why it’s so important to also focus on their diet as much, if not more than their training.
Before you begin on your journey to weight loss, or building muscle, set yourself up for the long haul, by setting realistic goals and expectations. Create little goals that lead to a bigger one, and focus on making small changes everyday. If you can improve just 1% everyday, eventually you’re going to get there.
For those wanting to build muscle, I recommend focusing on food first. Find a calorie counter online as a starting point, and if you’re wanting to build muscle, you will want a calorie surplus, such as 300 calories. Then, I’d simply get started at a local gym. Remember, it’s got to be fun! You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing, so find exercises that you enjoy.
I want to share what I’ve learnt and help other people realise that weight loss and or building muscle doesn’t have to be so hard. There are actually some simple and fun ways to eat healthy, and I’ve started creating my own content on social media (@benabolics) to educate and inspire others. It’s been going really well. I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me about their own journey, which is awesome.
Now that I’m right into building muscle, I want to work towards entering a bodybuilding competition. I’ve always been fascinated by the human body, and world bodybuilding events. I never thought it was possible for me to enter, but now, I can see it’s achievable.