Darren knew his health was on the line when he came out of lockdown weighing over 100kg.
The last time the 39-year-old hit this worrying weight, he suffered a prolapsed disc and excruciating back pain. At its worst, the pain was so severe it would take him 10 minutes to get out of bed.
The tipping point for Darren was at Euro 2020 when his medium-sized England shirt was tighter than it ever had been before.
Concerned his weight would lead to another serious back injury, Darren entrusted Ultimate Performance to help him develop muscle and build reliable stability.
His bespoke program has shown him how to maintain his results without fitness completely overwhelming his life. With less than three hours training per week, U.P. proved to be the lasting solution to his health and fitness concerns.
In just 17 weeks, Darren lost 16kg and completely transformed his physique. Perhaps most importantly, he is now aware of what a sustainable training plan looks like.
“I haven’t really done a similar program before as I never found one that offered what I required.
“U.P. offers a program that gets you as close as possible to guaranteeing high-quality results, whilst educating you and providing the tools you need to maintain your achievements.
“I felt nutrition was an area where U.P. came to the fore. The quality of the nutritional advice from my trainer was excellent and being able to get answers to all manner of nutritional questions along the way was invaluable.”
Here, Darren speaks about how his trainer delivered results while working around his ailments, and how impressed he was with the intense yet effective U.P. training methods.
What were your motivations when starting this transformation?
On a superficial level the tipping point for me was at the Euro finals when my medium-sized England shirt, which historically would fit fine, was so tight it was hard to distinguish it from a body painted shirt. On a more serious note, I had known for a while that I needed to make a drastic change as my weight had been creeping up throughout the pandemic and my attempts to reverse that trend via exercise or diet kept failing.
The weight gain was further exacerbated when I tore an ankle ligament playing football which led to an unwanted personal milestone – being over 100kg. I had only ever been that weight once and it held significance for me as it was also when I developed a prolapsed disc in my lower back and suffered severe back pain as a consequence. Being overweight with a weak core was certainly a significant contributory factor.
What were you looking to achieve by the end of your program?
I wanted to lose weight and crucially help alleviate a stress factor on my back. However, I had lots of other things I wanted to achieve. I was looking to achieve physical results that I have not been able to achieve before.
I also wanted to learn more about nutrition, what to eat and the best supplements to use to support fitness training. Finally, for me the holy grail was seeing if I could learn how to maintain the results without living like a monk!
How did your sciatica impact your life before training at U.P. and how did it make you feel?
At worst, the pain was severe enough that it would take me 10 minutes to get out of bed and a lot of regular day-to-day activities, such as putting socks on or getting into a car would be incredibly painful.
I am sure others with similar issues can testify, that mentally speaking, back pain can also be very draining, as even sleeping can be painful so there is no let up.
What are the most powerful lessons you have learned about training?
I think learning the correct technique was key to my transformation. Despite being aware of the importance of proper form when lifting weights, I soon discovered my technique was still incorrect with a lot of exercises. This meant I was being inefficient, less likely to achieve the results I wanted and more prone to injure something.
I also learned the value of maintaining consistency. Consistency shouldn’t be confused with intensity and being in the gym every day, but more sticking to a routine of two to three sessions a week along with daily cardio (even if just a long walk) to ensure you stay fit and avoid a surplus in calories. The intensity of my sessions was something I enjoyed. My sessions were probably 50% more intense than anything I ever did on my own and I am sure was a big part in helping me achieve the results I did within the timeframe.
What did you learn about nutrition while working with U.P.?
Nutrition and diet were key factors in my transformation. Even though I think everyone understands this, I am sure it is the root cause of most failures in relation to any training or weight loss program.
Personally, I felt it was an area where U.P. really came to the fore. The quality of the nutritional advice from my trainer was a pleasant surprise and being able to get answers to all manner of nutritional questions along the way was invaluable.
I also learned about the types of food to eat including the balance between macros, as well as developing an understanding of supplements. It is worth noting that even though most of the recommendations will not come as a surprise (e.g. omegas, aminos, protein, etc) I personally found it helpful to get guidance from a trusted source with there being so much guidance online (which can sometimes be conflicting or overwhelming).
What would you say to anyone thinking of starting with U.P., but may feel apprehensive?
I would say it depends on what element is making you anxious. In my view, if one (or a combination of) lack of knowledge, motivation or accountability is holding you back from achieving your goals then this program is definitely for you.
Separately, if there is anxiety about the training environment and whether it might be too ‘macho’, there’s no need to worry. Comfort can be drawn from the wide variety of people of all shapes and sizes that U.P. have helped transform seen on U.P.’s socials and website.
- We show you the best, we don't show you the worst.
- We show you people who follow the plans, not those who are all talk.
- We show you those who inspire even us with their commitment to their results.
- You cannot get results exactly like these. You are unique and that means you can only get your own best possible results.
- Your results are a function of time spent following the plan; your genetic response to the right exercise and diet program; how hard you train; how consistently you come to the gym; how disciplined you are with your diet; & your starting point.
- Oftentimes the lower your starting point (poor fitness, terrible body composition) the better your results.
- We cannot do the work for you and the results you see here are a testament to the work ethic of our clients.
Our reputation is that we are the best trainers in the world for helping you to unlock your potential, & we can lead you to the door, give you the key, even turn the handle and push the door open, but we cannot walk through it for you.
In the end the result is down to you.
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