Here's how a 32-year-old lung cancer survivor got shredded in an amazing body transformation
It's admirable to see anyone complete an amazing body transformation.
Losing weight and getting ripped takes real dedication, hard work and consistency.
We know how tough it can be balancing family life and a job with dieting hard, prepping meals and spending long hours training at the gym.
But Chris Pearce had even more obstacles than most people standing in the way of his perfect physique.
The 32-year-old dad had some horrific health problems which almost killed him.
Doctors found a grapefruit-sized tumour in his pelvis and after they operated on it they found malignant tumour in his lung.
Chris, who lives in Northamptonshire, had to have a large section of his lung cut out to save him before doctors found part of his bowel had fused shut.
But after some serious operations Chris began an amazing body transformation that saw him lose around three-stone and get down to a shredded 7% body fat to win at the Pure Elite fitness show.
JOE chatted to Chris about how he did it, why he wants to inspire other men and how he is improving his physique even further for the Pure Elite final at the 02 Arena in November.
Have you always trained?
Yes I have trained since I was 16 but when I had the tumours in me I found it very hard to progress. It took so long to get me diagnosed - in fact most of my twenties I was trying to get a diagnosis. They reckon I had a tumour in me since the age of 18, a benign one.
Ive always been around the gym and I've been bigger and smaller. But this now is the most serious I've ever been, because it's the first time that I've been 100% healthy to do this type of thing.
What happened with your health and the cancer diagnosis?
The first thing I was diagnosed with was a benign nerve sheath tumour in my pelvis. It was really big, it was the size of a grapefruit.
It took a long time to get diagnosis, because nobody would expect a young many to have that kind of tumour.
While I was being treated for that to have it removed, they scanned me and found a malignant cancer in my left lung. That started to grow quite rapidly so they had to take it out.
In between then because I'd had so much surgery, my intestines closed themselves off and adhered themselves shut because of scar tissue.
All this was since 2012. I've had four major surgeries and three minor ones. This is now the longest I've been without surgery. The last one was in 2014.
Why did you get back into training?
I trained in between surgeries to keep myself healthy. But I could never really got anywhere, because I always knew soon there would be more surgery and after that you can't really do anything for weeks or months recovering.
After the first surgery I had to have physio to learn to walk again, because the pelvis thing it had messed up all the feeling in my foot and compressed disks in my back.
When they took my lung out I got training at a bodybuilding gym and found a passion for it. I thought 'I'm never going to be the biggest guy, I don't want to use chemicals to get there, but why can't I get on stage and show other young men that if you've got scars or had cancer you don't need to be ashamed?' - You might not have the perfect body, but you can have a good go at it.'
How did you come to do the show?
I'm not a professional bodybuilder. I did Pure Elite which is a fitness organisation that caters more for physique athletes and fitness models.
I accept that I don't fit into that category because I'm so different and I've got my weak points because of all my surgeries and scars, but I found they had a 'transformations' category and I went up against 10 other guys.
A lot of them had lost weight. I did all-right and I got a pro card from that organisation but it gives me a chance to go to the finals at the 02 Arena and keep on raising money for charity while I'm doing it.
I have no aspirations of being Mr Olympia but it would be cool to see how far I can take it. And if I can help a few people who have had cancer and want to get in shape, then that's enough for me. I just want to inspire others. I've dodged death so many times it's just good to be here and to be having another crack at it.
I'm never going to be perfect. My legs are always going to be slightly small because I've got compacted disks in my back and where I had my tumour I've got very limited function in my right leg.
I was told that I would never be able to build up any kind of muscle because of how my immune system was, so I did surprise myself.
How did you go about getting back in shape?
I had two guys at my gym who had both won fitness competitions or bodybuilding and they both just helped me for free.
I know what I'm doing in the gym, but diet-wise I needed to lose some weight and lose body fat.
I did it naturally. There are a lot of guys who would maybe take steroids for a show, which I don't condone or have an opinion on, but because I'd had cancer there was no way I was putting any chemicals in my body.
These guys did my diet plans, helped me with posing and helped maintain weight and did it in a way that was safe so there was no chance I was going to be admitted to A&E.
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Please check out a client and great friend of mine @chris_t_pearce . His journey has been a long and hard 1 but truly inspirational, from near to death to a couple of months away from doing his 1st show for pure elite in the transformation class . This is what makes my job so rewarding #fuckcancer #functionalfitnessmk #progress
What was your diet like?
It was high protein and I kept the carbs in, because I am still recovering after two years. I dropped my weight down safely and sensibly from 15-stone to 12-stone. To lose the first bit of weight I had seven meals a day. Potatoes and chicken about three times, turkey mince and then lean mince in the evenings.
No supplements except a protein shake after training.
But when you prep for a show it's literally just turkey and broccoli and lots of water. The last few days I was having seven litres of water and then I stopped drinking the day before.
I had 20% body fat but on the day of the show I was about 7% body fat.
I was still having a lot of calories and I never cut carbohydrates - I was having about 800g of carbs a day, but because I was working so hard with the cardio and everything it just gave me the energy to keep going.
When you cut down for a show you're eating the bare minimum. Now I'm bulking up again I'm on five meals, but they're bigger. I will probably go back up to 13-stone and see where I am in November and go back a little bigger.
I just eat lots of protein, a good balance of carbohydrates and lots of vegetables really.
What was your training like?
When I was losing weight I would do fasted cardio for 45 minutes about five times a week in the morning.
I would also do weights for about an hour five times a week - just a normal split like arms, chest back, legs and shoulders.
That was what I used then, but I've changed up a bit now and hit the body parts once a week.
Then I do 20 minutes of high intensity cardio after the weights on the cross trainer.
So when I was really losing weight I would do about an hour of cardio. But now my body fat is so low and my metabolism is really high from competing, I can cut that morning cardio out, which is good because I'm not that good at getting up at 5am every morning.
I did as much cardio as I did weight and it worked for me. I perhaps neglected cardio when I was younger but I realise now that it can give you that vascular look.
Have you had to modify your training because of the surgery?
There are certain exercises I can't do. I can't deadlift and I can't squat. The simple fact is that where I had my tumours, I degenerated the disks so I'm always at risk of hurting myself so I have to be careful.
There are ways around it. If I'm tired I have to rest. With my lung I don't really notice it. I only have one and a half lungs but my capacity for running and cycling is really good and I have built it up over time.
I have to do the weight management carefully because I'm still recovering and still under observation for five years.
Where there is a will there's a way. Just keep going, watch your diet and know what your limitations are - that's how I've done it.