IT consultant ditches 4,000 calorie-a-day diet to get seriously ripped
For anyone assuming a busy lifestyle is a barrier to getting in shape, one man's incredible transformation provides food for thought
Neil Slessor dropped 20 kilograms in just 14 weeks - a journey which has hugely benefitted his health and seen his confidence skyrocket.
An IT consultant with a packed schedule, Neil originally had little control over his diet, instead living off fast food, egg muffins, ice cream and a daily diet of 4,000 calories.
He was generally unhappy with the way he looked and felt that none of his clothes truly fitted him.
Neil was no stranger to the gym, but initially followed a training program that bore little results.
"I had been training for the last 5 years with the aim of increasing my size and muscle mass.
"I had certainly managed to increase my size, but I would say that most of it had been in the form of fat, especially around my waist.
"I was getting to the stage where I just felt uncomfortable all the time and something had to change."
This had a wider impact on Neil's overall health and wellbeing.
"I was actually carrying a lot more fat than I even realised.
"Mentally, I was always tired at work and lacked energy - but still had problems getting a good night's sleep."
Despite the few training sessions he included each week, Neil's diet completely compromised any possible results he could have achieved.
"I would often go to fast food restaurants for breakfast on the weekend and eat three bacon & egg muffins and a hash brown without even thinking about it.
"I really had no concept of macronutrients or calorie counts, and would just eat whatever I liked.
"I did think that because I was training and lifting weights that the fat was an inevitable side effect of this, but I really got a shock much later on seeing the before photos compared with my progress."
Eventually, Neil decided enough was enough - and wanted to make a long-lasting change.
"Back in December 2016, I received an email from Ultimate Performance, and I think I read it and looked at all the pictures about three or four times.
"Looking at all of the amazing before and after pictures got me thinking that this could be something for me."
Enlisting the help of trainer Adam at his nearest UP gym, Neil embarked on a transformation that has changed his life as well as his physique.
It wasn't all plain sailing from the outset, though, and his plan demanded motivation and a strong work ethic.
"I immediately cut out alcohol altogether and stuck to the meal plan that my trainer Adam created for me.
"The shock to my body was incredible and the first couple of weeks were really tough.
"I had probably been eating close to 4,000 calories a day which then reduced to 1,700 on the new meal plan. I was really missing all the food that I used to have and probably had some withdrawals to start with – I remember having a constant headache for the first week."
Consistency is key - which Neil found to his advantage. Trusting his plan and sticking to it fostered the environment for results.
"Once I got settled into the new diet, I immediately started to see some improvements.
"The fat from around my waist was dropping off – even after four weeks the transformation was pretty spectacular. I felt like I had so much more energy and was actually starting to sleep a lot better."
Neil benefitted from a sustainable diet that he could adhere to. Old-fashioned approaches hold that a diet has to be boring to work, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Neil's daily diet
- Meal 1: 30g casein protein
- Meal 2: White meat / fish, green vegetables, 20g nuts
- Meal 3: Red meat / oily fish, green vegetables
- Meal 4: 30g casein protein
- Meal 5: White meat / fish, green vegetables, 20g nuts
The more enjoyable your meals, the more likely you are to succeed on a diet plan. Neil's trainer Adam quickly convinced him that this was the case.
"I thought the diet would be the toughest part, but I actually got used to it pretty quickly.
"The food that Adam had included in the meal plan was all so tasty, I was even looking forward to eating steamed broccoli."
Neil lost around 20kg in just 14 weeks, while adding some serious muscle size. He more than halved his body fat, getting down to a shredded 7.8%.
Neil's incredible transformation gave him the confidence to attack other aspects of his life with the same vigour.
"My confidence has increased dramatically. I’ve always been quite shy, so now I actually feel a lot more outgoing than I used to be.
"During the last week of my transformation, I had to deliver a one-hour presentation to a group of work colleagues. This is something that previously would have filled me with absolute dread and I would never have even contemplated doing it.
"Now I actually look forward to putting on a pair of shorts and taking my shirt off in the summer months ahead."
If you - or someone you know - has made an impressive transformation with a story to tell, you could be featured on JOE's Transformation Tuesday!
Just send your nominations to A[email protected]