Fitness & Health | 8 months ago
Jeremy Itoje lost 20kg doing this body transformation challenge to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust
He had done fad diets for years, then he found this...

Jeremy Itoje had tried fad diets and drastic eating plans on and off for years in a bid to lose weight.

Like so many of us, the 23-year-old fell into the trap of thinking that starving himself and hitting the gym hard every day was the way to do it.

But he found he was crashing and burning very quickly and rebounded so he actually put more weight back on afterwards.

It was only when he started doing the Titan Force body transformation plan that he started to learn about sustainable and long-lasting weight loss using proper nutrition and a proper training plan.

Jeremy, who is the older brother of England and Saracens star Maro Itoje, took on the six-month fitness challenge with eight other guys who got in the shape of their lives with the help of personal trainer and former Royal Marine Rich McKeating and ex-bodybuilding champion Dan Norman

The results speak for themselves.

University student Jeremy lost an incredible three and a half stone of body fat on the programme and built muscle too.

Not only that it helped him build confidence, develop a healthy body and mind and also helped him win his first amateur boxing fight.

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One thing that inspired him to take on the challenge was that it raised thousands of pounds for the Teenager Cancer Trust.

''I wanted to bring more awareness to cancer as my close friend’s mother has cancer and my uncle was also diagnosed with cancer last summer.

''Although teenage cancer trust is aimed towards teenagers these were the people in my life who were affected by it.''

A big part of helping him lose weight was arming himself with the knowledge of how to eat right and take control of his diet.

Before Jeremy admits that his idea of fitness and losing weight was unsustainable and potentially damaging.

''I thought you had to eat nothing and just go to the gym basically starve yourself and work out as much as you can,'' he says.

''I would go on these 5-day juice diets that, to be fair, worked but would put the weight on straight afterwards because I would go back on my usual eating habits of a very heavy carb diet of pasta rice noodles. I couldn’t get enough of it.''

He said he really struggled to lose weight be he wasn't focussed or committed to it. 'I would be doing quite well and lose patience,' he says. 'But with this programme we were all motivated and had great support from Dan and Rich.'

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Jeremy Titan

 

The Titan Force project helped him get control over his food, get him eating and put some structure into his diet that helped shed weight immediately.

''We were eating smaller but frequent meals five times a day and cut down the number of carbs, we also cut out fizzy drinks, alcohol and junk food,'' he explains.

If you're trying to lose body fat, then lowering the amount of carbs you have or restricting them to certain meals really help.

Why? Because the moment you eat carbs your body stops using it's own fat stores for fuel and instead uses the carbohydrate you just ate.

Eating food and drinks high in sugar will make your blood sugar spike and then crash, leaving you hungry and wanting more sugar again.

Jeremy cut this stuff out of his diet in favour of nutrient rich foods including lower glycemic index carbs, like brown rice, which provide slower release energy, along with lean proteins and healthy fats like coconut oil.

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Food preparation was a big factor in keeping his diet on track and not letting him slip back into old ways, as you know exactly what you're eating and when.

''It was challenging at first because we had to prep our food in advance and measure them and count them but once we got used to it we could all count our calories and get the right amount of food from sight.

''Basically we tried to make sure we had the right amount of fats protein and carbs, and fit in as much veg as possible.

''Chicken, vegetables and brown rice became a mainstay, I used coconut oil a lot I felt that it really helped with the weight loss.''

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He soon got used to eating five smaller meals a day and was measuring his food during prep to ensure he didn't exceed more than 2,500 calories in a day.

It was important to get his nutrition right, but also having a structured training plan in place to push himself was key to burning calories off.

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Jeremy and the other guys who were trying to lose weight based their training around high-rep weight training and high-intensity HIIT cardio on the bike or the treadmill.

When he first started the programme it was very much focused on full body workouts which can give beginners real bang for their buck.

He was in the gym hitting the weights four times a week as well as hitting two cardio sessions a week.

He was doing major compound lifts like deadlifts and squats as well as hitting his chest, back and shoulders with barbell presses and rows.

As the project went on and he became a more accomplished lifter, the weights sessions became more targeted as specific muscle groups.

Jerr

''At the beginning we started on full body workouts and later on in the process it became a bit more targeted.

''It varied at different stages but at its toughest I was going to the gym five times a week and having a two-hour walk on a weekend morning.

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''I’m more confident and know what I’m doing now, which means that it has steadily become more intense.

''We’ve upped the amount of weight and the reps and now I feel like every session is a good one because I know what I’m going there to do and which muscles I’m hitting.''

Jeremy's hard work has brought him the rewards and the diet and training knowledge he's learned continues to help him stride towards his goals.

''I’ve lost about 20kg and put on muscle but what my goal is to get those beloved abs

''Hard work pays off and you have to be patient and not too hard on yourself, but you need to try and be consistent

''Starving yourself is not the way, you need to have a balanced clean diet.  A pizza or something isn’t going to derail you so treat yourself once in a while and keep on going. Also you need to tailor your diet to what you are trying to achieve.

''I had my first boxing bout this year which I won and I’m sure my performance was linked to the increased fitness I gained from doing Titan Force. I wanted to have a healthy body and mind and gained that from taking part in the programme.''

You can sign up to do the Titan Force challenge and raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust while getting in the shape of your life - whether you want to bulk up or lean out. You can find out more about how to get involved in January right here.

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Health, Fitness, Body Transformation