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Fitness & Health

12th Oct 2018

Total Transformation Status: Complete

In his final blog, Reuben reflects on the past three months having completed his transformation with Ultimate Performance

Reuben Pinder

Once upon a time at Reading Festival…

I was relaxing quite contently under the gazebo in the campsite, minding my own business, sipping on a lukewarm cider. Oh, to be 17 again. A man wearing an AC Milan shirt, carrying a 24-crate of beer approached us. He recognised some of my friends from the previous year. Evidently drunk already, he asked me: “mate, what happened to your arms?”. I know, what a dick.

My friend, who shall remain nameless, then used his instinctive wit to inform the aforementioned drunkard that I had a “muscle wasting disease”, to which the man responded without laughter, or an equally witty reply, but by apologising to me, explaining that he “didn’t realise”.

In hindsight, I should have started hitting the weights on the Monday that I returned from that festival. If that is believable, I should probably try to change it, even if I am naturally very slim. But five years went before I did anything about it.

I went to Spain for nine months, where people thought I was underfed in England and tried to force paella down me by the tonne, before eventually understanding that I did in fact eat, my metabolism was just in overdrive.

I went to university for three years, before which I told myself I would join the subsidised gym and go before (ha!) lectures. However, when it came round to it, I preferred to spend time with my newly made friends, drinking and watching football.

But when the opportunity arose to have the guidance of an Ultimate Performance personal trainer, on everything from technique, to diet, to work-out routines, I realised that this time, I had to do it. And I have no regrets.

Yes, there were times when I thought I had committed to something I thought I couldn’t do, which would mean not only letting myself down but everyone involved in organising the process. But somehow I knocked down those walls which only reinforced my belief that future doubts would be temporary and that I can do it. It’s only lifting metal and eating food.

And here we are, at the end of the road. Well, more at the end of road, arriving at a junction. In one direction, a return to my no exercise, eating dirty diet purely because I am lucky enough to get away with it, and in the other direction, continuing to live the lifestyle I’ve adopted, with minor tweaks to make it more manageable.

Of course, I’m taking the second route. Those ‘minor tweaks’ will not be huge, but I’m not sure I can eat another omelette again for a few months. I will allow myself to drink more beer, or, to drink beer guilt free. I broke the no beer rule on several occasions but come on, England got to the semi-finals of the World Cup and it was 25 degrees all summer.

Maybe if I hadn’t allowed myself to cheat at all, I might have made more gains. As Rob McElHenney, co-creator of the star sitcom ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadephia’ showed, you can go from being fat to absolutely shredded in seven months if you don’t allow yourself to have any fun, ever. At all.

I realise I am in a privileged position, but that, dear reader, is not a lifestyle change I am willing to make.

Over the course of the past three months, I have gained 6 kilos, most of which came in the first half of the process, which I’m told is normal. My body fat percentage has also gone down by approximately an entire percentage. I had very little to lose anyway, so I’m quite worried about how I’ll cope this winter – I’ll definitely be in the market for a thick jacket.

I’ve also realised that while it’s hard, I can gain muscle; that it doesn’t matter what the guy next to me is lifting in the gym; and that I actually might quite like the gym. In my field of work, and being the age that I am, my phone is glued to my hand. If I’m not connected to the internet, part of my brain fears that I’m missing out on something. It’s bad, I know, which is why going to the gym is an excellent way to cut myself off from social media, put a podcast on and work until I can lift no more.

I’m glad I’ve done it, I’m happy with the results, but mostly I’m thankful to Ultimate Performance for giving me the chance to do this, to Matt, my personal trainer who understood the difficulties I have faced and how my situation differed from most of his clients while giving me expert advice, and to Alex Roberts, our Fitness Editor who has been a constant source of reassurance and support.

Next weekend I go to Marrakesh, where I hope to enjoy the benefits of the work I’ve put in over this time, unburdened by the anxiety that comes with being the skinniest person laying by the pool.