Richard turns his life around
In 2004, I underwent open-heart surgery as a result of a heart attack. My sternum was cut from top to bottom and I had steel rods embedded in my stomach.
Before I progress any further, let me describe my life style pre-heart attack.
I had never been over-weight – on the contrary, my body type is lean and athletic. However, my blood pressure was seriously high due to smoking 30+ cigarettes a day and my cholesterol was high due to sugary, fatty foods and limited exercise. Stress also played a major role in my life as I was in a position where I was on call 24/7, resulting in broken sleep.
After the operation, and in rehab, I was told I was lucky to be still alive and was strongly advised to change my life-style. I looked and felt like a frail old man. So in January 2005, I joined the Les Mills gym. I was provided with a basic weight training and cardio program.
Within a couple of months working out with the basic gym programs, I realised I wasn’t really progressing. One afternoon I was sitting in a café, pondering whether I should suspend my membership. Thankfully, I made the choice to ring the gym and speak to the manager of the day and told him I wanted a Personal Trainer. I’m so glad I made that phone call!
A few days later I was sitting on the couch in the gym reception, when Kat introduced herself. I remember wondering what experience she had and how she’d be able to motivate me to achieve my goals. My fears were quickly dispelled. She took me step by step through the process of changing my whole life. From that day on, I have huge confidence in her ability as a truly professional trainer, motivator and coach.
Kat bought me a folder and filled it with training programs and suggested I put on the front page a picture of someone I could aspire to. I chose Carlos Spencer as I envied his upper body. To this day, I always have a picture of my current role models. My latest – Stalone and Arnie.
I had a log in which I wrote down my meals and training sessions. I trained with Kat three times every week, she would check my log and change my training programs on a regular basis to shock my body and keep improving. She’d send me motivating quotes, which I put on the walls of my apartment.
After successfully completing two Body for Life Challenges, I was further inspired by Kat as she prepared for her first bodybuilding competition in 2006. I felt so motivated by her mental discipline and strength and we set our sights on me doing a competition myself.
In order to remain focused, I had to train every day and resist constant temptation around me – at family functions (i.e. no alcohol) and at work, where I’m surrounded by colleagues eating takeaways.
I often had self-doubt as to whether I was up to this challenge, but I would tell Kat of how I was feeling and she understood and often had encouraging words to help me along. Her support was invaluable. I will never forget that day, it was such a high!
I have competed in a further four competitions since then. Training hard and eating right is tough, but as Kat says – if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Before I began this new lifestyle, I used to stress out a lot Nowadays I don’t sweat the small stuff. Frankly, I don’t have the heartbeats left to worry about things that don’t matter!
I’ve been training with Kat every week since 2005 and I never cancel. I even continued as her client when she went to the U.K for 2 years having weekly skype sessions to plan my training and keep me on track.
I’m totally committed and addicted to training now, it’s a huge part of my life. I’m into my sixties now, but that’s no excuse. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing! And besides, it keeps me feeling young.
I would recommend this lifestyle to anyone – it’s totally rewarding!