My Weight Loss & Calisthenics Journey Biggest Lessons I Mental Health vs Physical Health Matters
If you’ve followed me for a little while now, you’ll probably have a pretty good understanding about my health and fitness journey and where I’ve come from and where I am now and what I do.
But there is a lot of information that I still get asked questions on really often, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to sit down and recap over my health and fitness journey and answer some of those questions that I get often.
But I also wanted to add into it and reflect upon some of the biggest lessons that I have learned not only through my own journey but working with clients as well and working within the health and fitness industry, and just really talk about how I’ve developed over Time and how those lessons have been so fundamental in everything that I have done as well right.
So, let’s start with my health and fitness journey, and I want to try and keep this as succinct and quick as possible, but we’re going to start right at the beginning. Back when I was a child, and I was not a particularly sporty or athletic child in any way when I went to high school, I was the first person to try to hide from pe.
It scared me like it, wasn’t that I didn’t like it. I was scared of pe. I was scared of being seen in front of people. I wouldn’t want to go to assemblies and I got a prize once at prize giving and I didn’t even go up on stage. Everyone was waiting, and I didn’t even go up.
I just froze so the fact that I work in health and fitness and my job is to present things and to film things and run a business seems crazy to me now. I always think it must be really strange when people who I went to school with come across what I do now because I would probably be the last person that you’d expect to be doing it, but anyway, here we are so in school.
I wasn’t particularly sporty, and I really didn’t like doing things in front of people or being seen. I really had low confidence, this low confidence and this fear of being seen by people continued on into my teenage years. I left school.
I went to college and eventually, when I was 18, I moved to Australia. I was always kind of overweight. I was always like the bigger one, the chubbier one, but it never really bothered me when I was a teenager.
I hadn’t really noticed it, and it was only when I moved to Australia that I really started to be more and more aware of it, but it didn’t necessarily change my eating habits because I didn’t know what I was doing, and I’m genuinely looking back now, and I’ve said this quite a few times that I didn’t realize how overweight I was like.
I didn’t think it was as bad as it was when I look back at it now so life continued on for around six years and then when I was about 24, I think I was 24 when I decided that enough was enough, and I was watching a TV show I’d seen how amazing some people looked after they’d lost weight, and it was just like the one kicker that I needed.
It was like my aha moment, and I was like right. This is changing, and I went on Google and I started looking up. How do you lose weight? What do you need to do, and that day onwards was when everything started to change?
I just was so determined and people always say to me like how did you stay motivated, and how did you find your why it was just literally, like a light bulb, had gone off being the under confident person that I was, I didn’t tell anyone what I was Going to do, I just started making changes and kept it all to myself because in my head, that’s like my safety zone.
So, if I’m not sharing that information with anyone, if I fail, then it’s all on me and that’s absolutely fine. I don’t fail in front of anyone, but then, if I succeed, then I also have just myself to thank for that.
I don’t know how sound that thinking is, but that is always the way that I had thought until that point. So, I didn’t tell anyone. I just started doing some things.
I started changing what I ate a little bit by basically reducing what I ate, and I want to also highlight the fact that I was quite overweight, so any small changes that I had made to my pretty bad diet. At the time had quite a big impact and obviously the less weight you have to lose or the healthier you are or the closer to your goal, then the more changes that you have to make.
But at that point i was very, very overweight, and I had pretty bad eating habits that I’d just sort of fallen into and become completely unaware of so just changing some simple things like reducing my portion sizes and making some simple switches and starting to move.
My body more was enough to start seeing progress. Another way that not telling anyone helped me was because I have this people-pleaser mentality.
I would rather everybody around me be happy rather than myself so to me. If I was telling everyone about it realistically, it felt like I wasn’t doing it for me, but I was doing it for the validation of other people, and so by not doing that, I knew that this was exactly what I wanted, and I was doing it for My own reasons, which is a really, really important factor, I often get asked, did I get support, or what do you do when your family don’t support you or did anyone notice, and the answer is that no one really noticed no one noticed for around three months?
I think, and that was when I’d lost a significant amount of the weight and the only person that noticed was a man that I worked with, but I only saw him every few months, and he came in.
I remember him mouthing across the room to me. Have you lost weight and that was the first person that noticed sorry, not surprisingly, I had to change the battery, but what were we talking about was saying?
Did people notice or did they support me um? So, no one really noticed, and by the time people did start noticing it. It was almost like they’d forgotten, who I used to be, or the way I used to be, so it wasn’t really that much of a surprise to them.
It’s just like they’d gradually see me change and hadn’t really noticed it, and I’d just become this different person now, and that was that by the end of that year, I had lost a significant amount of weight. I looked very, very different from how I looked before and no one really said anything.
It was just that I was now a different person in people’s eyes. I got a new job. Nobody knew the past me. They only knew the person that they saw in front of them and because I didn’t really talk about it, and I was just doing it for me – no one ever really found out about it until i one day put it up on Instagram, so I suppose there’s Sometimes this belief that there’s going to be this massive event and everything’s going to change, and it’s all going to click into place, and I think that’s one of my things I’m going to talk about later. But it really is a journey and something that you’re constantly working on and developing, and there really is no end point.
It was kind of like I just got there, and I was like okay cool. This is where I’m at now I’m at healthy weight, and this is what people know me as and that’s where the journey really began. So, life continued on, and I just kept doing the same thing. I was doing a little bit of hit training. I was doing some running as well.
I was just living a normal life just going to work eating whatever I wanted to eat. I was eating healthy most the time, and then I’d have some really nice meals every now and again as well, and I really wasn’t thinking too much about the way I looked what I felt anything like that it was more just my day-to-day life.
So, I’d maintain this for around a year and a half or two years at this point, and then I started to struggle with what I now know was depressions. So, I’ve briefly mentioned it before, but I struggled with depression and anxiety. It pretty much ruled my life for probably around two years in my mid-20s and so that really brought everything to a grinding hole.
Nothing really changed in terms of my health, but I just didn’t really exercise as much, and obviously, my mental health was the key thing that was affected, and so there were days where I just would want to stare at the wall.
There were so many times I’d be having panic attacks. I couldn’t go to work. It really manifested itself in health anxiety, so I was really struggling with that and, to be honest with you, anything else was just not important anymore. The only thing I was doing was trying to get through the day.
If you ever want me to talk more about my experiences with this, then I’m more than happy to, but I’ll just keep it short and sweet. I’M really glad i went through that period of my life because it taught me so much.
It took a lot of work to get out of that, but it has given me such a valuable insight into how horrible and how overwhelmingly controlling mental health issues can be and the black hole that you feel that you’re in and it just the complete lack of Control, but I worked really really really hard to get out of that, and one of the biggest turning points for me was when I decided to go to university, so I decided to go and study science so to cut a long story short.
I majored in immunopathology physiology and then did a minor in biochemistry, and this really helped me to understand how medicine works, how the human body works, how pathology of disease works and all the stuff in between in like excruciating detail, which suddenly it took the fear away.
It put me back in control of my body and my mind as well, so that passed, and I continued on with my degree, but I was also working two jobs at the same time as well.
So,I had a daytime job around my university studies, and then I also had a night shift job as well. So, I was getting very, very little sleep, and I was basically always stressed.
My skin was probably the worst it’s ever been, and although I was maintaining my weight, my exercise had completely fallen to the wayside and that’s when I started to think about what I could do, and I set that goal to be able to do one chin up For that new year’s resolution, I started falling into that world of calisthenics, which I had no idea about at the time. But I just started doing things that I was finding online.
I started to spend all my spare time trying to learn new tricks and new skills to get stronger.
I started to feel a bit more confident in myself, and I was really enjoying my time when I was exercising, and I was making friends as well physically, my body started to improve, so I started to get stronger.
I was much more capable in what I could do. I was much more functional, and I was really enjoying moving. My body, however mentally I was chronically stressed and really, really tired all the time. So, when I was in my peak physical state, I was also at my lowest mental state now that by no means I was unhappy, I was still loving training.
I was so, so passionate about it and when I look back, I still get really emotional because I enjoyed that period of my life so much where I was getting into calisthenics, making friends going to the park trying new things. It’s just such a good place to be, but I was pushing my body to the brink and I just was exhausted and mentally depleted most of the time, and I continued doing this for several years until eventually, I moved back to England two years ago.
So, I used that move to the UK to change up what I was doing and that’s when I decided to become a personal trainer. So, I did my qualification. I got a job working in a gym and I started building up my business.
This challenged my confidence. So, so much as somebody that was always in their shell just doing their own thing didn’t want to talk about themselves, didn’t want to tell anyone what they were doing.
I suddenly was put into position where I was self-employed, and I had to talk about what I was doing. I had to be my biggest cheerleader and I had to be confident in what I was doing, and this was such a good period. For me, I had moved to a new country.
I was getting to find my feet. I was getting used to running a business. I had to be confident. I was learning so, so much and that became my primary focus and like believe it or not. My shift turned from training focus and being physically healthy to mentally working on myself, developing my skills, educating myself and the rest.
The irony is, even though I had a very physically active job, where I was teaching classes and doing pt sessions and training myself in the gym. My training had changed a little bit and my body wasn’t responding that well and really my physical health, although still obviously a focus was nowhere near as important as my mental health.
Now and so all my energy went into developing my mental health, making sure I had a lifestyle that I could sustain, and I loved, and ironically it was like the two switched and suddenly, I had really, really amazing mental health, but my physical health was starting to Decline and that’s pretty much where we’ve left it with any of the videos on my channel because that leads up to the point at which the UK went into a lockdown last year and the gym shirt.
And I moved my business completely online and again that presented another new challenge for me because I needed to bring my mental health and my physical health back into alignment rather than one always outweighing the other.
So, I started focusing on what I loved again and trying to find my true self in terms of my training, which was calisthenics, and I started doing all my body weight training again and getting back into doing my handstands and really just what I love and finding myself.
But I also plowed a lot of time into self-development and making sure that I was really good at my job, but also that I was developing myself as a person and trying to overcome some of the things that I’ve always struggled with, such as being under confident and Not being able to back myself that much that was going amazing, I was fully finding my feet. I was loving my training, everything started to sort of click back into place, and I was finding that alignment that I needed in that balance and then last year in August.
I think it was that’s when I had a disc bulge injury, so I just got out of bed one morning my back completely went, and I just couldn’t move, and I was in chronic pain for 24 hours a day for at least three months and the recovery Is still going on, I still have pain, but I’ve made other videos on that as well, but that again was another learning curve.
So, it made me really focus on certain aspects of my life and certain aspects of my health and fitness journey and really reflect back on what I’ve learned and what I’ve developed and what I still have to learn. But through this injury, looking for the silver lining, it has taught me so much.
It’s taught me about injuries. It’s taught me about my specific injury. It’s given me empathy for people that are going through injuries and how they can manage it and how it affects your mindset, and its re taught me to appreciate everything that my body does for me.
The fact that I can get up and walk, or I can stand up out of bed is just the most amazing gift, and I know it sounds crazy, but until you’ve lost that you don’t appreciate it anywhere near as much, and I remember saying to myself when I can move again, I’m never going to take for granted a workout.
I’m never going to take for granted being able to put my socks on or being able to bend over and pick up my shoes, I’m I’m just not going to, and I remember that still When I’m doing like a workout that I’m not enjoying or if I’m doing core exercises or my stretches or something like that, I’m like just be so, so grateful for the fact that you can move. So, that’s definitely something that I’m going to take forward with me.
In the future – and that leads us up to now the present day – and I must say that it’s only now that I really feel like I’m starting to find my feet and understand myself and find that balance properly.
Since my injury started to heal, which was the beginning of this year, I’ve really started to fall in love all over again with calisthenics and body weight training, and that has become the biggest focus in my training and all the things that I’ve spoken about.
All the benefits that I find with it have come along with that which is enjoying your training and wanting to see progress in your strengths and in your skill set. Rather than always feeling like you have to be hitting a certain number or being a certain person.
It’s all about the journey, it’s always about the process and knowing that you’re always going to be developing you’re always going to be learning and there’s not an end point in terms of the mental side, I’m still always developing and learning, and I know that there is Always more to learn, but from everything that I’ve gone through in the past.
I know the tools that I need and the tools that I can use to be able to improve that. So for me, having education around certain different topics is really, really important. When I was trying to lose weight, I needed to understand the tools needed to lose weight, so I needed to understand about nutrition and exercise.
I needed to know what a calorie deficit was and that that was the most important thing when I was trying to get through my anxiety and depression understanding how the human body works was really, really important and now understanding how I work and why.
I do certain things is also really important, so I suppose that leads on nicely to recapping the biggest lessons I have learned throughout that entire journey and number one is, do it for you and not for somebody else.
Don’t expect support, you might get it, but you also might not. If you set yourself up to need that support, you might find that you’re either disappointed or that you just can’t quite do it without it.
You need to be your own biggest cheerleader, and you need to know that you want it. So do it for you and not for anyone else. Point number two is that this is a lifelong and never-ending journey that is going to be constantly full of development and change.
So don’t expect there to be some final end point that you’re working towards, as shown by my journey six years later. I’M still learning and developing what works for me and what I want, and it’s constantly changing as well expect and embrace change because it’s going to happen so just go with the flow and enjoy it as you go. That leads nicely on to number three, which is whatever you want to achieve. Just start now. Perfect timing does not exist.
The perfect situation does not exist, but if you don’t start you’re never going to make it. I didn’t know what I was doing when I started, and I’m still learning a lot of things now, but if I hadn’t started I know I would not be in the position that I am today number four, and I say this all the time, but as much As physical health is important, mental health is also important.
That also means that peak physical health doesn’t mean that you have peak mental health and what you want to try and do is balance those two as goods as possible.
Of course, it’s going to be fluctuations and change, but if you can try and balance them and take them to account just as much as each other, that’s going to put you in the best position possible.
The times I have been at my physical peak, I’ve been at my mental lowest and vice versa, so try to work to bring those into alignment, so you can live the most authentic and beautiful life.
Number five is that things aren’t permanent and life’s always going to change. There’s always going to be fluctuations and changes in what you do.
So don’t ever expect that you’re going to be set on one thing and that’s what you have to do forever because you just never know where life is going to take you.
I would never have sat here five years ago and said what I do now would have been my job. It’s just crazy to me so again, just embrace the change and just go with the flow and the last one is don’t be afraid of your body.
There’s a song – and I’ve mentioned it before – that I really love called everyone’s free to wear sunscreen by baslerman and in it, he says, don’t be afraid of your body, don’t be ashamed of it or what people think of it.
It’s the best instrument you’ll ever own, and it’s so true. Our bodies are incredible instruments. They are there to be used to move to, to be challenged to try new things, so don’t be afraid that you’re going to push yourself it’s great, to be able to put yourself out of your comfort zone within reason and enjoy everything that your body has to offer I almost see myself as a bit of an experiment.
I’ll try something for a week or two sees how I react to it and if I don’t feel like it benefits me, then I know that’s not for me so because there’s no cookie cutter approach to Health and fitness, I would encourage you to try doing the same thing as well. Oh, and always go with your gut instinct, I’m still trying to learn this one, but your gut is always right all right guys.
That is what I’ve got for you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video, and it has helped in some way or perhaps maybe you can just even relate to some of the lessons that I have learned along the way as well. If you have any questions, of course, you can drop them down below, but otherwise i hope you have an amazing day and I will see you in the next video you
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