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Andy Withers

My advice to anyone wanting to make some improvement in the gym, or in life, is to be kind to yourself.
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Success Story Page Header

Client from Sylvania | Trainer: Chris Lee

Before Andy-Before
After Andy-After

Let me start at the present moment rather than the start: I've never in my life felt better; I may have been fitter in my 20s, when I was playing a lot of soccer in official tournaments, or maybe 8-9 years ago, when I was part of a highly engaged fitness group, but I've never before had such a level of strength and fitness matched with health, diet, and general wellbeing. I got to this point in just five months. I've worked hard, with dedication and diligence, but I wouldn't have got here without the help and guidance of Chris Lee (my PT); all the other trainers at Vision Sylvania, who have all played a part in my development with the group sessions, encouragement and help; and the support, encouragement and smiles of everyone else in the gym.

So, to the start.

I didn't feel great. I didn't feel unfit (I could run and cycle, and not greatly slower than at any other time for 10 years) but I didn't feel as good as I wanted to. I'd hiked the Pennine Way, and felt good doing it. I wasn't unhappy but I was increasingly conscious of my weight and body shape. I knew I had to do something, but first I had to get my "head right" in order to commit fully. I'm someone who doesn't work so well just knowing I have to do something; I have to locate the inner switch so I can make the most of the opportunity. My lovely wife, Joanne, did most of the legwork in finding gym options, knowing that I wouldn't do it until I was ready; she figured better maybe do some research so I could decide straight away as soon as I was "ready to start". She found me a couple of good local options, and I'd pretty much decided to join Vision when...

... I'd had shoulder discomfort for three or four months; turned out I had a frozen shoulder and a torn rotator cuff, after likely dislocating my shoulder while mitigating a minor fall down stars. Treatments for the symptoms are basically polar opposites: surgery and no movement for the tears; as much movement as possible for the "freeze". I decided to see where rehab got me; it was a slow process but I finally got myself to a point where I (and more importantly my physio) was happy for me to come to the gym to start my journey. Then I learned that I had high blood pressure, and my GP refused to sign me off to start training; I had two lots of 24-hour monitoring before he was happy to sign me off to start. Pretty stressful...

I set myself the target of getting down from 92kg to 75kg, something like the middle of a "healthy" weight for a bloke my size. The first scan results were informative, as my fat levels and visceral numbers were not good. I coped with that information quite well, albeit I cried a little, and that was a benefit of having got my head right. Previously, I might have just been discouraged rather than encouraged to continue. I also benefited from the kindness, consideration, and empathy of Jack (who onboarded me) and Chris (whom I'm very grateful to have been paired with as my PT).

For all that Chris and the trainers have helped me, for all the rest of the clients have been supportive, for all that I've worked hard and diligently, I wouldn't have made anywhere near so much progress without the MyVision App. I had a huge "woah" moment the first weighed meal I entered. I decided to eat unchanged for a week to establish a proper baseline of where I was, and the improvements I could make. The App has helped me tap into the "control" and "what and why" side of my mentality. The understanding of how and why a beer or a wine affects the body's ability to digest food was also instructive for me. I now have a much-improved relationship with alcohol, and I've learned what to eat -- and more importantly when to eat it -- so I might have a better chance of progress.

I got down to 75kg way quicker than I thought would be possible (four months), and I'm running and biking way faster than ever I thought I could. Where I used to be at the back of the pack of cycling mates, I'm now towards the front and I can climb with the best of them -- including accelerating up a 14% gradient on Mount Canobolas. I'm working with weights in a meaningful way, and I'm stronger than ever with a much-increased metabolism. My bio age has changed from 59 (I'm 55 so this was a bit distressing albeit motivating) to 53. I've entered distance runs, and I'm starting my half-marathon training program at something like 15km. My shoulder is much stronger and much more stable, thanks to the work Chris has had me doing, which means I have started the next stage of working towards doing 10+ pull-ups. And I'm much more flexible for having started the Flex classes.)

My advice to anyone wanting to make some improvement in the gym, or in life, is to be kind to yourself. Be brave enough to be bold to set meaningful goals, whatever they may be, but then break them down into achievable bite-size targets. And look to know or understand something of how you learn and develop in any part of life: Think of a time you have achieved success and consider the process you followed -- what worked and what didn't; this understanding will help you, and your PT, on your journey. Most importantly, enjoy the journey. Follow a program that you enjoy, and work out alongside people with whom you're happy to spend time; makes things a whole heap easier if the process is "more than a process".

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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