Mark Kirkwood has never been overweight. But with 4 young sons under the age of 9, he wanted to be in much better shape. This is the story of how he started training to get fitter – but ended up changing his entire belief system to become a truly changed man.
“I’m a slim, tall guy with a 34” waist,” says Mark, “so I never had any reason to think I was unhealthy. I’d half-heartedly exercised over the years, and my eating habits were OK. But when I got to my mid-30s, with a family of 4 boys to keep me on my toes, I had to face the truth. I wasn’t healthy. I had been kidding myself for years.”
As a Dad of 4, and the working adult of the household, Mark felt a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. It was difficult for him to put himself anywhere near the top of that list, let alone first.
But as a type 1 diabetic, Mark knew that putting some honest effort in now would make a huge difference to his 40s, 50s, and beyond.
What Would It Take To Make You Change?
“My wife and I had been talking about getting our fitness in check,” he explains. “But I felt stuck in a mental rut, and it was affecting my confidence. Work had lost its excitement, and life was feeling like a bit of a chore. I had definitely lost my spark.”
Although his self-esteem was at rock bottom, Mark knew how it feels to have energy, enthusiasm, and a zest for life. He just needed to get back to that positive place.
Luckily, he had a feeling that tackling his fitness would eventually help him in other areas, too. He was right.
When Did You Last Feel Like Your Best, Most Energetic Self?
“To put it bluntly, I wasn’t myself any more,” says Mark. “And I knew getting fitter would be a catalyst for my self-confidence, and my old spark!”
Mark’s wife had been doing fitness classes and eating better for a few weeks, and she happened to follow JW Training on Facebook. She knew our 12-week transformation programme would be right for Mark.
“The moment I applied for Joe’s 12-week transformation programme, I felt excited,” he says. “I knew it would be the start of something really different. I’ve never worked with a PT, and I didn’t know what to expect. But I knew Joe’s style of coaching would mean some significant changes.”
Slim Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy
When Mark started his journey with us, he was demotivated at work, and exhausted at home. Keeping up with his four young boys was more tiring than Mark wanted it to be. Despite being tall and slim, Mark was actually carrying a surprisingly high amount of body fat.
“Being naturally slim can be deceptive,” he says. “I wasn’t strong or fit, and I didn’t have much muscle on my frame. I looked lanky and a bit skinny, and that left me feeling self-conscious.”
And health was already important to Mark. He had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 20, and knew that managing the condition would be a lot easter if he was eating right and exercising regularly.
Balancing The Wheel Of Life
Right from the start, we pledged to help Mark manage his Type 1 diabetes, build a more athletic body, and regain the self-confident spark that had got lost along the way.
“I’ve experienced feeling really positive in previous times, so I knew where I wanted to be,” says Mark. “My goal was to get back to that, but in my current environment. I knew tackling my fitness would have a huge impact on my confidence and happiness.”
We helped Mark set specific goals around getting leaner, stronger, and rebalancing his life to build a happier total picture.
Mark’s 12-Week Transformation
Like a lot of people, Mark knew about goal setting and had tried some strategies in the past, but nothing ever stuck.
“Joe helped me to define exactly how to work on my mindset in different areas of my life,” he says. “This became key to my transformation. We used the idea of a wheel representing different bits of my life. The aim is for a nice balance. Mine was a jagged mess!”
Together, we set about balancing Mark’s life wheel: health, work, confidence, self esteem, family life. I gave Mark some tried and tested methods and helped him work on small daily habits. The focus was on daily activities working towards his goals.
“Within a couple of weeks, I had changed!” says Mark. “I could connect the dots between my daily activities and the improvements. I was making time for the gym, and for Joe’s PT sessions. It was an investment in myself, and I felt proud that I was doing this.”
Personal Training Shouldn’t Stop At The Gym Door
We don’t advertise our 12-week transformation as life coaching. It’s a 12-week programme helping you to focus on eating better and training properly to change your body for the better.
But we always find that other things start to happen. Relationships improve. Careers blossom. Buried dreams get turned into reality.
And Mark’s experience was no different. He came to us for Personal Training, but he went away with a balanced “Wheel of Life” and that elusive spark back in his personality!
“Joe isn’t a career coach or a therapist, and he doesn’t do anything on your behalf,” explains Mark. “But he helps you understand where the imbalance is in your life, then supports you to set new targets.
“I realised I can achieve any goal by committing to an activity. The Personal Training and nutrition is just a very visible example of that. But it’s true for all areas of life. There’s a direct connection between what you do, and what you’ll achieve. It sounds obvious, but if you don’t try it you’ll never see it.”
Are You Standing In Your Own Way?
We helped Mark get out of two unhelpful mindsets that had been preventing progress. Entitlement (“I’ve done enough in the past, that should be enough, it should just happen!”), and defeatist (“It never works for me”). What are your mindset barriers? Perhaps you need somebody on the outside to help sift through the stories you’ve been telling yourself.
Mark wasn’t overweight when he started his 12-week journey, but he had body fat to lose. This problem is easy to ignore on a slim frame! Over the 12 weeks, he put on muscle and now looks very different. People are telling him he looks slimmer, and he feels athletic and strong.
Mark lost 7% body fat which helps show off his new muscle mass and broader shoulders!
“I’m over 6ft tall, so it was important not to get skinny or lanky,” says Mark. “My abs have flattened out and I am much broader across the chest and shoulders.
“And I now actually like going to the gym! I get a lot of encouragement from how I look and feel after a workout. That change is for me, and I’m proud of it!”
The Changes You Can’t See
But the biggest changes are those you can’t see on Mark’s body.
His Type 1 diabetes is under control, prompting his Doctor to ask “what have you done?” Mark had a test to analyse long term control of the condition: the ideal measure is 65-70% Before he started our 12-week programme, it was up at 99%. It’s now at 77% and still dropping.
And Mark has achieved his ultimate goal of feeling like his old self again: positive, energised, and full of spark.
“Training has helped me be more patient with the kids,” he says, “and my energy levels mean I can keep up with them al!
“I felt stuck in a career rut, and wanted to achieve something big, but didn’t feel I could leave my current company. Joe helped me see this was linked to my lack of self-confidence. The big news is that I handed my notice in and start an exciting new job soon! This is a huge shift for me – I realised that I should, and could!”
Mindset Is Crucial & It’s Never Too Late
The huge physical changes Mark has made helped him see that he can set any goal and achieve it. He is no less capable or deserving that anybody else. He just needs to identify a goal, do the necessary action, and put the work in. The transformation of his body made him see how he can put them same work in to make changes in the rest of his life, too.
“I was so risk averse before this,” he explains, “I wasn’t sure I’d make any change successful. But Joe believed in me from the beginning, and now I believe in myself. He always knew I could work a bit harder, and now I see that those 1% improvements make all the difference.”
A Moment Of Clarity
Mark might be surprised at the changes, but we’re not! Training with us isn’t just about losing weight or getting strong. It’s about rediscovering and building a belief in your own ability to achieve great things.
“If you set yourself a target and take action, you can achieve it,” says Mark. “Weight loss or getting fit doesn’t have to remain a big thing that you’ll never achieve. In fact, it doesn’t even have to take very long! I discovered I could do it in 12 weeks!
“None of this will change the fact that life will throw you a few knocks. But transforming your body this way helps you see that you can get through them. Joe is more than a Personal Trainer – he’s in my corner.”
Powerful stuff from Mark, a busy Dad-of-4 who once struggled to believe he could change anything about his life.
If you want a bit of what he’s got, come down for your free transformation session and we can set you up on a plan for your own transformation. Click here to apply