“I just kept putting this journey off even though I had the support around me. I couldn’t look in the mirror, I felt completely uncomfortable in my clothes and I had lost so much confidence after giving birth to my second son (less than 7 months ago). It was a light bulb moment when I finally looked in the mirror and said enough is enough I need help.”
As a coach, from experience, nothing is harder than coaching family.
Jussi, my wife of coming up to 7 years, the mother of our two incredible boys aged 3 years and 7 months respectively and the woman that holds the house together, from managing all the bills, housework, social activities and alongside her own work, I knew this was going to be one of the greatest challenges to date.
When we began this journey, Jussi and I sat down as I would with any client I work with and earmarked exactly what she wanted to achieve in this journey, but more importantly, why she wanted to achieve it.
Jussi was clear with her intentions:
With these intentions set, we delved into why these factors were so important, what was it about losing the weight, losing the additional body fat and feeling strong that was going to make a significant enough impact in her life to follow through.
As we talked there were some reoccurring themes in her messages. Since the initial pregnancy with Jaicob she felt so much had changed in her body, even structurally she felt different and at 26 she didn’t want to feel old, constant back pain or low in confidence. This is her prime and she wanted to feel that way.
The increase in weight and body fat had a damaging effect on more than what could be see externally, she felt low in confidence and it was mentally becoming a strain going out to social events and not being able to pick the clothes that she liked, but more picking the outfits that made her look slimmer or hid areas of her body she wasn’t confident with.
There was another deeper lying reason that really spurred Jussi on. That was her vision of herself. From the moment I met Jussi, I always remarked on her competitive spirit, which much like my own is a key driver in her life, from challenges growing up to the woman she has become, she has never let anything get on top of her. But this felt different, Jussi kept referring to herself as weak, tired, lacking in motivation and struggling with overwhelm. When we talked further about this, the fire lit up inside her and she said the words:
“I want the boys to see me as strong, confident and show them that I don’t succumb to pressure, but I rise to it”.
I had to write those words down when she said it and we made that her screensaver from that moment on.
I often talk about the emotional attachment that is required to see a goal through. The strength of that emotion will get you out of bed on the days you simply don’t want to move, it will get you to make the right decisions on your food on the days you just want to eat ice cream and it will give you that additional drive in the gym to push on when it would far easier to walk away.
No words from anyone could ever be more powerful than the potential of inspiring her sons.
Jussi embarked on her journey in November and whilst Christmas and the New Year’s did see a little fluctuation in progress, by the end of February, Jussi had completed the goals she had set herself and overcome so many of the challenges she knew were going to mount up as she went through the journey!
The difficult for Jussi in sharing her journey had always been, “people will judge me as your wife and expect me to be just like you”!
At times people have asked Jussi, what does Juggy eat? What macros is he on? What is his training split? How much cardio does he do?
People even thought I do the meal prep and Jussi eats what I eat. There were times in the gym she was asked for advice on form and technique (which given Jussi and I don’t and will not train together was way out of her scope)! The truth is Jussi and I have very different focuses on that front and we eat the same meals (usually currys, pasta dishes, Mexican style foods and quite a few chicken pies through the week. We just don’t live that meal prep life and Jussi’s exposure to bodybuilding and physique development has always been as a spectator!
As we talked about challenges, we got down to three key aspects that she felt would be a mountain to overcome.
If you are a parent, then you will know with a baby, at any time they may fall ill, they begin to teeth, the nights can be sleepless, and the days are simply management of whatever the baby brings to the table.
Jussi calculated that she hasn’t had a single night of quality sleep in over 9 months, inclusive of the final months of pregnancy and this in itself is not the ideal environment for fat loss, especially when you begin to see the relationships between sleep, muscle degradation, increased appetite, reduced inhibition and performance.
The general feeling of overwhelm was apparent from the minute we began talking and with countless daily tasks to manage on top of trying to be the world’s best Mum it was clear we needed to do something to bring a little direction back to Jussi’s life.
The key tasks we set out on was understanding in the perfect world, where time could be found. The simple calendar task of outlining what a perfect day would look like in terms of waking up, getting the boys ready for the day, daily tasks, when the gym may be appropriate and how shopping for foods and cooking may be integrated into her routine. A huge one that we both acknowledged was there would be a sacrifice in time spent together at night in order for Jussi to achieve a better sleep, which required support from both parties as that last half an hour to an hour of spending time together can often make the difference in the day.
Once we had the perfect day in place we build in contingency times, reactive times and alternatives to going to the gym!
The next task was to find a gym that was suitable. In this case we needed to find a gym with a crèche, but as parents, it had to be a top quality one with great reviews! This took time, but eventually the right gym came along and the gym facilities, whilst not optimal were acceptable.
Finally, we had to find an integrative plan for her nutritional intake and training.
With so many fad diets out there, from the Cambridge Diet, Slimming World, the 5:2 diet, ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting… the list goes on, it was important to establish what Jussi understood about nutrition to avoid falling into the ‘fast weight loss’ trap that inevitably leads to the even faster weight gain trap post dieting!
From assessing Jussi’s understanding of nutrition, it was clear that tracking calories and macros was not the way to go!
Whilst eventually, this is where we got to, initially we simply needed to establish a base line of tracking portions, improving food quality and working on the composition of meals and snacks (i.e. ensuring there is a balance between protein, carbs, fats and fibre rather than a leniency towards carbs only).
This was a huge step for Jussi, suddenly the well-established ‘sweet tooth’ phenomenon that so many people struggle with, began to fade. The desire to consume sugary snacks and have desserts post meal began to dampen and her energy levels were at an all-time high.
Partnering improved energy with a desire to train is a match made in heaven for sustainable fat loss!
Rather than pulling her food away and hoping she can train 7 days a week like so many poorly educated coaches and inexperienced dieters do, improving her food intake had the desired effect on not only training, but recovery too!
Whilst many people want to hit the gym and ‘feel the burn’ for the next few days, it was of paramount importance that we kept Jussi within her recoverable limit and considered her lack of training for over 18 months within her programming.
The initial program eased Jussi back into the swing of training, got her practicing bigger lifts and worked specifically on posture, reducing the back pain she had been suffering with and strengthening her core (no not sit ups, her core muscles including her pelvic floor, oblique’s, abs and the spinal erectors).
The beauty of the programming is it built Jussi’s confidence in the gym, she was moving better, beginning to see changes in her body within the first 2 weeks and more importantly it spurred her on to the next steps in her journey. With greater confidence came greater energy and focus and all of this stemmed back to building a realistic time frame for success and the foundations of ensuring everything I asked Jussi to do was within the realm of possibility given her responsibilities and time limitations.
Here is what Jussi had to say:
“Honestly, I don’t know what to say or where to start! From being so run down, confused and exhausted to finally being able to comfortably say I know what I am doing and with the continual support, plans and nurturing provided in this process, the sky is the limit!
I look back to the first pictures of me and I can see the disdain and lack of confidence in my appearance. I felt every bit as sad as I looked in that picture.
I had gone from years of not really having to worry about exercising as I was generally so active and always having a sweet tooth with any repercussions to putting on and so much weight even after giving birth to Kaleb.
I was left in a state of low confidence, inaction and anxiety. I was so worried every time Juggy would say we have a family occasion or that we were going out and it was really affecting me mentally. It seems so trivial, but it became an ordeal getting ready, having to choose clothes that hid my body rather than feeling comfortable and happy.
I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything until Kaleb went to school full time as I just saw it as such a huge task to be able to lose the body fat I had put on and I was so confused as to why I seemed to be accumulating fat so rapidly.
I didn’t tell Juggy this, but I would even get to the point of just not eating all day and hoping that would work. A few times I just felt dizzy and sick and it was at this point I knew I needed help.
I know people expect me to know everything because I am around Juggy, but it was so good to just have things explained to me, someone who understood what was happening and why and was able to give me the simple changes designed specifically for me and my obstacles. It wasn’t a plan as such because when things came up Juggy would provide another solution.
The more we problem solved, the easier the journey became and the more belief I had in myself to see it through. Initially I didn’t think something so simple could get me the results as you always read how scientific these things are and you need so many supplements to achieve a result, but just being able to sit down and work out my schedule with Juggy and develop a calendar to nail the basics of when to food shop, when I could cook, when the kids classes and activities were and how I could work around them and even how to fit in a night time routine to improve the sleep I was able to get in between Kaleb waking up and needing to be fed or changed! This element of coaching was huge for me personally!
I really enjoyed training, although I was worried to go back to the gym having barely exercises in 2 years. When I looked at the initial plans I actually thought they were going to be too easy, there was no big lifting or crazy weights, but Juggy explained to me the importance of building the foundation before doing these things. It made an immediate impact and I just felt so much stronger, my body began to change, and I didn’t feel completely drained either! Within the training there was a simple step count goal that we worked on and it meant I could achieve an element of my activity without having to go to the gym, which was perfect as I hadn’t thought of walking around with the boys or taking them out as exercise before!
I feel so much more confident now, I feel like I am myself again and I feel like I can actually be the role model I have always wanted to be for the boys. As silly as it sounds, when you don’t feel confident, the boys can pick up on that and I have noticed how they are just so much more open and themselves in social circles now and a bit of me thinks that could be because I feel more at ease too.
Whilst I am no expert, I do have experience and I feel my results have been life changing, not just for my body but my mind too. I am hoping my journey can help others and I will be much more open to guiding and helping the LIA members where possible and understanding the female perspective, I feel I can also support a lot of Juugy and Bal’s female clients through my own journey, my ups and downs and help them see the success that I have seen to date!
I am just so excited about what the future will bring! I also guess, a thank you is in order to Juggy for all the support, care and attention he has provided and a few of the stern words I needed along the way to stay on track!”
Check out Jussi’s incredible progress in pictures and numbers:
|19th November 2018||25th February 2019|
|Weight in kg:||75kg||65kg|
|Waist in cm:||86cm||77cm|
|Hips in cm:||91cm||81cm|
Here is an example of Jussi’s meals before beginning the process:
Breakfast: Cheerio’s and milk
Lunch: On the go, usually snacks – tea and cake, biscuits, meals out at restaurants
Dinner: Home-made foods including chicken pies, roti, currys
Snacks: Lindt Chocolate, Cakes, Biscuits
Drinks: Teas, fizzy drinks, minimal water
What did we change initially, not a great deal, but we took time to focus on increasing protein intake, monitoring portion size and improving dietary fat intake.
Breakfast: 1-2 Eggs/ 2 slices of Smoked Salmon (Jussi’s preference I personally detest fish) with Toast or the more common 1 scoop Whey Protein mixed with almond milk and ½ cup of Cheerio’s (with milk) with a little fruit
Lunch: Prepared in advance to avoid the ‘too busy excuse’ usually a mixed salad (including avocado or cheese) with tandoori chicken/ tuna curry over some rice
Dinner: Home-made foods including chicken pies, roti, currys (portion size controlled to ensure a decent mix of protein, fat, carbs and fibre).
Snacks: High protein yoghurts and pretty much the same as before but less (not because I asked her to, she just felt full, nourished and satisfied with real foods that had been portion controlled)
Drinks: Water at a minimum 2 litres per day (often mixed with squash) and Zero alternatives to fizzy drinks (Jussi’s personal preference was Lucozade Pink Lemonade Zero)
How has the journey impacted Jussi?
Jussi has learned so much in this journey that has crossed over to many other aspects of her life. Whether it was time management, looking at obstacles as opportunities and even reviewing what/ who is important in life and where her energy should be drawn to.
The biggest thing Jussi has experienced is that the better she felt, the more energy, time and love she had to give to the family. She no longer felt the pressure that came with lethargy. From snoozing the alarm multiple times in the morning, to simply having the drive and energy to get up and go made a vast difference.
Finding the time to be mindful of food and activity, rather than becoming obsessed by it was a huge change to Jussi’s perception of what was required to change her body shape. Learning to integrate these changes, rather than completely revolving her life around them made the journey far easier and more sustainable!
The best thing Jussi found is that the more positive decisions she made around food, trailing new recipes, using different cooking methods, the more Jaicob became interested in foods and finally started eating his carrots and broccoli again!
The truth is the knock-on effect of positive behavioural changes to the next generation are immeasurable yet incredibly important.
Personal Thoughts on Jussi’s Transformation
On a personal note, whilst Jussi would be too modest to ever say this, she is a role model to so many others in her position and she has already been a catalyst for her sister and friends getting more active and focused on health than ever before. She is a leader and her journey will inspire others to achieve their potential.
The beauty of what where Jussi is right now, is that there haven’t been any aggressive dieting techniques, she began her journey with a holistic approach to her lifestyle, understanding obstacles and finding solutions and developing a sustainable approach to manage nutrition, training demands, recovery and focusing on sleep.
We haven’t gone down a path of aggressive dieting that requires ‘reverse dieting’, we will simply increase calorie intake as she becomes stronger in the gym and ensure her focus remains on the often-forgotten aspects of a transformation, i.e. sleep and mindfulness.
Having moved through the initial phases of developing her core, improving her posture and approach to bigger lifts, she is now squatting, deadlifting and military pressing as her more prominent moves and beginning to get more comfortable with exercise execution on more specific muscle groups that she wants to develop more, i.e. her glutes, calves and arms.
Would you like to be coached by the Lean Indian Academy Team?
We provide coaching tailored to your requirements to allow you to see incredible life changing results just like Jussi!
There are four simple steps that you will need to go through first and within 14 days you will have a completely tailored approach to moving closer to your goals and seeing the success that you deserve.
As a coaching team, we know you are not robots and we know this can take time for you to get embed within your lives to see success, therefore we are committed to working with you on developing the key skills you need to transform your body, life and mind-set towards nutrition and health forever, no matter how much support you require.
Whilst you may be working with a specific coach in your journey we have over 20 years experience in the health industry between the Elite and Mastery Coaches, and we all work together to provide you a unique service which includes valuable insights from our team of medical and research experts. Dr Harbinder Sandhu & Dr Shilpa Patel of Health Psychology Services, Head of Research at Oxford University for Cardiovascular Health Dr Jyoti Patel also provide valuable insights into the work we do to ensure you are catered for in every step of the way and provide feedback to enable you to overcome the daily challenges that you will inevitably face.