Consistency and Flavor Helped This Guy Get Shredded in 18 Weeks

jonathan evans

Ultimate Performance

Jonathan Evans hit his 40s, felt tired and lethargic, and wanted a change. Here, in his own words, is how he discovered the kind of accountability and clear goals that motivated him.

I ‘M A LAWYER working in London, so corporate lunches, dinners, and evening drinks are a big part of my job. In my twenties, I didn’t really worry about that—I felt like I could shake off those calories pretty easily. Now that I’m in my forties, it’s a little harder, and I started to recognize that I needed a healthier lifestyle.

I came back from one conference having enjoyed a lot of Guinness, and it was like a light switch had gone off. I said, okay, enough of this. Time to make a change.

A friend recommended Ultimate Performance in London. I jumped right in, starting within a couple of days. I’d worked with trainers before, but I knew I needed discipline and accountability, so I wanted to start right away. Going in for my initial meeting and realizing how high my body fat percentage was really brought it home and helped motivate me. It gave me a concrete number and helped me clarify where I was and where I wanted to go. I really needed that clear goal.

I Changed What I Thought I Knew

I WENT IN thinking I knew things. Like how to do a pull-up, for example. The first time I did one, my trainer jokingly asked what the hell I was doing. Then he showed me the right way. That way I could barely complete one pull-up. But it was the right way, and now that I’ve practiced, I do them with a 44-pound weight around my waist, no problem. That really taught me the importance of proper form and technique.

My diet was similar: I thought I knew what I was doing, but I soon got educated. I’d mostly eat what I wanted to eat; I’d have cereal and toast for breakfast and just figure that was healthy. As I talked with my trainer, we discussed how to make sustainable diet changes. I didn’t want to commit to something that couldn’t last. So I initially cut out carbs, for one thing, and I really cut back on the amount of fat I was eating. Now, for breakfast, I might have poached eggs with some chili flakes for flavor. For lunch, I’ll have chicken with salad, and then in the evening I’ll do vegetables and broccoli or mushrooms.

It took some time to make that work. Chicken can taste pretty bland, for example, but I love jerk spice. So I’d add that. When I ate carbs, I’d feel full quickly; when I stopped eating them, I worried that I’d feel hungry. But I found the right amount of vegetables that kept me sated. Paying attention to my diet became part of my fitness regimen in a way it never had been before.

For the rest of my regimen, consistency, like they always say, is key. So I did three one-hour heavyweight sessions a week. I’d do two one-hour cardio sessions every week on my own. And I’d aim for 10,000 steps a day, which burns about 500 calories.

Challenging Myself Paid Off

IT WAS A real light-bulb moment for me about two weeks in, when I really did start to see a difference. I started losing weight, and I thought, “Oh, this is impressive.” Those early gains really jump-started me to see how far I could go if I really challenged myself. It really helped me avoid distractions, too.

I learned to be honest with myself and with my trainer, because that was the only way I’d improve. I slipped with my training around Christmas, and I got frustrated with myself seeing how that blunted my progress, but being open and accountable kept me on the right path.

Over 18 weeks I lost 33 pounds and dropped my body fat percentage from 32 percent to just over 14 percent. I start the day differently now; I quite like to get up early and go to the gym, or run around the Thames when the sun’s coming up. I’m more aware of what I eat, and now I start the day with a healthy breakfast. It just sets up the day better.

I took my suits to a tailor now that my body shape has changed, and he told me to bring them back when I’m done with my transformation. So for me now it’s about finding a sustainable middle path. I don’t want to maintain a transformation diet forever, but I know that I can make a sensible diet and regular workouts part of my lifestyle. I don’t need to be an Olympic athlete. I just need to be healthy and look after myself.

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