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Levi Brown was depressed and overweight. Now he wants to look like Magic Mike for his wedding night.
By Hasan Variawa
The situation: hundreds of Men’s Health readers applied to be part of the Transform Club 2017. We picked 6 guys to get free personal training and professional nutrition advice for four months, and amazing gear from adidas as well as supplements from Nutritech. The only catch? They have to commit to transforming their bodies.
Name: Levi Brown
Lives in: Lephalale
Profession: Construction industry
Levi is getting married in December, and he wants to look like his new wife’s wildest dreams when she walks down the aisle. So he’s busting his gut in the gym to get ripped and looked like Prince Charming in his wedding tux.
“I have struggled most of my life with my weight, and as a kid I was fat,” Levi says. “I don’t want to look at my wedding pictures 10 years later saying, I’m the fat guy.”
As a teen he got into sports and shaped up – but after school, a high-pressure construction job and lots of travelling meant that bad habits took over and Levi’s body suffered as a result. Then earlier this year, he found out that his fiance has a cardiac condition, and his stress eating spiralled out of control.
“I found out this year January that my wife-to-be has a hole in her heart,” Levi says. “I was put into serious depression mode. I stopped training, and started eating very unhealthy. I was not sleeping enough. Now I’m back on 103kgs.”
When he saw Men’s Health advertising the Transform Club, he knew it was the opportunity he needed to get healthy in time to tie the knot.
We paired him up with personal trainer Kenneth Modimola at SrixZone Gym in Lephaphale, which claims to be the biggest indoor gym in South Africa. Kenneth is guiding Levi through the process of building muscle and slashing fat ahead of the big day.
The Game Plan
1. Don’t just aim for aesthetics
Yes, Levi needs to look hot for his wedding. But being fit goes way beyond visible abs, and Kenneth refuses to let him focus on aesthetics alone to the detriment of his functional fitness. “Our goal is to improve Levi’s holistic health and fitness and not just make him someone nice to look at,” Kenneth says. “So we incorporate circuit high intensity training and cardio-respiratory workouts.”
Levi is sticking to a mostly low carb diet, with a few extra carbs thrown in strategically to fuel his intense workouts. “I love nice food and I can’t wake up early in the mornings for cardio, but I’m working on that,” he says.
This approach will leave Levi with healthy daily habits that will keep him in great shape way beyond wedding day. “We are currently on a 3/2 split with 3 days of high intensity training focusing on building lean mass as he has a high muscle composition but also some extra body fat,” Kenneth says. “We do low-intensity long-duration cardio training on the other two days.”
Being a multi-sport athlete, Kenneth knows how to keep his body in top form year-round, and have versatile strength and fitness. “I know the importance of holistic health and functional fitness,” he says. “So my goal with all my clients is to improve their quality of life through improving their level of activity.”
The lesson? Work hard on your functional fitness, and you’ll grow muscle and shred fat as a byproduct.
2. Make your goals specific and realistic
You’re much more likely to gun hard for your goals if they are clearly defined in your mind. Make your goals specific, and realistic. That way, you’ll have the motivation to get your butt to gym even when you don’t feel like it, and the willpower to turn down that bag of slap chips.
Levi has tried getting in shape before, but he quickly piled weight back on without the motivation to stay fit. “I most certainly have tried and I always succeed; the problem is maintaining my new body,” he says. “This time round, I plan to keep my body looking sexy!”
Levi surrounds himself with positive imagery and messages to keep himself focused on the end goal. “I have a few ways to inspire myself,” he says, “like surrounding myself with Men’s Health magazines, following fitness pages, (looking in) the mirror, and clothes that don’t fit me anymore.”
But there’s one image that above all, keeps him sweating hard for his end goal.
“The main one is my Magic Mike routine I have planned for my wife on our wedding day,” he says. “I can’t be fat and sexy. That just won’t work!”
The lesson? Getting in shape is tough, and you’re only going to achieve it if you set clear goals, and surround yourself with positive motivation.