Matthew* started personal training with Jarrat and Nicola at Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology in September 2015. He had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 31.2, a body fat percentage of 31.0% and a body mass of 102.3kgs.

13 months later, Matthew reached his goal Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 putting him in the normal category for his age and height, a body fat percentage of 21.5% also into the normal category, and a weight loss of 20kgs.

Nicola caught up with Matthew over coffee and asked him a few questions about his health and fitness journey to date. Here’s how Matthew did it.

weight loss success story Longevity personal training

Many people spend years with the desire to make a change to their lifestyle, doing a lot of thinking without any action. What was it that motivated you to pick up the phone, call Longevity and start personal training?

I had neglected my physical body for a very long time. For over 30 years in fact. I was at a regular check up with my General Practitioner when she asked me to jump on the scales. I realised I hadn’t weighed myself for a very long time, and seeing my body mass in front of me was really shocking. I was on more and more drugs for blood pressure and cholesterol and I felt very low in energy. There was general weakness through my body.

Having been an athlete as a young person I had a vague idea what I needed to do in terms of exercise and imagined my body would remember how to move. So, I started exercising at home; a bit of running, some push ups, squats, stair walking a couple of times a week. It was a great start, but my body felt sore and I gained some injuries upon this return to movement. It was evident that my muscle memory was not aligning with my then current ability. I reached out to Fleur Balmain at Bay Active Physiotherapy. She managed my injuries and recommended me to look into personal trainers in Sydney. She suggested to get in touch with Jarrat from Longevity personal training to get me moving safely and effectively with more tailored weight loss programs to achieve my goals.

There are so many options out there now for fitness, exercise and health. What were your expectations of personal training and exercising in a gym prior to starting with Longevity?

Whilst I recognised I was in need of some guidance and more up to date exercise science, my feeling around exercise was that it should be something you do by yourself. I was also not overly interested in joining a gym and being surrounded by big weights and loud music. I was happy to be outside or at home doing my exercise.

So I called Jarrat, booked 6 personal training sessions, told myself I would attend and learn as much as I could, and intended not to continue after that.

After 6 sessions passed, I had lost 3% body fat and 5kgs of body mass. Furthermore, my energy levels and vitality had increased dramatically, and I simply felt much better. Amazed by my success, my children got me another 6 personal training sessions for Christmas. So, the journey continued.

Having clearly been very different to your initial expectations, can you tell us a bit more about your experience returning to exercise, managing your changing body, and why it is that you are still training with Longevity 14 months later?

The way I persevered was to treat exercise as a set task. I acknowledged to myself it wasn’t overly pleasurable. It was like a task at work that you didn’t necessarily want to do but you had to do to get to the end goal. It was an hour in my week that had a start and end time where I could get a lot done.

At first, it was just the feeling after my personal training session that I enjoyed: feeling energetic, awake, limber. I felt great. I then actually started to enjoy the exercise itself, noticing my progress, how much more I could do and how much stronger I felt doing it.

The real shock was my fitness level. I felt a lack of balance and coordination when I first started. So, I was very driven to do something about it. Getting my Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat percentage and aerobic fitness back in the normal ranges for my age was important. These changes came quickly for me. Being able to see and feel the changes was a real motivation to keep going.

The last 14 months of personal training has been incredibly beneficial to my capabilities in all activities of my daily life. I can now see the benefits of personal training. I have increased my vitality for perhaps the next 10 to 20 years. I also have been able to come off a number of medications. Not to mention that I am walking proof that the brain science of neuro-plasticity, the process in which one’s brain’s neural synapses and pathways are altered as an effect of environmental, behavioural, and neural changes, is relevant and possible for everyone. I went from not being able to stand on one leg to standing on one leg on a balance ball. Incredibly reassuring at my age!

Longevity’s professional, technical and scientific approach of personal training is a key feature of my success and enjoyment of exercise. It was never going to be an overnight fix and that was acknowledged and discussed between Jarrat, Nicola and myself at the beginning. The record keeping, consistent reference to the metrics and discussion of patterns enabled me to monitor my progress. I not only could feel my aerobic and strength capacities increase, I could literally see it via the numbers. This was both fulfilling and very motivating.

Personal training with Nicola and Jarrat is a very enjoyable experience. They display a real sense of care and consideration for my health and my self. There is a genuine desire from the two of them for me to lose weight and achieve my goals. There is real skill to the delivery of their knowledge during a training session. They do it articulately, instructively, skilfully and with kindness, consistently analysing my movements and adapting my personal training plan to ensure I get as much as I can out of the exercise. I have never felt afraid, or pressured to do anything I may not be able to do. I feel confident in following their instructions because I feel noticed, well observed, considered and cared for. We also enjoy each other’s company. That’s very evident. We do it together.

So now you have reached your goal of a BMI of 25 and celebrated with some fishnchips in Bondi with Nicola, what is the next goal for you, Matthew?

I’d like to touch my toes! That’s the big one. I am now learning about my posture, the way I stand and how I use my body. Next, I’d like to improve my walking to become more efficient and powerful. Sitting properly as well. There is still so much to learn.

*Name changed for privacy