Kari Kadak, 38, shares the changes he made to his lifestyle which helped him lose weight and get fit, and how working out and eating healthy with his partner helped him to stay motivated during the pandemic.
10 years ago, I rode dirt bikes and I went to the gym a few times a week. Then I had a serious accident that damaged one of the nerves in my spine. Doctors told me that I might not be able to walk any more, and I had to do something fast as my left leg muscles were getting weaker every day. I decided not to have surgery; instead I started doing some weight training mixed with home stretching exercises that helped me to cure my back. However, I then began to gain weight.
I have always loved to eat well, but always chose healthy, organic ingredients. I would say that my problem was that I could not control my appetite, portion sizes, and could not find nutritional balance. I always had a little bit too much sourdough bread, or a few scoops too of ice cream too many, or I should have stopped with one Negroni cocktail but I always had maybe one or two more.
A couple of years and two kids later, I started traveling a lot with my family. Our work requires it. I couldn’t find the rhythm of how to eat, how to move, or work out correctly. I hated the idea of wasting time doing something and not understanding the impact of it. I was constantly experimenting with different approaches, such as classical weight training and CrossFit combined with the Paleo and keto diets. I lost weight, but also all my muscle mass but at the same time, while my fat percentage stayed the same. To top everything, I ended up with knee surgery that led again to weight gain. No no matter what I did, my weight climbed slowly up, until I was 110 kg (242 pounds).
It all changed in 2019 November, when I joined the Ultimate Performance LiveUp program. I had tried many approaches before, so for me it was important to do something simple and easy to apply, based on real results and studies. The LiveUp program is all about that. At this point, I kept my expectations low and made a promise to myself to do the program and see where it took me.
I started counting my steps and measuring exactly how much water I was drinking; I now aim for 12,500 steps and 6 liters a day. The workouts were simple bodybuilding exercises that could be found on the internet, but the order of the exercises, tempo, and the right time to change them during the transformation were crucial. I continued eating my favorite meals, I was just more aware of when to eat. I eat more carbs when I have worked out and less when I haven’t. My favorite workout is a simple and hard deadlift. It is fun to keep track of weight and add some next time, and it feels great when the numbers get bigger.
I was highly motivated for the first three months, and seeing results coming slowly each week was motivating; I was losing around 1 kg (2.2 pounds) per week. Then, when the pandemic and lockdown hit, I was unmotivated to continue as the gyms were closed and everything seemed hopeless. Body composition was the last thing on my mind, so I took a month off from the program.
During this time, LiveUp introduced live home workouts and video check-in systems. I was not very motivated and it seemed silly to be training with people from behind a screen. Then my wife joined the women’s version of the program, as we decided that there is nothing else to do anyway and better to keep us healthy this crazy time. So food prep and working out seemed more fun as they were things we could do together. I couldn’t buy any equipment as everything was shut down or sold out. I found one second-hand vintage kettlebell that nobody wanted as it was too heavy, and I got a resistance band. I also did some bodyweight exercises, like slow tempo chinups. The only problem was the steps; I had to walk in the garden and behind my house, and took my Kindle so I could read while I was getting my steps in.
I lost a total of 25 kgs (44 pounds), and now weigh 85 kgs (187 pounds). I feel confident again, focused, and strong. I sleep better and have more energy. The structure has also helped me to be less stressed in my everyday life, and my wife and I have made friends through the program. If you’re just getting started, I would say: be persistent. There’s never going to be the right day, season, or year, you have to just get started. Don’t make excuses, and keep the end goal in mind.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues.
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