If we had to pick one key message to give through the Size HH project, it would be to aim for healthy instead of skinny. Being thin doesn’t necessarily make us feel good, but a healthy mind and body always does. This is the main reason we featured Natalie Guyan’s story in the book, because she flat-out proves that dieting to reach a certain weight is highly disappointing, not to mention tiring.
Natalie reached her turning point after confiding in a personal trainer friend, Elliott Upton, and we took the pleasure of interviewing him just for you!
It’s a fab read so grab yourself a drink and get yourself comfy!
Hi Elliott, let’s find out more about you…
How long have you been helping people reach their health and fitness goals? 10 years now, I lost my own weight (approximately 35kg) and then decided it was a career path that I wanted to take to help others do the same. I was treated very differently as a heavier individual, and taking control of my body changed my life.
I began in Brighton working two jobs while I studied to become qualified. Over my first three years, I took as many courses as I could fit in, read as many books as I could, tried as many methods as I could and learned from as many people as I could, in order to be the best.
Do you have a role model or somebody you look admire in the fitness industry?
One of my biggest role models was and still is, Nick Mitchell, Owner of the world renowned Ultimate Performance Gyms. He created a team of the best coached in the world and was changing the fitness industry from within. I was lucky enough to be asked to work with them (Ultimate Performance) five years ago and immediately went from idolising these men, to learning from them everyday, forging amazing bonds and friendships and becoming part of the UP family.
As they say, the rest is history. This brings me to where I am now and how I met Natalie.
What is your motivation for helping women (and men) shape up?
Everyone should leave their mark on the world, no matter how small. I want this to be mine. My goal is to create a community of people both men and women who have each others backs and feel amazing about themselves every day when they wake up. It changes everything in their lives.
I see so many women following their “heroes” on social media believing that they are perfect in every way because of the photos that they post and the lives they choose to let us see. It simply isn’t true. My goal is to teach people how to love themselves, to understand that they are capable of anything, and that no problem is too big to overcome. Most of all though, to be realistic and support each other rather than judge one another or feel jealous. I believe everyone has the right to look at themselves without hate or insecurity.
We live in a modern world where image has become everything and the media promote very deceiving and often completely fake standards of what is achievable. Gone are the Kodak moments where you couldn’t hide from that little roll, or where the angle makes your hips a little wider. Now for the simplest photos posted on Facebook or Instagram, 20 are taken, 3 are shortlisted and all are photo shopped before being posted. This is especially true for females in the media, and this is by no means an attack on them. They feel that they have to in order to feel good about themselves. But unfortunately they are feeding the problem.
It’s a cruel circle and it effect both work and personal relationships massively. I focus mainly on females because I feel that they are the most effected by this.
3. Natalie came to you after losing weight through lots of dieting and excessive cardio, but still wasn’t happy with her body. For women who may be in the same boat, what would be the first thing you would tell them to do?
Forget everything they think they know, you cant fill a cup that is already full. The body is not designed to just survive, it’s designed to thrive. It wants great food, it wants a lot of it, and it wants to move and be strong. The human body is one of the most adaptable machines and it wants to be challenged on so many levels. Not starved, over worked, under rested and unhappy. It doesn’t have to be like that.
It’s also important to remember that YOU CAN DO IT. No matter how hard it may seem now, small manageable changes, which are easy to execute, will make a massive difference over time. Believe in yourself and be consistent.
4. What is your favourite motivational thought or mantra to keep yourself and your clients going?
I’m pretty much known for saying “how hard can it be?”, but I encourage all of my clients to have their own. They need to focus on what they want, and what motivates them. Everyone’s motivation is unique and for it to last, it has to come from within. They all learn over time that a challenge is nothing when broken down intelligently and consistently worked on over time.
5. Do you think women need different things to men when it comes to shaping up?
Honestly yes, women are our mothers, sisters daughters etc. They often work tirelessly taking care of others around them whether consciously or unconsciously. It can be exhausting.
How many mums work full time jobs? Bring up children? Feed them when they’re hungry? Tend to them when they’re ill? Wake up in the middle of the night to comfort them when they’re scared? Not to mention looking after us men, all the while dealing with all of their own problems.
How many of these women get a thank you at the end of the day? Or feel truly appreciated for everything they do?
Women need to understand that they are loved, that they are appreciated, although sometimes it may not be said what they do isn’t taken for granted. Every one has their own way of showing it but in my case I do appreciate my girls, I try to make them feel that they are beautiful, loved, appreciated and sexy, because they are. I just need to help them open their eyes to it and see it all in themselves. This is the key for me. When they do their whole lives fall into place because of the way they see their place in the world. Not as someone who isn’t good enough or doesn’t deserve this or that. But as someone who belongs there, deserves the world and will make others feel the same.
Natalie is a brilliant example of this. Not only does she inspire me, but everyone around her too. She is strong, successful, an amazing mother to her two daughters and wife to her husband. Everyone in her presence becomes infected with her drive and happiness. At our gym Ultimate Performance Marbella, Natalie is pretty much famous, not only for her transformation and her lifting abilities, but also for just being an amazing human being. If the world was full of more people like her it would be a better place. We should all do our part to help them.
Men are a little simpler and a lot less open with their emotions because of a false sense of masculinity making them believe that they cant show weakness. Because of this they tend to be more motivated by competition and a little aggression, but don’t get me wrong, sometimes we break too and need the same support, although we’re slower to show it.
6. What is the biggest challenge working with female clients?
Breaking old habits and a miseducation. Trying to teach girls that shake diets, soup diets, 3 hours training a day and starvation simply doesn’t work. Oh, and trying to convince them that lifting doesn’t make women big, this is the bain of my life. Lifting makes you look so good naked the person in front of you forgets to breath for a second when you strip off…
Women don’t have the hormonal profile to allow them to gain muscle rapidly or “get big” It just isn’t possible in 99.99% of cases without medicinal assistance.
7. Tell us about the experiment (#theexperiment) that has seen hundreds of women see ridiculously good fat loss and toning results…
The experiment has now become part of my signature “6fit” series of online programs. This was actually born of a broken heart which is often the best motivator. To cut a long story short, I sat down in a dark house alone, in foreign country, over Christmas and set out to use my experience and knowledge to create a community of women who’s insecurities didn’t dictate their actions in life and destroy personal relationships, which is what happened to me.
After a lot of research I came up with the experiment, which grew incredibly rapidly into 6FIT. Its launching across the UK and Australia now and the aim is to create a global network of people all over the world who understand that dieting doesn’t mean suffering, and fat loss doesn’t have to be hard. Teaching people to take control, love them selves and to support and work harder to understand the problems that one another face.
It has worked and grown faster than I could’ve hoped for and hopefully it will bring the fitness industry together a little. I have a big vision for it and my girls are doing me proud every day. The male version is also just launching so hopefully that will be just as huge!
8. What kind of goals do you encourage your female clients to aim for?
To love themselves, whatever that means. Sometimes it’s a physical goal, sometimes a body goal, strength goal, even business or relationship goals. I’m there to facilitate it all in a way that they can be successful and in a sustainable way.
9. Food wise, is there anything particular you would advise to aid muscle tone and fatloss? Eat good quality food and eat a lot of it, don’t starve yourself. It’s a recipe for disaster. If anyone tries to sell you the next big shake diet or anything where you only eat 600 cals a day RUN, RUN, RUN!
10. If there is one thing you could tell women about trendy diets, what would it be?
It’s really very simple, the human body has responded to the same stimulus for thousands of years. Eat well, train hard and don’t buy into everything you hear. Listen to everything, believe nothing! Until you have researched it fully and can ascertain its credibility, rather than great marketing. The majority of miracle diets out there do you more long term harm than good, trust me I know. I’ve spent years fixing people who have tried every trendy diet and shake under the sun.
Where can people get in touch with you to find out more?
Facebook & Twitter – Uptonfit
Direct email – www.uptonfit.com