”I crumbled emotionally again. I called my wife from a hotel in tears , my lifestyle was being driven by a bereavement that I had failed to deal with several years earlier…’’

Before I joined the Total Fitness Tribe I was 1lb shy of 16 stone, the heaviest I have been in my life, and steadily getting bigger.

As my weight increased, my confidence reduced to the point I would make excuses and not go out.

I would put in long hours at work, come home tired and ratty, eat far too many carbs and drink too much alcohol and retire to ‘my man cave’ to watch TV late into the night.

On mornings I would wake up unrefreshed and dread the coming day, trying to limp through to the weekend when I could sit in ‘my man cave’ undisturbed drinking alcohol. Looking back I was becoming reclusive and slowly alienating myself from my family and friends.

I was stuck in a rut repeating the same bad habits for years. My life became more sedentary and with it I grew increasingly angry and frustrated, often taking it out on loved ones.

I was merely existing.

In May 2017 this came to a head.

Overly stretched at work, combined with my lifestyle choices resulted in severe headaches, heart palpitations, night sweats, insomnia, difficulties in concentration and ultimately blackouts.

Emotionally I was a mess and my behaviour became increasingly erratic. I was that worried I made my first GP appointment in over 10 years. I ended up in hospital on a heart monitor and had several blood tests. Despite fearing the worst the results all came back favourable.

My GP talked to me about lifestyle choices and increasing my exercise and advised a break as my symptoms pointed towards my physical and mental state being unable to cope with the stress I was putting it under.

After a weekend away I felt much better and dismissed my GP’s findings convincing myself it was a virus. I’m a man, strong, resilient and thick skinned right?

Within a week, after returning to what I was doing previously, I crumbled emotionally again. I called my wife from a hotel in tears and drove home early the next day.

On reflection, my lifestyle was being driven by a bereavement that I had failed to deal with several years earlier. My middle daughter, Aiden Eva, was stillborn at full term…

Being the man I felt I had to be strong and ran around supporting family members through their grief without dealing with my own. To avoid this I threw myself into my work and in doing so started the steady decline in my mental and physical state.

I looked at The Total Fitness Tribe for over a year but convinced myself that I didn’t need it, in part due to denial, lack of confidence, low self esteem and embarrassment of seeking support.

My health issues prompted the first call to Mr Luke Harrison, it’s probably the most important call I’ve had in my life. I honestly felt as though I was talking to a close friend who understood what I was going through. It was as though Luke could see the path I needed to take despite it not being obvious to me.

Sometimes you make an instant connection and from that initial call I knew Luke was a person I could place my trust in, for that I will always be grateful.

The first 2 sessions were tough and I was not sure whether I was capable of seeing it through, I literally could not walk or stand upright for days afterwards. Constantly saying ‘My LEGS!!’ haha!

I could have said thanks but no thanks but the feeling of belonging was instant. Like-minded people from all different backgrounds, there for their own personal reasons, could not have been anymore supportive.

It’s the group that keeps me going, I enjoy being with them, we help each other through even when it gets tough and always have a laugh. I think Total Fitness Tribe is my NEW ‘man cave’ but instead of sitting alone drinking alcohol I share it with friends and train hard.

Luke’s guidance on nutrition has been pivotal to my progress, I’ve learned to cook and#eatlikeafuckingadult. In doing so I’ve shed weight and become stronger, thoroughly enjoying every step.

Yes I have plateaued at times and have been left frustrated at my lack of strength and/or technique however, Luke, Steve and the rest of the Tribe continue to support and guide me.

I guess I will always be work in progress and I am both comfortable and excited by this.

I’m now 16 weeks in, 39lb lighter and look and feel better than I did at 25. The physical changes are easy to see and it’s nice to receive compliments for the hard work however, the mental side to me is far more important.

I rarely sit in ‘my man cave’ now as I no longer need that shield, my perspective on life has been altered. I spend more quality time with family and have more energy with every day that passes. I LIVE now, not merely just exist and feel training has brought me a bigger purpose.

I’m more relaxed and comfortable within my own skin and as a result have a new found confidence.

I know I have an addictive personality but the structure and process of being in Total Fitness Tribe has helped me focus on that as a positive opposed to bad food choices and alcohol, I’m now addicted to training, eating well and making progress.

My only regret is that I did not do this earlier in my life, that being said, better late than never!

I was once told, “Luke is not for everyone”. I disagree with that, I think that not everyone is READY for Luke but we all need someone like him to show us another way – tell me not what I have done wrong but what I can do different.

This Tribe has the potential to not only improve lives but to save them too.

I feel both improved and saved.

Colin ‘REBOOTED’ Kennedy

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