When Stephen Boylan woke after a boozy birthday party, he was on a yacht. That’s not uncommon for the 32-year-old: originally from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, he’s been living and working on luxury yachts, climbing from deckhand up to chief officer. He’d always been in good shape, but a surfing mishap left him with a chipped vertebrae, keeping him out of the gym. “Combine the injury with some unhealthy eating habits,” he says, “and boom, 4 months later—dad bod.” He weighed about 178 pounds, with 16 percent body fat; unable to train, he’d lost a lot of muscle.
So he wasn’t happy with how he looked when he woke up on his 32nd birthday. He resolved to get back in shape. Seeing an advertisement for LiveUp, the online training program from Ultimate Performance, he decided to give it a shot. After all, it was a regimen he could do on a yacht.
“I was a little shocked to see you only had to lift weights 3 days a week,” he says; he was used to twice that much. But he stuck with three full-body workouts a week, plus two fasted cardio sessions. Being on a yacht, a rowing machine was his only cardio option; for lifting he had a squat rack, a pull-up bar, some adjustable dumbells, and weight plates Luckily, that was all he needed.
Diet-wise, he cut out caffeine and alcohol. He adopted the LiveUp diet plan, eating four meals a day with plenty of vegetables, fats, fruit, protein and carbs. After the first month he started carb cycling, which is when things really began to change. In ten weeks he’d dropped to 160 pounds, and his body fat percentage was cut in half, to seven or eight percent. “To be honest that’s a little light for me,” he says, “and now I’m trying to put on some muscle mass.”
The experience helped Boylan understand the importance of diet, including portion control and responsible eating. The program gave him a specific diet, and he stuck to it. “Eat what you’re told,” he says, at least through the first month. “Once you get the results, you can go a little easier on yourself,” he says. “Introduce the occasional luxury back into your life.”
“My colleagues used to make fun of me when I was eating spinach and boiled eggs for breakfast with a side of apple and nut butter,” he says. But they couldn’t argue with the results; he’s gotten six other friends to try the same program. Weekly check-ins and direction from a personal trainer help keep them on-track and motivated.
Boylan’s looking to bulk up a bit, on his way to completing a diploma in personal training and advanced nutrition. He’s also working toward being a yacht captain one day. Getting fit again on a yacht wasn’t a sure thing, but for anyone who needs inspiration, he says it’s within reach, as long as you’re willing to strive for change. “If you are going to do it, stay true to yourself,” he says. You’re the first person to hold yourself accountable.
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