Danny Magee had suffered treatments for life-threatening illnesses that had left his body weak and overweight. This is how he found some balance in his life and got back on track.
• Age: 24
• Height: 5’8”
• Weight: 84kg
• Body fat: 23%
• Age: 25
• Weight: 69.9kg
• Body fat: 11.2%
In December 2011 I was diagnosed with cancer, leukemia (A.L.L). After years of treatment I was finished in March 2015. After having to use steroids during treatment, my appetite increased dramatically and, being too weak to do anything about it, I put on a huge amount of weight. Once I was finished, the last thing on my mind was getting to the gym. I was adamant I was going to live a fun and carefree life, without thinking of the repercussions or what it would do to my health. I really should have known better. Things changed following a check-up with my oncologist, a new one I’d not met before. She was the first person to give me a bollocking and made me see that drinking all the time and eating rubbish wasn’t living the best life I could and I should be more responsible considering my previous circumstances. That tough love, kick up the backside is exactly what I needed to do something about it.
Once I’d decided to transform, I contacted personal trainer, Nathan Smart. I had always thought I knew what I was doing in the gym but the miserable hours on the treadmill just weren’t cutting it. Previously I’d not had the confidence to approach a PT inside the gym in case they made me work out in front of people much more in shape than I was. My girlfriend at the time who worked in a gym recommended him.
Like anybody else, I have had days after a hard day’s work where I think that I can’t be bothered. This is true when going through a relationship break-up, trying to juggle work, dating and a social life, batting away the “you’ve become boring mate!” remarks can put you off a bit. Keeping the focus one day at a time is a challenge within itself, but it’s massively important to remind yourself why you started your journey.
I have always been a very social person, but this used to include plenty of beer and junk food. This meant I never had much interest in spending time in a social environment that didn’t include consuming lots of calories, which had to be addressed. There was a risk that I’d be stuck in a cycle if I couldn’t overcome this.
Trust The Process
There will most certainly be weeks you don’t drop as much weight as you’d have hoped or carry more water but just stick at it. The only thing putting you back is the risk of giving in. Take the time to enjoy it, even when you’re dieting which can be really fun if you are willing to experiment in the kitchen. You are doing something great here, for you, take it one day at a time and before you know it you are changing your life to reach whatever goals you may be setting. It’s also important not to demonize the things you love (chocolate, fry-ups, pizza etc) just be smarter and approach eating them with a bit of a conscience. There’s no reason you can’t get into the best mental and physical shape of your life and eat pizza along the way.
I have aspirations to help people with backgrounds similar to mine to change things around for them – this will need more planning and learning though of course. So personally I am working on enjoying my life and getting into healthy competition with myself to be a little bigger and stronger than last year.
1. Try zero calorie drinks!
I was able to suppress a lot of “sweet tooth” cravings by having a can of Coke Zero.
2. Love your food
Few things are sadder than eating tuna and crackers. Just swap a few things around. Trade fatty pork sausage for lean chicken sausages and ask yourself why your toast needs butter if you’re covering it in beans or eggs anyway?
3. You do NOT need to go overkill on cardio
It’s not for everyone and is actively disliked by many! As long as you are eating smart and training effectively you should not have to run half marathons every day. But it has benefits of course, so don’t neglect it completely.
4. Live a little
There has to be time to relax a little, have some drinks with your friends and enjoy the odd burger. If you keep these things involved in your new lifestyle, but in moderation, then there’s less chance you’ll binge when the opportunity comes.
MY MEAL PLAN
• 4 x chicken sausages
• 150g scrambled egg whites (pepper, chive, chipotle flakes)
• 40g whey protein
• 130g chicken breast
• Green vegetables
• 40g rolled oats
• Almond milk • 40g whey protein
• Blueberries and strawberries
• Post workout shake 40g
• Protein (steak, fish or chicken)
• Vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, peppers etc).
• 1 x portion of carbs (40g uncooked weight) basmati rice, egg noodles etc.) Remove this portion of carbs on rest days.
(Weekends differ as long as I reach 150-200g protein per day and stay around 2000cals. Meal 3 can be saved and calories added for larger dinner.)
My Training Breakdown
Monday – Shoulders and biceps
Tuesday – Quads and calves
Wednesday – Chest and triceps
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Hamstrings
Saturday – Back and arms
Sunday – Rest
• Vitamins (C, D3, Multi & Omega 3 fish oil)
• Nutrigreen powder drink
• Whey protein