Meet Juliana and Jonny, the new faces of USN. In 2012 Juliana was becoming fed up with her expanding waistline from a sedentary job and too many office treats, and Jonny found himself getting out of breath carrying his newborn twins up the stairs. They both decided it was time for a change and signed up for the USN Body Makeover Challenge, a free challenge that ran throughout the whole of 2012.
The Body Makeover Challenge involved a 12 week commitment to training and healthy eating that promised dramatic results, oh and a £6,000 cash prize for the two lucky winners! It’s probably slightly unfair calling them “lucky” as it was pure dedication and hard work that got Juliana and Jonny the amazing body transformations they achieved.
Georgina caught up with the winners, Juliana and Jonny, at the 2013 BodyPower Expo in Birmingham to find out exactly how the challenge has changed their lives.
Firstly let me start by saying congratulations on how far you’ve come! Looking at your before and after pictures left me picking my jaw up off the floor! What motivated you to start the challenge?
Juliana: I was just really unhappy with the way I was looking. I was working as an accountant, doing really long hours in a desk-bound job and having too many biscuits! I decided I needed to go on a diet. I went online seeking motivation and that’s when I found the challenge. I decided to enter because it was free so there was nothing to lose, and of course the cash prize did play a part! I never thought I would win it, but I got stuck in to the diet and exercise program and here I am!
Jonny: My girlfriend had just given birth to twin girls, they’re now 13 months and a handful! That was the main catalyst for me; I really was out of shape, tired and I was getting out of breath carrying them up the stairs in the moses baskets. I just thought I’m going to have to do it not just for myself this time, but for someone else. That was my motivation.
What support did you get from USN throughout the challenge?
Jonny: You get quite a solid foundation when you start: you get a sample of the diet plan, recommended supplements etc. There’s also a starter pack that you can buy alongside it which is really really good, inside that it’s got all the supplements that you’ll need, a diet plan – it’s basically an idiots guide for anyone who’s new to training and dieting. It’s a good basis to start upon. You also get support from USN throughout; it was great – constant motivation, constant support, any time you uploaded your results you got feedback so it was really good. It really felt like you weren’t doing it on your own.
Did you find it hard to stick to the diet plan, was it a big change?
Juliana: It was a big change for me! But I didn’t find it hard to stick to. Of course you have hard days; I had moments where I would think “oh why am I doing this?” but then you focus on the end result and you remember why you started it in the first place. Throughout the 12 weeks I had quite a lot of parties and weddings that I had to attend and of course I wasn’t drinking or eating much, so it was really hard in the beginning but it got easier as the weeks went by.
Jonny: That’s what I found too, it gets easier. I think the hardest part for me was the first four weeks. Because you’re doing it but you’re not really seeing any changes initially. You start to wonder whether it’s actually working but then whenever you start to see the results that’s what motivates you through. Don’t get me wrong I think everyone has a little cheat day, but you use your cheat day as a reward rather than a pig out day.
What was a typical day for you?
Jonny: My training started off with an early cardio session before breakfast on an empty stomach just to really shock my metabolism. I went from eating two-three large meals a day to about seven smaller meals. The best bit of advice I was given was that your body is like a furnace and how do you keep a fire going? You just add a little bit of fuel every so often. The diet plan was full of good protein sources, good carbohydrate sources, and just keeping it to little and often rather than a lot spaced out.
Juliana: For me what changed a lot was the amount of protein I was eating. I didn’t really used to care much about protein before and I didn’t really monitor much of what I was eating, but protein really helps you with weight loss. Also, as a girl, I’d never really done weight training before but with USN’s help I got into weight training and it really makes a massive difference.
How did you fit the diet and training in around your families?
Jonny: Good organisation and preparation. My other half is very good at organising a day out with the girls, for example, and having all the clothes ready – I just have to do the same for myself but just have my food ready. Preparing your food the night before, taking it out with you. Just planning ahead. Rather than leaving it to the day and that’s when the day passes you by and you revert back into the old habits.
Juliana: Absolutely, preparation is key. You don’t want to get hungry and then have to choose something “convenient” as you’ll choose what appeals more and not necessarily what’s better for you.
What’s the main thing that you learned throughout the 12 weeks?
Juliana: That girls won’t bulk up! Do your weight training and you’ll lose weight. Also, make sure you have your recommended protein intake.
Jonny: The main thing I learned was that “you can do it”. I’d seen photographs before in different magazines of people that had changed their bodies but I didn’t really believe that I could do it. But actually if you do commit to it and you do give it 100% you can achieve the results. It’s not like I’m one of the professional athletes who can train whenever they want; I mean we’ve both got jobs, we’ve both got families, both got other commitments but you can do it. Even as an average person, these results still are achievable.
You’re both USN ambassadors now, how’s that changed your lives?
Juliana: I can’t even start to describe how much my life has changed! Obviously I was an accountant before, but since the challenge and losing the weight I’ve become so much more confident and I decided to change careers completely. I am now a personal trainer. I also went on to compete with the WBFF (World Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation) and I won the competition. I’m now a professional athlete! I’m even competing in Las Vegas in August, which is very exciting.
It’s not just your body that changes, it’s your whole lifestyle, your whole mindset – I’m so much more confident. I believe I can do anything now.
Jonny: I’m also doing some personal training at the minute and I’ve finished my qualifications for that. Everyone now wants a piece of you because they’ve seen the results and they want the chance to train with you, get some diet advice and get supplement advice. So I’m excited about the year ahead working with the USN in the Ambassador role, and just really want to inspire other people to say that it can be done and it’s not just all what you see in the magazines – you can actually do it yourself.
Thanks again Juliana and Jonny for talking with me and I wish you the best of luck for your future, encouraging others to get fit and healthy!
USN’s Body Makeover Challenge is running again, so if Juliana and Jonny have inspired you and you want to be in with a chance of being one of 2013’s winners why not find out more at www.usn.co.uk/body_and_lifestyle_challenge/.