Hi, my name is Sander, I’m 32 years old and I’m from The Netherlands. I was asked to tell my kick-ass transformation story. So here it is!

For this story I want to go back to the period 2007 – 2013, in which I followed a bad lifestyle. No physical activity and my diet consisted of snacks, energy drinks/cola and in the weekend lots of alcohol. The only exercise I had was walking from the couch to the fridge and back (often I even asked my girlfriend to get the cola).

At worst I weighed more than 100 kg and fat percentage was around 35% (estimated), so tie-ing my shoes made me sweat like a waterfall. I even had some kind of sleep apnea, I stopped breathing sometimes when I was asleep, which terrified my girl.

My Transformation - 2013 vs 2017

In September 2013 I decided it was enough and took control over my life again. I picked up running, this started with the first week 2 kilometer with every 100m a break or slow walking. And my diet changed into fruit, crackers with turkey, chicken, rice, vegetables and water, all counted together around 1350kcal per day. That diet wasn’t also very good for me but did the trick and the kilo’s flew off, after 3 months I already lost 20 kg! In November a friend called me and asked (actually as a joke) if I wanted to run the Rotterdam Marathon with him. It only took me 5 seconds and I said; of course! This resulted in heavy training during cold winter months, I ran in the snow, during stormy and rainy days, I was dedicated to my goal, completing a Marathon. In April 2014 the moment was there, I was really nervous and at the same time destined to do this! It took me and my friend 4 hours and 8 minutes, but we made it! The adrenaline , the happiness, the pride and the pain in my legs were indescribable!

As a reward of this achievement I got my first tattoo, a tekst on the left side of my belly, which still is my life motto;

“Ambitious goals give life purpose,
Achieving them gives life meaning,
Embrace Life!”

S.H. 2014

After this, in the summer of 2014, I really got the taste of it and I wanted more and more, all kind sports became interesting. I bought a racing bike and started to do small tours on the beautiful country side here. An obstacle run of 18km was completed (Mud Masters). This drive was unlimited and it made me feel invincible and my body became fitter each day.

Also my diet changed. Via a friend I came in touch with meal replacing shakes, together with green tea tablets for improving the fat burn. This also was a low kcal diet, but it contained more of the needed nutrition than my earlier crash diet. One of the big benefits was that it didn’t take much time to prepare, so I had more time to spend on sports!
But after 9 months this diet started to bore and the urge to “normal” food started to take over.

April 2015, the second Marathon, goal was under 4 hours! In my training I increased my base speed, I ended a ½ Marathon in 1 hours and 45 minutes. So this goal was reachable. During the race, I was pretty much on schedule for 3 hours and 50 minutes, but a few km before the finish cramps came in. This resulted in passing the finish line in 4:00:38, so close! After this marathon I was pretty much done with running and I found myself a new goal!

From the summer in 2015 my next goal was to get a better body shape or actually having a sixpack, so I subsribed to a gym. Shortly after this I got introduced with macro ratios, before I only knew that I should eat less than I burn each day (or the other way around). So a new chapter opened up, I learned protein were really important for muscle growth and fat , stay away from it, same as carbs. This self-exploring didn’t work that much so after a few months I found a coach who still advises me on training and makes my diet based on my blood type. One of the important changes I made was quitting alcohol, because that was holding up my progress! Soon I saw this helped me forward and and also in this sport I really let myself go and I hit (still do) the gym at least 5 times a week.

Short about blood type based diets, some products are good, some are neutral, some are bad. It was new for me when I started it, but still I’m very positive about it and I will recommend it to everyone. Everyday I ate the same for 3 or 4 weeks, except the cheatdays, never forget those one time a week! Keeps you motivated and your body needs the shock so it won’t get used to the good products that much. After 3 or 4 weeks the composition of the diet changed, but the macro ratios stayed the same.

Around 15% fat, 40% protein, 45% carbs.

In the summer of 2016 that moment came! The next goal was achieved (and motivation went sky-high), my sixpack was there! My body fat became below the 7%. It was time for a next reward, this time it was a Moari styled tattoo on my chest.

In the meanwhile I was thinking about the next goal, fitness / bodybuilding really had become part of my lifestyle and I found that I wanted to grow a bit. This would mean that I had to eat more than I burn on a day, much more! This was a very nice period, eating was and still is one of the favorite things to do. And now I could do it all day and very much!

In the beginning of 2017 I started cutting again and my diet changed again, this time to higher fat (20%) high protein (70%) and low carbs (10%). This resulted in my shape of today, 84 kg and again body fat below 7%. By now I have more experience and I can prepare my own trainings. I learned to listen to my body. I even now advice other people on diets and training schedules.

Next goal is a bodybuilding contest!

My advice for starters, put yourself upfront, set goals and live to it. Don’t try and think of the possibility of failing but just do! Achieving those goals gives motivation to go further. Never give up! And reward yourself after achieving a goal!

Find something that fits you and turn eating habits and sports into a lifestyle.

I hope this will inspire people who think they can’t change their lives and motivates them to take action.

Sander Hertog
The Netherlands

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If you want to get featured on our TransformationTales series, you can email your transformation stories to us on travis@fitnesstep1.com and we’d love to share your transformation story with millions of fitness freaks out there.

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Matt Williamson
My name is Matt - fitness freak by choice. I intensively study and write about nutrition and health related topics. After reading and researching intensively on human health, I aspire to proliferate the wisdom that I acquired in a simple way.