Updated 10 December 2018

Here’s how this guy channelled his inner Iron Man to better his body in 8 weeks

Was it his determination and competitive drive or was it the Iron Man tattoo?

Richard Lovett is a 30-year-old Capetonian who took on an eight-week health challenge so that he could get fitter and find his self-confidence. And he knocked it out the park. We caught up with him to find out how he pulled it off. Was it his determination and competitive drive, or was it the Iron Man tattoo?

Read more: 9 reasons to pick up the December issue

What made you lead a healthier life?

“I’ve always enjoyed playing sport, hiking, running and being fit in general. However, when my life got busy and complicated, that healthy lifestyle took a backseat. Along with a poor diet (sweets and junk food), I started neglecting my body. Running and training was slowly being replaced by unwanted weight gain,” says Lovett.

“I got to a point where I was grossed out by my reflection. And seeing photos on social media where I’m topless (and clearly shouldn’t have been) didn’t help with my confidence. I felt embarrassed and ashamed.

“I had chubby cheeks and love handles… Me? Love handles? No sir, something had to be done. I stumbled upon a health challenge on SleekGeek – it was an eight-week transformation challenge. And it was exactly what I needed.”

What kept you motivated?

“I’m a naturally competitive person and decided to use this challenge as a tool to change my lifestyle and mindset for the better. Whenever I felt like skipping gym or quitting halfway through the session – I reminded myself that I would be the only one to blame for not completing the challenge.”

Richard Lovett, fitness, exercise, health, challen

Read more: Mighty workout tips from Avengers: Infinity War star Chris Hemsworth

How did your daily routine change throughout the process?

“This was a lifestyle change. There is no quick fix, tablet or special crash diet. Consistency is what really produces results. Eight weeks is not a long time at all, but I promise you, with the correct balance between a healthy diet and good, regular exercise, extraordinary results are possible.

Preparation is key as well – I didn’t have time on my hands to cook every night when I got back from gym. So meal prep on Sundays was a winning move.”

Read more: The beginner’s guide to mastering food prep

What was your workout plan and diet for the 8 weeks?

“I followed a training programme called Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut To Size. It is a programme designed to increase muscle mass in the shortest time. The routine comprised of training four days a week to attack each muscle group. Unfortunately I injured my anterior tibialis in the second week.

“Initially, I was pretty devastated because I thought I wouldn’t be able to train further – but I didn’t give up. I excluded leg training from the four-day cycle, and then trained each muscle group twice a week with one rest day. In the sixth week I slowly started cardio again to introduce a bit of cardio to my routine.

“I followed a ketogenic diet for the duration of the challenge. I worked off a 21-day keto meal plan. The meal plan offered daily meals with under 20g net carbs. As much as eating bacon until you are blue in the face is fantastic, you’ll learn that a keto diet is more than that.

“I recommend doing lots of research. You really need to know what your body requires according to age, weight, goal weight, etc… and adjust your diet accordingly. The body is an amazing specimen and all you need to do is listen to it.”

Your go-to workout/exercise?

“Due to my injury, I was not able to train legs or run, but that helped me improve my upper body, especially biceps, which used to be my worst session but is now my favourite.”

Read more: Take this quiz to help you find your perfect Men’s Health workout plan tailored to you!

What advice can you give to other wanting the same transformation?

Set yourself goals you think you cannot achieve, and then work until you knock them out the park.

Showing up is 90% of the battle won.

Be prepared and put a plan in place. Not planning at all is planning for failure.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: Supplied


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