For ex-amateur boxer and ultramarathon runner Billy, struggling with his health and fitness after becoming a father was something he never expected. Here’s how he overcame some lifestyle and motivation obstacles and got back on the health horse. 

Unlike other impressive tales of weight loss, Billy’s transformation story isn’t about discovering healthier habits, but rather rediscovering how to prioritise his health and fitness after a period of inactivity and convenience.

Like many new parents, Queensland dad of two Billy fell completely out of routine after the arrival of his two children, “I fell into the habit of ‘tomorrow,’” he says. “Tomorrow I will get back to the gym, tomorrow I will fix up my diet and eventually I was inactive and not eating the healthiest.”

“My wife and I always try to prepare healthy food for our children and although I was eating this food, my portion control for myself was missing and the late-night snacking was my biggest issue,” he adds.

“ I would try and get to the gym, but I was never consistent and would rely on fleeting bursts of motivation rather than developing a healthy and consistent lifestyle.”

Growing up, motivation and routine were two things Billy never lacked, training at an elite level as a title-winning boxer until the age of 21, then transitioning into the sport of ultrarunning.

At his fitness peak, he completed a run from Victoria to Queensland for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

But, years later at his heaviest weight of 96kgs, Billy found he was unable to comfortably pursue the things he once enjoyed so passionately. 

“Although I once loved running, I could no longer enjoy the runs as my knees and shins would ache and I would fatigue very quickly. Ultimately, I stopped running altogether and put my running days behind me,” he recalls. 

As a dad, Billy decided he needed to take control of his health again, modelling healthy habits and choices for his young children.  

“I want to demonstrate the importance of a healthy lifestyle, encompassing not only physical well-being but also emotional and mental health,” Billy shares.

“Both of my kids have recently taken up sports, and I didn’t want to tell my kids about when I was younger, I wanted to show my kids that Dad is right there beside them the whole way.”

Putting the plan into practice

For Billy, focusing on consistency and routine were his biggest hurdles in the initial few weeks of his health reboot, but soon found his groove (and invaluable support) with the 28 by Sam Wood program. 

“[The program] helped me plan out each day in advance, setting a positive tone for the day ahead,” he says. “Seeing what others were accomplishing fuelled my motivation. By the end of the first two weeks, these habits started to become second nature, and now, it has become a part of my everyday life.”

Billy turned his attention to portion control, using the app’s recipes to plan his nutrition each week, “They made it easy to manage my portions without feeling like I was missing out,” he says.

“I swapped out my late-night snacks for healthier options like fruit or a shake, and I became more mindful of eating out of boredom rather than genuine hunger.”

Billy’s typical day on a plate:

Breakfast: A banana smoothie with almonds, “It is quick and easy, and the perfect breakfast during the chaos of getting the kids ready for school whilst my wife and I are getting ready for work.” 

Lunch: “I normally let the app choose for me,” Billy says sharing he prefers to eat leftovers. “I found keeping things as easy as possible helped me be consistent and reduced the temptation of having something unhealthy and justifying it to myself as being ‘convenient.’”

Dinner: “I really like to have stir fries as much as possible,” he says, adding the dish is a great way to pack in a heap of veggies, protein and flavour.” 

Snacks: Fruit, almonds, or boiled eggs. 

Billy’s biggest health takeaways

Billy’s most significant lesson he’s taken away from his transformation is the importance of mindset, finding the app and the 28 community really helped shape his newfound health philosophy. 

“Sam’s insight really resonates with me – he nails it when he emphasises that it’s not about achieving perfection but about making gradual progress daily,” he says. Embracing the concept of progress over perfection means striving to improve a little each day, and it’s okay to stumble along the way. The key is to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.”

Revealing his biggest challenge has been resisting the urge to chase perfection and accepting that instead, his health journey is lifelong, not a quick fix, Billy says he couldn’t be prouder of his physical and mental transformation. 

“My biggest advice to anyone on a weight loss journey is to set a clear goal and work steadily towards it. It’s okay if you stumble along the way, but the key is to get back up and keep pushing forward, making small improvements every day,” he says.

“Instead of fixating solely on weight, prioritise adopting a healthier lifestyle overall. When you make consistent, healthier choices, the results will naturally follow suit.”

This article is originally from Body & Soul.

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.