Arvi’s Story

Two years ago I was in a very high-intense and high-stress job. I was wiped out Monday to Friday and my job was causing me to be tired and angry at the people around me.


Working and sleeping was my entire life. I didn’t see any way around it so I kept going… nothing got any better.


My diet was affected by my lifestyle.


Arvi Samra - Phils Sims Personal Training


The foods I was eating were the wrong choices. With my busy life, I ate on the run and I ate when I was already really hungry. I basically ate what I could find quickly. I was the convenience eater you’ve probably read about on Phil’s blogs and emails.


I killed hunger from the cupboards… it worked, pretty much – but it didn’t do my body any favours at all. This became routine, though. The norm was getting home late followed by an immediate dash for the cupboards. Consistently poor choices meant a poor diet and I fell into a bad routine.


This led to bad sleeping and low energy levels and I became snappy at people around me and people at work. I wasn’t good to be around. My body was under attack… but from the inside out.


I was about 40-50% of the Arvi that I needed to be.


I had no quality time with friends and family.


I was negative about things and brought down conversations around me. I knew I needed to get out of it. I recognised that things and life weren’t right but I didn’t seem to be able to change it. Something needed to change, but I felt trapped.


Phil knew about my problems and he wanted to steer me in the right direction. But I had to be ready. There’s only so much you can do from a few gym sessions a week. The mind has to be ready to change the body.


So why did I choose Phil?

PhilandArvi - Phil Sims Personal TrainingI chose Phil to be my personal trainer because I liked him. When you’re sharing problems and working together to fix bigger issues than you know exist, it’s important that you know, like and of course trust someone.


I trusted Phil because he knew my problems and he understood them, and me.


I got a new job… somehow I thought that would solve the negativity. It was actually the same job but for a different company so really not a lot changed. I thought it would, but it didn’t.


I’d met Phil, I’d changed my job, but I was still stressed and tired and now increasingly overweight.


People started to notice my weight, and then I really listened.


Phil won’t mind me saying this, but the actual catalyst for my weight loss journey wasn’t him – it was my family and friends. People I loved started making comments about me ‘putting on weight’ and it happened more often that I liked.


That hit nerves that no book, video or personal trainer could ever do… but Phil knows that.


I’m fairly thick-skinned, but when someone that doesn’t know you mentions your weight and then your close friends keep mentioning it – that’s when it starts to hurt.


That’s when I got back in touch with Phil. I’d been talking about it for a while but I’d been blaming a lack of time, my job, and anything else in between.


I thought working with Phil was going to involve changing the way I trained in the gym. I thought I’d be learning different weight training regimes and I thought it would take a load of time, time I didn’t have.


I thought the main part was exercise planning, and I thought this was why I’d failed before.


The first few weeks weren’t about lifting the most weight I could…


… it was so different from what I’d thought it would be. We talked about stretching, and warming up and down, and we didn’t focus on weights and press-ups.


Instead we talked about diet and eating, including what I was and what I wasn’t eating or drinking.


My diet used to look like this:


I’d always eat breakfast but my go-to was three Weetabix – it looked healthy from the Weetabix box, and I added sugar to make it taste good. On a treat day I’d have Frosties!


I thought that was good… I’d been good all week (or so I thought).


I ate lots of chicken. Chicken is good… but I ate frozen chicken with a sauce or breadcrumbs. You think chicken is OK as it has protein in… and you just ignore the stuff on top of it.


I knew fish was good too, but then I did the same and had battered fish or fish in a sauce.


I thought my diet was good but it turns out it wasn’t. Phil helped me make some quick and simple changes to my diet. The biggest changes were cereals. I replaced my Weetabix and sugar with fish, eggs, sausage or even steak at times.


Changing my cereal to this was easy. In fact is was a really nice change and I still eat that now. But I have to admit that giving up milk and bread was really really hard. Everything was on toast or had bread with it!


A standard basket from the local store always had milk and bread in it. That’s just what we do, right? I had milk in cereal, and milk in tea. So I gave them both up to make it easier.


No more Weetabix and tea for breakfast. Now it was fish and water with lime or green tea.


Without bread, sandwiches became a no-no, so I had chicken with veg instead.


Thinking about it, a sandwich is a really lazy option but it cures the hunger fast so that’s why they’re popular. Not eating snack food at work was a big battle too. Cakes and crap food was a plentiful thing and something I worked hard to avoid for months.



I wasn’t looking to lose weight – I wanted to add muscle and shape up!


I didn’t really notice anything until about two months. It was actually a shock to the system and the body takes time to adjust.


It was cold turkey on a few foods… it was the way I needed to do it. That’s what worked for me… so I thought. But because I wasn’t substituting foods with the right things it wasn’t working out for me and my body.


I spoke to Phil and told him how I was feeling. He told me that 10-20 years of routine was being hit hard and the body wasn’t going to get used to it right away.


I was breaking a bad habit… but what I was really in need of were new healthier habits and that’s what Phil and I worked on.


Habits that I started back then have became an easy routine now. A routine is easy to do.


I never avoided things as they weren’t the norm anymore. So I don’t avoid bread and milk; I just don’t have them on my radar anymore. Oh, and I actually spend less time training that I did before!


But I know what works for me now. It’s not the time you spend it’s what you do in the gym that counts. I know the better techniques now and the techniques that suit me. Every body is different.


You don’t always need to do one and a half hours in the gym. Forty minutes of the right routine can get you better results.


So what’s changed?


For a start, my mental health is better. Part of me thought that the old job was the problem, but I have the new job doing the exactly the same things.


It was the health and fitness that were actually causing me the problems. I now make better choices and how I think is different too. My mindset is far better. I try to change the negativity now, too. I’ll always be in stressful situations but I cope better now.


I used to live in full circle frustration. Now I make good choices instead of bad and make faster decisions as my brain is working better.


I get better sleep. 2-3hours and then waking up and worrying was a normal night, but now I sleep naturally without wine or beer to help me pass out. Naturally waking up without an alarm is amazing!


I’m not a runner but I’ve been doing a few local runs with PSPT. I’ve never really been involved with team sports but now I’m part of the PSPT team and it spurs me on to do more.


I was used to doing things alone. I was shy and hid away. But now I enjoy the hustle of the busy events and even look forward to them.


What’s next?


Two Castles Run from Warwick Castle


I’m only human. I still struggle with snacking – it’s my only vice. I had a good year in 2015 but I’ve fallen back into snacking and that needs some attention.


I know it’s a bad thing, I resent it and feel horrible after, and that’s the change in working to make it better. I can see the results now and I know it would have been better without the extra kitchen cupboard trips!


I need to step up a gear in 2016. It gets harder to feel better when you’re already feeling great so I know it’s a big mental push.


Phil is a big part of the future focus and training. He taps into your brain and your thoughts. I’m confident he’ll help me get to my goals and stay focused.


If I could speak to myself two years ago I’d say this:


  • Stop blaming the job and others around you.
  • Don’t wait for two months before you run again. Keep running and get better at it.
  • Planning is everything. Get yourself organised and plan your food diary. That way the kitchen cupboard will stay out of bounds. Or put better stuff in the cupboards!


My next target is the next run…


I find it’s good to have a target like an event. You then feel the achievement when you complete it and I want that achievement more and more.


I need to set a new target after that next event too, and hanging around with the right people certainly keeps you accountable.


Being a part of Phil’s Inner Circle is perfect for that.


I’m the guy who used to go out, drink all night, stay out late and be asleep the next day. Now I’m enjoying the time I spend with the PSPT team and then getting to bed after a few sensible drinks and feeling fresh the next day.


In the Inner Circle share the stories and the challenges and we help each other out. Helping others out really helps me, too. Some people say I’ve inspired them to get up and go and do something for themselves.


I’m now inspiring others and that feels great. It then pushes you on some more as other look up to you and you need to keep that up. It all comes down to changing the way you feel.


It’s not all about exercise or cutting out takeaway food. We all need guidance and training as a whole.


Experiencing challenges and training with Phil works. Sharing goals makes it work and having someone there to keep you on track but also that understand you as an individual really helps me to achieve my goals.


The Inner Circle – Together We’re Stronger (Autumn Wolf Run 2015)