This Former Triathlete Lost Over 20kgs In 9 Months – Here’s His Weight Loss Plan
You might think that an athlete never has to worry about their weight, but Henry Coppens is proof that if you stop exercising the weight will creep on.

June 2, 2011

man riding a bike outside at sunset trying to lose weight

You might think that an athlete never has to worry about their weight, but Henry Coppens is proof that if you stop exercising and start leading a less active life, the weight will begin to creep on and soon you won’t have that athletic physique you once had.

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Name: Henry Coppens

Age: 59

Occupation: Chemical Engineer

Height: 1.74M

Time Required: 9 Months

Weight Before: 94KG

Weight After: 72KG

The Gain:

Having represented South Africa internationally in triathlon and duathlon disciplines in the past, I never had a problem with my weight. Then I moved onto hiking, and after I completed all the local mountain ranges, I tackled famous peaks such as Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and the Canadian Rockies. Unfortunately my work leave only allowed for one climb per year. In the interim, I did little else, apart from the odd jog and MTB ride. The result was that my weight gradually crept up to 94kg.

Related: Master The Triathlon In 5 Easy Steps

The Change:

I’d always had a keen eye for men’s fashion, and the chance of enjoying it receded as the weight soared and years sped past. After successfully summiting Aconcagua in Argentina in 2007, I discovered on returning that I had lost four kilos. The climb proved that with exercise and a restricted kilojoule intake, weight loss inevitably follows. I decided that if I wanted what I had in the mid-Nineties, I would have to embark on a proper training and nutrition strategy.

The Result:

With an appropriate diet and a rigorous exercise regime of running and spinning, I managed to reach my goal of 72kg in nine months – from 30 to 16 percent body fat. However, I looked like a turkey with dangling folds of wrinkled skin around my neck, girth and arms. A kind friend of mine suggested the gym. This, he said, would replace some of the remaining body fat with muscle. For the next six months I worked out three times a week, which reduced my body fat to 11 percent with no weight gain.

Related: Morning or Evening: What Time You Workout Could Impact Your Gains

The Reward:

People now guess my age at between 35 and 45. I have found the fountain of youth! I now wear a size 28 or 30 jeans, down from 36 or 38. I can pull off skinny jeans and other trappings of high fashion with confidence. An unexpected benefit is that my eyesight has improved markedly. I can run an eight kilometre time trial in 36 minutes. I can ride my MTB up Northcliff Hill four times in less than an hour and I can out dance anyone at a club, but none of my peers want to party anymore!