A dad-of-two who rediscovered a love for training has shed more than four stone and raised money for charity in the process.
Jasper Gordon, of Nottingham, started his weight loss journey around a year ago after realising he was heavier than Tyson Fury, yet a foot shorter.
Jasper, who works for a central heating company and former rugby player, said: “I had a health check through work and when I got the results I was shocked.
“I told myself ‘you’re short, you’re fat, your cholesterol is awful and you’re at risk of heart disease’ so I sat down and decided to do something about it.”
After borrowing his son’s exercise bike he built up sessions from 20 minutes to more than an hour, pushing from 30km to 50km distances.
He also got himself a rowing machine for Christmas and continued to set himself personal challenges.
When lockdown started, he encouraged his team at work to exercise to aid their mental health, and he created his own ‘commute’ before and after his working day.
Jasper said: “It’s been a godsend for me because I sit there and pedal or row away while watching Netflix.
“I’d seen a couple of friends doing things, so I set myself personal challenges, like cycling and rowing the number of miles from Nottingham to Paris or Lands’ End to John O’Groats.
“Once that was completed, I thought to myself, why not do it for charity?”
The dad-of-two said he had known of the Make-A-Wish charity, which helps create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses, and felt it appealed to his “warped sense of humour” to swap the pain and sweat of his exercise for a child’s smile.
He added: “There have been lots of people raising money for the NHS and NHS charities but other organisations need help too.
“I’m the sort of bloke who will happily get my wallet out in the office but doing this has taught me a lot.
“I set myself the challenge of cycling 1,000km and when I had only done 90km by day three, it felt a bit daunting.
“But there’s a responsibility to the people who have donated and to the charity.
“That was the motivation and it was also a hindrance. Getting over halfway felt like ‘ok the end is in sight’ and then I thought I’m going to ramp this up and get it done.”
Jasper has gone from 18 stone 13 pounds, to 14 stone nine – a loss of more than four stone, but he is determined to keep making changes.
He also said he needs to find time to buy a new wardrobe of clothes after his old jeans “fell off”.
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“When I was playing rugby, I never trained as hard as I have done in the last year – I’d train as hard as I needed to, rather than as hard as I could,” he said.
“Now I don’t see me stopping. It’s become part of my lifestyle. I’ve bought a road bike and signed up to do London to Paris next year so I’ve got some serious work to do to get in shape for that.
“I still smoke. I have cut out cheese, stopped having sugar in coffee, and some other treats, but otherwise, my diet is what it was before – awful.
“I don’t eat a lot of greens. But I am happier and healthier. I hope I inspire someone to think – if he can do it why can’t I?
“I really have to thank all those who have donated and supported me because it’s really kept me motivated – especially my wife who’s had to put up with me getting up earlier, delaying dinner and washing three t-shirts a day.”
Jasper has allready surpassed his £500 target by raising £780 for the charity so far.