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The Jaw-Dropping Transformation of a Drug Addict Who Shed 55 Pounds in Just 24 Weeks (and Went from 35% to 10% Body Fat)

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Matt Ellengold, a former drug addict from London, achieved a remarkable physical transformation over the course of six months.

Prior to joining UP Fitness, Matt’s life revolved around drugs, alcohol, and partying. During his recovery, weight was not a priority, so he continued eating what he wished. However, after coming off the drugs, he was horrified by the way he looked while taking snaps for his dating profile.

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“I used to go to bed at night and hope I wouldn’t wake up”

Matt Ellengold

With no self-confidence or self-worth, Matt turned to UP Fitness to transform his health and achieve his dream body.

James, his gym trainer, assured him that a 24-week commitment could result in reducing his body fat to 12% and achieving a target weight of 185 pounds (He was 240 pounds with a 35% body fat at the time). 

Here’s how he did it:

His diet before transformation

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Matt’s diet before his transformation was not healthy and consisted of high-calorie foods. He would eat a granola bowl with yogurt, berries, and granola or a hot croissant with ham, cheese, and bacon for breakfast.

For snacks, he would have a muffin, and for lunch, he would eat rice with chicken. His afternoon snack would consist of crisps, a chocolate bar, or biscuits.

For dinner, he would order takeaway delivery such as Dominos large pizza, and for dessert, he would have half a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

His Updated Diet

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Matt’s diet during his transformation was protein-focused, with a daily calorie intake of 1,700kcal (he used MyFitnessPall to track everything he ated). He would have breakfast plus three small meals spaced throughout the day, and two portions of carbs (30 grams each).

He would have a protein shake after his morning training. For breakfast, he would have a protein yogurt breakfast bowl (yogurt, berries, and protein powder).

For meal 1 (12.30 pm), he would have piri piri chicken with Mediterranean vegetables and sweet potato wedges.

For meal 2 (4.30 pm), he would have garlic and chili steak and vegetables and sweet potato wedges.

For meal 3 (8.30 pm), he would have peri peri chicken with Mediterranean vegetables.

His snack would consist of two small pots of sugar-free jelly (10kcal each).

A Customized Training Plan

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Matt started started to train three to four times weekly, stimulating muscle growth while maintaining a protein-rich diet to support recovery and muscle development.

To enhance weight loss and caloric burn, he also did daily walks to meet a goal of 10,000 steps (he used a Fitbit to track his steps). This routine was strategic in creating a caloric deficit which is key for weight reduction.

His typical Weekly Routine:

  • Strength Training: 3-4 sessions
  • Cardio: Daily walking to achieve steps

An Amazing Evolution

After six months of consistent effort, he completely reshaped his physique. He shed 55 pounds to achieve an athletic build and a mere 10% body fat. Friends were astounded by his comparative before and after images. 

Key insights from Matt’s Journey:

  • Embrace the support offered by others.
  • The path to a healthier lifestyle requires tenacity and sacrifice.
  • Personal growth should be the true yardstick of success, not others’ achievements.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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