“HE HELPED ME LOSE 16KG WITHOUT GIVING UP BEER…”
Changing your body is hard, right?
When you feel like you’re at the bottom of Mount Everest looking up, listening to guys like me preach on social media about health and transformation can almost turn you off.
With all of the things you have to juggle between work and family, trying to prioritise yourself is a challenge.
And that’s why I wanted to come down off my high horse and share with you my personal story.
My story of being a failure…
My story of feeling like crap and wanting to quit…
And what I did to change it all, forever…
It’s a story about how I am no different to you and despite what you see, how I face the same mental battles.
This is the true origin of Cut The Gut and why I feel it’s my mission in life to coach what I have learned.
It’s easy to look at people who have ‘made it’ with envy at their ‘perfect life’. But more often than not, what you see on Facebook is only half the picture or less.
It’s also worth noting that our definitions of ‘made it’ may be very different. I value mental and physical health above all things. You may not and I don’t judge that.
I’m just your everyday guy that’s working toward some lofty goals and still trying to figure it all out along the way.
I am not some jacked up ‘gym bro’ that spends all day pumping iron whilst I live a privileged life that my parents handed me. Far from it.
In fact, I am the son of a Maltese immigrant that come here with nothing (let alone any English) on a boat when he was six years old.
My dad’s mum died at 27 from a heart attack and his father was left with a bunch of kids and no money. So going into an orphanage (which he called ‘the home’) was the only real option when he arrived.
One thing that I have always respected about my dad is the way he built us a comfortable life from nothing. As a small business owner, he instilled two values in us as kids:
Always work hard (this will be relevant later);
Always give your best.
I can remember playing games of footy as a teenager and when I played bad, he didn’t talk to me for a week. He didn’t actually care about the way I played, but he cared about the effort I put in.
In these hyper-sensitive day of parenting, this would be seen as neglect but now I thank him for the silent treatment - it’s the reason I am who I am today.
I idolise my dad for the way he brought us up and always put us first.
CONCRETING ON WEEKENDS…
Most kids love going to work with dad. Not me… I hated it.
He ran a concreting business and occasionally, needed help to ‘push a load’. I’m sure subconsciously, he wanted either my brother or I to take over the business when he retired. My brother scooped that prize.
I couldn’t think of anything worse. Cold winter mornings where your hands would sting when you lifted the steel reinforcement. Or stinking hot summer days where you’ve got sweat on top of sweat and you’re covered in oxide powder that’s used to colour patterned driveways.
Horrible. I have the utmost respect for tradies.
At that point, I made a decision that I wanted to start a business that didn’t involve me breaking my body. A business that I could make a great living out of and that one day, made my dad proud of me. For some reason, I needed that approval.
So I studied like crazy, passed a test to get into a selective (read ‘intelligent’) high school and then worked my bollocks off to get into uni.
On day one of uni, my dream of running a successful, profitable business came to a grinding holt when our lecturer made the follow statement to a class that include THIRTY women… And me!
“So guys, if you chose to study nutrition to be rich, well, good luck. Dietitians don’t get rich… We get our happiness from helping people, not making money”
“Oh shit, what have I signed up for here? No money and the exclusive company of women for the next four years?”
And to any bloke that thinks being surrounded by thirty women would be awesome, yeah, think again. Women and nutrition are a dangerous combination, especially if you add a healthy dose of study stress and a small scoop of menstrual emotion!
A COACH AT HEART
So I was faced with a choice - graduate, then change courses and become a physio? Or do what many Dietitians do - get a job in a hospital where I’d spend much of my day trying to calculate how much high protein milk shake to feed an 80-year old lady with a broken hip?
Wow, hardly inspiring. Sure, I love helping people but I want to see them thrive afterward AND I want to be paid well to do it!
Thankfully, I met a bloke named Trent Watson. He was the Dietitian for the Newcastle Knights rugby league team and he’d created a successful business consulting to mostly male-dominated workplaces. He’d go onsite and coach health and weight loss and occasionally, I’d give him a hand whilst I was studying.
‘Yes, this gets me excited! Creating a coaching business that allows me to work with men to help them look and feel better.’
It dawned on me at that point, that I already was a coach.
When I was 16, I started my first little ‘coaching business’ teaching maths and English to a few younger kids in the local area. One of them was a real dud at school. He hated maths and was useless at it because he didn’t see the relevance of it all. Now, that 12-year old kid is running his own mortgage brokerage and is absolutely shredding it.
During uni, I took on a few clients from the local footy club. A couple of big lads that needed to Cut The Gut and increase their strength overall. They got amazing results and I loved doing what I was passionate about.
I printed off a bunch of horribly designed business cards and was making enough pocket money for student living! When I realised I really didn’t need business cards, I think I ended up giving them to girls I met on nights out. What I didn’t realise was that introducing yourself as a Dietitian to a woman doesn’t go so well.
WORKING WITH MEN
My first full time job out of uni exposed me to the real world. It also changed my life.
After I graduated as a Dietitian, I took a role with a company that ran worksite weight loss programs for men. Most of the time, it was with guys at mining companies. The company paid for these guys to stay back after their shift and participate.
So imagine this… A 23 - 24 year-old, fresh-out-of-university graduate with his nicely preened shirt and pleated pants, walking into a room of 20 blokes at 6am in the morning.
They’ve just come out of an underground mining pit where they’ve been for the last 8 hours and here I am about to tell them that they should stop drinking beer.
They’re tired, dirty and just want to go home. But if they sat through my ‘presentation’ for an hour, they’d get paid double overtime.
What a perfect environment for a new grad and a bunch of blokes that really want to change their lives, right? Haha!
One day, one guy stood up mid-presentation and said, ‘man, can you shut the fuck up? The only reason we are here is because we’re getting paid double for the hour…’
I was a massive failure…
Proper blue-collar lads earning a solid income being told by a kid with a big certificate and earning a quarter of what they were, what they should put in their gobs!
TIME TO QUIT…
Trying to silence the advice I recalled my dad giving me as a kid was tough… ‘Jase, work hard, never quit.’
So I turned up Monday at 6am to start another program at a new mining site. That’s where something unreal happened….
A bloke named Mike that’d been part of the program 5-6 months earlier at another mine had recently started contracting at this new site.
When I arrived onsite, he ran up to me and shook my hand. It took me a moment to realise who he was… ‘I followed all of your advice and lost 16kg in 6 months!’
He was almost unrecognisable.
Mike was now a shift manager at the new operation and had taken it upon himself to level up for his new job. It was clear, he was now a beaming example of the upgrade in mind, body and energy that happens when you transform.
“Jase, I’m sleeping better, I’m less stressed, I’ve learn to do some basic cooking and I go to the gym three times a week. The kids are stoked because I’ve finally got my energy back!’
“The wife and I got our bedroom mojo back too!”
He was quite graphic but we’ll not detail that part.
Mike had put in a call to our business and requested that I personally deliver the sessions but asked that I visit for ‘site orientation’ on the first Monday.
What followed next was a massive lesson for me.
I got kitted up in a bunch of high-vis clothing and a helmet - ‘You’re coming underground Jase… You really want to help my guys? You need to know how they live half their day!’
So we jumped into the caged wagon and started the descent some 100 metres down underground.
Ok, so shit got real!
These guys work, eat and excrete down there for 7-10 hours a day. It’s dark, hot, loud and absolutely chocked with heavy machinery. Safety is a constant concern and there’s gauges and monitors for everything.
At that point, I thought to myself ‘well these guys deserve to be paid what they do! I wouldn’t be caught dead here…’
Upon resurfacing, Mike pulled me into one of the meeting rooms with a coffee and gave me some advice that would change my approach to working with men forever.
Here’s how it went…
‘Jase, I lost weight and lots of it thanks to you.’
‘This happened because I followed everything you said to a tee. The stuff works. But it only works if people follow it, right?’
‘And people only follow it if they believe in and have a relationship with you.’
‘And in life we only develop relationships with people we have commonalties with, people that understand us. True?’
‘These guys need a bloke like you. They’re all walking time-bombs – fat, stressed to the tits, they hardly sleep, they’ve got lots of disposable income so they can buy whatever indulgent food or booze they want.
‘That’s why I put on nearly 20kg in the first year I started underground.’
‘You need to change your approach. Lose the collar and pants.
Understand that these lads want to change, but they’re unsure on how to do it. And they’re scared. Big lads that are actually scared but they can’t show it because that shows weakness. It’s not in keeping with a boys club. You understanding me?’
Never had a penny dropped louder. It was like a 10-tonne penny dropping on a tin shed!
MY NEW APPROACH
So I went home that afternoon, bought a cheap pair of dull brown cargos and a light blue polo shirt. I traded the shiny black shoes for some dusty boots similar to the ones my dad would wear on job sites.
The next day, donning my new but more modest attire, I walked into a room with about 15 blokes.
Mike introduced me as ‘the bloke that helped him lose 16kg without giving up beer…’
My opening line was risky…
‘Thanks Mike, that’s lovely mate. Now, guys, who at the moment cannot see their dick past their gut?’
Deadly silence… Oh oooo!
And then from the silence, one bloke proclaims ‘Dave can’t see his pecker past that gut! No way! Be honest Dave’
‘Dave’ responds jovially ‘Haha, piss off Tommy, mate you’re not too far behind me buddy.’
And then banter and laughter continued for a minute or so before I interjected.
‘Well guys, cheers for the honesty. My name’s Jase and I help blokes Cut The Gut without giving up everything they love.
It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
If you change your mindset and follow what I tell you, you’ll be able to see your pecker again soon enough… Deal?’
Fast-forward 8 weeks, those lads lost an average of about 7kg. Not ground-breaking but certainly life-changing. That’s 7kg less fat strangling their heart and organs, achieved with some very basic strategies.
And this got me thinking…
‘I wonder how many guys are out there that want to change but don’t know how.’
‘I wonder how many guys are turning off because they’re hearing messages on social media coming from someone they have no commonality with – a 20-year cover model that spend all day in the gym.’
‘I wonder how many guys are so self-conscious that they avoid beaches and gyms because it exposes them and makes them feel like shit.’
That’s the moment I had my epiphany. The real battle of weight loss occurs between your two ears, not on the treadmill.
Body transformation happens in the mind before it ever happens in the in the body.
THE START OF MY BUSINESS
This realisation was my ‘ah ha’ moment!
If my realisation was true, then I could kill two birds with the one stone:
I’d start a business of my own - I’d carve my own path, make an income doing something I love and that would make the ol’ boy proud of me;
I’d be able to help loads of men change their life - Because I had the ‘secret sauce’; a distinct advantage - the awareness that in order for a man to change on the outside, he must first evolve on the inside.
So in 2013, I launched this website and started blogging, doing recipes and filming videos.
I got lots of likes but it was hardly successful.
So I did what most guys do, I worked harder.
It was a lesson that my dad always taught me - ‘just work hard, have willpower and you’ll get there.’ (That’s similar to what most exercise programs prescribe, right? “Work hard, go to the gym, start dieting and you’ll lose weight”)
But I was burning out - I couldn’t keep this up. I was losing sleep, putting on weight myself, getting stressed and unhappy.
I had all these good intentions but was working for free, earning nothing AND all while I was still working my day job.
My idea was right but I was just spinning the wheels. I was super-frustrated and in a rut.
I saw an unbelievable similarity in what was happening to me and what was happening to so many men who try to lose weight and fail.
I was using willpower and hard work alone to try and get a result and it wasn’t working.
It seemed everything my dad had taught me as a kid was not true in the real world.
THE ‘PIVOT’ MOMENT
One morning, I was having a conversation with a business colleague. I told him about how I am terrified of heights and the scariest thing in the world I could think of doing would be skydiving.
I told him that when it came to things like rollercoasters and bungy jumping – I was always the ‘bag holder’.
I would happily talk naked on stage to a crowd of a million strangers but diving out of a plane - NO CHANCE!
That’s when he started to tell me about how we are all born fearless and that fear is actually a learned behaviour.
His argument was that any fear or challenge could be overcome if one were able to first conquer their mind rather than just trying to use willpower alone.
Sound eerily similar? “The battle is in the mind…”
Here I was trying to create a business through willpower and hard work exclusively and the result was that my business was really just a non-profitable hobby!
I was failing in my own business for the same reasons that I had failed with the men at the mine sites - I was not using the untapped potential of my mind to conquer my self-limiting beliefs.
It was a learned fear that held me back in business,
It was a crippling fear that kept me from ever skydiving;
And that’s the same debilitating fear that men have when they’re trying to change their bodies.
I felt like I was really onto something. I surmised that if I was right here and could teach this to other guys, this would change everything!
THE START OF CUT THE GUT
I put a video on Facebook the next day calling out to a bunch of guys that wanted to lose weight.
I needed some guinea pigs and I had no shortage - 15 lads inboxed me within a day. For me, this proved there was a demand for weight loss coaching!
I would become their personal coach for free. I’d commit myself to them by running group coaching calls as often as required.
I’d put them onto a resistance training program and I’d talk to them about the things that impact their weight - nutrition, sleep, stress.
But most importantly, I’d help them conquer their mind and fears.
We started a Facebook group to provide a community where the guys could talk, share and post their gym sessions to hold each other accountable.
Our coaching calls were funny, enjoyable and life-changing for these guys.
Finally, someone was talking to them in a language that they understood, trusted, related to and that empowered them.
We ran the group for 12 weeks and I made sure to take before and after photos of the guys.
It’s lucky I did, because these photos became the clear testimonial that what I was teaching and the method I was using WORKED. No argument.
It didn’t involved massive sacrifice but it did require a man to demand more from himself; to decide enough’s enough!
If a man had reached that point where he simply could not continue down the path he was travelling, I knew with certainty, I could help him overcome his fear and self-limiting beliefs.
When I started posting these before and after photos publicly, my newly named program Cut The Gut boomed and I started getting requests daily…
But I felt like a hypocrite…
MY INNER CONFLICT - ‘I’m a hypocrite!’
Here I was, every night on coaching calls telling men to ‘run at their fears’ and that ‘change was simple if you just do what I tell you…’
Yet here I was with this debilitating fear (skydiving) which I certainly was not running at. And trying conquering this fear was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced.
What made it worse was that I was able to get the guys in Cut The Gut to take action and change their lives but I wasn’t able to do it myself.
It might seem silly to you but I could no longer live with the hypocrisy… the pain of being shackled to this fear was so great and I needed to conquer it.
I reached the key point that any man must reach in order to make permanent change - the point where the SHOULD DO’s become MUST DO’s.
Armed with the techniques I deploy with my guys in Cut The Gut, one of which is daily self-talk, I attempted to overhaul this fear.
I’d wake up every morning, have a shower and then sit in a chair for 15 minutes saying the following hundreds of times….
“I love skydiving, I love skydiving, I love skydiving, I’m a master of heights, I love heights, that’s why I love skydiving!”
I’d read about the power of affirmations in the book Think And Grow Rich and although I was sceptical, I repeated my own affirmations daily, over and over.
I continued this for close to 6 months and then one Friday night after a few beers when my girlfriend was out of town, I contacted a good friend and said “hey man, do you want to go skydiving tomorrow?”
THIS ONE MOMENT
See the video below - $370 and 12 hours later, I found myself wedged into a dodgy plane with a 27-year old English bloke tied to my back. He claimed in a depressive voice that ‘the only place he was comfortable in life was when he was free-falling’.
‘I suffer real depression - it’s a battle day to day man…’
‘Oh fuck, what if he wants to end it and doesn’t pull the shoot’ I thought…
But there’s little you can do when the jump-light goes green and the door flies open!
Next moment, I was free-falling at 350km an hour, blasting through the fear that had contained me forever.
The free-fall is beyond words and seems to happen in slow motion but then it’s over in no time.
The whiplash-like jolt of the shoot opening precedes the slow, graceful return to earth with an incredible view to boot.
When my butt touched land, the adrenaline had slowed and the moment seemed surreal.
I was no longer a hypocrite. I had used my mind and the power of affirmations to overcome a fear, a self-limiting belief that had long-shackled me hostage.
I was liberated!
A COMPLETE TRANSFORMATION
Prior to jumping, I expected to be on Cloud-9 for a week after I did it, such was the gravity of fear I had.
But I wasn’t… I came down quite quickly, in fact.
Rather than sky-diving being the life-defining moment I expected it to be, it felt more like one solid piece of evidence of the journey of personal transformation I’d undergone over the last 6 months.
You see on the surface, we’re all chasing material achievement - the money, the material goods and in my case, it was a profitable business that I had created to help change lives.
Cut The Gut was surging and business was starting to snowball.
My guys were losing weight and freeing themselves from the constraints that they had long fought against. And now they were referring their friends to the program.
Achieving this has been what I always wanted.
But it’s the journey of transformation that happens internally that matters more and that we don’t often consciously recognise until we’ve achieved it.
For me, it was proving to myself that I could take a different road to my father and create something that would make him proud of me.
I needed to reach a point where I wasn’t imprisoned by beliefs and fears that I could not conquer.
That included believing that I WAS good enough and then jumping about of a plane to prove that I was limitless, fearless and could achieve anything.
I want to be an amazing role model for my family and the men that I coach.
CUT THE GUT…
When I ask guys why they enrolled in Cut The Gut, the conversation usually goes like this… (the first answer is never the real reason.)
Jase - ‘So why did you join Cut The Gut?’
You - ‘Well, so that I feel more energetic…’
Jase - ‘Ok, but why is that important?’
You - ‘Because I am constantly tired and it’s bad for my health…’
Jase - ‘And why is your health being bad a problem?’
You - ‘Because if I don’t do something soon, I’m gonna die…’
Jase - ‘And why is not dying important?’
You - ‘Because I want to be around for my kids. I want to be a good role model for them and make them proud of me. I don’t want to be the dad that is tired, unhealthy and boring because I can’t keep up with them…’
BINGO!! There we have it! The REAL reason!
You see, Cut The Gut is not a program to help you ‘lose weight’ for the sake of it.
Cut The Gut is about changing your life for the REAL reason.
And generally, yours and my reasons for taking on the journey of outer and inner transformation are the same - To be a better role model for our families and to prove to ourselves we can do ANYTHING we set our mind to.
But that’s the key point. We’ve got to change our minds…
The vast majority of health kicks fail because they give only an exercise or diet prescription that will eventually become boring.
And when it does, you’ll go back to old habits, like an auto-pilot correcting a plane’s course. And then the weight goes back on…
And this is why I do what I do… Because I want to show you the way.
A way that capitalises on the amazing potential of your mind to bring about change.
The change that gives you freedom, liberating you forever and allowing you to become the role model you should be…