Case Studies

Geoff: Case Study & Testimonial Bella: Case Study & Testimonial

Willpower and The Perfect Client

Case Study & Testimonial of Geoff

My client Geoff was the archetypal example of the perfect client. From the very beginning he was super enthusiastic, motivated and keen to learn and work hard. You might think that every person who begins training with a personal trainer would be the same, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s true that most people that take up personal training share a similar desire to change something about their health, fitness or body shape. And they certainly always use the same type of language to describe how important it is for them to achieve their goals when you first meet interview them. But unfortunately, when push comes to shove, most people’s motivation seems to evaporate as soon as it comes to having to make changes to their behaviour. Geoff was one of those people who made sure that his behaviour was always aligned with his goals.

Curbing bad habits and adopting new, more health-conscious eating and exercise habits takes will power and discipline. But if there is no area of your life where you regularly need to use willpower then you are going to find it hard to suddenly change bad habits that you enjoy, like drinking those three glasses of wine after work every evening.

Every time that Geoff turned up to training he was ready to rip in. After the first time I emailed him the diet plan I wanted him to follow, he turned up armed with twenty questions. And you could tell when I gave him the answers to his questions he wasn’t just nodding and not really taking it in, he was absorbing every word and would ask questions if ever he didn’t understand the science of what I was trying to explain.

He used our sessions as an opportunity to be educated on training and nutrition, and that is why he achieved such fantastic results. There are 168 hours in a week and I only trained Geoff and his mate Dan for two of those hours. That is why asking questions and trying to understand the science of why you are doing the things you are being asked to do by your trainer.

As Roy Baumeister has suggested in his research, willpower is like a muscle. It has to be worked to get stronger and it can be fatigued and exhausted over the course of the day. It is not an endless reservoir that stays hidden on tap just waiting for us to tap into it. The good news is that we can all increase our willpower by exercising it regularly.

I have seen amazing willpower in so many of the people that I have met over the 20 years I have been training. But nonetheless, they are definitely in the small minority. If you speak to any of those people, you find the same pattern in how they talk about their work, training, family life and healthy eating. There is very little emotion in what they say. It is just very matter of fact. There is no whining and whinging about hard it is. They ‘Just Do It’, as the Nike tag line says.

Once you reach a certain threshold of willpower it actually ceases to feel like you are even using willpower to do the things that are aligned with your goals and values-it just happens. There are no more internal battles between the little angel and devil sitting on top of opposite shoulders trying to pull you to do the right or wrong thing respectively. The energy that could be spent whining about how hard it is, instead, is put straight into the tasks that you know are going to help you reach your goals and dreams.


I first met Luke back in 2010 when I was looking for guidance after a year of training with a mate with very ordinary results.
I was the heaviest I’d ever been (at around 93kg) and after a few attempts at various diets and advice from people who didn’t appear to practice what they preach it was time to get help.

At the first training session Luke got me to do an initial weigh in and body fat percentage reading -which to be honest was very confronting as it was a reminder that I wasn’t anywhere near being in shape.

Luke’s words were simple, “follow my advice and you will get to where you want to”. Luke got me to keep a food diary for the first two weeks so that I could record what was going on during a typical week. He then sat down and explained what was lacking and how this was holding back the results.

He then drew up a nutrition plan (which I didn’t understand at the time) but was happy to follow and see how it went. He also explained that the best approach was to slowly transition away from the old eating patterns over the next couple of weeks (by committing to one meal per week on the diet) which would give the best possible chance for my body to accept such a dramatic lifestyle change.

It wasn’t easy as I could feel myself wanting to revert back to normal eating habits but… I persisted and by the end of the month I had adjusted to the new eating plan.
What happened over the next 4-5 months was an amazing transformation from feeling unhappy about my shape to having a body that I could feel proud about. Luke empowered me to take charge of not only my training but to challenge what I was putting into my body.
After 5 months I went from 92kg (22% body fat) to around 79kg (11.2% body fat), feeling stronger then what I had ever been and possessing a wealth of knowledge (training and nutrition) that I now have for life.

Luke spent another 6 months working with me to achieve various strength goals (through intelligent program adjustments) and after the last session I left feeling completely confident in taking charge of my health and fitness.

We not only kept in touch long after but became really good friends talking about all things from the health industry, humanity, the prevalence of technology which were always approached with critical thinking. Luke is a deeply philosophical person thinking very deeply about hings but most importantly a philanthropist in the truest sense - these are what I believe to be Luke’s most notable qualities and make him stand out amongst the crowd.

In 2011 I decided to embark on the trip of a lifetime riding a motorbike around Europe with a good friend of mine. I was in really great shape and my diet (one of Luke’s) had the perfect balance to match my training/lifestyle.

An unfortunate turn of events half way into the trip led to an accident that was life threatening. I was in a coma for 10 days and in a really bad way. From the outset it did not look like I would live but what happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

My body had started to recover at a rate that was beyond explanation from the observing doctors at a rate which was twice as fast as they had predicated. I honestly believe that this amazing recovery back to full health can only be explained by the unique training and nutrition that had been instilled in me by Luke.

I truly feel like I have inner mastery both in and out and if you too want to change your life for the better then I strongly suggest you get in touch.

What’s the ‘best way’ for a woman to get in shape?
One size (definitely doesn’t) fit all.

Case Study & Testimonial of Bella

There’s no such as thing as a best way to get in shape that is going to work for every woman. Bella is a great example of a client who has the type of genetics that a cookie cutter approach to training programming just doesn’t work. While at first glance she appeared to most people as naturally skinny (an ectomorph), it was obvious upon closer inspection that she was skinny fat and, in fact, capable of putting on muscle quite easily as soon as her body had the right stimulus (weight training) in combination with a balanced diet.

Bella used the unfortunately all too common female approach to staying in shape of hardly eating any food. In doing this she had inadvertently slowed her metabolism down and her body had been breaking down muscle for energy. Though this approach may have you looking good in clothes, you certainly don’t look as good naked as there is insufficient muscle to give you the shape that most females want. And the worst part is, you are slowing down your own metabolism by reducing your lean muscle.

When women talk about wanting to be ‘toned’, what you find is that the look they actually want is one that is only achieved by having a decent amount of muscle with a minimum amount of fat covering it up on top.

To build muscle you have to shock your body. That means trying to lift progressively heavier weight each time you train. After a few weeks of training with Bella she started putting on muscle quite easily now that she was eating enough calories for her size. Even though we weren’t yet lifting particularly heavy, Bella’s shoulders and thighs started to get bigger. I have been training women for nearly ten years and I am yet to find a woman who wants you to give her bigger thighs*, broader shoulders and thicker arms. So instead of pushing her to squat and leg press huge weights as many trainers do because its’ easy, I tailored her programming to fit her body type and goals.

Unfortunately, many of the best compound movements such as squatting and push ups were already making Bella’s arms, shoulder and quads bigger so I changed up her training so that the only times we were hitting her quads were for single leg movements such as pistol squats, reverse lunges with forward torso lean to focus on the hamstrings and Bulgarian split squats. (The only exception on squats is a wider stance, box squat-type movement that puts the majority of the loading through the glutes, adductors and hamstrings.

The bulk of her programming now focuses on hip dominant movements such as deadlift variations; hip thrust variations, single leg versions of these exercises and cable donkey kick-backs. The best part of focusing on these movements is that it can radically reduce the appearance of cellulite when combined with a good diet. All the running and yoga in the world isn’t going to come close to having the same effect on reducing cellulite. It really is quite amazing how much hip dominant weight training can transform you upper hamstring area. It should be the staple of every woman’s training regime that wants to look her best.

The only arm exercises we use are isolated dumbbell exercises because compound movements such as push-ups, tricep push up, dips and overhead presses all build up her upper body too much. To counter this we focus on lying and standing overhead dumbbell tricep extensions. Full range on these exercises mean most females can lift very little weight but still get the look and feel they are after. The rest of her training is focused on core and conditioning exercises, which she enjoys. At the end of the day, the best exercise is the kind that you don’t have to force yourself to do.

I have used this approach with great success with other females who come to me complaining of wanting their quads or shoulders to be smaller. At the end of the day, you have to work with what you’ve got and ignore the guru morons like Madonna’s trainer Tracy Anderson who give women false hope and set themselves up for failure by promising that if they follow her guidance they can turn from a size 14 to a size 6, It’s not going to happen and it’s wrong to promise otherwise.

Bella now deadlifts her bodyweight for 10 reps, a super flat stomach, ‘toned’ arms and has an ass you can bounce a coin off. She has accepted she will never be a size 6 and she is ok with that because she loves feeling firm, tight and strong. Not to mention the looks she gets when she’s smashing out those heavy deadlifts with perfect form.

*Whilst I have had female clients with chicken legs who are super strong, trained their legs three times a week and ate well yet struggled to put on muscle, I have had other female clients who can bulk up their legs after 4 spin classes or a month of squatting and leg pressing only once or twice per week.

Butt Blast – the Skinny Fat Phenomena

Training with Luke from Inner Mastery changed my life, my training, my nutrition and the way I looked at my body.

I had always been fairly fit.

I ate well, I was disciplined and I trained every single day. From running, to cardio classes (bootcamp, body attack, spin) you name it I was dedicated. And it wasn’t easy – all of my life I had aspired to be trim and skinny – and I thought you got there by training cardio and sweating it out every day and eating lettuce. Its all I knew – and hey? It made me skinny right? BUT. I was tired. Weak and lethargic. My joints ached and despite hitting the pavement everyday I felt extremely unfit – my lungs were hurting, I would regularly get head spins and severe headaches from not eating the right foods as my only experience in diet weight loss plans had been about cutting carbs and eating less. I was working a demanding corporate job and finding the time to excel at work and at the gym was becoming exhausting and the older I got the more I found my ‘thinspiration’ regime wasn’t working. It was hard, tiring and I felt depleted and exhausted. But above all I still had cellulite in my legs and stomach and overall my body still felt like jelly. It was time to bite the bullet and seek professional help.

The moment of truth came when I met Luke – I had never trained with a personal trainer before but my confidence was high as I was a size 10, I trained and ran and did cardio classes every day – how bad a candidate could I really be?

First thing he said to me was – your skinny fat. Those words changed everything (mainly because the word fat was used! Ah!) but also because all of my exhausting, depleting and time consuming efforts weren’t actually giving me the tight toned body I wanted. I was a gelatinous mess!

Over the next 12 weeks my body and mind went through a whole transformation with Luke. It wasn’t easy – I resisted at almost every step as we started to break down the years of bad habits, bad techniques and joint abuse. Overall, It was a two-pronged approach. Diet and training.

The diet part was a crash course and the hardest habit to break. I had to hit the rest button and drop all the superficial carb hating dangerous fad plans and get into green clean eating. I also had to cut sugars, processed food and any sugary drinks (this included champagne and wine). Just by changing my drink of choice from wine to vodka lime soda cut my weekly calorie intake by almost 25% (and im not even a big drinker). But through the eating plans Luke devised me I was actually eating more food id ever had the luxury to do before. I couldn’t believe it. I was never hungry or starving. I was eating delicious fiber rich superfoods and I knew what calories to avoid and what food groups I could eat unlimited amounts from. This wasn’t a diet – this was a new way of living and eating – and I learnt to enjoy food all over again. Small cognitive changes in food choices started to give me real body results. It was amazing. I actually started to crave good food – green food - clean food. I replaced dairy with hot water and honey. I replaced sugar with protein balls and blueberries. I replaced the champagne sugary cocktails and wine for vodka lime sodas. My body started to wean off sugar and ultimately started to reject the taste of it. This combined with my new training regime changed everything for me and fast.

The second phase of my transformation came with changing everything I thought I had to do to lose weight. The diet was doing 80% of the work for me and the introduction of weight training transformed my once jelly like legs and butt into tight toned limbs. The best part? I stopped endless hardcore daily cardio classes. I stopped pounding my joints by high impact routines and I started resistance and heavy weight training.

I know – I was stunned the first time he said stop the cardio youre moving to weights! I had always stayed away from those heavy weights – they make you big – they are for boys? Wrong. They are for strong fit women who want to train for half the amount of time but gain twice as many results. Weight training and the right eating plans and education about my diet changed my body.

My attention moved away from being skinny and moved towards being TONED. Shaking without anything moving. Being strong and tight (and as Luke said)  “We are going to train your butt so we can bounce a coin off it!” and that’s exactly what we did. It’s not about how skinny you look in a bikini but how trained and toned you look. It is not about being waify its about being strong and sexy. And how do we get there? WEIGHT TRAINING. Why spend endless hours shaping your body to bulk up in areas that are not flattering? I’m a woman. I want tight abs – a tight butt and toned legs. I want to look good naked. And I want to do this with the least amount of time and energy to gain maximum results. Weight training did this as we were able to localize my training to very specific areas and with heavy weight training we targeted the back of my butt, legs and thighs to be toned and tight. Why spend hours a week doing leg presses and push ups and squats to make you look big and masculine? I’d rather do my 30mins every second day and target the areas that need help.

Today, I only do 30mins of cardio a week – if that. And its’ mainly enjoyable cardio like a walk to Balmoral beach with the girls, or taking my pug for a walk on Manly promenade. Today – weight training gives me a tight toned body (and butt!) and it only takes me 30 – 40 minutes every second day. Obviously at first, my eating and training was more intense but now I’ve reached my goal weight I’m in maintenance phase. I can also deadlift 60kgs (pretty chuffed with this result!).

It took me some time (and deep breathing!) but over the course of my sessions I leant how to be kind to my body and adopt exercises and eating plans that not only gave me great results but also made my whole life easier to live. And it was simple.

I have Luke and Inner Mastery to thank for it.

Geoff Hall

Geoff Hall

"I first met Luke back in 2010 when I was looking for guidance after a year of training with a mate with very ordinary results.
I was the heaviest I’d ever been (at around 93kg) and after a few attempts at various diets and advice from people who didn’t appear to practice what they preach it was time to get help." Read more

Homer Kefaladelis

Homer Kefaladelis

I started training with Luke six months ago. The objective of my training was preparation for a Mountain Biking Trip to New Zealand with a group of good friends. Not having exercised before for a period longer than a month as most people that are unfit can relate to, this was a tough ask of Luke... Read more

Amanda Ford

Amanda Ford

"Training with Luke in the lead up to my wedding was the best preparation I could do to look and feel my best on the "big day." Luke completely tailored the program to my specific goals and these were achieved in only 12 weeks. I was so happy with my results, they exceeded my expectations and all of my friends have been asking me what my secret is, and I say "Luke!!" Read more