FIRST expert Allard van Vliet transformed from fat to fitboy. Apart from working as a legal counsel, Allard inspires thousands of people with his fit lifestyle on a daily basis.
After graduating high school, I went to New Zealand for six months to play cricket. This was also the moment I was at my heaviest and afraid to step on the scale. I think I was over 110kg. For my graduation gala, I had to buy a suit. It was almost impossible because I was just too fat to fit a nice suit. This really was an all-time-low for me. Every day,I trained in New Zealand and lost some weight, though not much.
When I got back to the Netherlands, I needed surgery on my shoulder. It was a complicated surgery that required thirteen months of revalidation. At the end of this period, I had to train to strengthen the muscles in my shoulder. My physiotherapist made me go to the gym to do weight training. I enjoyed it a lot and noticed I started losing weight quickly whilst becoming stronger and more fit at the same time. I got addicted to the sport and it was pretty much impossible to stop me from that point on. I started reading and learning more about weight training. That is how I learned to create my own training schedule, using my body as a research instrument. The surgery I had sucked, but in the end it had a positive effect on my life.
Achieving physical goals without living as a hermit
Especially in the beginning, I had periods where I lived in complete isolation. I didnâ€™t go out and stopped drinking alcohol all together. In the short term this is doable, but it wouldnâ€™t work forever. My coach at the time, Richard Bell, taught me how to fit social activities into my new fit lifestyle and how to create a healthy balance. I train and work on physical goals, I feel good, but I also have a beer every now and then. In the beginning, I would completely let go whenever I went out. I would then compensate for this behavior by being super strict afterwards and training harder than ever. This didnâ€™t work at all and it made me very unhappy.
Say no without feeling guilty
I went a bit crazy in the beginning. I received a lot of comments from friends and family and realized that I needed to work on the social aspect. I do think it was necessary to go crazy in the beginning in order to find that balance. In the beginning, I let others influence me and I got easily seduced to unhealthy eating and drinking. Nowadays, I find it much easier to make more conscious choices and say no without feeling guilty. Even when that choice is not as healthy or smart. I think more people should do that. In the end, you live for yourself and not to please others.
The criticism you receive often stems from a kind of jealousy of wanting to achieve the same results. I just never lose track of my goals whenever I make my choices. For example, when I go out for dinner in the evening, I will restrict my caloric intake during the day. And because I know alcohol is bad for muscle recovery, whenever I know I will drink alcohol in the evening, I train early to give my muscles enough time to recover. The rest of the day I keep my carbohydrate and fat intake low to create a buffer and eat mostly proteins and high-in-fiber vegetables to prevent muscle loss. Every choice has its consequences. I keep my physical goals in mind at all times.
My advice to others
Changing your lifestyle in a sustainable manner takes time. The most important aspect is patience. When youâ€™re 10-15kg too heavy, it takes time to lose this. My advice is to look for a good coach or personal trainer who can help you. It is an investment well worth it!
In the end, itâ€™s you body that you have to live with for another 70 years. When you see results, even if theyâ€™re small, you will be motivated to push through. They give you extra confidence that you can apply to all aspects of your life. Because setbacks are also part of the process, it is important to never give up!
About the Olympics, Mark Tuitert and FIRST
In 2010, I went to the Olympics in Vancouver. I was visiting my family in Vancouver and my dad, who worked for Heineken at the time, was in charge of the medical organisation of the Holland Heineken House. We received tickets for the 1500m speed skating. My mom and I were fully dressed in orange and a Dutch flag draped around our necks. Mark got Gold! It was amazing. I sat really close to his coach and threw the flag towards him. â€œGive it to Markâ€ I yelled. Thereafter, I saw Mark ride his lap of honour with my flag.
Years later, I decided to send him a message via Instagram. He replied immediately and said he still has that very flag. Mark proudly told me about FIRST. Once I tried it, I was sold! I often train really early in the morning and can use the energy boost. I really donâ€™t like the chemical pre-workout booster. FIRST works immediately. If I had known about FIRST when I was still studying law, it would have definitely helped me during the afternoon dip.
In September, I will start working for the Dutch Department of Defense as a legal counsel and will dive back into the study material to start officer training. I am glad I will be able to use FIRST, because I know I will need it!