• An eye-opening doctor’s visit spurred Yves Tighe to lose weight and get back in shape.
• After hiring a personal trainer, he started eating leaner, increasing his protein intake, and training like a bodybuilder.
• The result was a dramatic total-body transformation that led to Tighe competing in—and winning—bodybuilding competitions.
It took a visit to the ophthalmologist to convince Yves Tighe that he needed a change. The 55-year-old IT consultant from Braintree in the UK was a regular gym-goer, but had never really paid much attention to his diet. “My family was in the restaurant business so food is important to me,” he says. “I would eat anything I wanted. There was no restriction.” He cooked from scratch, but he was eating a lot of pasta—plenty of carbs but not enough protein. His job encouraged Friday drinks with colleagues.
Put it all together, and Tighe had steadily gained weight—he topped out at about 240 pounds. His ophthalmologist thought he saw something in Tighe’s eye and advised a cholesterol test. The results were borderline high, and he decided it was time to get fit.
He started with boxing, then moved to CrossFit before settling in with Ultimate Performance in London. Part of what drew him to that program was a focus on eating right. “Diet for me was always an issue,” he says. “I thought I ate healthily, but was eating the wrong foods and always drank alcohol.”
Working with a personal trainer, he started with an eight to ten-week fat-loss program, cutting down on his carbs, focusing on protein and green vegetables. “I had been knocking back loads of raw eggs whites to get my protein in thinking I was Rocky,” he says—which his trainer kiboshed. He also taught Tighe to use macros rather than calories to guide his diet.
“The result was a very skinny me and whilst achieved the initial goals that wasn’t a look I particularly liked,” he says. He wanted to bulk up, so he started carb cycling, bracketing his training with white rice and protein. Within a few months, his trainer asked if Tighe wanted to try bodybuilding competitions. “To go on stage and be an actual bodybuilder was something I dreamt of,” he says, “but never imagined possible in reality.”
He’s won two competitions since then, and scored an invitation to the British finals. “I didn’t even go into it as a competition,” he says. “I just went in for it to be up on the stage and feel I belong.” He’s also been getting noticed for his newly sculpted physique—including from strangers. If he wears a vest while cycling through the city, he says, the famously reticent Londoners aren’t shy about offering him compliments.
Aesthetics aside, he’s also improved his well-being. “My health is absolutely fine now,” he says. “Especially compared to many my age. They’re at the doctor’s every week with a bad back or an illness.” He credits his gym work with keeping him feeling young. “I certainly don’t feel 55,” he says. “Somewhere in my twenties with a lot of experience.”
Age, Tighe says, is no excuse not to be healthy. And he gives plenty of credit to the trainer who helped him turn things around. Anyone who wants to follow his lead should find a trainer who understands their goals and is fully engaged. “When you find a good one,” he says, “do as you’re told—and leave your phone in the locker.”