Luke decided to completely transform his life and then compete in a muscle model competition swapping the greasy takeaway pizza he ate every night for a Lo-Dough pizza a day.
Luke Anthony, 24, used to live on takeaways every night, energy drinks, £10 of chocolate a day and spent a lot of his time out drinking so he’d have the confidence to ‘fit in’.
He was so self-conscious he didn't want to go to the gym and felt very out of place when on holidays with friends that he wouldn’t take his vest off in 35 degrees because of his stretch marks and his weight.
He said: "I was very self-conscious about my weight and I would wear baggy clothes all the time. Even when I went away with my friends, they were both very slim and always made passing jokes about me being fat that I refused to take my top off the whole time we were there.’’
"I wasn't confident enough to work out in the gym, and so my recreational hobby became eating calzones and gaming, so I had fewer chances to leave the house."
Luke, who lives in Manchester, was around 17 stone at his heaviest, had a 38-inch waist and wore XXL clothing.
The baker's friends and family even started to comment on his weight.
He said: "My brothers pointed it out and it was brutal, especially when we are not the smallest family, it hurt’’
"My friends actually nicknamed me 'Potato' as that's the shape I was and I had a bald head."
So January 2016 he decided to change up his lifestyle and he has a caricature of himself tattooed on his ribs in the form of a potato as a symbol you can be what you chose to be, not what other people considered you to be.
"Once I had read a fair few blogs and watch people's vlogs I decided to put together a routine that I could do at home and I invested in some free weights and a multi-gym."
He dropped 4 and a half stone in a year and joined a gym going into the second year: Anytime Fitness, Bury.
He said: "I've always considered myself very self-driven going back to when I would act like people wanted me to just to try and fit in, so I thought to apply that into my new lifestyle with my anxiety - it all comes down to the fight with yourself - everyone is going through the same in some way shape or form, but what makes them different? Why can they do that I can’t... and the truth is, we all have the same hours in the day and we have all suffered anxiety at some stage.’’
"All the work I put into the gym and the food I eat every day is for my own benefit, so I feel healthier and can control my anxiety."
In 2017 he started working for a company called Lo-Dough which is where he decided to push his limits that bit further and compete in his first muscle model competition with Pure Elite in November 2018.
He said ‘’when I started working for Lo-Dough my goal was just to feel comfortable in my own body and I wanted to expand my knowledge in nutrition. I didn't particularly have any intention on competing.
Rob & Ben were so understanding from the beginning with my story and wanted to help out in any way they could. Lo-Dough is AMAZING, when I tried a pizza that was 180kcal I was amazed!, I knew this could help my fitness and lifestyle proceed to the next level because I could get indulgent meals to fit in with my macros and into the tight regime of my competition prep. It meant I had more flexibility with my foods, I could go back to having pizza's just by being cautious of portion control with my toppings etc"
''Before Lo-Dough, my diet was very stereotypical and boring. Porridge, chicken, rice, pasta, salad so you can imagine my excitement knowing I could actually eat a pizza for the same amount of calories as a salad? sign me up!''
He then approached Rob and Ben with the idea of competing and they sponsored him for his first show providing him with Lo-Dough for meal prep and referring him to Dr. Emilia Thompson for coaching.
Usual prep is 16 weeks for a competition but Luke and Emilia challenged themselves with 12!
Dr Emilia Thompson (@emiliathompsonphd) is a Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (RNutr Sports / Exercise), bikini competitor and a Lecturer in Sports Nutrition. Emilia has a BSc degree in Sports Biomedicine, an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition and a PhD in Exercise Physiology, so as you can see, in addition to having an in depth knowledge base, Emilia absolutely loves what she does.
Luke said: 'The reason I chose to have Emilia coach me was because Emilia's biggest goal is for her clients to realise the power of food, to improve their relationship with food and for them to learn how food can be used to meet their goals, be that improving strength, body composition or mindset.
I wanted a lifestyle change, not just to compete!.'
"I love training. You're held accountable every second of the day and you cannot rely on anyone else.
"Nobody else is going to push the weights for you and nobody else is going to make sure you're eating right.
"If I don't work hard then I don't get the results, it's on me. Equally, if I do put in the work then I see the results and it's all down me. It's emotional seeing the results of your hard work but amazing at the same time and makes you want to work even harder and help others achieve what you have".
Feel free to follow Luke's journey as he looks to compete in more shows with Emilia and Lo-Dough in the future on instagram - @lukeanthony.ld