A DEPRESSED and overweight teenager turned his life around by pursuing his love of boxing – and now he makes a living from the sport.
Three years ago, Michael Jephcott tipped the scales at nearly 19 stone and refused to leave the house because he was so ashamed of his body.
He was battling depression, suffering panic attacks and found it difficult to give up his junk food habit.
Knowing something had to change, Michael started a diet and joined the gym at Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre – halving his weight within a few years. He looked so different after losing nine stone that many people did not recognise him.
But the 25-year-old former Warwickshire College student has now won a host of boxing competitions.
And he is now drawing on his weight loss experience to help others get in shape by running his own boxing classes.
Michael, who used to live in Leamington but has now moved to Coventry, said: “Coming from a big family it was hard to change my lifestyle but I knew I was missing out on a lot of things. I had no confidence with the ladies or even to go out with my mates, I spent most of my life indoors.
“I went onto a cornflake diet eating three bowls a day and the first few times I went to the gym I worked so hard I was sick. It all made me really ill and I put the weight back on. But I learned from my mistakes and started a healthy diet, cutting out fatty food and lowing my carbohydrate intake.
“I then started boxing at Clearys gym because I had seen my brother take up the sport. I lost even more weight and started entering and winning championship fights. I knew I wanted to teach boxing so I did all of my training courses at Henley College and started up boxercise classes.”
Michael, now married, works 14 hour days, holding down a job at Triumph Motorcycles in the day and running boxing classes at Leamington-based Clearys in the evening.
But he says he would not change it for the world.
He told the Observer: “I love teaching and some of the people I have trained have done so well, losing anything up to five stone.
“I now run classes four days a week and separate personal training sessions but I love helping people lose weight and giving them my experiences to help them reach their goals.”
To find out more email Michael at email@example.com or search for Jeffers Boxercise Classes on Facebook.
Classes cost £1 per session.