Jeff's story

Hi there,

My name is Jeff and I am the owner and Mind & Body coach at Catalyst PHD.

My mission is to :

  • take people on a courageous journey to be specific on the changes they want;
  • have them recognise their own growing and unlimited potential;
  • get rid of the excuses stopping them from achieving their dreams; and
  • create an effective and highly supported plan to actually make their desired life happen, bringing them one step closer to becoming the person they want to be.

I do this through challenging them in fitness, not only because I know how powerful it is to conquer small challenges every day to build your ability to face bigger challenges in life; but mostly because I have seen the compulsive power fitness has had on me first-hand to transform the obese, unattractive and unhappy boy I once was to become the energetic and empowered man I am today and I've maintained for over 15 years. It has been the key that propelled me into living a life young Jeff wouldn’t believe possible.

I have seen the compulsive power fitness has had on me first-hand to transform

It is hard to admit, but all through my childhood and teen years, I was obese. It wasn’t genetic, I was the youngest of 6 kids and no-one in my family was overweight. It all stemmed from my LOVE of food, an obsession that until this day I still love. Eating too much ice cream, fried Chinese food and soft drinks were my worst habits. Buffet restaurants were my favourite where I would eat up to 10 plates. ‘All you can eat’ was literally a challenge for how MUCH I could eat, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for more. I wouldn’t say that I was punishing myself with food, the truth is I love food and just wanted more of the stuff. I was constantly thinking about what food to eat OR which video game to play - my second vice. Sitting inside for most of the day every weekend, I would snack on a family pack of chips and play Tekken – a video game where I would play the role of a strong, muscular, fit man who could conquer his enemies with martial arts –someone I never thought I could be.

Growing up, I was the funny fat kid. A boy who would make up for his lack of self-confidence by being as loud and funny as possible. People loved me, thought I was hilarious, but I could always feel the pressure I put on myself to pretend to be this way because I felt the lack of being the person I really wanted to be. I found myself becoming explosive, offended and anxious over small things to release the pressure of my internal struggle. As I got into my teens I started to notice I was missing out. I avoided all sports and social activities because it felt like such an embarrassing effort. Unless itwas going to catch a movie or something with little movement and exposure, I wasn’t interested. I never thought I would have a girlfriend, or at least a hot one, which by this stage I was very interested in. And the whole time I appeared ‘fine’, I was a growing, loud and good kid, but inside I was an emotional mess. Unfortunately this is the accepted state of many people’s lives.

It was scary to stop and think about where my life was heading and what would happen if I didn’t make a change

Breaking point occurred when I had out outgrown 2 school shirts within a term and my parents noticed how big of a problem I had become, literally. It was scary to stop and think about where my life was heading and what would happen if I didn’t make a change in 1yr, 5yrs or 10yrs time. As my new size 26 shirt buttons were beginning to pop, my mother took action by signing me up for Weight Watchers. She sat me down and prepared me for the challenge that laid ahead, acknowledging that it wasn’t going to be easy but that she would help every step of the way. And family support is priceless in this type of journey. Every week we would show up to a weight watchers session, where as a young man I would meet with middle aged ladies to share our results, tips and struggles. This I found to be the most important part of the process – being accountable to someone else and motivated to achieve by their stories and advice. I recall the hardest day of being on the diet was on Christmas where all of the family were enjoying a feast, piling their plates full of everything I loved! And there was I with my portion controlled small plate of protein and vegetables with a small side of gravy to indulge. It was heartbreaking to say the least but with my mother's support I stuck to the eating plan.

Nevertheless the diet worked – in 9 gruelling months I dropped 30kgs - which for a person at any age is quite a feat. I was looking GREAT. Everyone at school was impressed with the skinny kid who was getting a better response from the girls. My Weight Watchers team leader was so overwhelmed with the speed of my result she entered me in to become the Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year …and I won! And it kept getting better. The Sun Herald heard my story and created an article around childhood obesity sharing my achievements. Today Tonight caught on to the same topic and ran a story on my results on national TV – I was becoming famous and was LOVING the attention.


After I reached my goal weight and finished my stint with Weight Watchers I was on top of the world. Really valuing my new reputation as a guy who had achieved something really difficult. But just because the kilos had dropped didn’t mean that the person inside had changed. I still LOVED food. I wanted the portions everyone else at the restaurant was eating. I didn’t want my sauce on the side or obsess about how much each item weighs. My metabolism was shot and as soon as the diet stopped the weight started to pile back on quicker than I had lost it. It was a slippery slope that I had to do something about and FAST. This is the point where I realised I was still stuck in a battle with my weight and discovered what all weight loss programs leave out - what happens next. They provide people with a skinny body, but not the long term resilience they need to keep it off for good. This only comes from healthy eating PLUS a varied and intense exercise regime that increases fitness, strength and muscle in the body. I found walking around the block got boring pretty quick and after a short while was pointless as it no longer challenged my fitness.

As a first step I consumed myself with the teachings of the world’s greatest motivation leaders - Eban Pagan, John Demartini, Stephen Covey and Tony Robbins to name a few - who understand human psychology and taught me the mindset I needed to push away the excuses and push myself further to achieve greater goals with momentum. This motivated the most significant part of my success journey today – it inspired me to get serious about my fitness. I put all of my savings into buying a weights set, exercise bike and workout books. I spent hours researching new workouts and growing muscle where I wanted it (on my biceps and shoulders of course). I was moving at unprecedented levels so I was eating A LOT, but thanks to my weight loss journey I knew what I could have a lot of and what I should steer away from. And for the first time in history – I felt ENERGISED! I had so much strength and I felt more like myself than I ever had before. My friends would come around and instead of playing video games we would all workout together. Guys began to really look up to me and would ask me for advice on how to build muscle. And for the first time, the pretty girls were chasing me. It really felt amazing.

I needed to push away the excuses and push myself further to achieve greater goals

At that point I had found my calling. I had experienced a transformation so great that my mission has become to help others to do the same. My transformation has continued to grow in more and more success every year. I have completed a degree in health, and numerous qualifications in the wellness and fitness industry. I am now my own boss, I run a business full of purpose and positivity. I’ve nabbed myself one of the smartest and prettiest girls I could find and made her my wife. I went to Thailand to train and win 2 professional Muay Thai KickBoxing fights, becoming the real-life champion I played in video games as a young kid. And the biggest of all is that I have maintained a fit, vibrant and energetic lifestyle whilst still LOVING food – even the "bad" types!

Capture 6.PNG

The biggest reasons why you should choose Catalyst PHD are:

  • we know what it takes to make a major lifestyle change
  • we will train you to stop your self-doubt and conquer obstacles no matter what they are
  • we can teach you process you need to take to keep growing your achievements
  • we are the proof that it is possible - that anyone can go from good to better, better to great and then get even greater! 

Dream. Do. Become

Jeff Laurence