Fitness coach from Belfast gets ripped while battling brain tumour 3 years ago

Fitness coach from Belfast gets ripped while battling brain tumour

A personal trainer from Northern Ireland got 'photoshoot lean' despite battling a brain tumour.

22-year-old Ollie Jowett from Belfast lost a total of 27 pounds over the course of his physical transformation. He says he was determined to get ripped after suffering the initial diagnosis.


"As someone who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017, you could say I have a pretty good excuse not to be in incredible shape given the debilitating symptoms I have to contend with on a daily basis," he says. 

"However, despite my health being my biggest barrier, it was my health which was my biggest motivation to inspire change in people."

Jowett, who posts on social media under the @projectbeatcancer handle, says he wanted to combat some of the regular excuses he saw working as a personal trainer.

Set up for success


"I embarked on my own dieting journey with the mission to eliminate the excuses I hear so many make everyday as a personal trainer.

"From having a lack of time to struggling to find motivation, these are the excuses we tell ourselves and rationalise as to why we don't take action."

He set about putting a plan into place which would help him achieve his goal of getting ripped for a photoshoot. 

"Even though I'm a coach, a coach needs their own coach, be it for guidance, accountability or support.


"So I reached out to Ultimate Performance, where I was assigned to one of their trainers. Umar Malik coached me for 12 weeks, ultimately helping me reach my goal."

It was a struggle, Jowett says, which pushed him to the limit of his capabilities as someone suffering from a brain tumour.

Ollie Jowett

"The 12 week transformation was the hardest process of my life. It challenged me physically, mentally and emotionally and to be honest, there wasn't a day where I didn't want to give up."


Overcoming obstacles

In particular, the main obstacle the Belfast man had to overcome was a lack of energy.

"I sometimes struggled to find the energy to even get through the day," Jowett says.

"Coupled with the effects of my cancer, these 12 weeks felt like 12 years at times. There would be many days where I'd just cry and want to give up. But this meant so much to me to finish this process that I just couldn't."

Jowett's coach Umar Malik helped him stick to the plan, which sent his motivation skyrocketing.


"I was sent new training plans and diet adjustments on a frequent basis as I progressed throughout the process."

Although Malik could not provide medical advice to Jowett, his support was still second-to-none.

"My coach to me was the trampoline which would spring me back up each time I fell. I was reminded that it's now or never, and if I wanted to inspire people then I had to do this."

You should seek medical advice if you're looking to begin an exercise regime while suffering from a pre-existing medical condition. Speak to your GP.

Malik instilled helpful advice into Jowett's plan each week, alongside a training and diet plan bespoke to his goals.

Ollie's example workout

  • A1: Incline Barbell Press - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - Superset
  • A2: Deadlifts - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - 45-60 Seconds Rest
  • B1: Split Squats - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - Superset
  • B2: Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - 45-60 Seconds Rest
  • C1: Chest Supported Side Raise - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - Tri Set
  • C2: Decline Barbell Bench Press - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - Tri Set
  • C3: Reverse Crunches - 3 x 10-12 - 3010 - 45-60 Seconds Rest

Jowett's 12-week transformation paid off and he fulfilled his goal of a fitness photoshoot.

He said: "Getting to the finish line and standing in front of that camera for my first ever photoshoot was the most rewarding part of this process.

"But to be able to say that 'I did it', was THE highlight for me. Given the adversity and uphill climb, to say 'I did it' meant the world to me."

For more on Ollie's story, visit