Tim Coakley / Transformation

Tim Coakley's amazing MAX'S Challenge transformation

  • Before
  • After



182 cm


Get Lean & Ripped

Reason to start The Challenge

I successfully completed The Challenge back in July - October 2014. Since completing The Challenge in 2014 I regularly trained and kept in shape. I helped friends who wanted to get in shape and gave them insight in what it took to lose weight and put on lean muscle. However all that was lost in 2018 when I was in for the fight of my life (see journals).

The main reasons I'm entering The Challenge this year are:
* I want to once again form good training and eating habits. 2018 was not a great year for me health wise (see journals) so I want to return to my former glory! And what better way to do it than The Challenge!
* My wife is my rock. She supported me through thick and thin in 2018 and she is doing The Challenge as well. I want to push and support her as much as I can as she really wants to push herself through this Challenge.

What did you like most about The Challenge?

Before getting sick in 2018 I was training with reasonable intensity but with more "traditional weights." I didn't really alter my training too much but just focused on certain body parts. For example I'd do chest and arms one day, back and shoulders another and finish the week off with legs. I was training hard, but I was comfortable. What I liked most about The Challenge was the variety of exercises in each 4 week program. I completed the advanced training and previously it was rare for me to do supersets. A drop set here or there but not many supersets. A lot of the exercises I'd never done before so it was refreshing. Something to add to the bow! I also loved the week by week tutorials. For me it was about educating myself as much as possible so that when the twelve weeks was up I was armed with information to continue my lifestyle alteration.

What was the hardest thing about your Challenge?

After 2018 there really isn't anything that I perceive to be hard. Cliche I know. But from what occurred in 2018 I know that I'm going to get sick. As The Challenge was starting I was just recovering from influenza B. At about the 6 week mark I got para-influenza. This was the most challenging part of The Challenge as I really wanted to train but I knew I had to recover before I could hit the gym again and for me it wasn't a "12 week" challenge. As I type this I was diagnosed with shingles. So I'm pretty happy that I got through the 12 weeks with only one stint of sickness - which only cost me about a week.

What impact has The Challenge had on your life?

A hugely positive one! You can see in my photos that there is a photo of me about 12 months ago after spending pretty much 6 months in hospital, in a bubble. I wanted to get back into training and get my health back. While I'll continue to have my health challenges I feel the reason why I've been so lucky in my recovery is that I was reasonably healthy before being struck down with severe aplastic anaemia.

What would you say to people who are thinking of doing The Challenge?

If you have the intrinsic motivation you'll smash it out of the park.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your Challenge?

I'd like to publicly thank my wife. She knows she's my rock. She had my back all of 2018 and supported me through thick and thin. She wanted to do The Challenge and I was always going to be here to support her. She's done an awesome job juggling family life, work and training. I'm super impressed with her results and can't wait to continue our long happy healthy lives together. Love you Tara!


  • Tim Coakley
    27 Nov 2019
    7:17 AM

    I think I start every journal off the same: "I've been meaning to journal for awhile." Anyway what a difference a week makes! Week 11 I was super flat. This time last week I just completed my HIIT session and it was far from HIIT it was more like rock up to the gym and lie on the floor. I knew from experience that we have moments of flatness and the dreaded "can't be bothered." I managed to complete all my training for week 11 albeit lacking intensity. Week 12 a new week. Just smashed out my HIIT session. Looking forward to the end of the week and training into the future! Good luck everyone - punch out that last few sessions!

  • Tim Coakley
    23 Oct 2019
    9:36 PM

    Finally got back into training due to having para-influenza. It's great to be back in the gym. Still got a post viral cough but that really hasn't impacted the training too much. Hope you're all sticking to your goals and training hard! Remember intensity and form in the gym!

  • Tim Coakley
    13 Oct 2019
    9:35 PM

    What a frustrating week. Having the immune system of a 1 year old sucks (bone marrow transplant last year). Just before the challenge started I was recovering from influenza B (even though I had two vaccinations). Now earlier this week I started getting high temps and it's still progressing - flu like. Need to remind myself that I'm here for the education on nutrition, training and well being as this was never simply a twelve week challenge for me. Frustrating rant over, enjoy week 6 challengers I'll be resting up!

  • Tim Coakley
    10 Oct 2019
    7:55 PM

    Challenging training session this morning. The supersets really get you going. The only down side is now I feel like I'm coming down with something. Only been out of hospital for a year so need to remind myself to take it easy + not easy living with the immune system of a 1 year old! Those dead hangs though...

  • Tim Coakley
    9 Oct 2019
    7:57 PM

    Oh yeah and my measurements as of Sunday the 6th of October: Left Bicep = 35 cm Right Bicep = 35 cm Chest = 100.5 cm Waist = 87.5 cm Hips = 100.5 cm Left thigh = 57.5 cm Right thigh = 59 cm Left calf = 39 cm Right calf = 39.5 cm, Total of 15cm gone!

  • Tim Coakley
    9 Oct 2019
    7:53 PM

    Been meaning to journal for awhile but in between work, play, working out and entertaining a 2 and 5 year old it's sometimes hard to get to the laptop and jot down my thoughts. Haven't felt the best mentally the last couple of days, which resulted in me not training. Not great but just had 0 motivation for pretty much everything! Mentally reset today and got to the gym. Smashed out the weights - mind you the 50 pull ups took me awhile. Also went for a light bike ride, which was great and allowed my mind just to cruise. Looking forward to the next 7 and a half weeks. Keep pushing hard everyone. The hardest part is turning up - once that's done you're 90% there!

  • Tim Coakley
    19 Sep 2019
    7:52 PM

    One year anniversary today since my bone marrow transplant! Got up early and trained and then had a series of tests at the hospital. Had a bone mineral density scan, lung function test, appointment with the haemotologist and a heart ultrasound. All results were good and "perfect" in the words of my doctor. I was going to reward myself and celebrate my "one year old birthday," but just being here is celebration enough. I've always been a positive person and it has definitely helped me over the past 18 months. Keep training hard people!

  • Tim Coakley
    18 Sep 2019
    8:29 PM

    I probably should have said I haven't found time to journal. I also did the fitness test today as part of my HIIT session. Again was meant to do that in prep week but had influenza B - so slow start to the challenge! Results are OK but I've felt I'm starting to get fitter already. Results are as follows: burpees 14, push ups 25, crunches 40, alternate lunges 25, plank 2 minutes and squat jumps 29.

  • Tim Coakley
    18 Sep 2019
    8:26 PM

    Evening everyone! Have been meaning to journal more regularly but with two young girls, training, work, meal prep and unwind time I haven't had time to journal. I've been meaning to upload my measurements so that I have a record on here so I can see changes, if any, along the way. Measurements on the 8th of September were as follows: Left Bicep = 34.5 cm Right Bicep = 35 cm Chest = 102 cm Waist = 93.5 cm Hips = 103 cm Left thigh = 59 cm Right thigh = 61.5 cm Left calf = 40 cm Right calf = 40 cm Body fat % based on home scales = 22.5 %

  • Tim Coakley
    11 Sep 2019
    8:48 PM

    I was going to continue the rollercoaster ride but that's really taking away from why I'm really here. I want to get back into old training and eating habits like I was before I got sick. So instead of going into detail about my health ordeal of 2018 I'll summarise the major points. * After a week of being in hospital I was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia. * In layman's terms my body had stopped making blood - red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells. You obviously need these to live. * So I was transfusion dependent and was skating on thin ice with no immune system. (40+ blood transfusions, 70+ platelet transfusions) * I needed a bone marrow transplant. It's a 1/4 chance that your siblings are a match. I have four siblings. None were a match. * I was in and out of hospital for months leading up to the transplant. As soon as I got a temperature I would have to rush to emergency. A simple virus or fungal infection could have killed me. * I received good news in late May that I have suitable donors in Poland and Germany. Fortunately a donor for a bone marrow transplant is alive. The two main methods of harvesting the stem cells for donation are straight from the bones or similar to a blood donation. * June came around and of all times with no immune system I got appendicitis. Simple just pump me full of platelets and remove my appendix. NOPE. A simple surgery like an appendectomy is common place however I had no immune system so opening me up would be a high risk surgery and would potentially kill me. I practised a lot of mindfulness during this time as I spent close to three weeks in hospital. Fortunately the antibiotics had a positive effect and I still have my appendix. * July rolls around and I'm booked in for my bone marrow transplant. Chemo was tough but the fog cleared quickly. The waiting game. Waiting for the stem cells to engraft and begin making blood for me. Tick tock, tick tock. Normally for this type of transplant it takes about 3 weeks to see results. During this time my immune system was at absolute 0 as the chemo has destroyed all remaining cells. The 3 week mark rolls past, no results. The four week mark rolls past, no results. By this stage I know it has failed and I'm preparing for the worst. Week 5 rolls around no results. Doctors decide to do a biopsy - it's confirmed my transplant has failed. I was so angry and frustrated that day. This hospital does about 100 transplants a year and 1 - 2 fail. Mine failed. Statistically I was definitely getting the raw end of the deal. * Fortunately I was able to regroup fairly quickly as I'm stubborn and have a positive outlook on life. I had another suitable donor but the anxiety was high as the more plans you use the closer you get to....you know. * Second round of a week long chemo treatment. It was brutal - but I kept reminding myself that it'll pass. Transplant once chemo had finished. The count down began. This was a different type of transplant and I was told that results should start at around the two week mark. Day 12 post transplant - first sign of white blood cells. I remember the nurses being so happy and all I could do was cry as even though it was only six months it felt like forever and it was the first time that it felt the luck was finally coming my way. * Each day went passed and the results improved. * I requested to get discharged on my daughters birthday, which the doctors approved. She got a bike for her birthday which I think she was more impressed with than me being home! * Have to continually contend with GVHD - but on discharge I said to my doctor I'm not getting it, he laughed because most people get GVHD. To this date I really haven't had much GVHD and if I have it's been extremely mild. * 135+ days in hospital = 12 week challenge a piece of cake!

  • Tim Coakley
    10 Sep 2019
    4:23 PM

    The Rollercoaster Ride (Part 2) So I call my wife straight away. I eventually get through to her and tell her what's happening. She rushes home and we head off to the local hospital's emergency department. I pretty much bypass all patients in front of me and am placed in an isolation room. The doctors take blood and ask a million questions. By this stage I'm resigned to the fact that I have cancer - but which one. Dad came along with us, and being a retired doctor spoke to the emergency doctors in another room - I knew he was trying to protect me in case the news wasn't positive. I knew it wasn't looking great. While waiting for results I received a number of platelet and blood transfusions. The initial results came in, no cancer in the blood. Great I thought. The doctors then explained that just because it isn't present in the blood doesn't mean it is not present in the bones. I had to wait until the following day for a bone marrow biopsy - where the results would take up to a week to fully diagnose the problem. The waiting game....

  • Tim Coakley
    8 Sep 2019
    9:58 PM

    The Rollercoaster Ride (part 1) In early 2018 I was still training hard and noticed on my skin small red dots (petechiae). I took no notice of them as I was training reasonably hard and thought it must have been where I was resting the weights or that it was a result of my four year old daughter climbing all over me. Weeks went by and I came down with tonsilitis on my second daughters first birthday. I toughed out the celebrations but had no appetite and was extremely lethargic. Assuming it was just tonsilitis I relied on bed rest and a short course of antibiotics from the home doctor. I was going to return to work a few days later but went to the GP for a doctors certificate and a once over. The GP gave me the all clear and asked "is there anything else I can do for you?" I replied that I've been getting these small red dots (petechiae) on my skin. The GP ordered a blood test and I thought nothing of it. That night my wife had returned to work, I had fed, bathed and put my daughters to bed and was just about to lie down on the couch and watch TV when my mobile began to ring. It was 8:30 at night and I thought "who's calling me at this hour?" It was a number I didn't know so I thought I might not answer it - but I did. It was a pathologist saying that my blood counts were extremely low and that I need to get to hospital straight away. I hung up the phone and just thought to myself f*** I've got cancer.

  • Tim Coakley
    8 Sep 2019
    9:42 PM


    Would've loved to have got a head start this week but when you've got the immunity of an 11 month old then you just gotta take it easy! (Two flu vaccines and still managed to get influenza B --> but I'll be training tomorrow!)

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