Gordon Ramsay is as renowned for his exquisite cooking as he is for his explosive tirades and over-the-top insults on shows like Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. But despite his hardened personality when it comes to directing restaurant kitchens, the 51-year-old had let his body go soft—before deciding to make a huge lifestyle change and train for an Ironman with triathlete and trainer Will Usher.

“I started focusing on getting super-fit five or six years ago when my life got super-busy," Ramsay told The Daily Mail. "You get consumed by the work. You get sucked up...All of a sudden your ‘me time’ is zero. There was no breathing space, no down time, no time to even think straight. It all started hitting me hard. I didn’t panic, but my head was not in the game."

He revealed that one of the catalysts in his decision to get fit was his wife, Tana, who has always been fit.

“I was overweight, 18 stone [252lbs]; I looked like a sack of sh*t. I look at the pictures and think, ‘How did Tana stay around?’ Because Tana has got better-looking and more gorgeous. And there she is, getting in bed with a fat f**k,” Ramsay said. He also feared that he wouldn't be around much longer if he kept up his unhealthy ways, since his own father passed away at 53.

Despite the fact that he'd made it to the top of the restaurant industry, he felt self-conscious and knew he had to make some serious changes, especially after he and his family started to vacation with the Beckham family, according to The Daily Mail. "I didn't have a figure. I didn't feel that good. After working my a** off and achieving a lot, I wanted to get in serious shape." (To be fair: What guy wouldn't question the quality of his physique on the beach next to David Beckham?)

Since his resolution to change his lifestyle, Ramsay has followed a more structured fitness routine and eaten cleaner, and the results are undeniable. The chef lost a staggering 4 stone [56 lbs] thanks to those changes.

Ramsay's fitness routine is based around endurance training rather than lifting heavy, and he makes sure to get workouts in at his home gym with Usher three times a week. When he's traveling, he uses Zwift, an app for cyclists that keeps him connected to other cyclists around the world (including Usher), so he can still be competitive. On Sundays, he hits the road for 75 miles.

"The more I train, the more normal I am, the more I feel that I'm still unchanged," Ramsay said. "It's just another little reminder of who I really am."

Ramsay even came out with a new cookbook, Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Fit Food: Mouth-Watering Recipes to Fuel You for Life, that's full of healthy meals to fuel a fit lifestyle. And while he doesn't have a dietitian, there's one diet strategy that Ramsay swears by: cutting down on dairy.

"No milk. Just because it's sluggish," he said. "Almond milk with Weetabix for breakfast. Smoothie with frozen berries, yogurts. Dropping milk and cheese has made a massive difference."

He also shared a hallmark fitness suggestion: drink some water before every meal. "Take a couple of glasses before you eat—it just stops you eating a third more," he said. "You feel better, but eat less."

Ramsay's clearly in great shape now, and doesn't plan on stopping any time soon. Follow him on Instagram at @gordongram to keep up with his food and fitness endeavors.