Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
Lifestyle was rough. I was an alcoholic and the only exercise I did was the 12oz curls. I would get drunk and come home from the bar and eat everything and anything in sight. I was 215 pounds my senior year of high school and after 9 years of drinking and eating anything and everything I had shot all the way up to 301 pounds and was constantly at the Doctor's office fighting gout and was borderline diabetic, my cholesterol was through the roof and I always felt tired and sluggish and was always sick.
What was your low point or turning point?
Dec 24th, 2007, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I turned to the bottle for comfort and was headed down a road of self- destruction at the age of 26. I made a promise to myself March 13th, 2008, after a night of heavy drinking that I was done. No more alcohol, I wanted to be able to be there for my dying mom and not the sorry drunk.
After deciding to quit drinking I had a huge gap in my life with all kinds of free time, I had to find something to fill that gap to keep my mind off the alcohol. I was driving down the street one Saturday morning and seen a treadmill at a garage sale. I gave the guy 20 bucks and I started dieting and exercising.
After getting back in the right mind I dug out the old cement weights and put together a small gym. I was a powerlifter in high school and the new me was loving being under the bar again. I became addicted and had to move on to better equipment so I got a gym pass to the local wellness center.
I haven't looked back since. Not counting the scheduled rest weeks I probably haven't missed four weeks in the gym in three years. I haven't had to go the doctor in almost four years. My mom passed away in August of 2008 at the age of 48 years young. It is my motivation to live a healthy strong lifestyle. I have been sober ever since that day in March.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
Peer pressure to drink again, went from a partying type lifestyle to a go to work go to the gym go home type. Lost touch with a lot of people who I thought were friends but were really only drinking buddies. I also started taking classes to become an EMT and pursue my dream of becoming a full time firefighter.
Tell us about your transformation timeline:
- Transformation Start: April 2009.
- Milestone: Loosing the first 50lbs was a huge accomplishment and drove me to continue on and see how much more I could loose. I set a goal to make it a 100 pounds lost.
- Milestone: In August of 2010 I had reached my 100 pounds lost and was stoked. I bulked back up from August to January and put on 30 pounds. I believe most of it was fat but I know some quality muscle was gained as well, cause after my cut from January to August, 2011, I was really happy with my physique compared to the summer before.
- Transformation End: August 2011.
Clayton's Training And Cardio Approach
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
- Monday - Shoulders and Triceps
- Tuesday - Back
- Wednesday - OFF
- Thursday - Chest and Biceps
- Friday - Legs
- Saturday - OFF
- Sunday - OFF
Rep timing on power week was 3/0/X with heavy weight with 3-4 minute rest. Second week was rep range week with reps from 7-9, 10-12, 13-15 with rep timings of 2/1/2 2/0/2 with rest times 3-4 minutes also alternated exercises for rep range week. Third week was shock week with all SS and DS. With rep tempo 1/0/1 and 1 minute.
|Monday - Shoulders and Triceps|
|Military Press||3||4-6 (Power week)|
|Wide Grip Upright Rows||2||4-6|
|Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flyes||2||4-6|
|Close Grip Bench Press||2||4-6|
|One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension||2||4-6|
|Tuesday - Back|
|Wide Grip Chin Up||3||4-6|
|Close Grip Seated Cable Row||2||4-6|
|One Arm Dumbbell Rows||2||4-6|
|Thursday - Chest and Biceps|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||3||4-6|
|Incline Dumbbell Flye||2||4-6|
|Alternating Dumbbell Curl||2||4-6|
|Friday - Legs|
|Smith Machine Lunge||2||4-6|
|Stiff Leg Deadlift||3||4-6|
|Calf Machine Leg Press||3||4-6|
|Seated Calf Raise||2||4-6|
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
First was slow walks for and hour every evening, then I started riding my bike in the mornings on an empty stomach. My best results really came when I switched up from doing an hour cardio either in the morning first thing or after weights keeping my heart rate between 60 to 70% of its max for 45-60min to doing HIIT cardio either first thing in the morn or after weights for 25-30 minutes.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- It is very refreshing, I always feel like a million bucks the rest of the day after a good morning cardio session.
- Results don’t come overnight. But when you do start to notice change and that your efforts are paying off it drives you to keep going.
- Keep a log, I noticed once I started keeping track of my progression with the weights, I actually started improving my numbers and my physique. When I started I never kept tabs on how much weight I would put on the bar for certain exercises, once I started logging it, I started seeing the numbers shoot up.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
I go balls to the wall now, no half hearted workouts. I bring more intensity to the iron every single time I touch it. It consumes me sometimes, I will think about my workouts a day in advance and get excited about getting back in the gym. I look forward to my workouts and count down the time at work before I get to go to the gym.
Before I would have average gym sessions and just be happy I made the effort that day. I can be dreading a workout now like squats or deadlifts and once I get to the gym and start moving the weights I just can’t stop. I keep pushing myself to see how much I can do. I have to tell myself enough is enough for the day, go home eat and rest.
Clayton's Diet And Nutrition Approach
What was your diet and nutrition approach during your transformation?
At first it was simple, JUST EAT LESS, then as I progressed and became more educated I started eliminating all fast food, junk food, processed food and sugar. Started to carb cycle once I got to 220 and couldn’t loose anymore. I would go three days low to no carbs with higher healthy fats and three days with higher carbs and no fats, with the last day kinda being an in between day with a cheat meal.
Can you provide us with a sample meal plan?
No Carb Day
- Morning - 1 scoop protein upon waking.
- Breakfast - 4 egg whites and 1 tbs flax oil.
- Snack - 1 scoop protein shake.
- Lunch - Grilled chicken breast, baked fish, or turkey. Broccoli 1 tbs flax oil, sometimes a spinach salad with grilled chicken and olive oil/vinegar dressing.
- Snack - 1 can tuna.
- Post Workout - 2 scoops protein, 5g creatine.
- Supper - Grilled chicken, Baked fish, or any grilled lean meat. Broccoli.
High Carb Days
- Morning - 1 scoop protein when wake.
- Breakfast - Oats and 4 egg whites maybe whole wheat toast.
- Snack - Oats with protein shake.
- Lunch - Two Grilled chicken sandwiches on whole wheat buns, with brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
- Snack - Tuna Sandwich on whole wheat bread.
- Post Workout - 2 scoops protein with 60g dextrose, 5g creatine.
- Supper - Two Grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bun, brown rice, and peas or corn.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
Yes at least once a week, sometimes two. But my cheat meals turned into cheat days.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet and nutrition during your transformation?
- Control portion sizes, weigh it and log it. I was completely surprised how much weighing my portions and logging my calories and managing my PCF rations helped me shred fat.
- It's okay to be a little over compulsive about eating healthy but don’t let it run your life, if you make it part of your daily life it will feel normal to eat healthy. Just remember its okay to have a bad day once in a while, just rebound from it and don’t make it a habit.
- Eliminate the junk food and eliminate the fat.
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
Not controlling portion sizes can be a big mistake. Once you start weighing portions you realize how much you was really overeating.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
Advice For Others
What are your best tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Set a goal, tell yourself what you want to accomplish and give yourself a date to accomplish it by. You will be your toughest critique and if you know what you want, only you can stop yourself from getting it.
- Consistency, none of this part time BS, you either have to go all out and commit to the diet and exercise or your going to find yourself back at square one every single time. Once you start you CAN'T stop. If your had a load of lard like me, you have to remember that fat cells are memory cells and never go away, if you don’t keep a steady diet and exercise program you WILL go back to where you were.
- With time comes results and with results come motivation. Once people around you start to see that you are accomplishing something and the compliments start pouring in, the energy to keep pushing just gets higher and higher!
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
I will never be happy with my physique, I look in the mirror everyday and tell myself you have some more work to do. But knowing where I came from and remembering how I was, is motivation enough for me to NEVER go back to that again and to always push past the pain and pursue the progression that lies ahead.
More From Clayton Burkhart
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
AWESOME. I have had soooooo many positive things come out of this I can't even begin to list them. I am pursuing a dream career of mine that no way in hell would I have been able to being the shape I was in. I look at life differently, knowing I control my own destiny and that nobody else can stop me from doing what I want to do with life. I didn’t believe in myself before, then I overcame the alcoholism and the obesity and now know that I can do anything if I put my heart and soul into it.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
Seeing someone bigger, leaner, and stronger than me and admit that I be mirin, and I want to reach their level someday. Possibly someday be able to enter a bodybuilding competition.
Anything else you would like to share?
Life's a river, flow with it. You're going to have your good days and your bad, your ups and your downs, but if you find something that you love doing and it becomes your escape from the ups and downs, it's worth doing. I found my escape in the gym and it has made me a believer in myself and the possibilities the future holds.