Body Transformation: David Cullen Body Transformation

Soft from eating too much fast food after the birth of his son, David Cullen lost 40 pounds and completely shredded his physique.
Editor's Note: Everyone is different and these results may not be typical for the average person. To achieve these results you need to be willing to put in the work both in the gym and in the kitchen. Use this transformation for motivation for you to make the changes you want!

Before Stats

  • 21
  • 224 lbs
  • 6'0"
  • 25%

After Stats

  • 22
  • 186.5 lbs
  • 6'0"
  • 13%

Lifestyle Prior To Change

What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?

I trained consistently, I just didn’t eat right at all or do any sort of cardiovascular training.

David CullenWhat was your low point or turning point?

Myself and my fiancé Danielle had our first child together, our son Alex in December 2009, and I took 3 weeks off training and ate everything in sight. Domino's pizza, McDonalds, Burger King, fries for breakfast, and my sleep pattern was messed up due to late night feedings etc. My body fat was pretty high before we had the baby so you see the result in my before pictures.

Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?

Eating clean and getting up at 7 am for cardio after 5 or so hours sleep the night before was difficult.

What was your transformation timeline?

  • Transformation Start: 25 January 2010.
  • Milestone: First week I lost 5lbs due to glycogen depletion and water loss, as for every one gram of glycogen (carbohydrate) there’s 3 parts water.
  • Milestone: After 4 weeks I started adding an extra day’s cardio weekly from 3 days to 6 days once per day.
  • Milestone: After 7 weeks I increased cardio time by 5 minutes per session weekly.
  • Milestone: After 10 weeks I added 2nd session post workout of 30 minutes. I was doing 40 minutes in the morning at this stage.
  • Transformation End: I reached my goal on 15th May and survived.

David's Training And Cardio Approach

What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?

  • Monday: Back, rear delts.
  • Tuesday: Chest, biceps.
  • Wednesday: Only cardio.
  • Thursday: Legs.
  • Friday: Shoulders, triceps.
  • Saturday: Only cardio.
  • Sunday: Rest.

I trained safely, smartly and heavy. To quote Phil Heath ‘’Why train light and high reps when dieting if training hard and heavy built the muscle in the first place’’. You need to train heavy and safely as possible to stimulate protein synthesis and maintain as much lean body mass as possible.

David Cullen

Please add a workout that worked best for you:

Monday - Back and Rear Delts
Exercise Sets Reps
Chin Up 3 15-12
Underhand Lat Pull Down 3 15-10
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 15-6
Seated Cable Row 3 15-10
Deadlift 5 15-6
Bent Over Reverse Flye 3 15-12
Tuesday - Chest and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 15-10
Decline or Flat Bench Press 4 12-6
Incline Dumbbell Flye 3 15-10
Cable Crossover 3 15-10
Concentration Curl 3 15-10
Barbell Curl 4 12-6
One Arm Preacher Curl 3 15-12
Thursday - Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Extension 4 20-12
Squat 5 15-6
Double or Single Leg Press 4 15-12
Barbell Lunge 3 15 (Each leg)
Leg Curl 3 15-12
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 15-12
Friday - Shoulders and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Press 4 15-10
Bent Over Dumbbell Raise 4 15-12
Side Lateral 3 15-10
One Arm Cable Raise 2 15-12
Barbell Shrug 3 15-10
Cable Pushdown 3 15-12
Skullcrusher 4 15-8
Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 3 12

David CullenPlease detail your cardio approach during your transformation?

See above for how I increased cardio during course of diet. I used mainly treadmill at 6.4mph on 3% incline and sometimes I used cross trainer. In last 4 weeks I used HIIT for my 2nd session of the day and I alternated 5 minutes of low/moderate pace with 2 minutes high intensity on treadmill.

Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. I learned results are really 80% nutrition. You cant out train a bad diet.
  2. I learned to train smartly and safely with weights and I also learned some anatomy and physiology to understand biomechanics of muscles and how and why we use certain form on exercises.
  3. I learned a lot about nutrition thanks to my friend Bryan Hickey who trains in my gym, Atlas Gym Clondalkin. He is very intelligent personal trainer and really knows his stuff. He’s Mr. Ireland 2009 and came in 8th in the World championships in Malta in 2010. He can be contacted on Facebook at Atlas Gym Clondalkin.

How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?

I currently train with the same split as above, only the exercises differ from week to week. I’m currently focusing on my chest overall, my side and rear delts and my quad sweep because it’s hard to look big and wide at 6 foot tall and I also have narrow clavicles which doesn’t help.

David's Diet And Nutrition Approach

What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?

Again as mentioned above thanks to my friend Bryan, I used a cyclic ketogenic diet and I rotated 3 low carbohydrate days with one high day. In last 4 weeks I rotated 3-5 low days with one high day. 

Can you provide us with a sample eating plan (please be specific):

Low Carb Day

  • Before Fasted Cardio: 1 cup Green Tea.
  • Meal 1: Post Cardio: 50g Oats, 6 Egg Whites, 2-3 Whole Eggs.
  • Meal 2: 200g Chicken Breast, 10ml Udo's Oil.
  • Meal 3: Pre Workout. 200g of Chicken, 50g Oats.
  • Meal 4: Post Workout. 200g Cod, 200g of Potatoes.
  • Meal 5: 200g Chicken Breast, 10ml Udo's Oil.
  • Meal 6: 200g Sirloin or Striploin Steak, 150g of Broccoli.

High Carb Day

  • Before Fasted Cardio: 1 cup Green Tea.
  • Meal 1: Post Cardio. 150g Oats, 6 Egg Whites, 2-3 Whole Eggs.
  • Meal 2: 200g Chicken Breast, 100g Brown Rice, 10ml Udo's Oil.
  • Meal 3: Pre Workout. 200g of Chicken, 150g Oats.
  • Meal 4: Post Workout. 200g Cod, 400g Potatoes.
  • Meal 5: 200g Chicken Breast, 100g Brown Rice, 10ml Udo's Oil.
  • Meal 6: 200g Sirloin or Striploin Steak, 150g of Broccoli.

David Cullen

Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?

Not during the diet, I just followed the diet exactly as shown, but I did study some sports nutrition books and read a lot online to understand why I was eating like this. Before the diet I ate enough protein I just ate too much crap along with it and up to 600-800 grams of carbohydrates daily from all the wrong food sources. I also ate a lot more cheat meals than I should have.

Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. I learned about macro nutrients and how to manipulate them for certain goals and to my body type and metabolism rate.
  2. I learned a lot about each specific macro nutrient protein, carbohydrates and fats and how the body utilizes each for certain chemical processes throughout the body.
  3. I learned about vitamins and minerals why there in important in the body for overall health and how they help with bodybuilding, e.g  vitamin c for the immune system, b-vitamins help with digestion and absorption of macro nutrients.

Did you allow yourself cheat meals?

I had one cheat meal weekly, every Saturday right up until last 2 weeks of the diet. I had Burger King and I had a whopper meal with fries and for dessert I had strawberry cheese cake ice cream. Yum yum. On a side note, I didn’t drink the sugary drink with the meal, I just had water.

What supplements did you use during your transformation?

Multivitamins and iron, vitamin D, calcium and I used ECA stack for fat burning. I did not use any protein shakes, just whole food.

Advice For Others

What are your best tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?

  1. First off set a realistic goal and constantly remind yourself of that goal, write it down and leave it somewhere that you will see it daily.
  2. Before you do any training, get your nutrition right; again you cant out train a bad diet. Eat for performance, not pleasure.
  3. Be consistent with your diet and training and the results will come.

How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?

See answer number 1 on question above. Also tell people you are doing a diet as I found when a lot of people knew what I was doing, I felt like I’d be letting myself and them down if I stopped or cheated etc.

More From David Cullen

What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?

I currently weigh 101.kg at 18-20% body fat, I’m deep in my off season and I hopefully see myself competing as a natural bodybuilder in the next 2 years. I’ve been featured on numerous websites now for my transformation and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and also lots and lots of emails asking for advice. I want to study as a personal trainer so I can help others achieve their goals and lead healthy lifestyles.

What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?

As mentioned above Id like to compete in a contest and also the results I’m achieving keep me motivated.

Anything else you would like to share?

Anybody can do the same I did, you just need to set a goal and stay dedicated to achieving that goal.

How can people contact you?

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9 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 07/25/2011 - 10:17
george gonzalez

hi david im a 17 year old kid from miami FL , i have been lifting weights for about a year and started dieting 6 months ago, in the past year i have some rsults but not the results i have been longing for. i am confused on what type of diet i should be looking for and what supplements to take. if you can help me please email me at this email
[email protected]
thanks

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Posted Mon, 07/11/2011 - 16:44
JohnDoe

Good work.

I've been using your workout log for 3 weeks now and its really helpful.Thank You.

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Posted Sat, 06/25/2011 - 02:10
steeve

way to many isolation moves............... guys there is no need to kill your selves doing so many isolation moves when instead of doing 7 different exercises you can just do 3 and get even better results

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Posted Thu, 06/20/2013 - 17:50
Luke Grace

So what would you recommend instead of these daily routines, I'm intrigued to understand your approach and considering how busy life is saving time is very very important.

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Posted Thu, 06/16/2011 - 01:52
Ben

dude you're way lower than 13% body fat...probably more like 9.

We're both the same size, you're motivating me to keep sweating in the gym and kick ass!

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Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 19:46
Doug

Hi Dave, nice job.

What's your estimate on protein intake (g) per day for your weight?

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Posted Mon, 05/30/2011 - 14:52
John Cantu

Is there an abdominal routine you used in all this?

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Posted Mon, 05/30/2011 - 14:17
John

Is there an abdominal workout you used?

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Posted Wed, 05/25/2011 - 23:50
Ray Van Keulen

Thanks Dave you are very inspiring. Can you please advise your meal spacings and what time was your last meal of the day? Keep up the good work!