- Transformation Start: June 2012 - 153lbs at 15% bodyfat
- Milestone: September 2012 - Started university and began educating myself on bodybuilding techniques
- Milestone: February 2013 - Started eating 4000+ calories and made it up to 180lbs at around 15% bodyfat
- Milestone: October 2013 - Did my first Men’s Physique show weighing 154lbs
- Milestone: March 2014 - Bench-pressed 315lbs, deadlifted 465lbs, squatted 340lbs at 175lbs bodyweight
- Transformation End: August 2014 - Competed in my second Men’s Physique show at 166lbs
Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle like prior to your change?
Prior to my transformation my body was more of a skinny physique. I am a hardgainer. Although I was playing rugby in high school and eating all the time, I did not possess the knowledge of bodybuilding techniques both in the weight room and in the kitchen that would result in any sort of quality mass gain.
I was very unhappy with my physique. I saw much bigger guys in the gym moving serious weight and wanted to be bigger and a lot stronger.
What was your turning point?
The real turning point for my physique was the start of my university career when I was 18. I began researching all I could about bodybuilding and even bought Arnold's encyclopedia of bodybuilding. I realized that if I wanted to get big I'd have to buckle down and be consistent with my nutrition as well as my training routine.
I found though my research that the best way to gain serious size as a natural bodybuilder was to lift heavy and work in a lower rep range for compound movements. With my new found knowledge of training and nutrition I was able to start seeing result fast and was instantly hooked on bodybuilding.
My nutrition plan during the off-season is to eat as many calories as possible while trying to limit fat gain as much as possible.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
It is hard during university to keep up a very consistent workout routine with the amount of school work that is on your plate. To combat this I would treat the gym as just another class that I needed to go to and never missed a workout.
Training and Cardio
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
I found that for me the best method of training was to always work with at least 75-80% of your max for compound movements. For accessory movements, keep the rep range around 8-10. Only during finisher moves do I go above 10 reps.
Please add a workout that worked best for you:
- Monday: Legs and Calves
- Tuesday: Chest
- Wednesday: Off
- Thursday: Back
- Friday: Shoulders, Abs and Calves
- Saturday: Arms
- Sunday: Off
|Legs and Calves|
|Front or Back Squat||3||3-6|
|Leg Press or Stiff Leg Deadlift||4||6-8|
|Standing Calf Raise||4||8-10|
|Seated Calf Raise||4||8-10|
|Flat Bench Press||3||3-6|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||4||6-8|
|Deadlift or Rack Pulls||3||3-6|
|Hanging Leg Raise||4||8-10|
|Calves see Monday|
|Barbell Cheat Curl||4||5-8|
|Close Grip Bench Press||4||5-8|
|Dumbbell Preacher Curl||3||5-8|
|Dumbbell Triceps Extension||3||5-8|
|Cable Preacher Curl||3||10-15|
|Cable Triceps Extension||3||10-15|
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
I do not do much cardio but I try to hit a punching bag a few times a week. I find this a very fun way of getting your cardio in. I also do battle ropes as part of my shoulder routine. Anyone who does these knows how much you sweat after a few minutes.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- I learned how to lift heavy. Including how to stretch and warm up to help prevent injuries.
- I learned correct form for many key exercises and how to execute them properly.
- The most important thing I learned is how to listen to my body and develop a mind muscle connection.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
I do not believe making drastic changes in training when dieting. I’ve found what works for me and I’m sticking to it.
I do not do much cardio but I try to hit a punching bag a few times a week. I find this a very fun way of getting your cardio in.
Diet and Nutrition
What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?
My nutrition plan during the off-season is to eat as many calories as possible while trying to limit fat gain as much as possible. My approach to cutting is to keep the calories as high as possible and make slow and gradual losses to body fat. For both on and off-season I use an if it fits your macros approach to dieting.
Can you provide us with a sample daily eating plan:
- Meal 1: 1 scoop protein powder and milk
- Meal 2: 4 eggs and 1.5 cups diced hash browns
- Meal 3: 1 can tuna in tortilla wrap with spinach and an apple
- Meal 4: Banana and pre-workout drink with carb supplement
- Meal 5: 2 scoops protein powder and 1 chicken breast with 1 cup basmati rice
- Meal 6: 1 banana and 2 tbsp of peanut butter
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
The first time I dieted I restricted myself a lot with the calories and type of foods I was eating.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- I learned that an IIFYM diet does in fact work.
- I Learned to listen to my body while cutting.
- I learned not to cut food that I like out of my diet.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
Due to the fact I was using an IIFYM diet I did not feel the need for frequent cheat meals. I was already eating a lot of the foods that I otherwise would have been craving.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
Advice for Others
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Use the resources you have available to you to educate yourself with the knowledge you need to succeed.
- Always be willing to learn.
- Plan ahead and focus on making small steps toward your goals.
How do you stay motivated?
I feel like the best motivation you can get is from having a training partner that can push you and give you that extra kick in the gym.
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
After training for bodybuilding for 2 years I have really began to find what works for me and learned to love the lifestyle changes it brings with it. I love the way I’m beginning to look and am always excited to see what future improvements I can make to my physique.
What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?
The fitness industry is always changing and the bar is always being pushed higher and higher as to what the human body is capable of.
How can people contact you?
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @limitlesslifestyles10