Lifestyle Prior To Change
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
I have always been into sports and working out and just keeping myself active. My lifestyle for a time being prior to the transformation was not a drastic difference other than the dieting aspect. I would go to the gym but my diet was not up to par as I would consume a lot of fast food and unhealthy food.
What was your low point or turning point?
My turning point came when I decided enough was enough. I have usually always kept myself in shape but for about a year I kind of let myself go. The clothes were not fitting anymore, the pictures were not turning out right and my endurance when playing sports became horrible.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
The entire journey was a challenge. Each day presents its own challenges such as getting cardio in, eating a strict diet and pushing my body to the limit in the gym every day. It’s a lifestyle that can certainly wear you down at times but this was a challenge that I was up for.
The working out and cardio aspect is easier but eating the proper foods at the right time every day for 7-8 meals a day requires a certain level of discipline and determination. Once the results become noticeable it just pushes me that much more to get after it each day.
What was your transformation timeline?
- Transformation Start: I started my journey on May 27, 2011. This was the day I decided that I wanted to turn my look around for good. I was determined to succeed as failure was not an option! My goal was to be the best I could be physically and mentally by pushing myself to the limit in and out of the gym.
- Milestone: After the 1st week of dieting I lost about 7lbs.
- Milestone: By the start of the 5th week of dieting I had lost a total of 25lbs.
- Milestone: After 7 weeks of dieting my abs were starting to become a lot more visible and my body fat was noticeably melting away.
- Milestone: My transformation took a total of 14 weeks and was completed on 9/2/11. There was definitely moments that were tough and made me question myself but with God’s grace I was able to hurdle all the bumps on the road and continue to finish my journey. I’ve learned that this journey is no different than anything in life where I’m constantly faced with adversity and challenges but when you are able to persevere it only makes you stronger.
- Transformation End: Although I am happy with the results thus far, there is really no end as this is a lifestyle. I am constantly testing my mind and body by pushing myself to improve each day. The result that I see is a huge motivator in and out of the gym. Lord willing, I would like to continue this lifestyle for many more years to come.
Phil's Training And Cardio Approach
What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?
My training split during these 14 weeks was as follows:
- Monday: Chest
- Tuesday: Back
- Wednesday: Off
- Thursday: Legs
- Friday: Shoulders
- Saturday: Arms
- Sunday: Off
|Monday - Chest|
|Incline Bench Press||4-5||8-12|
|Dumbbell Bench Press||4-5||8-12|
|Incline Dumbbell Flye||4-5||8-12|
|Hammer Strength Incline Press||4-5||8-12|
|Tuesday - Back|
|Seated Cable Row||4-5||8-12|
|Lat Pull Down||4-5||8-12|
|Deadlift or Back Extension||4-5||8-12|
|Thursday - Legs|
|Friday - Shoulders|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||4-5||8-12|
|Hammer Strength Shoulder Press||4-5||8-12|
|Barbell Upright Row||4-5||8-12|
|Dumbbell Shoulder Press||4-5||8-12|
|Reverse Pec Dec or Rear Laterals||4-5||8-12|
|Saturday - Arms|
|Rope Tricep Extension||4-5||8-12|
|Close Grip Bench Press||4-5||8-12|
|Weighted Tricep Dip||4-5||8-12|
Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?
During my transformation journey I did cardio 4-5 times a week at 30 minutes per session. Most of my cardio was done walking around my neighborhood at a decent pace. I have 2 dogs so walking them would be considered cardio as well.
For me, as long as I kept up with my diet I did not have to perform a ton of cardio at a face pace. Sometimes my cardio would come from the gym with doing high intensity training with very little rest between sets.
Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- Proper eating. This is vital to your results whether you want to pack on lean mass or want to get lean.
- Train smart. Heavy weights without sacrificing form will yield great results.
- Never give up. Regardless of your goal…even with the correct formula you have to be consistent in order to see results.
How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?
My training has pretty much remained the same as I continue to try and live a healthy lifestyle and hopefully inspire others along the way.
Phil's Diet And Nutrition Approach
Can you provide us with a sample eating plan (please be specific):
My diet approach was moderate carbs, high protein and moderate fats. On a typical day I would consume anywhere from 150-300g carbs, 350-450g protein, 25-75g fat. Towards the middle of my diet I began to cycle my carbs in order to speed up my metabolism and speed up the fat burning process even more and this worked out great for me.
- Meal 1 – 75g oatmeal, 8oz steak, 1 whole egg, 5 egg whites
- Meal 2 – 1 cup rice, 8oz salmon, 1 cup vegetables
- Meal 3 – 1 cup rice, 8oz chicken
- Meal 4 – 8 oz yams, 8oz chicken, 1/2 avocado
- Meal 5 – 6 oz potatoes, 8oz chicken, 1 cup vegetables
- Meal 6 – 1 tbsp peanut butter, 6 oz steak
Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?
Dieting and knowing your body is a constant learning process. You just have to find out what works best at what times of the day and which type of foods yields the best results for your own body. One common mistake is not getting in enough water. Try to drink at least 1 gallon per day.
Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:
- It’s a big misconception that in order to get lean you must eliminate all fats. Keeping healthy fats in your diet is vital to your results and your health. Healthy fats such as avocado, almonds, eggs, olive oil, peanut butter or salmon should not be eliminated completely.
- If you want to get lean, sticking to a proper diet is the most important aspect of getting lean. While trying to shed body fat I believe a strict diet plan is even more important than working out or cardio. However, for maximum results all 3 must be done in conjunction.
- I’ve learned that complex carbs and simple carbs are both beneficial to my diet when used at the right times. Also, reducing carbs as I get closer to bedtime worked great. I still consume proteins but carbs were reduced a few hours prior to bedtime.
Did you allow yourself cheat meals?
I did allow myself usually 1-2 cheat meals a week. The purpose of my cheats was to rev up my metabolism which worked great for me. Sushi is my favorite cheat meal.
What supplements did you use during your transformation?
Advice For Others
What are your best tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?
- Stay motivated and consistent. Whatever your goals may be consistency with proper dieting and working out will give you great results.
- Sacrifice without regrets. Just keep pushing yourself to the limit as each day presents a new opportunity. Embrace the challenge because there will be moments of adversity.
- Whatever you do, never give up. You have to remain focus and keep reminding yourself that Failure is not an option.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?
For me it was just about finishing what I started and accomplishing a goal that I set for myself. I also have a great support system with friends and family. We constantly motivate and push one another to be the best we can be in and out of the gym.
More From Phil Nguyen
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
My life has remained very similar as I am still very much motivated. I have been very blessed to have a great support system with family and friends of Dream Team. We are a close knit bunch that motivate and push one another to be the best in and out of the gym.
My wife has also been my number one supporter. She helps out a lot with my meals and pushes me to be the best I can be.
How can people contact you?