Body Transformation: Phil Nguyen Dropped 50 Lbs And Got Shredded

Phil Nguyen had an impressive amount of muscle, but woke up one day to find his clothes were no longer fitting. He lost 50 lbs and got shredded.
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

  • May 27th, 2011
  • 230 lbs
  • 5'10"

After Stats

  • September 2nd, 2011
  • 180 lbs
  • 5'10"

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
Exercise Sets Reps
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
Chest Dip 4-5 8-12
Tuesday - Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Pull Up 4-5 8-12
Barbell Row 4-5 8-12
Seated Cable Row 4-5 8-12
Lat Pull Down 4-5 8-12
T-Bar Row 4-5 8-12
Deadlift or Back Extension 4-5 8-12
Thursday - Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Extension 4-5 12-15
Squat 4-5 12-15
Leg Press 4-5 12-15
Hack Squat 4-5 12-15
Leg Curl 4-5 12-15
Calf Exercise 4-5 12-15
Friday - Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
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
Dumbbell Shrug 4-5 8-12
Saturday - Arms
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Curl 4-5 8-12
Preacher Curl 4-5 8-12
Concentration Curl 4-5 8-12
Rope Tricep Extension 4-5 8-12
Close Grip Bench Press 4-5 8-12
Weighted Tricep Dip 4-5 8-12

Phil NguyenPlease 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:

  1. Proper eating. This is vital to your results whether you want to pack on lean mass or want to get lean.
  2. Train smart. Heavy weights without sacrificing form will yield great results.
  3. 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.

Sample Diet:

  • 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

Phil Nguyen

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

The supplements I took during my transformation were whey protein, multivitamin and fish oils. I’m a firm believer in whole foods.

Advice For Others

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

  1. Stay motivated and consistent. Whatever your goals may be consistency with proper dieting and working out will give you great results.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

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20 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 12/03/2012 - 11:02
Gian

Hi Phil just wanted to ask if you didn't do any abdominal workouts or you just forgot to mention it?

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Posted Thu, 09/13/2012 - 05:15
jay

Hey Fil amazing stuff man. I'm planning on getting shredded during the next three months. Just wondering if you take any pre-workout supplements as i find it pretty hard to hit the gym after work. Also did you give up alcohol during the three months because i have a couple of beers once a week to wind down? Also most of my meals have a bit of added salt and sauces to make it taste a little better than it is.

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Posted Tue, 08/28/2012 - 16:25
Paul Nguyen

Great job of transforming and great information

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Posted Tue, 05/15/2012 - 21:07
Josh

Hello Phil-
Congrats on the transformation! I have nearly the same stats and build thanks to football (linebacker) and hockey. But with no more football to play (graduated college), it's time to start shredding the 'cushion' muscle I used to keep to absorb the shock of the collisions. I can't wait to get this going, and thanks again for the blueprint and inspiration!

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Posted Tue, 05/15/2012 - 20:47
Mike

Did you find yourself always full? My problem is I can't eat enough as I am always feeling so full.

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Posted Sun, 04/08/2012 - 08:33
Quang

Its very hard to eat six meals a day and time it correctly. I am sure most people don't have the time especially with their hector work schedule. How do you do it? I am a student and I have trouble just making time to work out. Eating 6 meals a day is almost impossible with my classes schedule. I can eat 3 meals ...breakfast(before school), lunch(at noon), and dinner after I get home from school. Do you have any advice?

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Posted Tue, 04/10/2012 - 01:06
Phil

Have you tried packing meals and bringing it to class? I'm assuming you have at least a few minutes in between classes. You can pack protein bars, shakes or meals in containers to eat real quick whenever you get the chance. I really can't tell you how to prioritize your time but I believe if it's important enough to you then you will be able to figure out a balance that will work best for you. Best of Luck Quang!

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 23:03
FDD

Wow! Great job man! Your journey def. motivates me and one day i hope i can get to where you are. You show what heart, determination, and dedication can get you. Props brother!

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Posted Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:12
Phil

Thanks bro, the journey is still going.

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 22:52
Phil

Thanks Steve!

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 22:46
Ed Curry

Phil you look amazing !!!!! God bless... I'm hoping to look just Ike you... Your an inspiration ... I'm almost there .. Thanx

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Posted Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:10
Phil

Thanks Ed. God Bless u too. U will get there, don't give up bro!

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 22:45
Ed Curry

Phil you look amazing !!!!! God bless... I'm hoping to look just Ike you... Your an inspiration ... I'm almost there .. Thanx

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Posted Sun, 04/01/2012 - 21:43
Jonathan Baty

Wow . . . What and inspriation and a amazing transformation Phil, I am a person that thinks every thing happens over nite . Reading your journey is a journey i can relate to and very inspiring to us all on our future goals.

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 22:56
Phil

Thanks for the positive feedback Jonathan. This journey definitely takes time and commitment but well worth it.

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Posted Sun, 04/01/2012 - 15:19
sumit

dear friends u wanna take protein then please suggest me

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 22:54
Phil

I typically use Optimum Nutrition for whey protein.

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Posted Fri, 03/30/2012 - 20:09
STN

Dude, great job! You are motivating me to work harder to become the best I can be. Very inspirational!!!

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Posted Fri, 03/30/2012 - 10:08
Karlos

Great read, congrats on your transformation. You did exactly what Im trying to do. I weigh 200 and I feel like if i can get to a shredded, yet strong, 180-185 I would be beast. Once again congrats man!

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 22:51
Phil

Thanks Karlos. You'll get there, keep at it!