the fitness journal
What did you do in the last 12 weeks?
I want to take you behind the scenes. To show you my favourite moves for building big biceps and horseshoe triceps; the routines I use to give my Hollywood clients ripped abs and huge pecs. Some of it is simple. Some of it is controversial. And all of it was experienced by this client without us ever having to meet.
I've transformed some big names - turning Hugh Jackman into Wolverine is probably the most epic. But I can say hand on heart that I'm equally as proud of Jack.
He was just like most guys. Like you, perhaps. In OK shape when he was younger. Things slipped a bit. And then out of nowhere he'd developed a gut, lost his energy and couldn't seem to get back into shape.
After wasting his time with crappy online workouts and wasting money on bad PTs, Jack came to me and signed up for a plan I read through his story like I do with all my clients. Looked at his stats, his schedule. And created a custom programme for him.
Here's what we learned:
1) You need to find your 'turning point'
Perhaps it's next year. Or maybe it's right here, right now that you retake control. But there needs to be a moment you say, f*ck it. This is it. I'm changing today.
"For me, it was when I saw a picture of myself on the beach on holiday," says Jack. "I was shocked at how much fat I had put on without realising."
This can happen to anyone. One day you're no longer 20 and your abs have gone. The next thing you've got a gut. If you want serious results, you need that explosive moment, to step-up and dare to change.
2) Understand your goals or you'll fail
The desire is one thing. But without a plan it's all just a pipe-dream. And don't let anyone else tell you what you want. Be honest with yourself. Some people are embarrassed to say what they really want and that's one reason you can end up failing.
Jack's goals were honest. And that's what we set out to achieve. "I wanted to reduce my body fat percentage whilst maintaining as much muscle mass as possible," says Jack. "I wanted to look amazing."
Never be ashamed of honesty. Write it down. Use pictures of celebs as motivation. If there's one thing I've learned from taking thousands of men through online training, it's that knowing your goals is essential to reaching them.
3) Use the mirror as your ally
Body shaming is a shameful business. And it's one I'm not interested in. I don't think anyone NEEDS to look like anything or anyone else. But if you want to change, then the mirror can help.
If, like Jack, you're catching glimpses of your reflection and what you see gets you down, use that as a sign that exercise could be beneficial to you. "I used to see myself as overweight. 30. Depressed. Not happy with how I looked. I needed to do something."
It's a powerful motivator. Some clients find keeping a photo of themselves near the mirror helps spur them on. Take a photo at day one. Then each week you'll notice yourself looking a little bit different to when you started. "I now have to double take as I get used to my six-pack," says Jack.
4) Tailor it all to YOUR body
Too often do you find generic plans online that purportedly work for everyone. It's no wonder so many people get nowhere with their training.
Everybody is different. No one's schedule is the same. That's why, even though you get access to the exact moves, reps/sets and principles I use for people like Hugh Jackman, I tailor every single online programme to your unique physiology and lifestyle. It takes a lot of time (helluva lot, if I'm honest) but it's why my online clients get such great results. Results like Jack's.
"I was out of breath walking up the stairs at the start. I could barely do 10 press-ups. Maybe 5 pull-ups," he says. We worked around this lack of fitness and made sure that the early stages built up his conditioning while preparing his muscles for rapid growth. This stage is important if you want staggering results at the end.
5) Train for strength, or go home
The reason Jackman looked so dangerous as Wolverine? It's because by the end of our time together, he was dangerous. Jack hasn't come out of this a kitten, either.
"I can now do 100 press-ups. 40 pull-ups compared to 5 at the start. 100 sit-ups compared to 10," he says. "And I can run up the stairs of my townhouse easily."
A big part of my programmes is focusing on developing real strength. It's not as horrible as it sounds. In fact, it's enjoyable. And it's these moves - focusing on big compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, chin-ups and so on before doing isolation moves - that also starts the muscle building process faster, and takes it into the stratosphere when the strength gains come.
6) Go online and save money
I'm not just trying to sell my plans here. Feel free to buy anyone's plan. I'm confident in what I offer. If it's for you, great. If not, that's fine. I'm just giving you the genuine reason as to why I love training people through the internet. With the right preparation and customisation, online programmes can be amazing. And you end up spending maybe £200 once rather than dropping hundreds and hundreds on a PT at your gym.
But let me give you some advice: look into it properly and make sure you know what you're getting for your money. Many trainers will send you a crappy PDF or some generic workout. And it's all often copy and pasted, cut and shut. You could end up paying for a glorified word document. Not cool.
But done properly, they can be great. My team have been working for years on building the most user-friendly, in-depth programmes that come like a book, a user-manual for the body you want. And all fully customised to you. Plus you get access to our online community and goal tracking. And, of course, to me. "I chose online because it was easy to use and fitted in with my timing: I work long hours and travel so it was really useful," says Jack. "It saves so much money in the long run. The videos on the site are super useful too."
7) Be honest with yourself
No one is a saint. I'm sure as hell not one. One reason people fail when they embark on a transformation journey is guilt. But beating yourself up about slipping up will help nothing.
"Stopping myself eating what I wanted, instead of eating what I should, was by far the hardest thing for me," says Jack.
It's hard for everyone. It's of course important to clean up your diet, to focus on eating the right macros and to implement lean muscle building diet techniques like carb cycling. But honesty is important. If you think you're going to have something filthy on Friday because it's movie night with your partner, then so be it. Denial will only make you resent the programme. And that's where your mind sabotages your body.
8) Watch less TV
9) Garner public support
Many of my clients already have a huge motivator: they're going to be playing an action hero in a summer blockbuster movie. No one wants to be the weedy guy in lycra, after all. And as yet that's never happened. Motivation is key.
One tried, tested and even science-backed motivator is to be public with what you're doing. Social media is a great tool during body transformations. Post to your Facebook that you're starting a workout programme and what you hope to achieve. Put yourself out there.
You could even go a step further. When you start seeing results, post an update selfie. "Everyone who knew me before has been amazed at the results," says Jack.
And that's why Jack's self confidence in the mirror has grown as much as his biceps.
10) You'll never change if you don't start somewhere
The results always speak for themselves. But I'd love to hear from you anyway, so get in touch @DavidKingsbury
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