So you want to get lean, build rock hard muscles and achieve six pack abs? So did I! I’ll tell you how I went from 192 pounds at 18% body fat to 172 pounds at 8% body fat, all at the age of 36. I applied my scientific knowledge of nutrition, supplements and exercise to get back into shape. I’ll share some tips and secrets, not from some scientific journal, but what works in real life.
My transformation took around 4 months. I continued to chisel away and took this “After” photo around 5-6 months after beginning. This was no quick fix. It was a healthy, steady fat loss and muscle gain program, which I now maintain without a lot of effort.
For those who have never achieved a lean, muscular state, it can be difficult to change your training, nutrition, supplementation and sleeping patterns all at once. Change each of these gradually until all four are modified and working together to help you achieve your physique goals.Sprints burn fat and build muscle
You need a plan to assure you get to the gym regularly and consistently. I trained with weights five days a week, breaking it up into the following groups: shoulders, calves and abs (twice per week); back and biceps; quads and hamstrings; and chest and triceps (each once per week). If you don’t know how to train with weights using good form or how to structure your workouts, I recommend finding a certified trainer.
Try to do cardio first thing in the morning to burn fat and get your metabolism going for the day. Do high intensity cardio if you want to drop body fat. For me, low intensity, long duration cardio didn’t work as well or as quickly. So I began sprinting on the track and treadmill (if a track was unavailable). I worked my way up to 15 interval sprints: a 40- to 60-second sprint, then 60- to 75-second active recovery (walking). Sprints are by far the best fat-burning, muscle-building cardio exercise. Work up to doing sprints twice a week (Monday and Friday) and do your leg workout on Wednesday to allow for recovery time.Take supplements and shakes
As you know, I’ve been doing research and product formulations for sports nutrition companies for many years. So when it came to my own physical transformation, the right supplements were one of the keys to my success.
I took dietary supplements throughout my program to help support the progress I was making in the gym. I used whey protein 2-3 times a day. First thing in the morning I would mix 40g of protein with ice and water. Immediately post workout I drank another shake that included whey protein blended with water and 1 cup of frozen strawberries or 1 cup of frozen blueberries. I used creatine pump products in capsules to help increase my muscle mass, and nitric oxide booster tablets to increase blood flow and pump to my muscles. I took these products daily, according to label instructions, even on non-training days. For a testosterone boost, I used a non-hormone based tribulus terrestris product that had high levels of protodioscin (20%). For fat burning, I chose a product containing bitter orange (synephrine), caffeine, green tea and other fat mobilizing/burning ingredients. I took fat burners daily in the morning, afternoon and early evening. If I couldn’t fall asleep at night, I used a few products (not all at the same time) that included melatonin, valerian, skullcap, theanine or other sleep/relaxation ingredients so I could recover and train hard the next day.Gradually modify your food choices
I modified my nutrition gradually over time, focusing on eating lean meats, vegetables, salads and complex carbs early in the day. For protein, I ate chicken breast, tilapia, ground turkey, lean beef and occasionally other kinds of fish. Get a food scale to ensure you’re eating 6-8 ounces of lean protein each meal. Pre-cook your meals at the start of the week. You’ll have everything ready to eat each day and will be less likely to cheat when you’re in a rush. The vegetables I ate consisted of fresh or frozen broccoli, green beans, squash, spinach, cauliflower and broccoflower. In the evenings, I enjoyed a big salad of shredded cabbage, baby carrots, zucchini slices, diced tomatoes, chopped celery and low-fat dressing. For carbs, I ate steel cut oats in the morning and a vegetable omelet made with egg whites or egg substitute for protein. The rest of the day, my carbs consisted of a combination of apples as well as butternut squash blended with yam. I ate every 3 hours, getting 6 meals a day of real food and protein shakes.Overall consistency is key
Life doesn’t always allow you to eat perfectly. Don’t get down on yourself when you don’t; keep as consistent as possible and aim to do better the next day. You also won’t always be able to do your cardio and training every day. The key is to stay consistent and persevere through the times you falter or are not able to hit your ideal day of nutrition, supplementation and training. It’s the overall consistency that will take you to that new level of achievement. When you can’t train with weights, try to at least get your cardio in. Only have 20-30 minutes? Do your sprints! Something is better than nothing.
People see me and often ask, “How did you do that?” like it happened overnight. Truth is, I busted my butt, but all they see is how I look today. It feels great to have reached this level of conditioning and you can too by setting realistic goals and achieving them. I hope these training, nutrition and lifestyle tips help get you going on the path to shaping your dream physique!