This is the before and after pic for my one week challenge (actually only 6 days)
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. As with any training regimen or supplements, please consult your physician before trying this program or taking any of the products mentioned.
I recently decided to do an experiment on myself. I wanted to see how lean I could get in a weeks time without losing all my muscle. This idea came when I decided who I wanted to go as for a Halloween party and it was basically me in a speedo. I have let my physique go to crap as of late and it is safe to say that I was a bit embarrassed to wear it in the state I was in. So the question came, just how much of a change could I really make in just one week (actually six days)? What would happen if I gave 100% compliance to every aspect of my life to make a goal? If I took every trick I’ve learned from being in the fitness industry for 15+ years, could I make a difference? Was it worth even doing with such little time? Well, I was extremely surprised with the results and many of my friends were as well. So much so, that I got a wave of messages asking what I did. Since then, I decided to outline my exact strategy in great detail. Hopefully, it can inspire and help someone else.
First, I need to mention a couple of things.
“OUT OF SHAPE”
When I say I let my physique go, I meant I wasn’t pushing my diet and training as hard as I have in the past. I NEVER stopped training and my diet, even at its worst, is still probably better than 85% of the population. That being said, the further out of shape you are, the less this will work. If you are already lean and have a lot of muscle on your frame, the results will be very extreme and noticeable. So, if you have time, get in shape the right way and build some quality muscle while eating the right amounts of healthy food. If you are unsure on how to do this, I can help. Message me! I will list my contact info below.
Get them checked out. Most people could benefit from a full blood panel test. This program only works if you are already healthy. If nothing else, make sure your Testosterone and Estrogen isn’t off. If it is, you are wasting your time and should go see a specialist before doing anything.
This will ONLY work if you do absolutely everything perfect to the point of being obsessed. Don’t scroll down to the supplements and just add those to your normal routine and expect results. As a matter of fact, the supplements are the least effective part of this program. And don’t just look at the sets and reps of the workout and think something is going to change. There’s nothing special there. It’s all about food, sleep, and proper training working in unison.
Ok, with that said, let’s get going
FOOD AND TIMING: This is probably the most important piece of this entire program. It is where you have the most chance to make a change and quick. Macro nutrients are the three main types of calories we use when dieting (Protein, Fat, Carbs). Eating enough and in the right ratio will ensure that your body’s metabolism is happy and firing on all cylinders. Abuse of this eco-system can lead to fatigue, hormone imbalance, fat gain, and many other bad things. However, temporarily manipulating these numbers can have a very powerful effect on your body composition. I kept my meals extremely simple and boring to ensure I didn’t accrue any extra unwanted calories. Now, with the lack of carbs, I was very flat looking and not vascular at all, so the last day leading up to my post-pic/party I tripled my carbs to make sure my muscles looked full. The following is the ONLY food I ate the entire week:
Proteins: White fish, Turkey meat, Chicken, Eggs/Eggwhites, Whey Isolate
Fats: Coconut Oil, Egg yolk, Fish oil, Almonds
Carbs: Plain Oats, White Rice, Broccoli, Green beans
Condiments: Hot sauce, Mustard, Salsa, Salt, Pepper, Creole seasoning
**The amounts of these are the most important part of this and it differs for each person depending on weight, age, body fat, activity level, etc. If you are interested in getting your numbers, message me. I’ll list my contact info below.
Next, comes timing. I made sure I started every day with BCAA’s before my first meal. This ensured my muscles weren’t wasting away while I did my fasted cardio. Then, after my cardio, I got about half of my carbs (oats) for the day in. I saved the rest of my carbs (rice) for after my weight training session and moved more towards only fats as the day went on. (This is the opposite of what I would recommend for daily health by the way). I made sure I had an equal amount of protein in every meal and finished every day with a shake right before bed.
SLEEP: I mentioned earlier how important hormones are for energy, body composition, and general health and wellbeing. Sleep is probably the biggest contributing factor in how well balanced your hormones are. You can do EVERYTHING else right and if your sleep sucks, you suck. I made sure to hit the sack about an hour earlier every night(11:00pm) and made sure I didn’t wake up to an alarm (about 8:00am). I also tried to take an hour long nap every day). I have the luxury of being able to sleep and wake up when I want/need to. I know many of you don’t so I would suggest controlling what you can and simply go to bed a bit earlier to ensure at least 8 hours of sleep a night. I would also suggest taking a nap in your car at work during your lunch break if you have one. Especially since you will have your meals prepped and you won’t be eating out. Use this time wisely. It makes a big difference.
TRAINING: This is the least important as far as deviation goes but the work still has to be put in. You aren’t really going to be able to build any significant amount of muscle in a weeks time. The best you can do is ensure you don’t lose any while you are burning fat and try to focus on getting your muscles to contract and fire as hard and effectively a possible. Because of this, I stuck to a bodybuilding split of an upper body day and a lower body day. I did abs on upper body day and glutes on lower body days (because speedo, haha). I made sure I stayed away from compound big lifts (squats, bench, deadlifts, etc.) and focused on isolation movements. There are several reasons for this: One, multi-joint movements take a lot out of you, especially when you are in an extreme calorie deficit. You will not be able to recover in time to hit them every other day. Two, If you have any imbalances, you will not be contracting all of your muscles equally and remember, our focus is to get the muscles firing as hard as possible (which is even harder when you are taking in close to no carbs). Again, this is the opposite of what I would recommend if you are trying to build muscle over long periods of time. Compound lifts are the BEST way to gain size. Train for strength and the size will come. IFBB competitor and absolute freak Matt Olson once told me “Have you ever seen a guy with a huge bench press and a small chest?” Enough said.
I made sure to get in around 20 sets every session, not including warmups or abs/glutes. Normally that looked like 5 different movements with 4 sets each. I keep my rep range above 12 and went as high as 20 depending on the movement. The important thing here is to keep the weight light enough to FEEL the muscle contract but not go so light that you can do more than 20. I did more chest and quads because I knew I would be in a jacket and a speedo and those were the areas I needed to work on the most.
Cardio…..Ugh, I hate even saying it. Unfortunately, this is where your battle with fat is won or lost when you are in a time crunch. I made sure I got in a minimum of 30min steady state, low impact cardio (heart rate between 120-140bpm) a day and up to an hour. I always did at least 30min fasted in the morning while my insulin levels were at their lowest and my body was more likely to use fat metabolism for energy. Every other day I would add another 20-30min in the afternoon. I would alternate between walking on an incline/hiking, an Airdyne bike, and a Stair-mill. Now, while this works great, I had to be careful not to overdo it simply because my long legs are already my least bulky body part from my broken back at L-5 and those muscles are the first to waste when doing longer cardio sessions.
The next two sections I need to give some love to IFBB Pro Megan Olson. She has a lot of experience in these from years of competing and I pulled a lot of tricks from her book to help put the last bit of the puzzle together. If you are looking to try any type of body composition show, she is the BOSS!
WATER MANIPULATION: This is the hardest part to explain because it differs so much for each person. Many people will tell you it’s a bit of an art but it also makes the absolutely quickest and biggest difference IF YOU ARE ALREADY LEAN. If you can’t already see a little bit of abs, it’s probably not even necessary because you’ll just be light headed and weak for nothing. Basically, you are going to load up on water and sodium for the first 5 days of the week (if you were getting ready for a show, it would be your entire prep leading up to training) and the last two days you will drastically cut both. How much is load up? Well, I drank two gallons a day and had my sodium intake between 3500-5000mg. Then cut it down to half a gallon and about 1000mg the day before and almost no water or sodium the day of. Many people will also use diuretics to get the extra water weight off and while this works great, I highly recommend natural ones and be careful. This is a big reason you hear about people passing out on stage and having issues post show. Remember, your health comes first.
SUPPLEMENTS: I was reluctant to post this part just because most people will look straight to this and honestly, if you don’t do everything else, you won’t see any results. Remember I said this was a challenge to see what would happen if I did EVERYTHING in my power in this short time frame. I used everything as directed. Here is what I chose:
Ultimate Omega 1280mg version (Essential fats great for year round use)
Muscle Pharm CLA core (Fat burning aid)
Jarrow Formulas Acetyl L-Carnitine 500 (Fat burning aid)
Nutrakey ZMA (Sleep aid for hormone health)
Nutrakey Glutamine (Amino acid for helping stop muscle wasting)
Scivation Xtend BCAA’s (Amino acid for helping stop muscle wasting)
Dymatize nutrition ISO 100 (Whey protein)
CTD Sports ISOlicious (Whey protein)
CTD Sports Diuretic extreme (water retention aid)
** I highly suggest you go visit my friends at All About Health. They are the most knowledgeable guys in the area when it comes to supplements and you won’t find prices cheap at any other store. I got all my stuff from them. They are in the Cobb County area but you can also buy from them online at www.allabouthealth.com
I hope this helps people understand what it takes to get results. Remember this was extreme because of the time frame I gave myself. The first step for getting in shape is always a healthy and sustainable training/nutrition program. If you are ready to get serious and take that step but need the direction, I would love to help you get to your goals.