I have always been keen on lifting weights to help further myself at playing rugby and always wanted to look good aswell. However after I had spent 5 months in Sweden eating rubbish and drinking far too much alcohol I realised I had packed the pounds on and had grown a muffin top!
I was still going to the gym regularly while I was living in Stockholm and was quite strong. Therefore I guessed it was my diet that needed to be changed. I had a look around on the internet for inspiration of what to change and got nowhere as there is so much crap out there so I decided to get help of a nutritionist. This lead me to get in contact with Ben Coomber of Body Type Nutrition. I already had Ben as a friend on Facebook and had noticed his posts that cut out all the bullshit and got to the point. I always believe that if you are going to follow someones advice then they have to be someone that inspires you. Ben has similar interests to me as he is also a keen rugby player but he was in great shape unlike myself.
Before we could make any changes Ben wanted me write down everything I was eating on a daily basis and complete a questionnaire to identify my goals. Once he had seen what my diet was like and looked through the questionnaire, he suggested that we try carb-backloading. Carb-backloading is basically where you consume carbs when your body most requires them so post workout to achieve optimal recovery and build good quality muscle. I had always associated low carb diets with burning fat, but never with building muscle. As for the training routine, I was put onto a Power Hypertrohpy Adaptive Training (PHAT) routine that was 5 days a week which uses both strength and hypertrophy training methods.
At the beginning when we first started working together I was 13 stone 5 lbs at between 13-15% bodyfat. The first week of nutrition concentrated on being low carb/ high fat to convert my body from using carbohydrate as its fuel to fats. Ben did tell me that I would feel slightly tired during this week and work was a bit of a struggle but once my body had adapted I was full of energy and was no longer struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. I was really enjoying the PHAT training as the routines were altered to work with my gym setup at home and contained loads of big compound movements such as clean and jerk, squat, deadlift and farmers walk. The routines were also changed every 5 – 6 weeks to prevent plateauing. It made sense to me that if you could lift more while performing a hypertrophy rep range then surely I would get bigger?
One of the biggest changes that I noticed in terms of nutrition was breakfast. I used to have a pretty standard breakfast like the majority of people that consisted of porridge. However that was scrapped and replaced with omelettes stuffed with meat and veg. At the time my calorie intake at this time was between 3000 and 3500.
I kept on powering through the workouts and stuffing my face with veg and meat and it was only when Ben replied to some of my progress pictures saying “DUUUUUUDE this is f**king sick, have you seen the changes!?!?!” and put together the comparison photos that I have used in this post, that I realised my body had changed quite a lot.
In the after photos which were taken 5 months after Ben and I started working together I had gained 10lbs and lost about 6% bodyfat.
We then got talking about the possibility of competing in the WBFF. I had never really thought about competing before, but I have always been the sort to say no harm will come from having a go and throw myself into different situations. Competing was one of the proudest moments for me and was a eye opener. I didn’t win the show but I was over the moon with having competed just to prove to myself that anything is possible. I definitely would compete again but I am currently concentrating on my career but may try again in a few years time.
I’d like to say thank you to Ben for all his help and support as I know I wouldn’t have managed to make such a change without his help. It is well worth checking out Ben Coomber’s blog or going over to Body Type Nutrition. He also does a weekly podcast that is free to listen to and is well worth a listen.