Jacob's 12 Week Transformation
I was upfront with Jacob from the start about why we didn’t usually offer “transformation” packages.
The nature of time pressured personal training transformations lend themselves to rapid unsustainable weight loss and no real understanding of what happened, why it worked or where to go once the 12 weeks are up. It’s kind of like an expensive version of a 12 week juice diet.
I told Jacob in the cheesiest terms possible that I instead wanted to “transform” his perception of food, of training, and of what a healthy lifestyle actually entails. This change in perception would help him stay on track for life, rather than simply enduring 12 weeks of hunger.
So what did we do?
1. Understanding weight gain and weight loss
We discussed the concept of energy balance. This is our body’s intricate design to extract energy from food, use this energy to live, breathe, grow and move, and store spare energy for later use.
We discussed that ultimately weight loss requires less energy to be going in than going out.
We talked through different food types and how they can affect how full we are and how hungry we are. We looked at how to eat more voluminous foods, while still consuming less calories.
2. Designing a meal plan
We talked through Jacob’s likes and dislikes, the foods he couldn’t live without, and the foods he didn’t mind losing for a while. We discussed some foods that might be useful to put in to help him feel fuller and talked about the benefits of increasing his protein intake to support his training.
With all this information we created a meal plan based around these foods. The plan brought Jacob to a suitable level below his maintenance calorie target and around 2g of protein per kg of lean body mass.
3. Designing a training plan
The biggest factor in Jacobs transformation was going to be losing body fat. However, building some muscle alongside this would help to reduce body fat percentage further, and improve body composition.
As with all clients, training is bespoke to the individual. In Jacob’s case we were looking for the best bang for our buck in terms of muscle recruitment and anabolic response. AKA exercises that would give him the best chance of building muscle fast!
We took a full body training approach 3 times per week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. This afforded us optimal amounts of frequency, volume and rest.
I was also upfront with Jacob about the “secret” to building muscle. Which is progressive overload, adequate volume, recovery and consistency.
We designed a programme that tracked three big compound movements: the back squat, over head press and trap bar deadlift. These exercises were chosen not just for their efficiency and effectiveness, but because they were exercises Jacob enjoyed and was good at! He wasn’t restricted by any major mobility issues in these movements, and was able to start training with them early on and increased weight slowly every session.
Alongside these main lifts we looked for exercises Jacob was able to perform efficiently and really engage with the muscle he was trying to train (There’s no point doing hundreds of lat pull downs if you’re not engaging the lats). The purpose here was to add good quality sets and reps, making optimal use of our time. Again we chose exercises that targeted every major muscle group. As it happened Jacob seemed to respond very well to cable exercises and found more muscle activation than with their free weight counter parts.
There's no one size fits all optimal muscle building programme. Importantly however, this type of programme was one Jacob enjoyed, kept him coming back and allowed him to really push himself on every exercise without worrying about if he was feeling it in the right place or not. This is a recipe for an effective, efficient workout.
Jacob lost 17kg of weight in total. In fact, he actually lost 20kg of body fat and gained 3kg of muscle. His body fat percentage went from 30% to 13%. These are remarkable results in 12 weeks.
Why Jacob did so well:
The single reason Jacob succeeded was because he consistently adhered to his training and nutrition for the time required. Every week, every session.
We invested the time getting the meal plan right from the start, with foods he enjoyed, and helpful swaps and hacks.
He understood the effect that things like alcohol, chocolate, crisps and burgers would have on his diet, and how he could include and manage them, rather than fear them forever.
He was still able to enjoy things he liked, and go out with his friends.
We found a style of training he enjoyed and was excited about.
He began to see the value in what we were doing, and having the knowledge and confidence to do it for himself.
Focus on transforming your perception of training and exercise.
The physical mechanisms of a body transformation are simple enough:
Adhere to an appropriate calorie intake
Get better at something physically demanding
The difficulty is finding a way of eating, and style of training that allows you to do this consistently, while still doing the things you enjoy in life.
We found a style that worked for Jacob, find out more about how we can help you find yours.