- By Jacob McClay
Ever since the day I moved to Madrid, my cousin Stacey and I have always trained together. One day, Stacey approached me asking if I fancied getting into quite possibly the best shape of my life, I thought why not? He gave me an outline of what we would be doing, which was turning someone mildly overweight, and a bit podgy around the mid-section; into someone with about 7% body fat. Before starting the program we had the slight problem being that I wasn’t fat. So, Stacey encouraged me to eat whatever I wanted for three months prior to starting the plan in February. This, combined with not really going to the gym, was what I found difficult although the constant binging was highly enjoyable.
I had guessed that the plan would be very restrictive in regards to anything and everything. And when I say anything and everything I mean eating out, snacking, and drinking. I mentally prepared to replace my usual social habits with training religiously six days a week (he wanted seven sessions a week to which I politely declined).
We started the first week of February...
...at which convenient time I fell ill so we had to prolong starting another week. What did make it easier was that Stacey was also following a very similar plan, so I knew that he was going to be equally as unhappy as me for the next nineteen weeks! However, it was great having all my workouts and meals planned which was a real benefit as counting calories is a huge effort and takes a very long time to balance everything out appropriately, especially when wanting to change shape so quickly. The main goal was to really cut down then build out.
I remember that after the first week my body was exhausted. All I craved was a burger and a beer. However, after about a month, the cravings went away and the thought of eating biscuits, processed rubbish and trans-saturated fat was repulsive, my cravings were for larger rice dishes as I was only consuming about 1800 kcal daily.
My real motivation came after about two months, as I was already in quite possibly the best shape I had ever been in, I had a full on six pack and felt incredibly healthy. The difficult bit was done due to the fact that during the first two months I hadn’t consumed more than 2,200 calories in a single day. I finished those two months exhausted and loathing Sundays, as we would always do sprints and ‘stair runs’. Stair runs involved running up stairs. We started by doing three or four sets of normal 80 meter sprints, then onto five by five stair runs each being about 80 meters up, these were quite possibly the worst thing I have ever done and the worst part was that Stacey and I raced on the stairs. I always lost, though, racing a 6”3 blond monster there was never much hope.
After the stair runs we would move onto a full body-weight workout. This was the point where I really realized that if you don’t train hard, you won’t get results, unless you are genetically very lucky, which unfortunately, most of us aren’t.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the first two months, we were almost half way through, I felt and looked great. I hadn’t really had many alcoholic drinks; my cap was four glasses of red wine a week. The only thing I felt I really missed was partying, as for me I really like to go out and have a drink, so not being able to ‘get on it’ took something away from the experience. Not eating junk food was easy as I have always been a healthy eater.
On to the next phase of the program was much more interesting, the video post doesn’t necessarily represent what we did so accurately. The next two months were spent lifting heavily. I was hitting a 100kg (220lb) bench press for four reps, bearing in mind that my body weight was a mere 68kg, I thought that it wasn’t bad at all. We were also increasing the food intake each week, exceeding 4000kcal at one point which was a lot of food and a lot of energy. What surprised me the most at this point was that while eating 4000 kcal a day I was still losing a lot of body fat, which was great. I suppose when eating perfectly with no junk food and virtually no alcohol your body is made to utilize fat as fuel. The meals became more interesting as I could actually eat a substantial amount of food. I prepped everything on Sunday morning, and it took about two hours, but with a few coffees and some good music it was quite enjoyable. Even though I was working a full week I had so much more spare time, I spent no time on food whatsoever, breakfast was measured out, nuts were weighed and main meals wear already cooked, the only thing I had to prep daily was an egg omelet, which took five minutes. I then had a lot of time to spend on my other hobbies like studying Spanish, reading and watching series’. I could still go out, my social life was more than something based around just drinking which, in many aspects, was better.
Then, the final two weeks of the plan came, at this point we were both exhausted and so excited to finish. I had obtained a small shoulder injury during the last six weeks so we had to really change my chest exercises which had a big impact on the end result. Although it came as no surprise as I was lifting heavy on each body part twice a week.
The last two weeks were horrendous, we wanted to get the effect where your skin appears to be stuck to your muscle. That granite look.
As salt holds water, we cut it down drastically for almost two weeks. Only then to add it back in a few days before the final photo which gave my muscles a really full effect. A lot of protein was consumed, very low carbs and then the last few days they were almost tripled to help bulk me out further, by this point I wasn’t feeling great. Training was based around full-body workouts with high reps to help fill the muscles with blood.
This was by far the hardest part as I had almost no energy.
The day of the final photo came and I couldn’t have been more relieved.
I have to say it was a truly great experience and if you have the time and dedication I would strongly recommend it, however you have to sacrifice a lot of time and enjoyment to some degree. I would definitely do it again at some point in my life, though not any time soon.
To see the full transformation video, click here