How do I start a body transformation from scratch?
I get ask by many guys how they should start out on this road of transforming their body.
They know what their end-goal is looking like, but the process just sounds and look very overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been into bodybuilding before.
So with this article let me help you to get it off the ground.
I am assuming you are starting from ground zero…very unfit coach potato with little to no weight training experience.
Sure if you got the money, you can get yourself a personal trainer who will then guide you through the process – however, choose well, not all personal trainers are equal. In the very least, if his body does not look like your end goal body, stay away! You do not want someone with theoretical knowledge, u want someone who has the knowledge AND reached success!
But alas, most of us are not so fortunate to be able to afford a personal trainer.
The good news is that in the early steps (first couple of months) a personal trainer is really not a critical part. (and then after these first few months all you really need is a dedicated training partner with the same goals and dedication as you!)
The critical part is the fact that you have made the decision to change your life and to what degree you are prepared to sacrifice your comfort levels to reach this success.
I don’t know you, but for this one time, tell yourself you’ve made this decision and gonna stick to it no matter what. Then be a MAN and show some dedication and perseverance!
OK, this is now week one, tomorrow is Monday and you want to START!
CORRECT DIETING DETERMINES 80% OF YOUR BODY TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS.
CORRECT AND INTENSE TRAINING (AND NOT OVERTRAINING) DETERMINES 17.5% OF YOUR BODY TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS.
CORRECT SUPPLEMENTATION DETERMINES 2.5% OF YOUR TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS.
So, for now, forget about supplements and only focus on the correct diet and training. Supplements you should only consider once you have the training and diet well under your control.
How to approach the training:
Train 4 days a week for first month: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Rest on the other days or do moderate cardio for not more than 20 minutes.
On these days train with weights (resistance exercises) for not longer than 30 minutes.
During each training session do the following:
- One exercise for biceps
- One exercise for triceps
- One exercise for pecs/chest
- One exercise for shoulders
- One exercise for back
- One exercise for upper legs
- One exercise for calves
- One exercise for stomach.
Each exercise must consist of two sets of 12 reps. No resting between reps. 1 min resting between sets.
Use a light weight allowing you to comfortably do the 12 reps.
Each 7 days increase the weights by about 10%…very important rule, this allows the body and tendons to adapt to the new exercise and weights.
Train 4 days a week for the 2nd month: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Rest on the other days or do moderate cardio for not more than 20 minutes.
On each of these days train with weights for not longer than 40 minutes.
On each of the following day you must do:
- Three exercises for biceps
- Three exercises for triceps
- Three exercises for shoulders
- Three exercises for trapezuims
- Three exercises for pecs/chest
- Three exercises for back
- Three exercises for upper legs
- Two exercises for calves
- Two exercises for stomach.
Each exercise must consist of two sets of 10 reps. No resting between reps. 1 min resting between sets.
Use a light weight allowing you to just-just complete the 10 reps.
Each 14 days increase the weights by about 10%…very important rule, this allows the body and tendons to adapt to the new exercise and weights.
Stay with the same program from month three, but in month three increase the weight size to allow you to achieve muscle failure on the 8th rep in each set. From here onwards do only 8 reps per set and you MUST not be able to do 1 more rep after the 8th rep due to muscle failure!
This is the KEY PRINCIPLE for muscle growth.
At this point you are not considered a novice anymore and can start from month 4 with the following focused transformation training regime: http://gertlouw.wordpress.com/my-transformation-program/
Regarding the execution of exercises and which exercises to choose:
Always do the compound exercises fist in a training session…this simply means it is an exercise that involved the most possible amount of muscles: bench press, shoulder press, squats, deadlift, barbell bicep curls. These are the core group exercises that sparks growth.
Look around in the gym, ask trainers and talk to those who got the muscles to show you on how to correctly execute an exercise – 99% of the guys would be very friendly showing you the ropes.
This is a much simpler aspect and a basic plan can be laid down rather easily. Just remember….you will NOT grow if you do not eat for growth. You need to eat small balanced meals every 3-4 hours from waking up to the point of going to bed. The period just before and after training is also very important.
One thing I realized – I will not grow if I do not get my diet sorted correctly. Diet makes up easily 80% of muscle Building Phase success. I did not believe that in the past and paid hard penalties for wasted effort!
My diet is not a diet to lose weight without training. My diet will work great to lose unwanted weight but only in conjunction with a dedicated and serious training routine.
This is just a sample. It can help you get started and may just be all you need to achieve success. However, each of us are different and body types and sizes vary…so if you have concerns, do more homework or best yet, see a sports doctor or dietician to design a muscle-building diet for you. However, I had GREAT success by following this basic diet structure.
Here an example of my typical dieting routine:
(note: 40g of whey protein shake can easily be exchanged with 6 eggs whites or 150g tuna in brine or 150g chicken fillet, etc…)
MEAL 1: UPON WAKING
1 scoop (20g)
casein protein w/ water 1 scoop (20g)
oats w/ fat-free milk 1 bowl
honey 2 tbsp
egg whites 4
whey protein w/ 400ml water 1 scoop (20g)
apple 1 medium
MEAL 4 – 45min before training
whey protein w/ 400ml water 2 scoops (40g)
MEAL 5: POST WORKOUT
whey protein w/ 400ml water 2 scoops (40g)
banana 1 medium
casein protein w/ 400ml water 2 scoops (40g)
steak chicken, or fish 150g
veggies or salad w/ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 large serving
MEAL 8: BEFORE BED
500g of fat free cottage cheese
More Diet Info:
For extra calcium and protein, I sometimes mixed my shake with fat-free milk. However, water is cheaper. I never drank concentrated shakes. I used at least 400ml of water/fat-free milk.
Oats and muscle-building go perfect together as a morning meal. Oats release their energy slowly throughout the day, so I won’t feel drained or experience hunger pangs. Substitutions: none really, nothing comes close to oats. Sometimes I used cinnamon over my oats. Be careful of the calorie count and do not exceed the calorie count of the oats.
The 50g at this meal was a solid food protein. I was weary of bananas. They are excellent directly after working out, but due to their quick releasing energy, I want to avoid them at any other time. Substitutions: 50g protein = 4 medium size egg whites / small piece of chicken fillet/fish or beef fillet.
By small is meant about half a fist size. Although the yellow of an egg is healthy, the amount of calories it has due to its fat content makes it unsuitable for muscle-building purposes. At most I took one yellow and mixed it in with the 4 whites. But as stated, it’s best without.
This I took immediately before working out. Substitutions: None
Note this is the ONLY time I ate a banana. My body requires immediate energy after workout and a banana is excellent in providing it. Substitutions: The whey and glutamine cannot be substituted. However, the banana can be replaced by 200ml fruit juice, any flavor. Apple works great. But, a banana stays the number one choice.
Small evening meal with no starches, only veggies/salad and protein (fillet, chicken or fish – 150g). No butter and limited salt with veggies/salad. I used a liberal (2 spoons) amounts of extra virgin olive oil with salad/veggies.
Substitutions: Although the casein protein powder is preferred, I sometimes ate 250g fat free cottage cheese.
General Diet Points:
- I did not eat starches after 6 p.m. That means no rice, pasta, bread, rusks, potato, etc.
- The protein portion in the evening was a solid food and is typically the size of my fist in volume.
- All the protein portions were fat-free. I chose chicken fillet, beef fillet or fish.
- I was careful to use sauces over protein. It adds a lot of unwanted calories. I rather use herbs and spices liberally and things like squeezed lemon juice, basic gravy sauce. I also tried to cook the chicken in orange juice for a tangy change.
- I allowed myself a large salad portion. But we are only talking basic salad here, no fancy stuff. Only green leafs, tomato, cucumber, gherkin, seeds, very little nuts and some parmesan shavings allowed. I used 2 spoons of extra virgin olive oil over salad. For a something different, I also used balsamic vinegar to taste. It goes especially nice with the olive oil.
- Cooked and raw veggies were allowed.
- Butter and salt were a taboo for me. However, over veggies I used a tablespoon of butter for taste purposes.
Critical Diet Points I Adhered Too:
- I tried staying away from diet carbonated drinks and too much coffee (only 2 cups daily with fat-free milk and no sugar). Both these items act as a mild diuretic and means I will have to drink even more water to replace the water lost as a result. Plus the sweeteners used in diet carbonated drinks are questionable!
- I NEVER skipped a meal. This is the #1 enemy for Building Phase muscles.
- I never ate more than the suggested amounts, otherwise I would gain fat.
- I never ate less than the suggested amounts or I would struggle to build muscle.
- I ate my meals even if I felt full!
- My meals were spaced between 3-4 hours apart.
- I used NO alcohol during the week and weekends only one glass of wine or one beer per day. Alcohol is a big enemy of dieting and building muscles. Cutting it out completely is the best option.
- I do NOT smoke. I cannot be successful at building muscles and continue smoking, the two oppose each other.
- Sweets and chocolate: Sorry, I had none of these.
- Cheat meal? Once per week (only one meal). I never stuffed myself (important), but had a sit-down meal and ate whatever my taste buds felt like including my favorite dessert.
Why did I use two different proteins powders?
- Whey isolate is a quick releasing protein powder and perfect to use when my body requires an immediate uptake of protein.
- Casein protein is used when I need a slow uptake of protein, for example while I am sleeping.
- I tried to use trusted local (South African) supplements when I can, simply because they are cheaper than the imported ones.
Why so many shakes?
- Well, simply to make my life easier. I did not have the time to stand for hours at night preparing the next day meals. But know this, solid protein sources are always preferred to protein shakes if you can manage the time. But I was careful not to replace my existing solid meals with shakes. The human body was not designed to live on liquids alone.
Remember – Each one who has reached body transformation success holds some truth. Use these recipes but keep on educating yourself and starting to mould it to make it your own unique winning recipe that suites you best.
Never change more than one aspect at a time before verifying that it works and only then introduce another change.
It is a battle of the mind and wills…but we each has but ONE life to live…and we need to make it the BEST life we can!
Don’t wake up like me at 41 and start making a difference…if u are young, use that opportunity and never live with any regrets about wasted opportunities! But that being said, even if you are 60, you can still transform to kick many a lazy 25 y/o’s ass! Time is precious…never let it slip you by.
I wish u MUCH success!