Kosuke came to us as a frustrated novice trainee. While it is true that he didn’t really know what he was doing with his training, the issue in his case was a lack of consistency.
People want immediate results, but results are rarely immediately apparent. When people don’t see results, they struggle to justify taking time away from work and family commitments to get the training done. So they keep training inconsistently, which won’t get them a proper training effect, and they quit. It’s a common motivation trap.
Kosuke, recognizing this, forced himself to make the time by taking the rather extreme step of entering himself into a physique competition for the summer. With just five months spare he sought us out for coaching.
This was a serious time constraint and we hesitated about taking him on as a client. The keys to success for him were three-fold:
- Keeping the calorie deficit fairly modest while leaning out. – If we had taken a more aggressive approach we would have compromised his newbie muscle gain potential.
- Setting clear expectations. – He wasn’t going to win the competition, but as long as he knew this it would function as a useful commitment tool without any disappointment at the end.
- Training with long-term progress in mind. – He wouldn’t be showing off his legs for the physique competition, but we didn’t give him the option of skipping leg work. Deadlifts and squats were still included in his training plan. His goal was to be more consistent with his training and feel in control of his physique, not to look good on stage in shorts on any single day. A well-rounded program gave him options for the future should he want to go into powerlifting or bodybuilding instead.
What was your reason for hiring us?
I stopped all exercise and gained a lot of weight (got up to 80kg) when getting a job after graduating. The bloodwork from my annual checkup was bad, so I knew I had to make a change. I did what I think most people do, had a look around the internet and tried what was the most popular method at the time. I lost weight but rebounded.
After seeing some physique competitor’s videos online I realized that I needed to start training instead of only thinking about my diet. I started some bodyweight training at home last year but wasn’t really getting anywhere with it. I decided to join a gym, entered a physique competition then started looking around the internet more serious looking information. I found your site and liked that the principles you write about are heavily science-based, so I reached out for coaching.
What were your thoughts on the process?
I was struck by the simplicity of it. The counting was a lot easier than I thought. My bodyweight dropped fairly steadily, and though I worried about taking a week’s diet break as you instructed part way through, my weight loss continued thereafter.
The gym I go to has a lot of national-level bodybuilders. I remember them commenting that they couldn’t believe I was getting in such good condition while still eating 180g of carbs. All they believe in is cutting carbs and training hard. I was approached and given unsolicited bro-sciency advice every day, and they were incredulous when I ignored it. I explained who I had hired but they weren’t interested.
I had to eat out one day a week with colleagues but I still got down to a very low body fat level. I hardly had any hunger issues, I just needed to be careful about portion sizes with sweets and deep-fried foods.
How do you feel about the results?
The training plan was a relatively low volume, compound movement focussed routine. As everyone around me was training with a very high volume I was worried whether it would be effective. But it turned out to be a good balance between recovery and stress. The competition I entered had 15 people and I placed 11th. My conditioning (bodyfat level) was on point but I lacked size. I’m very happy with this though given my lack of experience. The competition was just a tool to get me to stay consistent with my diet and training. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how much muscle I can put on over the next year with your help.