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So you want to get shredded?

Sep 22 2014


Ever wondered what it takes to get in this sort of condition?

Here is my 14 week transformation achieved through three highly effective methods. Hard Work, determination and consistency. Competing in a fitness/physique competition is becoming more and more popular year on year for both men and women. Here is my story, which I hope you enjoy and take inspiration from. It will be the craziest journey mentally and physically of your life…
So here I am in all my glory at week 1, front, back and side.
Week 2 of 16 relaxed photos

I guess I’d better start training and eating right, hey?

I am on stage in 14 weeks or 98 days as my handy countdown iPhone app tells me.
Let me set the record straight, from the beginning. There are many ways to skin a cat, and many ways to get into amazing physical condition.
This post is about my 14-week journey of how I went from a normal lad who enjoyed training and eating healthily. To stepping on stage in the International Natural Bodybuilding Association as a Physique Athlete for the first time and getting in reasonably good condition.
3R5A1838 rw
Let’s take it back a little:
My 14-week physique journey actually started 4 years ago in 2010. This crazy social media platform called Twitter and Facebook were suggesting I follow some people who happened to be the most shredded blokes I have ever seen and were smiling while posting positive messages to get up and go and achieve something/anything in life.
It started following Alex Body, Shaun Stafford, Jamie Alderton, Luke Haslett, Scott Baptie, then it just expanded with amazing additions such as Ben Coomber, Phil Learney, Nick Mitchell and even more. I was more interested in what these athletes were doing and eating than the attention seeking “Facebook Not Seen You For 8 Years Friends”.
So I just followed these guys for 4 years (sounds stalkerish but that’s social media) and then my transformation started? Er, not exactly.

The more I was learning from these guys the more I was understanding that being “in stage condition” is 100% about being consistent, determined, training hard for months (on top of the foundation of muscle they have built over the previous years) and dieting to extremes through various different methods suited to the individual.
It was certainly not going out with “the lads” three times a week, smashing a Nandos at any given opportunity, training 3-4 times a week which consisted of a lot of chest, shoulders, back and arms and eating whenever I felt hungry with no focus on hitting protein, fat or carbohydrate targets.
Next comes the massive key player when contemplating stepping on stage, the crazy psychological factors. This was my biggest issue and one that I highly advise people to think about.
If you’re fancy feeling depressed at times, have low energy, become erection deprived, feel depleted, become a social recluse, constantly feel cold and have sleepless nights then competing is definitely your thing.
The time is finally right:
So after 4 years here I am.
I am now in a stable well paid job that allows me to eat when I need to and it also means I can afford to compete. I am also single, so I have more time and money and the reduction of having a low carb rage has therefore been reduced dramatically. One big factor is that winter has just set in so social events and all dayers in beer gardens will be non-existent, however there will be other events but we can deal with these nearer the time.

Let’s get started:
Firstly I would highly advise getting a coach if you are competing for the first time. You need that accountability and voice of reason when you start doubting yourself. And you will start doubting yourself.
There are so many body transformation/physique coaches around these days it can get a bit confusing. My 4 years of social media research prior to this competition helped. I had 2 weeks to confirm who I wanted as a coach and that therefore gave me 14 weeks of solid hard work before I step on stage.
I opted for a well-known body transformation specialist, Luke Haslett. I had a couple of others in mind such as Jamie Alderton or Scott Baptie but Lukes no BS approach seemed right for me.
I would suggest to anyone who wants to compete that they should spend time finding the right coach. Follow them on social media, make sure you see proof that they know what they are doing and more importantly that you can commit to their style.
One massive factor you have to realise and get into your head straight away. A coach can only provide you with a nutrition plan (which is hopefully personalised to you) and a training manual. It is up to you to actually carry it out, day after day. No Excuses!
The highs, the lows and more lows:
I always believe if you want to achieve something then nothing less than 100% should be given to that task. If you “kind of” want it, then you will sadly kind of fail, simple as that.
Becoming a physique competitor is the toughest and biggest personal challenge I have had to ever face. 14 weeks of early morning workouts, late night gym sessions after a full day working, low carb moods, relentless temptations everywhere, constantly waiting for your next meal, never feeling full, people telling you that you look skinny/gaunt and these are just a handful off the top of my head.
What you will learn throughout the whole process is what sort of character you really are.
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I have learnt that I am a one goal driven, determined, self-motivated individual that will not let anything stop me from achieving my ambition.
I believe now that if you can transform your body whether you step on stage or not you can achieve anything in life.
So here I am 4 years and 14 weeks on from seeing my first shredded physique competitor and this is how I did it.
My Personal Breakdown Of The Last 14 Weeks:

One Statement I Tried To Live By When Cutting

One Statement I Tried To Live By When Cutting

I documented the whole process from day 1 for several reasons. I wanted to personally be able to look back at my achievement, but more importantly I wanted to give “You, the reader”, a complete insight into what it takes to compete or get into sub 10% body fat levels within 14 weeks.
If you don’t fancy reading each week (links are at the bottom), then let me summarise it to give you a complete overview.

Nutrition and Training Plan:
My Nutrition and Training Plan for the 14 weeks cost me, £1000 ($1500). Spending this much money should certainly give you the motivation otherwise you have just purchased an expensive PDF document.
Now I have a plan I need to buy some food and supplements.
Over the whole 14 weeks, I spent the following on food. Below are the majority of foods I was told to eat due to their macro profile.
Weekly Foods
Food Breakdown:
Salmon (19.6kg) at £394 ($686)
Kangaroo (14.0kg) at £71 ($126)
Chicken (5kg) at £28.50 ($50)
Broccoli (12.25kg) at £34 ($60)
Greek Yoghurt (35kg) at £200 ($350)
Spinach (19.6kg) at £18 ($32)
Oats (8.4kg) at £26 ($46)
Cashew Nuts (4.9kg) at £31 ($54)
Food Total Cost = £800 ($1404.00)
Don’t forget to add in your spices, condiments, herbal teas, low kcal jelly, gherkins, cucumbers and rice.

So we have the most important aspects of my plan sorted, a decent coach, 1 training program and my food cupboards full. Totalling £1,800 already.
You will also need supplementation throughout the whole 14 weeks. Below is the complete breakdown of all the supplements I took and the total costs at the time of purchase. As I mentioned at the start, this programme was created for me and therefore these supplements were provided to assist my goals. There are 100’s of supplements out there, some which could benefit performance and results but there are some that are just a complete waste of money, so keep an open mind and do your own research.
Part Time Job Just Getting Ready For A Workout.

Part Time Job Just Getting Ready For A Workout.

Supplement Breakdown:
Whey Isolate 3.5kg: £131 ($230)
Casein 3.1kg: £108 ($190)
Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy 1.3kg: £116 ($204)
Glutamine 840g: £56 ($99)
Creatine 420g: £20 ($35)
BCAAs 840g: £80 ($140)
Supplement Totals: £511 ($898.00)
I also took 10 x Fish Oils (1000mg) 4 x Vitamin D3, 2 x Multi Vitamins daily and Magnesium Spray in the evening.

A total spend so far, £2,311. I would like to say this is it but we still have a lot more. The below will vary between individual. I personally had 1 personal training session a week. I got the trainer in this session to take my body fat measurements and progress photos and with the remaining time he pushed me through some great leg workouts.
You will also need to take into consideration gym memberships, posing classes, gym clothing, spray tans, competition entry fees and a cheeky photo shoot at the end of it all.
 The Extras:
Personal Training (1 session a week at $50.00): £400 ($700)
Gym Membership (1 month = $88.00): £175 ($308)
Posing Classes (5 sessions in total at $75.00/session): £215 ($375)
Clothing: (5 Gym Tops & 1 Pair of Shorts), Trainers (1 New Pair) + Extras (dream tan) £256 ($450)
Spray Tan: £57 ($100)
Membership and Event Entry Fees: £228 ($400)
Photographer for a 2-hour photo shoot: £214 ($375)

After all these factors have been taken into consideration and there could possible be more depending on your requirements, but after the 14 weeks I have invested, £3,710.00 (£38 per day minimum) to achieve a goal and achievement that nobody can take away from me and one that will make me proud for years to come.
Hopefully you are still with me. This total figure seems like a lot but you have to take the following into account. You would need to eat anyway so you would spend money on food. If you are already training then you will be paying out for a gym membership and supplements.
One factor that you really need to take into consideration is the fact you will not be spending any money on nights out if you really want to achieve stage condition. Alcohol has been a no go from Day 1 and the amount of money I have saved has therefore allowed me to spend money on achieving this goal.
Training, the easy part I like to think when it comes to getting in stage condition. If you want to seriously get in great shape over the 14 weeks you must love working out, end of.
You must have that love to train when you have done a hard days work on your third consecutive day of just 50g of carbs. Even when your muscles are still sore from the last session and the weather is awful, you still have to walk to the gym and train with the intensity as your first workout.
14 weeks of training, twice a day (I was performing cardio in the morning then weight training in the evenings as this worked best for me), 5 times a week.
Let me help summarise the 14 weeks with the data below of what I went through from day 1 to day 98.
 Number of resistance workouts: 70 (5 per week)
Number of sets: 3462
Number of cardio sessions: 84 (6 per week)
Hours spent in the gym: 210 total hours (15 hours each week or 2.5 hours each day)
Number of kilometres cycled per week: 150km
Total kilometres cycled throughout prep: 2100km

To complete all of the above without some form of motivation other than your inner desire, I had some great aids in various forms. Podcasts, music, books and coffees are all powerful gym partners. They will help you dig that bit deeper and provide you with powerful motivation.
Number of Podcast: 22 (Massive thanks to Ben Coomber for his awesome Podcasts)
Number of different playlists: 11
Number of iPods lost/broken/used: 3
Number of Audiobooks: 4
Number of Pre Workout Black Coffees: 110

If I saw the above data before I started my physique journey I would have been reading it opened mouthed thinking, “What the hell?” However just like with any new challenge or journey. You just have to take the first step.
3R5A1688 rw
If you want to even more details and a week by week account then please feel free to click on the individual blog posts below:
Week 1:
Week 2:
Week 3:
Week 4:
Week 5:
Week 6:
Week 7:
Week 8:
Week 9:
Week 10:
Week 11:
Week 12:
Week 13:
My Final Thoughts Post Show:
Training to step on stage is one long lonely journey. I am still overwhelmed by the support I received throughout the process. The emotion and sense of achievement I felt the moment this photo was taken will stay with me for the rest of my life. Even though I did not place at the event, I did not care. The journey of just getting there has so much more importance.
Please contact me if you have any questions or opinions regarding anything I have stated. Thanks for reading, stay healthy and happy. Ben

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