Earlier this year CHPC level 3 coach and long time client Jes Murphy told me she needed a goal, with just under 6 weeks to the IFBB Australasian Championships she wanted to step up on stage in the bikini model category and also get a new round of personal shots done for her portfolio.
Over the course of the next 6 weeks she went from 57kg body weight down to 55kg, but her lean muscle increased by over 3 kg’s and her body fat dropped several percentage points.
Now as you can see from the before photo, whilst already semi-lean with a good base she did not have the extreme conditioning or the balanced musculature to present with a competition ready physique at that time by any means.
Never the less I knew in 6 weeks I could get her into the best shape of her life provided she followed these 5 pivotal rules:
1) Be prepared to train hard
Whilst this may sound simple the truth is most people have never really trained hard in their life. Some of the sessions Jes went through in the program I outlined brought her to tears and she is not the type of girl to cry… and that was just for shoulders! They were tough and brutal but she persevered and got on with it. You will never train as hard on your own as you can with a coach, even though Jes is a trainer herself and clearly trains hard she knows that the investment of having a coach to get that extra 25% out of her is the difference between an okay result and a spectacular result.
2) Follow a structured training program
For her goal I needed to bring her shoulders and back up to match the size of her legs, so a big focus of the 6 weeks was training these body parts. For the duration of the 6 weeks she trained shoulders 3 x per week via the Frank Zane method which is a neat little trick I learned from Charles Poliquin back in 2010 at a semi-private internship at the Eleiko centre in Halmstad, Sweden. Basically you train the weak body part 3 straight days in the following format:
- Day 1 – Relative strength, so targeting your type 2B muscle fibres. So think 2-5 reps depending on the client, 120-180 second rest periods and compound movements. Straight sets also works well here, so A1/B1/C1.
- Day 2 – Functional hypertrophy, so this is where you target your intermediate muscle fibres, your type 2A. So think 6-8 reps, 100-90 second rest periods and a combination of compound and isolation movements. With the program I did here we did 5 different shoulder exercises, so A1 then B1/B2 followed by a C1/C2.
- Day 3 – Hypertrophy/strength endurance, this is where you basically just trash the hell out the target muscle. In this workout I did a Milos Sarcev inspired giant set and it consisted at the end of over 800 reps on shoulders. Yes that is not a typo!
An example of the type of training torture Jes went through can be seen below in a similar video of me training industry leading trainer and bikini model Rachel Guy…
3) Follow a specific calorie controlled nutrition plan
Whilst I don’t always advocate calorie controlled plans, when it comes to attaining maximal body composition changes in the shortest period of time in my opinion they are a necessity. However calorie controlled does not mean calorie restricted, whilst there will always be a certain amount of sacrifice when it comes to dieting down for a photo shoot or show you do not need to damage your body in the process.
Jes body weight only went from 57kg down to 55kg over the course of the 6 weeks, as you can see though the composition of that weight changed drastically. For the first 4 weeks of this program she consumed over 2200 calories per day, only in the last two weeks did we drop those numbers down under that figure as we depleted her for the competition. Her macro split varied over the course of the 6 weeks depending on where she was at and only in the final week did her daily carb intake drop under 50gm. Keep in mind as I had done her blood work prior to commencing this 6-week phase I knew what nutritional deficiency’s she had and we supplemented accordingly to ensure her health was maintained over this period.
So if you have a coach who has you on 1000 calories per day for anything longer than 2 weeks my advice is run and seek advice from someone who cares about your health first and your results second!
4) Run a basic blood chemistry profile
With just 6 weeks you need to have every tool at your disposal. As a nutritionist and personal trainer I like to look at every piece of the puzzle when it comes to my clients getting results. However even if you do not have that back ground the 3 base blood tests that any Dr can run for you to help maximize your results are:
- 25-OH Vitamin D3: I like to see my clients at no less than 120nmol/L (Douglas Hanly). The closer to that marker the better your insulin sensitivity, detoxification abilities, maximal strength… the list of benefits goes on!
- Red cell zinc: I like to see my clients at no less than 2.5 umol/ghb (Laverty pathology). Zinc helps boost immune system strength and more importantly for the physique competitor and anti-aromatase agent.
- Red cell magnesium: I like to see my clients at no less than 7.5 umol/ghb (Douglas Hanly). Magnesium deficiency will lead to disturbed sleep patterns, slower recovery from training along with increased levels of stress hormones floating around the body.
I ran a lot more on Jes but those base tests will help ensure your client is getting the most out of your program.
5) Targeted supplementation
All to often in our industry clients are recommended copious amounts of supplements to get the results they are after. Whilst some people may warrant it the majority of clients do not and if you do the first 3 points listed above correctly supplementation will play a smaller result in the overall picture than you expect.
With Jes after running her CBC I knew exactly what her body needed so it made my job easier. As her workload is huge – she was still doing 50+ PT sessions per week over these 6 weeks – I focused more on supplements to aid her in sleep such as magnesium and inositol, magnesium was high in particular as it came back very low in her CBC.
As her liver enzymes and bilirubin were elevated from her blood work I had her on a specific formula designed at helping her gall bladder and liver function more effectively along with a plant based digestive enzyme to help overall digestion. I also had her on anti-estrogens such as calcium d glucarate and DIM. An overview of her protocol over the 6 weeks was as follows:
- 1 x plant based digestive enzyme with every meal
- 1000mg of carnitine with her first two meals of the day
- 2 x DIM tid
- 2 x Calcium d glucarate tid
- 2 x Liver/gall bladder formula tid
- ½ x scoop inositol with last two meals
- 1500mg of magnesium with last two meals (3000mg per day!)
- 1 x tbs flax hulls pre-bed
- Vitargo, amino acids and/or BCAA’s were used around and during her workouts depending on the phase of training
The rest of her nutrients she got in from her balanced nutrition plan. As you can see the protocol above is nice and simple and not overly complicated!
In summary the 5 points above can be applied to any body composition goal, the other point not mentioned is that you (or in my case the client) must be focused and ready to do what is needed to get the job done!
Yours in health,
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