Running and weight training helped me get shredded in 5 months

Photo Credit: Ultimate Performance

Photo Credit: Ultimate Performance

William, a 31-year-old lawyer from Los Angeles, shares Men’s health how he burned fat and built muscle by revising his lifestyle and committing to consistency in his diet and exercise.

My job is incredibly stressful and is suitable for late nights, bad eating habits and alcohol / drug abuse. Fortunately, I saw these risks beforehand and tried to ward them off from the beginning. I started training in February 2019 on my own with the goal of losing about 20 pounds and gaining a sixpack through a combination of running and weightlifting with dumbbells. While I lost weight and got some definition, I did not see the type of results I really wanted. I did that for a while through mid-2020 and ran my first half marathon (largely because of Covid).

In October 2020, I got a health anxiety and fainted in my apartment. I went to the emergency room and the doctors’ best explanation was probably stress and lack of sleep. After that, I was scared to train. I was worried that I might faint again and be in a place where I would either seriously injure myself or where no one could help me. I also gave myself a ton more leeway with my diet and turned to comfort foods like pizza repeatedly during the week. Over time, the weight I had been working on slowly returned, and I found myself back on track. In May 2021, I weighed about 169 pounds with 27 percent body fat. I do not remember being embarrassed by the way I looked, but I wanted to change. I knew I had to put it in gear and change my lifestyle forever.

I started training at Ultimate Performance Los Angeles three times a week with weight training: deadlifts, bench presses, hack squats, pendulums, pull ups, lateral pull downs, and accessory work with machines and dumbbells. I also started running again, running a few miles a couple of times a week. And I made sure to get at least 10,000 steps a day every day. I also used to do a HIIT Peloton class once a week along with a 10-minute abs video on YouTube a few times a week.

I had worked with dumbbells before, but no barbell work. Honestly, I was intimidated by barbell work and worried about looking like an idiot in the gym or even worse hurting myself because of bad shape. Lateral pulldowns were really hard for me in the beginning. I felt like a lot of work was being done in my forearms and I would get tired pretty quickly. Kevin, my trainer, coached me to focus on feeling my shoulder blades lift and then focus on consciously pulling my shoulder blades down as I pulled myself through the exercise. Thinking more about it during the repetitions really changed how I did the exercise and made sure I got the most out of my lats. I was trying to focus on the growth that the discomfort would bring me as I stood in the middle of a hard set.

Photo Credit: Ultimate Performance

Photo Credit: Ultimate Performance

I cut out processed foods and focused on eating whole foods with several servings of vegetables a day. I made sure to eat at least 165 grams of protein and tried to drink as close to a gallon of water a day as I could. For the first two weeks of the program, I was on an extremely low carb diet of about 50 grams a day for some sort of reset. In the next few weeks of the program, I was more about 130 grams of carbs a day. It’s that simple. But just because it’s simple, does not mean it’s easy.

A typical day of meals for me during the transformation was an omelette with egg whites and whole eggs with spinach and onions for breakfast. The lunch was typically boneless skinless chicken thighs (which I prefer over chicken breast, but which I should take into account with the extra fat) with cauliflower rice, zucchini, broccoli or peppers. The dinner usually looked like lunch, where the protein was either chicken, salmon, sea bass or a lean steak.

I also cut almost completely out of alcohol. I like to drink but do not need it and would not really want anything to slow down my progress. I attended a bachelorette party for one of my best friends in the middle of the transformation, but Kevin and I planned it and I stuck to spirits instead of beer. As the transformation continued, I occasionally got a glass of wine or cocktail, but at that point I knew how to account for it properly and not let it go out of hand, where it ruined my diet for the day, or how my body felt next time day.

Kevin really helped me be consistent and patient, and taught me not to overreact to fluctuations in weight, but instead to focus on trends over time. He also taught me so much about the right shape and how to really get the most out of every exercise we did. I no longer feel intimidated by walking into a gym, and I’m much more comfortable with barbell work than I had been before I started working out with Kevin.

I travel a lot with work and I had an ordeal in the middle of the transformation. Kevin worked with me to develop a program that I could use while I was away from Ultimate Performance facilities, but it was up to me to make sure I got the training in. What I realized is that even when we seem overwhelmed by work, there is still time where we can figure out the things we really care about. So I found a 24 hour gym and most days I woke up at. the court started that day.

Over the course of five months, I dropped from 169 pounds to 149 pounds, lost 30 pounds of fat and gained 10 pounds in muscle. I also had a DEXA scan done which showed that I had reduced my body fat to 9.7%. I have never really struggled with self-esteem, but my body composition now clearly makes me feel more confident in my physical characteristics. The greatest thing I achieved was increased confidence in my ability to achieve any goal I set myself. I have not tracked health markers or performed blood tests, so I have no idea how they may have changed during the transformation. But overall, I feel healthier with my lifestyle now. I eat better, sleep better, work better. Exercising is a huge stress reducer for me. So even though work stress has increased in recent weeks, keeping my exercise plan consistently has helped me adjust and cope with work in a much healthier way than before.

Photo Credit: Ultimate Performance

Photo Credit: Ultimate Performance

The next goal for me is to run the LA marathon in March. I started training for it towards the end of my transformation and I look forward to pushing my body in a different way. I will say that I have noticed that all the strength training I have done has had an incredibly positive impact on my running. I recover faster and do not handle so many long-term injuries / disorders. Hopefully luck continues.

If you want to improve your fitness but do not know where to start, my advice would be that you should not be afraid to ask for help. Just try to educate yourself on what you need to do to achieve your goals. There are many sellers of fitness snake oil out there, but you can find videos of the right shape or various exercises for free on YouTube. The biggest thing is not about knowing where to start, but just starting in any way at all. As has been said by many so many times, nothing changes if nothing changes.

You might also like

Give a Comment