By Paul Amos, EFBB London Champion, Professional Model
Please note: This article is probably not suited to you if you want to get as MASSIVE as possible. However, if you want a physique similar to Paul's then read on...
When many of us set out in our quest to get the body that we desire we have an image in our mind of what, or who we want to look like. In this article i am going to explain to you, how using those images, i have gone from being very overweight and out of shape throughout my teens and early twenties to being able to have a body that i am proud of at the age of 25...
Firstly, what i will say is that throughout my training career, i have had a clearly defined image in my mind of how i wanted to look. Which is to have an aesthetic, healthy, fit looking physique with a reasonable, natural looking amount of muscle, coupled with a low body fat percentage so my "abs" are clearly visible. From my experience i would say that that is the ideal for a large number of men that i know who train.
It was never my intention to train to compete in bodybuilding competitions or get massive, or to become a serious competitive athlete. My sole intentions for beginning to train were purely to make myself look better, feel better about myself, give me some more self-confidence and to be able to take my shirt off without feeling embarrassed!
I quickly learned after training for a while that to maximise the results of my physical efforts with the training i initially began doing at home and then later on in the gym, i had to couple it with a sound nutrition plan. By that i do not mean a strict, stringent diet that is going to leave you hungry all of the time, and your motivation to train at zero. In fact the exact opposite. I have learned of the need to fuel my body with good clean foods at regular intervals that leave me satisfied, energised and raring to go when its time to train. When talking about the kind of nutrition plan i used to follow when i was out of shape in my teens it was something along the lines of :-
Breakfast : 4 Slices of white toast with butter and peanut butter. Cup of tea with 2 sugars.
11am : Sausage Roll, Mars bar, Can of Coke
Lunch : Steak and Kidney pie, fried chips,baked beans
3 pm : Packet of Crisps
6-7pm : Deep fried Chicken Nuggets, Onion rings, Chips and Mushy peas
Bedtime snack : Cheese sandwich with butter on white bread.
That's the truth!
When i first began to train I continued with that similar eating pattern and it goes without saying that the results i was seeing were not particularly impressive. I wonder why!
I began to almost resent the fact that i felt as if i was expending a lot of effort in the gym or out running on the road and nothing was really happening. That's when i realised that simply training alone would not get me the body that i want. There is no truer saying in my opinion... YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT...
Imagine you had the sleekest, fastest, most technologically advanced car available and you filled the tank with diesel. Is that car going to perform to it`s potential???
So with this in mind i decided i needed to over haul my nutrition plan. Something which i was scared to do at first simply because i absolutely love to eat and cannot abide being hungry! A fear i`m sure many people incur when they think about changing their diet. You eat those foods for a reason... Because you enjoy them! But having done it and got used to it i find that i don`t feel hungry, i have more energy, i actually enjoy the foods i eat now more because i know it`s benefiting my training and therefore my physique and its not clogging up my arteries.
Although this has been modified over the last couple of years, here is a pretty typical plan of my current daily food intake. I don`t weigh food or calculate caloric content. I use basic methods to govern my portion control, such as 1/2 a cup of... A handful of... and my instinct and experience tell me the foods which best serve my physique goals.
Breakfast : 2 whole eggs, 6 Turkey Rashers, 2 pieces of dry brown toast. OR 1 cup of cereal (normally oats with skimmed milk & handful of raisins) 4-6 egg whites (with HP Sauce) Protein Shake Coffee (no sugar)
11am : Banana, Can of Tuna OR 1 pot of Cottage Cheese with Pineapple
Lunch : 3-4 Turkey breasts with 1/2 cup basmati rice (dry) and steamed broccoli / carrots OR Baked potato (no butter) with can of tuna or low sugar & salt baked beans.
3pm: 1 cup of oats with handful of raisins and powdered cinnamon. Protein Shake.
Dinner : 2 Cans of Tuna OR lean steak OR 3-4 Chicken / Turkey breasts with Steamed vegetables and or Salad
I promise you that after that i`m not left feeling hungry! i enjoy eating it and best of all i know that what i`m putting into my body is serving a purpose and doing me good.
Now i`ve spoken a bit about how i eat to enable me to look as i want to, i`m now going to start to talk about the training side of things.
As with anybody who trains, i have learned things just through trial and error and through observation about what works best for me and what doesn't`t. Some bodybuilders who read this may feel that the way i train and what i do represents over training, and if i were training specifically for size gains i would probably tend to agree with them. But that isn`t and never has been my goal. I`m after shape, definition, symmetry and a low body fat percentage so that whatever muscle i have got you can actually see it!
I`ll start by pointing out that whenever i am able to, i will get up and run for 25-40 minutes before breakfast. This may not suit many peoples lifestyles, i understand that. It`s just something that i like to do to raise my metabolism for the day and to help me burn more fat. The way it enables me to burn more fat is because i haven`t eaten since the previous evening, therefore my body has no real energy readily available and will therefore search for the energy it requires elsewhere and it will generally seek out and use my existing fat stores in order to do this. There may be those that would argue against this but i feel it has benefited me massively in ascertaining my goals, and furthermore... I enjoy it!
With regard to my gym work, i am in there 6 days per week. A lot, i know, but only 4 of these are heavy weight training days, the remaining 2 are based around Cardio, Bodyweight exercises, Core Stability training, Calves and Abs. My training routine is as follows :-
Monday .... Power Training
Wednesday .... Chest and Back (Dropset on last set of each exercise)
Friday .... Legs ( Drop set on last 2 sets of each exercise)
Saturday .... Shoulders / Biceps / Triceps (Drop set on last 2 sets for shoulder exercises) Biceps and Triceps done as a tri- set.
Sunday .... Rest
* Please note that exercises which are grouped together in two`s i.e Incline Dumbbell Press and Lat Pull Downs are performed as a superset. While exercises that appear on their own i.e Leg Press on Legs day, and all of the exercises in my power training day are done as a standard set on their own. Also with regard to rest time between sets, i don`t time it, i take just enough time to recover from the previous set, but not so much that i`m wasting time. Its normally anywhere from 1-2 minutes. Certainly no more than that.
As you can see, i do do quite a substantial amount of exercises per body part. I do this firstly to enable me to hit each of the muscle groups from every angle to give the muscle fullness, secondly to recruit and use as much of the fibre in each muscle as i can to give it maximum shape and definition, and i also ensure that i am not completely biased to either high or low rep workouts. I have found that many people are and they will generally do one and not the other. I include variations of both in my programme as they both have their own different benefits. The third reason i include this volume of sets and reps is to burn calories and fat. Weight training is an extremely effective way of burning calories if applied in the correct manner. This is a big part of the reason why i choose to make most of my training quite intense and base most of it around dropsets and tri-sets as this gives me the best option to not only build muscle but to burn fat at the same time. If i were training purely for mass gains, this would not be the case. I would not be performing dropsets and supersets, i would be using low intensity low rep workouts to enable me to conserve as many calories as possible whilst training, but that is not my goal.
My training is not based around theories and methods, it is simple and based around some old, pure movements and training techniques as well as some of the newer functional stuff. What i have done over the period of time that i have been committed to my training (about 3 years) is to observe whether or not what i am doing is working, and adapt it so it is suited to my goals. I`m not saying that what i do is scientifically proven to work, or strategically put together, all i can tell you is that i have devised what i do through trial and error, and that it HAS worked for me. That isn`t to say that i am at the point where i feel i have reached my goal, because i haven`t. I still feel that there are lots of improvements i would like to make and being the person that i am; who is ever self critical, i will probably always feel that way. Which is a good thing really as it won`t allow me to rest on my laurels and just settle for what i have. If i were that way inclined, i would have probably not bothered trying to change the way i looked in the first place, but i`m glad that i did as it truly has changed my life and my outlook on it.
I`m a much happier person, i `m not as self conscious as i once was, i am definitely a healthier person, both inside and out. I now work in the industry as a certified Personal Trainer, but most importantly to me, it has made the people around me, who have seen my efforts, my Friends, my Grandparents and my Mum and Dad, very proud of me.
Paul takes various supplements at different times according to his needs. At the moment he is taking Norateen Heavyweight II and LA Whey and this is what he had to say: "Since taking the much-talked about Norateen Heavyweight II supplement, i can undoubtedly say that this is the best muscle building supplement that i have used. It lives up to its claims, and it works. I`m stronger, have put on more muscle and would recommend it to anybody who is serious about increasing lean hard muscle. LA Whey is quite simply the most effective protein supplement i have used. It tastes great, has improved my recovery times and has definately helped me to make significant gains in quality muscle." Paul is in high demand for personal training and can be contacted for personal training in the Crawley and Gatwick area.
You can see Paul Amos in action in the exclusive video The Ab Man; over 1 hour and 20 minutes of training, advice and competition footage.
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