Could This be the Perfect Photoshoot Prep?
Over 20 weeks, Josh lost 5.5% body fat but with a 3.4kg body weight reduction, and gained 4kg of lean mass. Cutting fat and holding onto muscle is already a challenge in itself, but gaining lean tissue over the 5 month period is even more impressive.
The beauty of this transformation was its simplicity; Coach James used a simple approach of tracking progress, and adjusting training and nutrition accordingly.
Listening and watching how his body was changing was the guide. Everyone is different, and will adapt to changes differently. The art of coaching is to suss out what works best for your client using nutrition principles, but not being restricted by them. Measuring continuous changes during the prep allowed Josh to achieve an outstanding result.
A 20 week prep allowed for 5 4 week training phases.
Having already trained together for some time, we were able to naturally roll on from previous programs into the initial strength phase of the prep. Josh was at a very good training level, which meant that if we periodised his training correctly, we could push him pretty hard.
After having built additional strength, we started to build the volume towards a more hypertrophy style of training, which carried on for the final 16 weeks. These phases were as follows:
- 8 6 4 Wave Load
- Doubles Method
- Modified 6 12
- Ascending 4 6 8 10 12 15
- Straight Sets (Hypertrophy focused)
From 6 weeks out, cardio was introduced.
This started with 30 minutes 3x per week of steady state cardio. As Josh’s progress was on plan, this was incorporated to increase overall activity level alongside his weight training volume.
Reviewing Josh’s diet, he was regularly bloated from choosing foods that didn’t agree with his body. While changing food choices, we built Josh’s calorie consumption up as high as possible for as long as possible. Growing his energy base allowed us to see how much food his body could handle whilst leaning down. We hit a high of 3200 kcals over the first 8 weeks. This in turn meant that a less drastic reduction in calories was required further down the line.
The ultimate aim was to reduce his body fat by 5% in total. He leaned down by .25% per week, and after 12 weeks his progress slowed down, eating roughly 3200kcal. This was the signal to start tapering everything back.
We took a super simple approach here, nothing groundbreaking in the slightest. We reduced his food by roughly 100-150 calories each week. This was just enough of a change to elicit a response from his body to keep on track with the goal of .25% drop per week.
This worked an absolute treat.
Josh continued to drop at a steady rate and when we dropped below his baseline calories (roughly 2600 kcal), we introduced refeeds over a 2-3 day period when required. This was governed by not only his body composition changes, but also his training performance. If one or both of these variables started to suffer we would increase his intake to baseline to allow the body time to recover. Reducing training intensity or including more rest days also allowed Josh’s body ample time to recover.
Appreciating the importance of health maintenance through a cutting prep is vital, in order to look after your clients physically and mentally. Not factoring this in could cause long term metabolic damage.
Once Josh felt fully recovered it was time to build up the training intensity again.
In his last 4 days coming up to the shoot, we pushed Josh a little more and depleted him to 1700 calories, which was the lowest we took him. Bear in mind, this was well thought through, as he was given a 2 day refeed before going into the deficit. On top of this, we also started to refeed him after this very short depletion to fill out his physique for his shoot.
This was again very basic but effective.
Due to his bloating issues, we immediately introduced a Digestive Support (Designs for Health Plant Enzyme & Thorne BioGest on rotation). This was especially important as we started building food too, supporting the digestive function ensures that the body is breaking down and absorbing as many nutrients as possible from the food we consume. ‘You aren’t what you eat, you are what you digest’.
Dosage – 1 cap per meal
A good quality MultiVitamin (Basic Nutrients V – Thorne Research), is pretty vital for everyone. With the lower quality of food available to us in today’s world, a great Multi is a simple way to ensure you are meeting the nutrient needs to support optimal function. Buying high quality food will have a great deal of nutrients in for sure, but a good Multi just ensures we tick all the necessary boxes. This is especially important when going through a pretty challenging 20 week photoshoot prep.
Dosage – 3 caps morning & evening
A magnesium supplement (Magnesium CitraMate – Thorne) helps support energy production, cardiovascular health, muscle recovery and passively support sleep in some cases. With Josh about to increase his training intensity and volume, it was important to maintain a decent magnesium intake. Magnesium is also a mineral excreted when we sweat so it’s super important to help maintain a good intake.
We excrete minerals through many different ways, one of the main ones being sweating. It’s important to replace these as they play an extremely important role in optimal body function. Taking electrolytes will support the delivery of nutrients to muscle tissue and support adrenal function. Again, with his training intensity increasing, electrolytes were a given in his supplement support.
There were a number of other supplements used, however these were the main staples during the 20 week prep.
From a coaching perspective, we had a pretty smooth ride with this prep. Josh’s body responded to everything we did with few problems along the way. We faced the standard road bumps with progress slowing at times, but nothing a little tweak here or there couldn’t change.
The biggest challenge was getting him into the right mindset for 20 weeks of solid commitment. He had never done anything like it before so it took a little bit of time to get his mind right. This was made easier by the fact we had recently employed Josh on the Enterprise team. We decided he should use this as an educational process as well as a transformation. This would allow him to learn and go through the process first-hand so he can better relate to and coach his own clients through similar goals.
This made the process easier for Josh, as there was more than just a physical outcome at the end of the journey.
Overall, we achieved an amazing result. A good solid foundation of knowledge on training and nutrition was applied in a tailored way to suit the individual.