It’s the start of 2017, and I like many others, am ready to make some positive changes! I have a variety of personal, professional and athletic goals for 2017 but participating in our Transformation Challenge 4 is a part of my plans for the first 3 months of this year. From a business perspective I couldn’t be happier that we formally named our company’s WHY as “To make a fitness transformation of the world”. SF Group has been a part of helping people by living a fitness lifestyle for over 30 years, and so far in my 10-year professional career, transforming people with fitness is one of the most rewarding parts of that. So it feels good to be a part of these fitness challenges as a way to lead our cause and change people’s lives with fitness. We also made a big decision that 100% of the revenue from the challenges will go to charities that support the same cause.
Now for my athletic and personal goals associated with the challenge I am also very excited about 2017. The Transformation Challenge for me is a healthier and more balanced set of goals compared to competing in Bodybuilding like I did for 8 years straight. For those 8 years I was extremely dedicated to my diet and training, and while I really enjoyed that time I also didn’t do a lot of the activities that I love for fear of injury or that I simply didn’t prioritize anything over my training. I have a passion for Body Building – not in a competitive sense necessarily (though I do think that’s a blast too!) but in that I LOVE manipulating the variables of training, diet, cardio, rest and supplementation to make my body do something specific. Since my last NPC bodybuilding contest that’s involved triathlons, endurance motorcycle racing, adventure races, boxing and more. And I’ve learned a ton about my body, that’s much different from competitive bodybuilding, and had an absolute blast having some more variety again. At this moment in time though I really want to get back into a peak aesthetic shape and I want to use the Transformation Challenge as a vehicle for that goal. I don’t want to go back to the stage at this point because I have bigger business interests that I want to focus on and I know how I feel in the “competitive zone” and I’m just not ready to make the mental commitment to competing. My competitive streak is just too strong – I spend so much energy thinking about making sure I’m living to BEAT my competitors that I lose my priorities. And at this point losing my priorities to “win” wouldn’t result in much of a life win haha.. My business partner Michael and I like to draw analogies to the world of motocross that we love so much, and one thing we talk about in content marketing is the difference in attitude in Freestyle Riders and Racers. The Freestyle guys, while still competitive have a much more light-hearted and fun approach – even though they are riding at a crazy high level. They are supportive of one another and push each other. The racers however are much more focused and have a much different outlook on each other. They want to BEAT each other. And I love and respect both mentalities but for me, and right now I really want to do bodybuilding like a free style motocross rider. I want the camaraderie, the laughs, to train hard and to achieve my goals but not with the pressure of beating someone else in the process.
Anywho – I participated at about 80% in the past 3 challenges and it’s been a great maintenance tool. I got as low as 7% BF and even after the holiday where I did my share of cookie eradication, I still measured 8.8% body fat in the Body Analytics Submersion Test we had on site at destination. I’m pretty excited about that because in my competitive days I was so obsessed in the off season with gaining muscle I would usually carry a lot of unnecessary body fat because of living in a calorie surplus for 8 months that I started most my diets north of 12-15%. Now for the past 3 years I’ve worked more on staying light – and as a result this is the leanest I’ve started any kind of strict diet. One major difference though is I have lost some considerable muscle mass. I know that will affect my base metabolism compared to my past contest diets, but I can also feel that being a few years older that some muscle maturity is setting in and the size sticks around easier than it used to.
For this challenge I’m working off of a 4-day training split. It’s not set it stone, but for the most part I will be training Chest and Shoulders on one day, Back on another, legs on another and I really enjoy an “Arm Day” so I will have one day dedicated to arm training. I’m playing around with some new fat loss routines from one of our new trainers in the gym Patrick Brennan and those workouts are called Metcons. Metcons are a form of interval training that involves some high intensity aerobic work with different exercises often borrowed from strongman training. I’ll also be doing some light endurance work to help with my motocross riding, and plan to be on the motocross track at least once per week.
I’m starting my diet at around 2300 calories. Right now it’s very balanced and has a good amount of all three macronutrients. I’ve been less consistent in the past challenges on my diet – not cheating but more missing meals or using the excuse that “I’m trying to stay light” to not worry about eating on schedule. I’m hoping this balanced diet will put some of the lost muscle mass back on. As the challenge goes on I will probably subtract from my carbohydrates first. And if this is like all my other contest preps in the past, because of my genetic disposition to resist getting super lean, and always end up in low fat, low carb situation. But we’ll see what happens!
I’ll also be maintaining a once per week cheat meal through most of the challenge. I think I can physically get away with it and harness the benefits, but primarily I do not want to lose the social connection with friends and family that comes with sharing a good meal. I think I can keep this in for at least 8-10 of the weeks of this 12-week transformation challenge.
I called this a “soft start” because two days after the first day of the challenge I was on a plane to Stockholm for business. When I travel domestically I usually pack all of my food, but when you travel international you can’t bring most of the food across the borders and it’s also a much longer time to try to keep food cold. So the Stockholm trip I was very diet conscious but a lot of the time I was eating at restaurants or cafeterias so it wasn’t quite the precise diet I do at home. I focused on making the most of my workouts though. I’m in Stockholm often so I hit a few of my favorite training spots. My best workout of the trip was a chest workout at Gymmet. I purposely did not train chest on Monday because Monday is international chest day and I didn’t want to have to wait on machines, so I waited until Tuesday. Well maybe the international chest day doesn’t apply to Stockholm because every person in the gym seemed to be training chest. But it worked out for the best. I ended up jumping in with a local bodybuilder, Rahim Sudi, and we killed it! This was at the same gym where we did the first LIVE Q and A session of the Challenge and had special guest Calle Lundqvist join us. I took my first set of photos at a hotel near the Ski Slopes of Romme Alpin, where Tawna and I went for the weekend to do some Snowboarding! That was some super fun cross training! I did not weigh myself, but on the first day of the challenge before I left I was 193.3 pounds.
Half of this week I was still traveling so diet was 90%. And it wasn’t 10% off from eating bullshit, it was more that I wasn’t getting enough food or at the right times. For instance, on the long trip home I knew it would be some long hours in between meals so I had big portions at some of the meals I could eat clean at, but being up for nearly 24 hours makes things quite difficult. The second half of the week though it was nice to be home with my grill, my scale, and all the conveniences that come with being home. I still had not weighed at this point – but I could tell I was still regulating from the travels. I felt semi – lean but I know this feeling of “lean” when you have been undereating and it’s a false sense of security so I didn’t get too excited about that feeling.
It felt very good to be 100% on track this week. My workouts were AWESOME! Also I was the most consistent with my cardio compared to weeks 1 and 2. Eating all 6 meals each day this week I can fill my muscles filling out and my strength was very good all week. I did a few heavy movements that I didn’t do while traveling because being in a different time zone is already so hard on your body that I don’t like to overstress my CNS when my sleep patterns are pretty lousy. But this week I did a few very heavy doubles on all major muscle groups. I did two of the “metcons” I previously mentioned and got in 3 days of steady state cardio on the stepmill. 2 of which I did fasted. My weight Sunday morning was 192.7 pounds so only ½ pound down from the start of the challenge. To reach my goal I will need to lose at a faster pace, but I know that the scale will only tell some of the story, as I intend to be gaining some muscle mass through this process, so I’m sure my fat pounds lost will be great than the net weight loss the scale shows.