New Year. New Me! It’s time to lose that paternal pudge that we all (both men and women) tend to put on in the Fall after pool season ends and full-coverage clothing season begins. I personally don’t feel bad about gaining 10-20lbs in the Fall because all those extra calories really show up on the barbell (in a good way)! It takes a lot of energy to crank out big contractions, and it takes mass to move mass, so even though those extra pounds detract from swimsuit season status, they translate to a better season of strength!

But now it’s pre-spring prep time, meaning if I want to lose 10-20lbs, I need to utilize the coming months wisely. It’s not very healthy or realistic to lose more than 4-8lbs in a month, so if I want to be ready for warmer temperatures in April and May, the next 4-5 months need to be drastically different than the last few (I should seriously consider acting because I could definitely add and lose weight as needed for a role on a level I’d compare with Christian Bale).

This year is going to be pretty different than last year’s transformation. Two years ago I transformed doing’s 6-Week Shortcut to Shred by Jim Stoppani. Last year I set out to exceed those results with a program of my own, and I definitely did, but I intentionally avoided any bodybuilding style exercises. I did this to show that muscle can be built without curls, shoulder raises, calf machines and other bodybuilding staples. This year, I actually am going to be incorporating a few key bodybuilding movements in to work on balancing out my physique. Being a long and lanky guy, it’s hard to make my limbs look “big”, so this year I’m going to really try to increase the size of my calves, biceps, triceps and shoulders. I’m also going to be trying to develop my upper chest, but because half or more of my workouts will involve Olympic Lifting and accessory movements to supplement them, I won’t be hitting my chest as frequently because I need to spare my shoulder joints (learned that last year with some pretty serious tendonitis in the first few weeks).

My tentative plan is to hit my entire body every day, but overload the major muscles just twice a weak. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Full body activation, glute/hamstring/arms/shoulders hypertrophy
  2. Full body activation, quad/calves/arms hypertrophy
  3. Chest primary, Back secondary hypertrophy, plus abs/arms/shoulders hypertophy
  4. Full body activation, glute/hamstring/arms/calves hypertrophy
  5. Full body activation, quad/arms/shoulders hypertrophy
  6. Full body activation, Back primary, Chest secondary hypertophy, plus arms/calves hypertrophy
  7. Full body circuit training

It matters less what the actual movements are and more of the muscles you’ll be stressing, so that’s why I describe my plan this way rather than writing out the actual exercises. If you want to see the actual workouts I’ll be doing, send me your name and email and I’ll plug you into my training software so you can get the movements with video instruction and everything!

My other tentative plan is to lose at least 15lbs of body fat, but 20+lbs on the scale. This doesn’t mean I’ll be losing muscle necessarily, just manipulating water with high sodium foods before I begin so my scale measurement is higher, then temporarily drying myself out at the end to knock a few extra off the final weight-in. I’m doing this for the All Access Challenge Series, so $100,000 is on the line, so any advantage you can get is clutch! No I won’t be using steroids, hormone therapy or any other unethical shortcuts. Never have, never will!

Last year I learned that I can lose 2lbs per week pretty easily for the first half of a transformation challenge, but then my hunger starts getting pretty tough to deal with. So this year I’m planning on hitting the first few weeks good and hard, but then giving myself a week or two half-way through to pace myself, enjoy some foods I’m missing, and then finish hard again. No doubt I’ll have to go hungry from time to time, that’s just part of creating a calorie deficit, depriving yourself of a few hundred calories or more each day to lose 1-2lbs each week. It’s not the kind of progress you’re promised on infomercials, but it’s attainable, sustainable, and 100% realistic, not to mention way more likely to stick (rather than rebound).

So I’ll be expecting to lose about 10lbs on the scale in the first 4-5 weeks of the challenge, then pacing a little more for the remaining 7-8 weeks to knock another 10-15lbs off the scale. Again this will not be entirely fat lost, but it should be all the fat I need to lose to look my best combination of lean and large. The last thing I want to do is take my photo dehydrated with flat muscles, or too hydrated and soft looking, so that’ll a challenge I’m not well versed with at the end, but at least by that point the brunt of the hard work will be behind me (and lots of Wisconsin cheese and beer ahead of me, lol).

Yes I’m a personal trainer and I love cheese, beer, pizza, fried chicken and a million other delicious ‘no-no’s’. I’m far too fond of enjoying life to completely exclude things like this from my diet year-round, which is why in the Fall particularly I tend to gain 10-20lbs. I think it’s culturally, socially, and mentally healthy to allot periods of time where you aren’t depriving yourself. It signifies “success” to your body evolutionarily, as if you cultivated a prosperous harvest from farming, hunting and/or foraging, and in my opinion that’s extremely vital to long term health and wellness. This is why I’m not in the business of advocating for abs all year long, but rather managing your fitness in a way that keeps you a reasonable distance from your ideal “summer body”. You can look stunning at the pool in the summer, and experience stellar seasons of strength in the winter. It’s like having your cake and eating it too! No pun intended. (nom nom nom)

If you’d like to follow along as I turn this Dad Bod into a Rad Bod, let me know! Either way, stay tuned because in mid April, it’s going to be SUNS OUT GUNS OUT!