Fitness

My 12 Week Physique Transformation

Before and after photo for 12 week transformation from Jan to April.
Before and after photo for 12 week transformation from Jan to April.

So whilst most people enter the new year with the claim that they are going to get in shape this year, crack out a few workouts in January and then tail off to nothing. I decided I was going to commit to the cause and actually get myself in the best shape I have ever been.

Sure, I have been working out consistently for several years now, but always with other goals in mind such as running 10k, lifting certain weights, lifting the dinnie stones and other assorted goals. But never have I really had transforming my physique as my main goal.

So in January I decided I was going to put all other goals aside and concentrate on getting in the best shape of my life, this would involve dropping some fat and packing on as much muscle as possible. I decided if I was going to do this I would enter in to the Adonis Index Transformation Contest that was being run from January to April for 12 weeks.

During the 12 weeks I cut my calories down and tracked them meticulously with MyFitnessPal, I started off averaging around 1450 calories per day and this tapered up to about 1750 calories a day towards the end, doing a reverse taper diet. For several years now I have been following the Eat Stop Eat principle of a once or twice weekly 24 hour fast which I have found a great way to stay cleansed and also allow me to bank some extra calories for another day as I only eat one meal during those days.

Exercise wise I followed the workout plans from Adonis Index, whilst adding in some additional movements that I have found useful as well as going on one 5kish run per week and a couple bouts on the cross trainer.

Overall my hard work paid off quite well and I managed to drop from 67.1kg to 60.2kg, waist from 72.5cm to 67cm and hips from 81cm to 75cm. My shoulder measurement of 113cm and most other measurements stayed roughly the same, so my losses due to fat were compensated by some additional mass gain.

The results are certainly excellent and it shows that sometimes you have to reassess your goals and concentrate on them enough and you can get some excellent results. Whilst I still have several strength and fitness goals I want to achieve this year I will be making a determined effort to continue transforming my physique for the better.

The overall results for the contest should be up in a few weeks, I am hoping I place well because I worked my damned ass off!

Fitness

MyFitnessPal

I have been using MyFitnessPal for a few days now, it’s a bit of a faff tracking everything that goes in my mouth but the Android app and the website make things about as easy as they could be. Hopefully using this will keep me accountable with my calorie intake and keep me on track to losing some podge.

Fitness

New Goal

I have decided on my major goal for the beginning of this year, its not particularly strength related or endurance related. The plan is to get my ass in shape and finally get a damned good body. More details to follow in a few weeks.

Also, I’m going to try and actually keep this blog more up to date as the posts are so sporadic!

Fitness, Grip

Pinch Swing

There are many variations of pinch movements than can be done to increase the strength of the thumb and fingers. Many of these variations are quite common with grip athletes such as loose pinching plates, the euro pinch (or equivalent) and the pinching of odd objects whether wide or narrow.

One movement that doesn’t seem to be quite common is the pinch swing. The movement effectively combines the kettlebell / dumbbell swing movement with a hand pinch.

The pinch swing is good for building up hand and forearm endurance as well as hitting the muscles in many different ways as the velocity of the weight changes throughout the movement. This can help break through some plateaus in your grip training and is worth trying out as part of a new programme.

For advice on correct swing form it is best to check out a video or article on kettlebell swings, but the idea is to use the muscles of the posterior chain to thrust a weight forward from being hinged at the hips, until your body is straight and then allow the weight to drop back down. The swing generally ends with the arms roughly level with the chest, higher then this is considered a high pull.

For the pinch movement I clamp some plates onto the centre of a 2” thick bar with some locking collars, and then load up both ends to the desired weight and VERY securely locking the outer collars. It is best to stick to smaller plates for this as you need to be able to get them comfortably between your legs, also due to the way this movement taxes the hands you will probably end up starting off around 30% or even less of your max pinch.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Start light! When I first started doing this I had them slip out my hands a few times, thankfully without anything/anyone getting hurt! I have never used more than about 50% of my 1RM two hand pinch for this movement, see the variations below for ways to make it harder without adding more weight.
  • Always chalk up properly between sets, chalk is pretty much mandatory for this exercise to maintain a strong grip on the plates.
  • Keep a few reps in the tank, if you go to failure you will end up loosing your grip on the plates and that won’t end well!
  • You will definitely feel a burn in the forearms and hands from this, make sure to learn the difference between getting a nice burn from it and your grip failing!

There are many ways to adjust the difficulty of this exercise, I will list a few variations that you can try once you have got the hang of it:

  • Vary the width to very wide or very narrow, this will change the focus to either more finger strength or more thumb strength. Along with the velocity changes due to the swinging this can be very difficult.
  • Use one hand instead of two, this also allows you to vary the weight for each hand if they aren’t evenly balanced.
  • Try to swing with more force and make an effort to pull the weight back down as hard as possible, this increases the velocity in both directions which can make the same weight require much more hand pressure to stop it flying out.
  • Instead of a swing do a high pull or even a snatch… be careful though as these are more likely to end up in you letting go and damaging yourself or your gym! Personally I see little merit in doing either of these compared with doing faster/harder swings as above, but I have tried them and the snatch is certainly interesting!
Logs

10th October 2010

  • Two Hand Pinch – 8:30
    • 48.6kg x 18 reps
  • KB Press – 8:20
    • 20kg KB
    • right 7 reps, 6 reps, 6 reps
    • left 5 reps, 6 reps, 5 reps
  • Incline Bench Press – 5:25
    • 40kg, 45 degrees
    • 8 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps
  • Wrist Developer
    • level 4, 5, 6, 7 white spring
  • Dinnie Lift – 7:50
    • 75.5kg + 96kg
    • 3 + 5 + 5 + 5 reps
Logs

7th October 2010

  • Pullups – 3:00
    • 9 reps, 6 reps
  • Incline Bench Press – 2:40
    • 40kg
    • 6 reps, 4 reps
  • Wrist Developer
    • level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 white spring
  • Dinnie Lifts – 8:15
    • 73kg small, 93.5kg large
    • 1 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 reps
    • 13 reps total
Logs

5th October 2010

  • Back Squats – 5:50
    • 52kg, had to lower safety bars another notch… squatting deeper baby!
    • 11 reps, 9 reps, 9 reps
  • Plate curl
    • 10kg
    • 7 reps right hand, 3 reps left hand
  • 10 mins inverted with gravity boots
Logs

3rd October 2010

  • Two Hand Pinch – 9:10
    • 45kg x 40 reps
  • Push Press – 5:00
    • right hand 20kg, 7 reps, 7 reps
    • left hand 20kg, 6 reps, 5 reps
  • Dips – 4:15
    • 8 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps
  • Wrist Developer – 3:00
    • right hand posting, level 2 white spring
    • 7 reps, 7 reps, 3 reps
  • Dinnie Lift – 6:00
    • small ring 73kg, large ring 93.5kg – total 166.5kg
    • 9 reps
  • 5 mins inverted with gravity boots, 8 sit ups, 6 sit ups