A better body. Everyone wants one. But do you have what it takes to get one?
To test how tough it is to genuinely transform your physique, Topman Site Editor Jamie Carson and Junior Editor Jacob Corner took on Ultimate Performance’s intensive 12 week programme and moaned about it on the blog. They’ve finally come to the end of this gruelling task and here’s how it went:
We trained 3 times a week in the personal training space and 2 times outside of that by ourselves. 2 days were focused on upper body exercises like inclined bench press and seated rows (click here to get the full workout) and one of the days was focused on legs (click here to get the full workout if you want to be in pure agony and hate yourself).
We were also put on a calorie deficit, which meant no carbs and a overwhelming amount of chicken and spinach. Click here to check out how we dealt with the ultra strict diet.
The Best Part
Jamie: I sleep like a baby. Most nights I get a full uninterrupted 8 hours sleep and I wake up feeling fresh, rather than the thirsty, hungover mess I was most days 3 months ago.
A doctor also told me around 10 years ago that I had tendonitis (a condition that makes my joints swell up every 2/3 weeks), and that the only way I could help it was to keep finger activity to a minimum (LOL) and to pop some ibuprofen when it did flare up. In the three months that I’ve been on this diet and working out I haven’t had it once. UP YOURS WESTERN MEDICINE.
Jacob: Finishing it.
Genuinely though, understanding the mechanisms that make you lose weight and build muscle is invaluable. A course like this will set you up for life if you’ve got the dedication and the motivation to stick with it outside of the confines of this 3 month period.
The Worst Part
Jamie: Where do I even start. There was so many bad parts. The diet left me in an emotional state some days, curled up asleep on my armchair at 6pm on a Tuesday like an old dog with smelly protein farts. I got through so many scented candles it almost bankrupt me.
Leg days were also inexplicably brutal. Split and pendulum squats were surely invented by the CIA as an effective torture method to counter international terrorism, because those b*st*rds hurt. But looking back on it, I’d do it again. I don’t know if that’s the Stockholm Syndrome talking but it was an incredible, life changing experience. You just have to be prepared to put the work in.
Jacob: *deep breath*
- You always feel tired because you’re dieting or guilty because you’re not.
- Leg day.
- After two months I started to get exertion headaches every time I engaged in any sort of physical activity. Turns out this was self-inflicted because I wasn’t drinking enough water but, still, it sucked.
- I’m not sure how much of this is really my achievement and how much of it is me being dragged to the finish line by my trainer. Retaining my progress and even improving on it in the long term is going to be far more difficult than just dieting for three months.
- I never want to look at a chicken breast again.
Jamie: I started off at 14 stone and 19% body fat, now I’m 12.4 stone and 9.8% body fat. Half of that may be the head and body hair I’ve shifted, but a big chunk of it was from inside my body that the Gains Fairy came and took away while I was sleeping.
Jacob: I’ve gone from 13% body fat down to 9.2%. I’m now a God amongst men. An Adonis. Don’t look me directly in the eyes unless you’re at least a 7.
Obviously training extensively effects us, but it also effected/annoyed those around us, mainly through not being able to go to the pub after work or eat actual proper human food. Here’s what those close to us have to say…
What The Boss Has To Say
Daniel Copley, Brand Editor: When Hollywood actors gain or shed pounds for a new role, they’re generally rewarded with critical acclaim and a bumper pay check. So when a couple of menswear writers show similar commitment to their craft, it’s only fair that they should receive the same (minus the bumper pay check, ey lads?). And, much like a good movie plot, I witnessed a definite beginning, middle and end to Jamie and Jacob’s journey. To start with, what struck me was exactly how slowly they walked to their desks in the morning after a gym session. That’s my main recollection. It was quite irritating but I couldn’t really say anything without looking like a tool.
It was during the middle part of their fitness journey that I really started to notice the changes – they were genuinely enjoying their training, their physiques visibly improved and they were both in a great mood around the office. They walked to their desk at a commendable pace. It was the end section, though, that was most amusing to observe. They both started talking about food (that they couldn’t eat) none stop. Jamie began obsessing over horrible looking tacos. Jacob started fetishizing pastries and talking about himself in the third person.
It was at this point that their fitness narratives diverged – with Jamie sprinting towards the finish line and Jacob sulkily dragging his feet, clearly no longer a willing participant in the task, but knowing he’d gone too far to turn back. Fair play to them though. It’s over, they both look great.
What The Friend Has To Say
Shan Donnelly, An Absolute Lad They Know: Agonising. The entire experience was like working with one of those irritating people who went on a ‘gap yah’, except it wasn’t ‘this one time, in Goa’ it was ‘OMG that reminds me of this one time, in the gym’.
Thanks again to Ultimate Performance for the incredible personal training sessions