On completing the last week of my training programme I initially felt pretty gutted. If you’ve watched the video, you might be wondering why – I got my body fat down from 12.8% to 7%, I'm running faster, lifting more than ever before, and am surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding better.
So bearing in mind the positive results, what could I possibly have had to be sad about? Quite simply, the fact that it was over. I’ve never trained with such intensity and conviction and I really felt as if it was giving me a new sense of purpose. It was distressing to think that I was about to lose that.
How to eat to get ripped
But since my last session with Dave ended, I’ve come to realise the real value of what we did. The programme taught me a fitter, healthier way to live my life – and most importantly it’s one that I can fairly easily maintain.
I think it helps a lot that the staples of my eight-week diet – meat, veg, dark-coloured fruit and nuts – are some of my favourite foods. Especially delicious meat. I switched from beer to wine to further reduce my sugar intake and I’ve discovered I have a real penchant for shiraz – so much so that I’m not really tempted to go back to the Stella I was knocking back before. It was impossible to go through a week when training this hard without any treats, so as well as the bottle of wine (spread over seven days, mind) I also had a rewarding mocha after every workout.
What I’m saying is you don’t have to live like a monk to get into shape – you just need to make some manageable modifications.
The key to lifting heavy weights
I don’t seem to be able to push myself as hard when I train on my own as I could when training with Dave. In part because he’s a good motivator and an innovative trainer but also because he was there to save me if I failed at something and was about to drop a massive weight on my head – there’s nothing like the fear of heavy metal smashing into your skull to stop you lifting big.
As Dave pointed out, I can still really push if I train with a partner so I’m going to try to do this as much as I can going forward. It makes you go harder because there's a competitive element and, as I mentioned before, also gives you a spotter when you’re lifting heavy.
Even a couple of weeks before I finished it the idea that this eight-week programme would turn into a blueprint for how I want to eat and train seemed crazy – but that’s exactly what’s happened. I’ve tried so many different plans and workouts over the years but I’ve never got results as dramatic as this. I hope it does the same for you.
Weeks five to eight – Intensity training
Do 3 reps of the first move and 6 reps of the second
Three minutes between sets
DAY 1 - LEGS AND SHOULDERS
Barbell stiff leg deadlift, bodyweight hamstring curl
Barbell shoulder press, dumbbell explosive turn and press
Barbell good morning, gym ball hamstring curl
Dumbbell seated shoulder press, dumbbell seated lateral raise
DAY 2 - INTERVALS
10x10sec hill sprint (10sec rest between sets)
5x30sec run (60sec rest between sets)
3x60sec run (90sec rest between sets)
DAY 3 - CHEST AND ABS
Barbell bench press, bodyweight explosive press-up
Hanging straight leg raise, thick band drag
Weighted dip, dumbbell incline chest press
Bodyweight abs rollout, dumbbell sit-up press
DAY 4 - REST
DAY 5 - KICKBOXING
2x3min round (90sec rest between sets)
3x2 minute round (60sec rest between sets)
4x1 minute round (30sec rest between sets)
5x30sec round (15sec rest between sets)
6x15sec round (10sec rest between sets)
*If you can't do this for whatever reason, do the below treadmill or rowing intervals
Treadmill - adjust the incline to 5˚
3min run, 1min walk
2min run, 1min walk
1min run, 1min walk
Rest for 3 minutes and then repeat
10x50m sprint, aiming to complete each in under 10sec, with a 20sec rest between sprints.
DAY 6 - LEGS AND BACK
Barbell Back squat, dumbbell static lunge jump
Weighted close-grip chin-up, dumbbell single-arm row
Barbell front squat, plate-loaded leg press
Barbell row, overhand chin-up (jumping)
DAY 7 - REST
You can find Sharmain Davis's nutrition advice at the bottom of the first blog. Here's Dave Fletcher's:
1. 175-200g of meat/fish per main meal. Stick to chicken, turkey, salmon and any fish with white flesh.
2. Snack on coconut chunks, unsalted nuts, dark fruits and oat cakes with almond butter.
3. On training days, consume 50g of whey protein (ideally with glutamine and no carbs) five minutes after a workout.
4. On training days, consume up to 50g of carbohydrates with your post-workout meal. Stick to sweet potato, brown rice, rye bread and quinoa.
5. Eat steamed green veg and lemon juice with each meal.
For more from Nick Hutchings, find him on Facebook.
For more on Sharmain Davis, go to maxitone.com/asktheexperts
For more on Dave Fletcher, go to theodysseyway.co.uk
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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.