Upgrader diary: beach body – part 2

(Image credit: Unknown)

First off, the good news is I’ve definitely got used to the way I’m training now. It took me about six weeks but after that it all clicked into place. That’s not to say it’s easier or anything – far from it – and we’re still increasing the weights, but I’m much more used to the rest times and I think my body has just got used to the whole thing.

The results are starting to show as well. The first stage of the training has been about putting on size. I started on 78kg and now I’ve gone up to 84kg. I’ve put 10cm on my chest! It’s not just aesthetic either; I’ve found that I’ve got a lot stronger.

I’ve actually just moved into the next stage of the training now. My coach, Tim Chase, and I have been keeping an eye on my measurements and Tim wanted to emphasis the development of different parts of my body. For example I’ve seen a lot of improvement on things like my chest and quadriceps but my calves haven’t changed at all.

The sessions change every other week now. One week I’m doing more strength-based exercises, so that’s lower reps, no more than ten reps on everything. The second week is more volume, which includes more supersets. I make sure I add Optimum Nutrition Creatine to my post-workout shake, which helps to enhance my ability to produce short bursts of high-intensity effort for my next workout. In the first plan we trained each body part twice a week whereas now we focus on training that body part once a week but with a lot more exercises. To keep my energy and focus up during these sessions I’ve been taking Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy. The boost it gives has been a big help – I just feel like I have a little extra in the tank.

The other reason we switched up my training a little is because my weight completely stabilised. It means my calories have gone up again! I was eating so much but I wasn’t putting any weight on. My calories have been bumped up to about 3,500 calories, primarily with more fats and carbohydrates. It’s simple enough do to, it’s just things like adding an extra spoonful of rice to my meals but it is quite hard to eat that much. I’m always full and it gets a bit tedious but I’ve done a few things to make it easier to manage.

I found eating eight times a day tough so I started eating fewer meals with larger portions. Now it’s three or four meals a day as well as Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey protein shakes rather than trying to eat eight times a day. By giving myself a bit more break between meals I’ve found it much easier to eat all the food. It also fits in with my schedule as a teacher as well – I only really get a lunch break, the rest of the time I’m on duty.

I’ve also found I’m understanding better the important things to focus on. One of my first goals was to increase my dumbbell bench press but Tim told me not to have such an emphasis on hitting the weight and instead make sure that my form is perfect and I’ve got a good tempo. Obviously I still want to make sure I’m lifting heavy but he has made me realise it’s not all about the number.

Coach’s verdict

‘Ben has fully committed himself to the Upgrade Challenge, which has been very impressive to see,’ says Time Chase. ‘He is dedicated not only in the gym but also with his whole nutrition and lifestyle. His strength in the gym has improved, his weight has increased and his calories are now higher than ever! This gives us the perfect platform to start Ben on his cut to shift the excess body fat for his beach body.’

One of Ben’s upper-body workouts

Machine shoulder press
Sets 4 Reps 10/8/6/6 Tempo 2020

Hammer pull-down
Sets 4 Reps 10/8/6/6

Bench press
Sets 4 Reps 8-10

Machine seated row
Sets 4 Reps 8-10

EZ-bar skullcrusher
Sets 3 Reps 8-10

EZ-bar preacher curl
Sets 3 Reps 8-10

Abs circuit

Reverse crunch
Sets 2 Reps 15-20

Sets 2 Reps 15-20

Sets 2 to failure

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