No one sets out to get fat, it just seems to happen over time and suddenly it dawns on you one day that hell, I’m fat.
My story isn’t that dissimilar to many married men, before marriage I was a lean mean fighting machine, marriage and two kids later I wasn’t! 95kg was my weight at 25 years old, at 35 I was 120kg.
The difference with my story was that I was also a competitive powerlifter with two NZ records under my belt and strength that was going up every year. I had successfully benched in a shirt, 260kg, and just nailed 270kg in training. My Squat was also 270kg raw and I was deadlifting 270kg easily in training, I was top 10 in Auckland after only 3 years of lifting I had a bright future ahead of me.
I was greedy however and wanted more, so I ramped up my training and tackled what is probably one of the toughest Russian Strength Training Programme’s around, the candidate for master of sport or CMS Sheiko template.
Boris Sheiko is a Russian powerlifting and strength coach, famed for his successful athlete’s and his ‘Sheiko Training Templates’. 2-3 hour workouts, 4 times a week plus…..very hard on the central nervous system and tendons and ligaments, but the results are amazing if you can survive the workouts.
It all started well enough, but after several weeks my body was aching and I had niggles that weren’t going away. Now if I had been cardiovascular fit and more conditioned, and taken care of these niggles, then perhaps I wouldn’t be where I am today, but like many powerlifters I was lazy as I was already doing so much, but that little bit more would have made all the difference!
So the niggles slowly got the better of me, first the back, then the knee’s, then the tennis elbow. Training suffered, appetite ebbed and after several weeks I packed in the template and decided to give some light weights a go to just keep myself moving as everything was painful.
What happened next wasn’t planned or expected….but I started to lose weight as I wasn’t eating the same volume of food anymore and the bodybuilding style workouts started producing fuller and more rounded muscles.
My powerlifting friends will scoff at this but I also started enjoying the short intense workouts more and more. The leaner I got, the better I felt too, sleeping, playing with the kids, tying my shoelaces, it all got easier!
Enter into the equation a good friend of mine, Geordie Shields who noticed the change and suggested hey why don’t we see how far we can take this? At first I laughed then I thought hell why not, I’ve had it on my list of things to achieve before I die and I wanted to know whether I could do it, plus secretly I had always wanted to be lean, tanned and ripped to shreds. I had tried before but lacked the discipline.
Powerlifting however had given me discipline so I thought let’s do this.
Geordie monitored my weight and wrote my diet plan. By this time it was May 2013 and we both settled on finishing up Dec 7th, my wife’s birthday. No competition, just a line in the sand to take this as far as we could.
I won’t lie, it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, I love my food, I love food…..giving up all the nice things was tough, but I also liked looking and feeling good, I also liked achieving, so these drivers led the way and helped me get through the rough spots…..and you will get them no doubt, parties, nights out, friends over, low energy….all of these and food is often central to these events. But I was determined NOT to fail, I don’t like failing.
I weighed in every week at the same time on the same day to try and keep it as consistent as possible.
Geordie had me running a few hundred calories above my BMR or base metabolic rate, which is low…..Base Metabolic Rate is the minimum amount of calories you need to function! So only a few hundred above mean’s you’re running on fumes a lot of the time. But it worked, and I was losing anywhere between 1-2kg a week on average. Dropping rapidly down with a combination of diet, cardio and supplements.
Pretty soon my body-fat was into the teen’s (starting at low 40’s) and then eventually I hit 10%, I thought it would stop there but it continued to drop although a lot slower than before! We ramped up the cardio to twice a day, dropped a few calories out and as December 7th approached, I knew I was on track. I booked a tan, a photographer and on December 7th, unveiled the NEW and IMPROVED Greg!
It didn’t stop there though, now I wanted to do a competition! I took Christmas and New Year’s off, put 15kg back on (which wasn’t intentional ☹) and then January 2nd, started on my new quest, this time teaming up with several people to help me out, from trunk design and creation through to posing through to Nutrition!
So over the next 4 months, I chiselled out a new physique, harder and bigger than before and on April the 26th, entered the Counties Manukau Bodybuilding show, winning the Novice Men 80-90kg class.