I’ve just completed the Amazing 12 with my Coach Jason Kane
And writing this blog post has been on my mind for the last few weeks
One of the drawbacks with something like this is the inevitable haters
The people who say the pics are manipulated
They’ll spout stuff like
“but the after photos are done by a professional photographer with fancy lighting, a tan, specific posing and you probably did a pump workout before the pics”
“The before photos are done in shit lighting, no tan etc so they look as bad as possible”
To a certain degree this is all true
But here’s what these morons don’t get
I wanted my pics look amazing, to show off my hard work.
And so I manipulated everything I could to look a certain way
The thing is I didn’t just do the programme to get a few pics done.
Because if I did I’d be miserable right now
I look nothing like those pics now.
I gained half a stone in a week
I’m not as pumped
I’ve nowhere near the same definition
No more fake tan.
And as much as I tried I couldn’t find someone to follow me around with those fancy lights all day.
In fact this is what I looked like one week later…Shit lighting, no posing, no flexing, no fancy hair, just a random selfie.
Ok, by all accounts I still look reasonably good. But if I only compared it with the professional pics I’d be miserable.
But I couldn’t care less.
1. Because I’ll have the professional pics forever
I feel fucking incredible
My confidence is sky high. My strength & fitness has increased considerably.
And most importantly I got my mojo back.
I won’t go into much detail here but 2015 was the toughest year of my life.
My confidence took a huge hit. I felt lost for months. I fell out of love for training.
But now I’m back
Feeling better than ever.
So how did I manipulate the pics?
I’m obviously not gonna give the exact programme away, I paid 1500 quid for it. And yes, it was worth every penny.
Plus Jason deserves to be paid for his expertise and the awesome transformations he produces.
In the last 12 days I ate very strict.
But during the rest of the programme?
I didn’t deprive myself of anything, nor did I give up drinking.
As a coach for nearly 15 years I know what works for my body and was able to adjust my food intake accordingly. I regularly ate pizza, chinese and burgers. I went out drinking on a fair few occasions too.
But for the last 12 days I had to be very strict, well that is if I wanted the photos to turn out as well as they could.
During the last week I started water loading.
What this does is force the body to flush out all the water in the body. So any that’s left is held in the body fat, just under the skin.
This water loading was done alongside carb restricted days. Which were followed by a big carb refeed and a savage pump workout before the shoot.
This literally sucks the water from under the skin into the muscles. And forces them to inflate like balloons while making you look as lean as possible.
Then the pics got taken.
Lots of posing and flexing to show off every ounce of muscle and every line of definition.
Like I said I look nothing like those pics now.
But that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Because I knew what I was doing.
I have read some stories about physique models becoming very obsessed with dieting and training trying to maintain their ‘peak’ look.
But life is too short
I enjoy a night out. I love carrot cake. I’m not gonna train for hours every day. And I’m not obsessed with having to be ripped all year round. What I’m saying is you can maintain a certain look without having to deprive or restrict yourself.
Oh, there is one more thing before I wrap this up.
Turned out to be a bit of a coincidence in the end. But I’ve written and spoken about this in the past.
Most people base their progress off the scales.
But neglect to look at other factors, like clothes size, body shape and inch measurements. And because of this, if the scales don’t move in the right direction, they think it’s not working. In fact if you could take anything from reading this I would hope it to be this…
Losing scale weight is easy, anyone can do it. Dropping a few pounds is not hard to do.
Changing your shape is the tricky part. I never once tried to lose weight during this programme.
I focused entirely on changing my shape. They are two very different approaches.
One will give you lasting results the other is a viscous cycle of yo yo dieting and endless exercise never really ending up where you want to.
So here’s my stats.
Actually, I only really have one stat. Cuz I didn’t really care about my body fat or physique at the start. It was more about feeling better again for me. And the body I ended up with would be a reflection of how hard I worked, how strong & fit I got and how good I felt.
My starting weight: 89.7 kilos
The highest it got to was 97.9 kilos
On the day of the photoshoot,
About 6 weeks after weighing in at 97.9 kilos
That’s right, the exact same weight as I started to the gram
So the outcome of the programme, from day 1 to the photoshoot, was I didn’t lose or gain any weight at all.
Yet to the untrained eye, I look like I must have.
I actually asked the good people of Facebook and got numerous answers. Ranging from losing 18 lbs, to gaining 10kg.
But I hope this shows you you simply cannot rely on scale weight to show your true progress.
Get stronger, get fitter, feed and fuel your body to perform at it’s very best. Your shape will then take care of itself
John O'Connell is the owner of SF Fitness & Health Centre. He started working in the fitness industry in 2002 after suffering a back injury. He has worked with many professional organisations including Leinster Rugby, An Garda Siochana, New Zealand Rugby, Dublin GAA, Spar and CBRE. He has also appeared muliple times on both RTE & TV3 as a health & fitness expert. John is the co-author of 2 international best selling books - Total Body Breakthroughs and The Fit Formula.