Ramie, a 31-year-old Amsterdam software engineer, shares with Men’s Health how being serious about their diet and being more efficient in their workouts led to some big changes.
After going to the gym three times a week for three months and not noticing any changes, I started to think I was wasting my time. I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere unless I was more careful about doing things right, so I started paying a lot more attention to my diet. At the same time, I signed up for the LiveUP program with Ultimate Performance, which includes a nutrition plan with specific amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats that you adjust to as you progress.
Before that, I didn’t really think too much about the amounts of food I consumed; I tried to eat relatively healthy, but I made many exceptions, which all added up.
The program consists of three full-body workouts per week, with a focus on compound movements at the beginning of the session, followed by complementary isolation exercises toward the end. When the closure started, I had to work away from home. I only had one bar, a couple of dumbbells and a pull bar, so I couldn’t perform so many varied moves, nor did I have enough plates to really progress in my weight training, I had to find other ways to challenge myself . My coach Elliot gave me some very useful tips on how to make the most of the limited team I had, how to slow down my reps and add fourth reps to my sets. I also started joining live Zoom workouts. All of this helped me stay motivated and I learned to maximize the efficiency of each exercise.
Overall, I’ve learned a lot about movements, rather than going through the movements, focusing on the tempo and not resting on top of the movement. I’ve also been able to create more mind-muscle connections, making sure I feel the right muscles are activated during a specific exercise, and improving myself beyond what I initially think I can do.
I lost about 10 kg (22 pounds) in total and toned my body. I feel more confident in my appearance; I’ve shared my images of progress with friends and family, and the changes have surprised them. I would also say that as a result of my new routine, I have slept better and generally feel more rested. I get the feeling that food energizes me more instead of making me feel tired or bloated. Now that I’m pretty lean, I plan to start increasing calories again, so I can build a little more muscle over the next year or so.
If you want to lose weight or get in shape, I would recommend finding a good program to start with, because there is so much conflicting information. Plus, it’s very simple: keep track of what you eat and your progress, so you can easily identify what’s and what’s not working. In the gym, focus on the muscles you want to work with one movement and control all the movement instead of throwing around as much weight as you can. From here, you can begin to progress gradually.
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