My 12 Week Physique Transformation

Before and after photo for 12 week transformation from Jan to April.
Before and after photo for 12 week transformation from Jan to April.

So whilst most people enter the new year with the claim that they are going to get in shape this year, crack out a few workouts in January and then tail off to nothing. I decided I was going to commit to the cause and actually get myself in the best shape I have ever been.

Sure, I have been working out consistently for several years now, but always with other goals in mind such as running 10k, lifting certain weights, lifting the dinnie stones and other assorted goals. But never have I really had transforming my physique as my main goal.

So in January I decided I was going to put all other goals aside and concentrate on getting in the best shape of my life, this would involve dropping some fat and packing on as much muscle as possible. I decided if I was going to do this I would enter in to the Adonis Index Transformation Contest that was being run from January to April for 12 weeks.

During the 12 weeks I cut my calories down and tracked them meticulously with MyFitnessPal, I started off averaging around 1450 calories per day and this tapered up to about 1750 calories a day towards the end, doing a reverse taper diet. For several years now I have been following the Eat Stop Eat principle of a once or twice weekly 24 hour fast which I have found a great way to stay cleansed and also allow me to bank some extra calories for another day as I only eat one meal during those days.

Exercise wise I followed the workout plans from Adonis Index, whilst adding in some additional movements that I have found useful as well as going on one 5kish run per week and a couple bouts on the cross trainer.

Overall my hard work paid off quite well and I managed to drop from 67.1kg to 60.2kg, waist from 72.5cm to 67cm and hips from 81cm to 75cm. My shoulder measurement of 113cm and most other measurements stayed roughly the same, so my losses due to fat were compensated by some additional mass gain.

The results are certainly excellent and it shows that sometimes you have to reassess your goals and concentrate on them enough and you can get some excellent results. Whilst I still have several strength and fitness goals I want to achieve this year I will be making a determined effort to continue transforming my physique for the better.

The overall results for the contest should be up in a few weeks, I am hoping I place well because I worked my damned ass off!



I have been using MyFitnessPal for a few days now, it’s a bit of a faff tracking everything that goes in my mouth but the Android app and the website make things about as easy as they could be. Hopefully using this will keep me accountable with my calorie intake and keep me on track to losing some podge.


New Goal

I have decided on my major goal for the beginning of this year, its not particularly strength related or endurance related. The plan is to get my ass in shape and finally get a damned good body. More details to follow in a few weeks.

Also, I’m going to try and actually keep this blog more up to date as the posts are so sporadic!

Fitness, Grip

Pinch Swing

There are many variations of pinch movements than can be done to increase the strength of the thumb and fingers. Many of these variations are quite common with grip athletes such as loose pinching plates, the euro pinch (or equivalent) and the pinching of odd objects whether wide or narrow.

One movement that doesn’t seem to be quite common is the pinch swing. The movement effectively combines the kettlebell / dumbbell swing movement with a hand pinch.

The pinch swing is good for building up hand and forearm endurance as well as hitting the muscles in many different ways as the velocity of the weight changes throughout the movement. This can help break through some plateaus in your grip training and is worth trying out as part of a new programme.

For advice on correct swing form it is best to check out a video or article on kettlebell swings, but the idea is to use the muscles of the posterior chain to thrust a weight forward from being hinged at the hips, until your body is straight and then allow the weight to drop back down. The swing generally ends with the arms roughly level with the chest, higher then this is considered a high pull.

For the pinch movement I clamp some plates onto the centre of a 2” thick bar with some locking collars, and then load up both ends to the desired weight and VERY securely locking the outer collars. It is best to stick to smaller plates for this as you need to be able to get them comfortably between your legs, also due to the way this movement taxes the hands you will probably end up starting off around 30% or even less of your max pinch.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Start light! When I first started doing this I had them slip out my hands a few times, thankfully without anything/anyone getting hurt! I have never used more than about 50% of my 1RM two hand pinch for this movement, see the variations below for ways to make it harder without adding more weight.
  • Always chalk up properly between sets, chalk is pretty much mandatory for this exercise to maintain a strong grip on the plates.
  • Keep a few reps in the tank, if you go to failure you will end up loosing your grip on the plates and that won’t end well!
  • You will definitely feel a burn in the forearms and hands from this, make sure to learn the difference between getting a nice burn from it and your grip failing!

There are many ways to adjust the difficulty of this exercise, I will list a few variations that you can try once you have got the hang of it:

  • Vary the width to very wide or very narrow, this will change the focus to either more finger strength or more thumb strength. Along with the velocity changes due to the swinging this can be very difficult.
  • Use one hand instead of two, this also allows you to vary the weight for each hand if they aren’t evenly balanced.
  • Try to swing with more force and make an effort to pull the weight back down as hard as possible, this increases the velocity in both directions which can make the same weight require much more hand pressure to stop it flying out.
  • Instead of a swing do a high pull or even a snatch… be careful though as these are more likely to end up in you letting go and damaging yourself or your gym! Personally I see little merit in doing either of these compared with doing faster/harder swings as above, but I have tried them and the snatch is certainly interesting!
Biofeedback, Fitness

Set your goals!

Back around December/January time I started on a quest to get myself in shape, sometime in January Josh Hanagarne made a post on his blog about his goals for 2010 and asking what other people’s goals were.  In this post I set out a few goals that I was interested in achieving over the course of the year, some being much more ambitious than others.  Also as the year has gone on I have set myself many other goals as my interests have changed and widened, such as plate curling a 10kg plate and swimming a mile.

Recently I was talking to Adam Glass about all that I have achieved this year and how I felt it was important to set realistic goals for yourself to give you milestones on the way to becoming the best you can possibly be.  So with about 3 months left of the year I am now concentrating on the goals I set myself that I have not achieved, the main one being pressing a 32kg kettlebell.  I have no doubt that I will achieve this goal by the end of the year because I am training very smart (using biofeedback) and I have a lot of ideas on how to greatly improve my pressing.

Looking back at the goals I have set myself back then I have greatly improved my bending strength, I started with pieces of 5mm hot rolled steel and worked my way through all sorts of grades of metal and I eventually bent some nails, now I can bend them without too much trouble, although I am nowhere close to bending them with the ease displayed by Adam Glass!  The goal I am most proud of is my improvement on my two hand pinch, I set out with a goal of getting 50kg, this was actually accomplished in my first grip competition in January, since then I have progressed up to lifting 67kg in competition and was more than my bodyweight which is an awesome feat that very few people have accomplished.

Adam is always stressing to people the importance of setting goals and ensuring that you keep a good log of your workouts and I fully support this.  When you set yourself realistic goals and strive to achieve them it paves the way for awesome improvements to your strength, physique and quality of movement.  Sometimes these goals will be long term projects, such as my goal of lifting the dinnie stones, but you can break down such goals into smaller intermediate goals to use as stepping stones.  If you want to lose 50lbs of fat then first you need to lose 10lbs, big goals can be daunting and so breaking them down can make them easier to achieve and you can surprise yourself in the end.

Anyway, after 10 months of training I am leaner (from 35″ to 31″ waist), stronger (deadlift up over 40kg), fitter and move better than I did before.  I have accomplished many goals I set myself and I keep setting more as I demolish the existing ones, I will continue to get better in as many ways as possible every single day!

Grip, Strength

Worlds Strongest Hands Leg 2

Did the second leg of the Worlds Strongest Hands competition today.

I placed 32nd out of 46 competitors for this leg, I was slightly let down by my two hand pinch which was down on last time.  Although everyone else at David Hornes seemed to pull less than usual so its possible that the damp weather played a part there.


  • Two hand pinch – 64.8kg
  • Wrist Developer – Level 5, orange spring
  • Vulcan Gripper – Level 9, gold spring
Biofeedback, Fitness, Grip, Strength

Adam Glass, Online Coaching

Around January this year I decided to get my ass into gear and get myself in shape, around this time I also decided to get involved in grip competitions as I had just started bending steel and using grippers.  Around this time Adam Glass had started posting about biofeedback, which I started incorporating into my workouts although I was a little fuzzy on the details.

So back then I weighed about 165lbs, had 22″ thighs and a 35″ waist.  In my first grip competition in January I managed to pull 53.9kg on the two hand pinch and I was struggling with level 1 on the Vulcan gripper.  My max deadlift was around 115kg, I could do about 8 pushups max and about 4 pullups.  I most definitely was out of shape!!

So I spent several months using biofeedback which my knowledge on improved after watching Grip ‘n Rip DVD and about two months ago I decided to take up Adam’s online coaching.

So, its about 8 months now since I started this journey, so where am I at now?  Well I have dropped down to about 145lbs, 31″ waist and 20″ thighs and I am pretty damn lean!  In my last competition I pulled 67.1kg on the two hand pinch, which was more than my bodyweight, which puts me on a list of about 12 other people in the world that have achieved such a feat and I will pull more at the next leg in a weeks time!  Aside from my two hand pinch all my other lifts are dramatically up, I can do over 20 consecutive pushups, over 10 pullups, my deadlift is over 140kg now and I am closing the Vulcan gripper at level 8.

So I can tell you this, biofeedback has DEFINITELY helped me to get where I am today, in reality my gym sessions are actually pretty short, as you can see in my logs, but biofeedback helps you ensure that what you do each day is the best possible thing to be doing.  The content on the Grip ‘n’ Rip DVD is enough for anyone to get GREAT results, but if you a greedy person and you want to get AWESOME results then Adam’s online coaching is definitely the next step.

So whats so good about online coaching with Adam Glass?  Well if you want to get stronger, faster, leaner or bigger then he can help you.  Adam will answer your emails promptly with any questions you ask and I have spent at least one hour a week on the phone to him.  He has helped me immensely in improving my grip strength and given me plenty of ammo to move forward with training old time strongman feats of strength.  Also he has provided plenty of videos showing me variations of exercise and how to perform specific movements, which have been a MASSIVE benefit to my training.

So the conclusion really is this, if you want to get better and you aren’t using biofeedback then definitely grab the Grip ‘n’ Rip DVD’s.  If you want to take it further or you just want to dive straight in head first then get in touch with Adam Glass directly via facebook or via his website and take up his online/phone coaching!


3rd September 2010


  • Fasted till about 8pm
  • Spicy breaded chicken, chips, onion rings, baked beans
  • approx 1000 calories

Lunch Workout

  • Pushups
    • 14 reps, 14 reps, 13 reps
  • Walking lunges, arms overhead
    • 2 lengths of corridor x 3

Evening Workout

  • Uneven DB Curls – 3:20
    • 8kg inside, 5kg outide, 15kg total
    • 7R, 7L
    • 6R, 6L
  • 10 mins of punchbag work

2nd September 2010


  • 500g natural yorghurt, pear
  • strawberries, 2 x bananas, hand full of almonds
  • chicken tikka masala with brown rice
  • approx 2300 calories, 161g protein


  • Deadlift – 3:10
    • 90kg, stradle deadlift, bar elevated approx 2″ off ground
    • 7 reps, 5 reps
  • Pullups – 4:20
    • wide grip, supinated
    • 9 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps
  • Bench Press – 3:45
    • 50kg, narrow grip
    • 3 reps, 2 reps, 3 reps
  • Two Hand Pinch – 3:45
    • 56.1kg x 5 singles